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From Cal to Hall of Fame

Over the years, the California League has produced 19 Hall of Famers, beginning with the 1954 Bakersfield Indians' Don Drysdale.

Joe Morgan, of the 1963 Modesto Colts, a Houston Colt 45's farm team, was the second inductee to Cooperstown.

Rollie Fingers and Reggie Jackson were teammates on the 1966 Modesto Reds and remain teammates in the Hall of Fame.

Don Sutton hurled for the 1965 Santa Barbara Dodgers.

George Brett couldn't even hit .300 playing in San Jose's Municipal Stadium for the Bees in 1972.

Hall of Fame Manager Sparky Anderson played for the 1953 Santa Barbara Dodgers and then managed the 1967 Modesto Reds.

Kirby Puckett patrolled the outfield in Recreation Park in Visalia for the Oaks in 1983.

It took Dennis Eckersley two years to get out of the California League as he hurled for the Reno Silver Sox in 1972 and 1973.

Hall of Fame Manager Dick Williams played in the California League in its infancy in 1948 for the Santa Barbara Dodgers.

And Rickey Henderson, the Major League all-time stolen base and runs scored leader, plus a member of the 3,000 hit club, led the California League in stolen bases with 95 while playing for the Modesto A's in 1977.

In 2010, former California League umpire Doug Harvey (1958-1960) became the ninth Umpire enshrined in Cooperstown.

2011 saw two more former California League players, Roberto Alomar, the league batting champion for the 1986 Reno Padres and 1959 Stockton Ports hurler, Pat Gillick were honored with induction into the Hall of Fame. Alomar was a lifetime .300 hitter over 17 seasons. He helped lead the Toronto Blue Jays to consecutive World Championships in 1992-1993. Gillick was a successful major league Executive, whose 1992-1993 Toronto Blue Jays and 2008 Philadelphia Phillies won World Series titles.

In 2014 two of the greatest managers in baseball history, Tony LaRussa, 1966 Modesto Reds and Bobby Cox, 1960 Reno Silver Sox were inducted into the Hall of Fame. Both won World Series titles and are in the top four of career victories, each winning over 2,500 games.

Pedro Martinez, a 1991 Bakersfield Dodger, was enshrined in 2015.

On Sunday, July 24, 2016, in Cooperstown, New York, both Ken Griffey, Jr. (1988 San Bernardino Spirit) and Mike Piazza (1991 Bakersfield Dodgers) will be enshrined in the Baseball Hall of Fame, bringing the all-time total to nineteen former California League players in the Hall of Fame. Griffey, Jr., elected on his first year of eligibility was voted in with the greatest percentage (99.3%) in Hall of Fame history as he was named on 437 of the 440 ballots.