A Day For The Ages
Sunday, July 27, 2014
Cooperstown, NY — After months of anticipation, the annual Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony will begin today at 12:30 p.m., CT, at the Clark Sports Center, which is located just a mile south of the Hall.
During the ceremony, we will hear from our Sox-connected inductees Frank Thomas and Tony LaRussa, pitching greats and former Braves teammates Greg Maddux and Tom Glavine and elite managers Bobby Cox and Joe Torre as they are officially are inducted into baseball’s shrine. The newest inductees will be welcomed by 55 of the 66 living Hall of Famers, who have made the trip here to be part of the festivities.
Frank and Tony: The Day Before
The six inductees spoke to the media yesterday in advance of today’s ceremony. Here’s a sampling of comments from Frank and Tony.
On the Hall of Fame experience as a whole:
“It’s really very stressful. A lot goes into it. I’m overjoyed, but the nerves are there. It’s just a different feeling. This is bigger than any ball game that I’ve every played in. Tomorrow will be magical. Just seeing the stage today, the field and thinking about all those people out there, it will really be special.”
On thinking about entering the Hall during his playing days:
“You never think about the Hall of Fame. It’s something you can’t control. As a player you just go out and play ball.”
On his speech:
“I’ve been doing a lot of traveling with my TV work and each night when I get back to my hotel room I add a few lines and add some names. It’ll be from the heart, giving credit to the people who got me here.”
On his hitting style:
“I was a hitter, not just a home run hitter. I was about scoring runs, driving in runs. I knew I had to do something to help the team every night. (Sox hitting coach) Walt Hriniak had a whole lot to do with my approach in my first eight years in Chicago and me being here in Cooperstown. It was all about discipline. You knew you had to work hard every day.”
On his Dad, Frank Sr., who has passed away:
My Dad was my man. He saw something in me and it was push, push, push, all the time–he got me off that couch. Without him I wouldn’t be here. I keep thinking what a big smile he would have if he were still here. He’d be running around with No. 35 on his back, that’s the kind of person he was.”
The World According to Tony
On the role of a manager:
“I’ve been with coaches in other sports and we talk about how our first responsibility is to create a frame of mind for the players. Once you have their attention you can go from there. I think I had a feel for it, but I got better and better over the years.”
On his time with the Sox, notably 1983 when the club won the AL West by 20 games. It was also the team’s first playoff appearance since the AL pennant-winning year of 1959.
“1983 was a magical year. We had big personalities, great leaders like Bull (Greg Luzinski) and Kooz (Jerry Koosman) and a great coaching staff.”
“He was the type of hitter that you had to take out of the game. He hit for power, average, hit to all fields. He was a marked man.”
On Harold Baines and the Hall of Fame:
“My heart aches for him. If he had only been healthy enough to get 3,000 hits.”
On his managerial career with the Sox, A’s and Cardinals:
“Thirty years and three great places. How lucky I’ve been.”
Yesterday’s Award Presentations
Yesterday afternoon the Hall of Fame Awards presentation took place at Doubleday Field, for years the site of exhibition games between American and National League teams. Author Roger Angell received the J.G. Taylor Spink Award for meritorious contributions to baseball writing. Former player and broadcaster Joe Garagiola, who was not in attendance, won the Hall’s Buck O’Neil Lifetime Achievement Award and Texas Rangers’ broadcaster Eric Nadel was honored with the Hall of Fame’s Ford C. Frick Award for major contributions to baseball broadcasting.
The Parade of Legends
With thousands of fans lining the streets cheering them on, the Hall of Famers rode down Main Street last evening in trucks en route to the Museum. Here’s Frank and his wife Megan waving to the crowd.
Cooperstown’s main drag was again all abuzz yesterday with activity on another bright, sunny day. In addition to the thriving businesses we mentioned yesterday that were teeming with fans, other establishments enjoying the presence of the baseball faithful the past few days are the Heroes of Baseball Wax Museum, Mickey’s Place (as in Hall of Famer Mantle), Shoeless Joe’s and the Batter’s Up Restaurant. Again, where else can you find these places?
Among the former players signing yesterday were Pete Rose, Andre Dawson, Maury Wills, Denny McLain, Bert Campaneris, Frank Howard, John Rocker, Ryan Klesko and many of the players who signed earlier in the week that we mentioned yesterday.
Among the oddest sights yesterday on Main Street? Somebody I could swear was Babe Ruth and the craziest Harley you ever saw.
A Hall of a Party
The White Sox hosted a party for Frank and Tony last night at Cooperstown’s Templeton Hall with friends and family celebrating the occasion. The Big Hurt took to the microphone upon his arrival and expressed what an honor it is to be entering the Hall. He also admitted his “knees will be knocking,” but is looking forward to the big day. Tony talked emotionally about his days with the Sox and led the crowd in singing “Na, Na, Hey, Hey, Goodbye.”
A Sox Fan’s Delight
Museum exhibits I thought you’d like to see.
And While We’re in Cooperstown…
The Sox won their third straight last night with a 7-0 whitewash of the Twins. We go for the sweep of the four-game series today. Chris Sale was in vintage form. He won his 10th game of the season against a single loss via a brilliant five-hit shutout, which included a dozen strikeouts over eight innings–and he lowered his ERA to a miniscule 1.88…Alexei Ramirez hit a two-run homer, Conor Gillaspie was 3-4 with a double two runs scored, Tyler Flowers singled and doubled and drove in a pair and Adam Eaton had two singles, two RBI and scored a run. Jose Abreu extended his hitting streak to 16 games with a ninth-inning single. He has now recorded a hit in 34 of his last 35 games.
Photos of the Day
I guess you could say it was SoxFest East yesterday on Main Street.