SAN DIEGO (AP) — San Diego Padres vice president of scouting
Don Welke has died. He was 75.The team says he died Wednesday night in San Diego
surrounded by family. No cause was given.Welke worked in baseball for more than
50 years. He joined the Padres in 2014 Carlos
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, following general manager A.J. Preller from the
Texas Rangers to San Diego. Welke also worked the Phillies, Dodgers, Orioles,
Blue Jays, Royals and Reds.Welke was instrumental in the Rangers reaching
consecutive World Series. He was directly involved in the signings and
acquisitions of Adrian Beltre, Jurickson Profar and Elvis Andrus. He also helped
sign Dave Stieb, Pat Hentgen and John Olerud.In a statement, Preller calls Welke
a “visionary who knew and loved baseball, and he shared that knowledge and
passion with me and countless other scouts throughout his five decades in the
game.” The Baseball Hall of Fame welcomed in six new legends, asVladimir
Guerrero, Trevor Hoffman ,
Chipper Jones, Jack Morris, Jim Thome and Alan Trammell were all enshrined
Sunday in Cooperstown, New York.Jones probably wouldn't receive a warm welcome
in New York on most occasions given the way he and the Atlanta Braves dominated
the National League East through the 1990s and early 2000s. The Braves were NL
East champions from 1995 to 2005, while Jones retired as an eight-time All-Star
and the 1999 NL Most Valuable Player.The trio of Tom Glavine, Greg Maddux and
John Smoltz were integral pieces to Atlanta's string of division titles, and
Jones gave them their just due during his speech. He did, however, reserve a
pretty good burn for Smoltz:Jayson Stark jaysonstChipper on his pal John Smoltz:
鈥淪moltzie always pitched like his hair was on fire. Looking at (his lack of
hair) it all makes sense now.鈥滼ones also shouted out former teammate Andruw
Jones, who was a 10-time Gold Glove winner and five-time All-Star in 12 seasons
with the Braves:Grant McAuley grantmcauleyChipper Jones said he hopes #Braves
teammate Andruw Jones will join him in Cooperstown one day. quot;Druw, Im proud
to call you my brother from another mother.quot; #ChipperHOFBob Nightengale
BNightengaleChipper Jones says he hopes former teammate Andruw Jones joins him
one day in Cooperstown.Andruw Jones' career tailed off after he signed with the
Los Angeles Dodgers Josh
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, but he was one of the most complete outfielders in
MLB during his prime. Despite his rapid decline, Jones' peak years are enough to
warrant enshrinement.The highlight of Chipper Jones' speech came when he
recounted a meeting with Mickey Mantle at a trading card show in Atlanta,per
11Alive'sJay Clemons.According to Jones, Mantle said he had had a recurring
dream in which he arrived at the pearly gatesand saw God."Don't worry, Mick.
You'll get in," God said to Mantle in the dream. "But hey, before that, can you
please sign these 15 baseballs?"Jones said he had come to understand the
anecdote over his career and retirement.Charlie Manuel had a big impact on
Thome's career, first as a manager in the Cleveland Indians' minor league system
and then as the Indians' hitting coach. Thome credited Manuel for helping him
become one of baseball's pre-eminent sluggers in the 1990s:MLB Network
MLBNetworkquot;You know I wouldnt be standing here today without you. Thank you
for everything.quot; An emotional Jim Thome thanks Charlie Manuel in his Hall of
Fame induction speech. #HOFWKND XhCSCOpQ4IOne of Thome's contemporaries, Chicago
Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo, was moved by his speech:Anthony Rizzo
ARizzo44鈥淚f you try to conduct yourself with authenticity and honesty Tyler
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, the end result is one of the most natural highs a
human being can have鈥?Thome, what an amazing speech by an amazing person!The
Thome family not only got to celebrate Jim's induction but also watch his
daughter, Lila Thome, deliver the national anthem prior to the ceremony. was on hand in Cooperstown to capture her
rendition:clevelanddotcom clevelanddotcomJim Thomes daughter Lila sang the
National Anthem at the Baseball Hall of Fame induction ceremony. How great is
this?! 4xTH4vuMA1Guerrero generally shied away from the spotlight during his
playing career, and that continued during his Hall of Fame induction. With the
help of Jose Mota as his interpreter, the 2004 American League Most Valuable
Player kept his speech short and sweet."I wanted to let my bat do the talking,"
Guerrero said, per The Athletic's Fabian Ardaya. "But now that I'm done playing,
I'm proud to be standing here, talking to you."Guerrero is the first position
player from the Dominican Republic to enter the Baseball Hall of Fame. His
hometown was close to his heart as he closed his speech:MLB Network
MLBNetwork.VladGuerrero27 thanks his hometown in the Dominican Republic as he is
enshrined into the baseballhall! #HOFWKND zlK8syZM2jHoffman stepped to the
podium next and delivered a speech that was arguably the best of the day. The
seven-time All-Star spanned his entire baseball career, including his years in
junior college before arriving in MLB:Adam McCalvy AdamMcCalvyHoffmans speech
included a thanks to Brewers medical director Roger Caplinger Marwin
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, who is battling cancer. quot;Keep up the
fight,quot; Hoffman said.Gabe Lacques GabeLacquesTrevor Hoffman starting with an
quot;Oh, Doctor!quot; and shouting out clubbies and JC coaches and siblings
along the way was more or less perfection.AJ Cassavell AJCassavellTrevor
Hoffmans speech was as good as they come - not that we expected anything
less.Hoffman closed his speech with a heartfelt message to his wife."You shared
with me this amazing journey of ups and downs from the beginning, always never
letting me get too high or get too low," he said, per the Associated Press (via
the Washington Post). "I love you."The Detroit Tigers are headed for a fourth
straight season without playoff baseball in 2018, but Sunday was an opportunity
to feel nostalgic and celebrate better times. Both Trammell and Morris were
members of the Tigers team that won a World Series in 1984.Sunday also
represented the end of a long journey for Trammell and Morris.Trammell got40.9
percent of the vote in 2016, which was his 15th and final year on the Hall of
Fame ballot. Morris, meanwhile, fell off the ballot in 2014 after collecting61.5
percent of the vote in his final year.TheModern Baseball Era Committee voted
them into the Hall of Fame during the winter meetings in December.Morris called
being enshrined in the same Hall of Fame class as Trammell a "dream come
true,"perUSA Today'sBob Nightengale.Trammell formed one of MLB's best
double-play duos with second baseman Lou Whitaker over nearly two decades."My
hope is someday you'll be up here as well ,"
he said of Whitaker, per the Detroit Free Press' Anthony Fenech.Trammell singled
out former Tigers manager Sparky Anderson as well."I looked at Sparky much like
an extension of my parents," he said, per Nightengale. "I'm so happy our lives
crossed."The 2018 Hall of Fame class was loaded from top to bottom, and that
might be the case in 2019 as well. Edgar Martinez is inching toward his
induction after getting 70.4 percent of votes a year ago. The same can be said
of Mike Mussina (63.5 percent), too.Mariano Rivera, Roy Halladay, Andy Pettitte,
Roy Oswalt and Todd Helton headline the stars who will be eligible starting in
2019, with Rivera and Halladay the most likely inductees in their first
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