The High-A California League has announced its 2019 Hall of Fame class, featuring former players Adrian Beltre, Rollie Fingers, Harry “Bud” Heslet, and former league president Joe Gagliardi.
The four honorees will be inducted during the All-Star break at San Manuel Stadium, home of the Inland Empire 66ers, on June 18, 2019. There will be a Home Run Derby and All-Star game in the evening between All-Stars from the North and South Divisions.
Adrian Beltre – The future MLB Hall of Famer played for the 1996 San Bernardino Stampede and hit .261 with 10 HRs and 40 RBI in 63 games. He played twenty years in the Big Leagues with the Dodgers, Mariners, Red Sox, and Rangers. Over that time, he hit .286 with 3,166 hits and 477 HRs. He retired at the end of the 2018 season as MLB’s all-time hits leader among foreign-born players (Dominican Republic). He was the first player from the Dominican to record over 3,000 hits. He was a 4 time All-Star, won 5 Gold Gloves, and 4 Silver Sluggers at third base.
Rollie Fingers – Rollie is a 3-time World Series Champion with the Oakland A’s but before that he played for the 1966 Cal League Champions, the Modesto Reds. During that year, he went 11-6 with a 2.77 ERA. Over the course of his 17-year career, Rollie made the All-Star team 7 times, was the MLB Saves Champion 3 times, and the Rolaids Relief Man of the Year 4 times. When he retired, he was MLB’s All-Time Saves Leader. He was inducted into MLB’s Hall of Fame in 1992.
Joe Gagliardi – Joe was the longest serving California League President when he retired after the 2009 season. During his 28 year tenure, he oversaw new ballparks in High Desert, Rancho Cucamonga, Lake Elsinore, Lancaster, Stockton, and San Bernardino. He also championed stadium renovations in San Jose, Modesto, and Stockton. Joe was a driving force behind the California vs. Carolina League All-Star Game. The California League Championship Trophy bears his name.
Harry “Bud” Heslet – Harry had arguably the greatest season in California League history in 1956 with the Visalia Cubs. That year he hit .334 with 51 HRs, 172 RBI, scored 147 runs, hit 27 doubles, and walked 11 times in 140 games. He still holds the single season Cal League record for Home Runs and Runs Batted In. The 1956 season was his 14th and final season in professional baseball.
Only those not currently active players were eligible to be selected to the Cal League Hall of Fame.
“The League is extremely proud to announce the selection of these individuals to the Hall of Fame,” said Cal League President, Charlie Blaney. “From World Series Champs to perennial All-Stars to visionary executives, this class represents the diversity of legends that have made this league so great over the years.”
The Cal League Hall of Fame is a virtual one on the league website: californialeague.com. The new class will be available to view on the day of the induction ceremony, June 18, 2019.
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