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Braves top Twins in Cooperstown
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06/14/2004 3:59 PM ET
Braves top Twins in Cooperstown
Schuerholz wins game MVP in front of father
tickets for any Major League Baseball game
Matthew LeCroy won the Home Run Derby in Cooperstown on Monday. (Tim Roske/AP)
COOPERSTOWN, NY -- Fathers and sons. It's an old storyline with baseball, but one that certainly rang true on one of the National Pastime's most historic fields.

Atlanta Braves minor league infielder Jonathan Schuerholz, called up from Class A Myrtle Beach of the Carolina League for the day, batted 4-for-4, scored two runs and knocked one in to help his team to a 10-7 win over the Minnesota Twins in the 58th annual Hall of Fame Game played at Doubleday Field in Cooperstown Monday afternoon.

Amongst the sellout crowd of 9,686 was John Schuerholz, father of game MVP Jonathan and the general manager of the Braves.

"It's unbelievable. Anytime you can play on Doubleday Field, at the Mecca of baseball, it's a great feeling. And anytime you can do it in front of your father it's ever better. It's a double-plus for me today," Jonathan said after the game, a thriller in which he contributed his fourth hit in an Atlanta six-run outburst in the top of the ninth to overcome a 7-4 deficit.

John Schuerholz came out on the field after the game and gave his son a big hug, then talked, while grinning ear to ear, about what the day meant to him.

"It's always great to be in Cooperstown, it's great to be a part of this, and especially great for me as a dad to see my son have an MVP day," the senior Schuerholz said. "And our team won a game, which we haven't too much of lately, so that's good, too."

Asked jokingly whether a promotion to the big league club could be in the future for his son after his impressive performance in front of the big league manager, the team's GM laughed and said, "We'll just enjoy this."

Baseball's present and past were also in attendance at the game. Both teams brought their full big league rosters to Cooperstown, and making appearances in the contest were such favorites as Torii Hunter, Chipper Jones, Jacque Jones and Andruw Jones. Hall of Famers Harmon Killebrew, Phil Niekro and Brooks Robinson were also on hand to throw out the ceremonial first pitches.

A certain perspective and appreciation for the game was evident as players first arrived in Cooperstown late Sunday night from games earlier that day and took time to look around a nearly empty National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum.

"One of my favorites growing up was Hank Aaron. I remember reading up on him and some of the things he's accomplished, but it's different when you see the actual ball and bat. It's impressive," said Hunter, the star center fielder with the Twins.

"Me as a black player -- Hank Aaron and all of the things that he's accomplished -- gave me confidence and the motivation to go out here and play instead of going to football and the NBA route. I'm not saying I have that kind of skill, but he really motivated me and pushed me."

Hunter's fellow Twins outfielder, Jacque Jones, came away from his Hall of Fame visit overwhelmed.

"I love it. All the history of the game is here. If there's something that was memorable, it is here," he said. "And for people to come in like myself who think they know the history of the game, you realize you don't really know anything after you come in here."

Braves third baseman Mark DeRosa had the upper hand on most of his teammates, having spent a week in Cooperstown in the summer of 1984 on a family vacation.

"As a young kid I came up here with my family. It was during the induction of Harmon Killebrew, Don Drysdale and Pee Wee Reese and it was a really great experience. I grew up in New Jersey and my dad wanted to show us. He was a big baseball fanatic and so were his kids, so he wanted to give us a vacation that everyone could enjoy," DeRosa said.

"It's such a great place and a great little town. It's almost like there's ghosts walking around with you. I don't fully think the guys will understand how great this place is because we really don't get a lot of time to spend here."

Even grizzled veterans like Terry Mulholland, a Twins relief pitcher who has been a professional baseball player for more than 20 years, came away from his first Hall of Fame trip somewhat overwhelmed.

"This is awe-inspiring. It's such an unbelievable collection of baseball. Since I was a little kid I've always wanted to come here, and I'm still a kid, I just happen to be an old kid," Mulholland said. "I liked looking at the game and the way it was a long time ago. The technology's definitely improved. I'm happy to be playing now."

Home Run Hitting Contest: Minnesota's Matt LeCroy dented a few of the homes that surround the outfield fences of Doubleday Field with his prodigious display at this year's home run hitting contest.

In all, six players, three from each team, competed. After the first round, with each batter allowed 10 swings, LeCroy was tied with Atlanta's Johnny Estrada with five round-trippers. Atlanta's Mike Hessman and Chipper Jones belted three each, while Minnesota's Mike Restovich collected four and Mike Cuddyer three. In the extra round, Estrada went first and hit one homer in five swings, while LeCroy went next and walloped a pair over the fence in his first two swings to claim this year's crown.

"I won one home run hitting contest in the Florida State League in the Single A All-Star Game," LeCroy said. "The secret is just taking your time and making sure you get a good pitch. I just slowed myself down and was fortunate enough to win it."

June 14, 2004
   1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8   9   R   H   E 
Atlanta
0 1 0 1 0 2 0 0 6   10 13 2
Minnesota
0 0 2 0 2 2 1 0 0   7 11 3
BaltimoreABRHRBI
Furcal, SS1000
  Garcia, SS2000
  Hernandez, SS2110
Green, 2B1000
  Schuerholz, 2B4241
Drew, RF1000
  Blanco, RF3123
CJones, DH1000
  Wise, PH-DH4222
Franco, 1B1000
  Hessman, 1B1000
  Thomas, 1B2000
AJones, CF1111
  Francouer, CF4111
Marrero, LF1000
  Joseph, LF3000
Dews, C0000
  Perez, C2000
  McCann, C2010
DeRosa, 3B0000
  Timmons, 3B4211
TOTALS4010139
 
ClevelandABRHRBI
Cuddyer, 3B/SS5111
Rivas, SS2000
  Watkins, 3B3123
Mientkiewicz, 1B1010
  LeCroy, PH-1B4000
Hunter, DH1000
  Maurer, PH-DH4000
Jones, RF1000
  Tomlin, RF-CF4020
Restovich, LF4111
Ford, CF2000
  Prieto, RF2110
Bowen, C4120
Davidson, 2B4210
Totals417116
 
AtlantaIPHRERBBSOHR
Paul Byrd6.0864021
Dan Meyer1.0211110
Jose Cappellan (W)2.0100020
 
ClevelandIPHRERBBSOHR
Scott Baker5.0322082
Joe Beimel2.0322232
Pat Neshek1.0200010
Bobby Korecky (L)1.0565001

Umpires: HP: Bob Bainter. 1B: Kevin Kelley. 2B: James Hoye. 3B: Dan Cricks.
Weather: 69 degrees.
T: 2:24.
Att: 9,868 (sellout).

Bill Francis is a contributing writer for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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