There is undoubtedly another Hall of Fame looming in Rod Carew's future, but, on his road to Cooperstown, N.Y., the former Angels' star was happy to make a stop at the Orange County Hall of Fame.
Carew was one of four people inducted into the Hall of Fame Monday night during a banquet at the Disneyland Hotel.
"If I go on to Cooperstown, I know for sure I will always think of the first Hall of Fame I was inducted into," Carew said, acknowledging his award.
"If" is probably inappropriate for Carew. "When" is more like it for the seven-time American League batting champion, who finished his 19-year career in the major leagues--the last six with the Angels--with a .328 batting average.
Also inducted Monday night was Andy Messersmith, a former Western High School pitcher who had 20-win seasons with both the Angels and the Dodgers and was a pioneer in the fight for free agency with his challenge of baseball's reserve clause.
The only woman inducted Monday was Carol Spanks, who played softball for the Orange Lionettes between 1958 and 1975, playing on four national championship teams and six runners-up. She is currently the head softball coach at Cal Poly Pomona.
Also inducted, but not present to accept his award, was Eddie Morris, a track sensation in the late 1930s at Huntington Beach High, and the state champion in the 220-yard dash three years in a row.
Special awards given included Special Recognition Awards to Jerry Doggett, a broadcaster with the Dodgers for 30 years, and Lewis Cryer, who recently resigned commissioner of the Pacific Coast Athletic Assn.
Bobby Hatfield received the Ralph Clark Distinguished Citizen Award, and former county supervisor Ralph Clark was given a Lifetime Achievement award.
Louis Unser, who may not be as famous as his younger brothers Al and Bobby, was presented the Woody Dietch Award, given to the sports personality who exhibits courage in the face of hardship. Unser, who has had multiple sclerosis since 1964, has built a successful racing engine development business in Fullerton.
"I'm just going through life," Unser said. "There's an old saying that God won't give you anything you can't handle. This wasn't even close."
Funds raised from the Hall of Fame banquet will be used to provide sports equipment to recognized groups in Orange County. Youth groups may apply for funds by contacting the Hall of Fame.