As many of you know, our family came up to Massachusetts for the month of July. We actually planned round this month for the yearly Induction Ceremony in Cooperstown. When we lived up here, this was something my husband loved to attend especially only being less than 4 hours away. Since living in GA we have not been back and decided that this year with not one, but three Braves greats entering the Hall of Fame; we would change that.
On July 25-28th Cooperstown was abuzz with excitement by thousands of fans for induction weekend. On Sunday we joined an estimated 48,000 individuals (third largest crowd ever in Cooperstown) at the field at the Clark Sports Center. Fans were holding signs, waving flags, cheering for their favorites, while sporting jerseys and other gear.
I’m also proud to say that our Atlanta Braves were represented greatly among the fans. In fact with the number of Braves fans that attended, you might have thought you where at Tuner Field. And to see a crowd ‘Chop’ at such a monumental event is truly moving. Many traveled not only from GA for this occasion; but from all over the county. No matter what state they came from, the one common thread was Braves. Specifically, Greg Maddux, Bobby Cox, and Tom Glavine.
To see and hear these men speak was a great experience. To hear about their humble beginnings and support of their family and friends through the years. The trials and setbacks while never giving up on their dreams. And to see just how humble these men are.
Greg Maddux who acknowledged this was the biggest honor you can give to a ballplayer but yet ” I would not be standing here today if it weren’t for all the positive people I’ve had in my life.”
Bobby Cox said “I’m truly humbled to stand here before you in Cooperstown with two men that pitch for me and two managers that made my life as a manager so challenging, and a hitter that we never did figure out how to pitch to him…I can honestly say I would not be standing here today if it weren’t for you guys.”
Tom Glavine is from Billerica MA and played with the Billerica Baseball Team. I loved how he showed respect for his parents and then shared what he had in mind each time he put on the uniform. “The first was to represent the logo on the front… the second part was to not embarrass the name on the back. I wanted to represent my parents to the best of my ability. They worked hard to respect our community and I wanted to do everything I could to protect that. I’m so proud whenever I hear somebody say to me, you must have had great parents. When I hear that, I know I’m representing them well.”
2014 also included Tony La Russa, Frank Thomas and Joe Torre. La Russa spoke about how grateful to make it as a manager “It’s uncomfortable because I didn’t make it as a player, not even close, and even my early days as a manager, there were some moments where this could never happen.”
Mr Thomas was a crowd favorite with his speech. He spoke highly of his mom and choked back tears through out his speech. He thanked all the greats before him for being a great role model and making baseball what it is today. He finished with “To all you kids out there, just remember one thing from today. There’s no shortcuts to success. Hard work, dedication, commitment, stay true to who you are.”
Have to Have A Yankee
Joe Torre was last to speak. My dad is a huge Yankees fan. Yes, I said Yankee and not Red Sox. I grew up watching the NY Yankees on TV and my first game at Fenway was Sox vs. Yankees. Any guesses who won?
Torre was a successful manager and had four World Series titles with the Yankees. In his comments he spoke about how baseball is a game of life and part of the American soul. That players need to respect that and put others before themself. “This game is a gift, and I am humbled, very humbled, to accept its greatest honor.”
Besides the ceremony there is much to see while in Cooperstown. Over the weekend many past players come in to be part of the celebration. Past inductees, players signing baseball and photos, and even celebrities. This weekend my husband had the priliviage of meeting his childhood hero Mr. Dale Murphy. He was very generous to stop and speak with up and take a few pictures. In years past we even met Gregory Hines who was just as pleasant and sociable.
Of course the center of it all is the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum. The National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum collections feature just under 40,000 three-dimensional items, three million books and documents and 500,000 photographs. The Museum tells visitors the story of baseball through its three-story timeline, with the majestic Plaque Gallery serving as a centerpiece. This weekend it was also announced that Baseball great Hank Aron (class of 82) is sharing his entire collection with the Hall of Fame and Museum.
Next year’s Hall of Fame Weekend will take place July 24-27 and we are already making plans to go and we plan to bring the kids next time for their first visit. Oh, and even though the 2015 class has not been released yet; off the record talk is Braves will be represented next year too.