The Rookie-level Appalachian League has unveiled its first Hall of Fame class, featuring Greg Maddux, Eddie Murray, Kirby Puckett, Cal Ripken Jr., Nolan Ryan, Jim Thome, and Alan Trammell.
“With the Appalachian League’s long and storied past, it seems only fitting that the league should establish a Hall of Fame,” commented Appalachian League President Dan Moushon. “We could not ask for a more deserving and exciting inaugural class.”
The purpose of the Appalachian League Hall of Fame is to recognize individuals for their accomplishments and/or contributions to the League on the field of play or in an executive or an administrative capacity. This shall include but not necessarily be limited to: players, managers, coaches, umpires, and team and league executives. Entry into the Appalachian League Hall of Fame shall be made available to anyone previously or currently associated with the league regardless of the duration of the association, beginning with the 1957 season.
Creation of the Appalachian League Hall of Fame will be a phased process. The first Appalachian League Hall of Fame class (June 2019) will encompass those individuals that have already been inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown. Special Fall 2019 inductions will be conducted by unique procedures prior to beginning annual (2020) inductions which will follow uniform procedures.
Greg Maddux began his professional baseball career in the Appalachian League in 1984 with the Pikeville Cubs. In 14 games with Pikeville, Maddux went 6-2, with a 2.63 ERA, and struck out 62 batters. Maddux finished his career with 3,371 strikeouts, and won four Cy Young Awards and 18 Gold Gloves. Maddux also made eight All-Star appearances. He was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 2014.
Eddie Murray began his baseball career in 1973 in the Appalachian League with the Bluefield Orioles. In 50 games with Bluefield, Murray hit .287 with 11 HRs and 32 RBI. During his career, Murray made eight All-Star appearances, hit more than 500 HRs, and had more than 3,000 hits. He was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 2003.
Kirby Puckett began his Hall of Fame career in 1982 in the Appalachian League with the Elizabethton Twins. In 65 games with Elizabethton, Puckett hit .382 with 35 RBIs and 43 stolen bases. Puckett was a 10-time All-Star, and won six Gold Glove Awards and six Silver Slugger Awards. Puckett won two World series titles with Minnesota in 1987 and 1991. He was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 2001.
Cal Ripken Jr. began his professional baseball career in the Appalachian League in 1978 with the Bluefield Orioles. Ripken hit .264 with Bluefield and collected 24 RBI. Ripken became famous for setting the all-time consecutive games played record at 2,632 straight games. Ripken made 19 MLB All-Star appearances, won eight Silver Slugger Awards, and won two AL MVP awards. He was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 2007.
Nolan Ryan began his baseball career in 1965 in the Appalachian League as a member of the Marion Mets. In 13 games with Marion, Ryan won three games and recorded 115 strikeouts. Nolan Ryan finished his career with more than 5700 strikeouts, appeared in eight All-Star games, and threw seven no-hitters. He was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1999.
Jim Thome came to the Appalachian League in 1990 when he became a member of the Burlington Indians. With Burlington, Thome hit .373, with 12 HRs and collected 34 RBI. In his Major League career Thome hit more than 600 HRs, made five All-Star appearances, and won a Silver Slugger award. He was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 2018.
Alan Trammell began his professional baseball career in 1976 in the Appalachian League with the Bristol Tigers. In 41 games with Bristol, Trammell hit .271, recorded 38 hits, and drew 26 walks at the plate. Trammell made six MLB All-Star appearances and won four Gold Gloves and three Silver Slugger awards. Trammell was named World Series MVP in 1984. He was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 2018.