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Thomas actually wound up thanking 138 former teammates, including Jermaine Dye and Aaron Rowand, who were in attendance, Converse All White High Tops
Thomas, after breaking down talking about his father, Frank Sr., who died in 2001 "Pops, look at us today, we're a long way from Columbus, Ga.'' took it to an extreme. He literally thanked every single manager, coach, trainer, clubhouse attendant, public relations official, traveling secretary and front office executive during his career, and just about every teammate, too.
The day was filled with emotion, with tears streaming down Frank Thomas' face Sunday, but there really were no subtle or hidden messages during the Hall of Fame induction ceremony.
La Russa, who won three World Series titles, also apologized after his speech for forgetting to mention Roland Hemond, the Arizona Diamondbacks special assistant he has known for nearly 40 years. Yet, La Russa talked about the impact George Kissell, the former St. Louis Cardinals coach and farm director, had on his life, and looking forward to the day that Los Angeles Angels first baseman Albert Pujols enters the Hall of Fame.
"There is a power to both patience and persistence,'' Torre said. "Baseball is a game of life. It's not perfect. But it feels like it is. That's the magic of it. We are responsible for giving it the respect it deserves.
"He said, 'Skip, that's one of the better ideas you've had in the last month,'' Cox said, "'but where are we going to put him.''
was so obvious. I just feel terrible I omitted that."
Instead, with the six member class consisting of 660 pitching victories, 521 homers and 7,593 managerial wins providing 1 hour, 40 minutes, 16 seconds of speeches, the underlying theme was quite clear.
and then apologized for cutting out 50 at the last minute.
Cox looked around, realized his mistake, and told Glavine and his catcher: "Look, if this gets out to the press tomorrow, each one of you are going to be fined a thousand dollars.''
The game of baseball, after all of its tumultuous times, and without a single living Hall of Fame inductee a year ago, seems intent on reveling in a clearer conscience.
Yet, this day, he only alluded to performance enhancing drugs at the end of his 17 minute, 33 second speech.
"To all you kids out there, just remember one thing from today,'' he said. "There's no shortcuts to success. Hard work. Dedication. Commitment. Stay true to who you are.''
Maddux and Glavine, who won 660 games between them, can't help but wonder the numbers they could have produced if they came along 20 years later. If they were dominating hitters in the 1990s, what in the world would they be doing these days when offenses have disappeared?
Cox, who led the Braves to 14 consecutive division titles, poked fun at himself, recalling the time that he went to the mound to tell Glavine late in a game that he could go ahead and walk the batter. There were runners on second and third with two outs. One problem. There was a runner on first base, too.
"You have been the great influence in my life,'' Glavine said. "I know I made your proud as a baseball player, and I hope more importantly, that I've made you even more proud as a son and father.''
Hall of Famers play an ode to joy
"As soon as it was over I turned around and said, 'I forgot George.'" Torre said. "Not only George but Hal and the whole family. It Converse Baby Shoes White
Maddux, who once threw a 78 pitch complete game, naturally had the shortest speech at 9:58. He certainly provided the most humor, poking fun at Smoltz's receding hairline, foul tips that bounced off his catcher's masks, and yes, his brother, Texas Rangers pitching coach Mike Maddux.
"I was very fortunate to have a brother that I could learn from,'' said Maddux, who slipped on a tie for the first time in seven months, actually keeping the same knot. "He even taught me a little bit about science. It has do with a little methane and a lighter. That's funny, huh?''
Mike Maddux busted out laughing, apparently quite proud that he taught his little brother how to turn flatulence to fire. Yet, he won't take any credit for the rest of Maddux's famous clubhouse antics.
"Our sport is part of the American soul, and it's ours to borrow. We'll take care of it for a time, and then pass it onto the next generation.''
"This is a special weekend. I just didn't think that stuff was necessary,'' Thomas said. "We all know what has happened over the last 15 years of baseball. Today was a bright stage amongst heroes.''
A throng of 48,000 third largest in history arrived to pay homage to the game, honoring two of the greatest pitchers and slugger who played in the steroid era, along with three of its most decorated managers.
It was Saturday afternoon when Thomas blasted those who took performance enhancing drugs in his heyday, saying "I probably lost more than anybody else in that steroid era."
There were no public apologies for the steroid era, only a profuse apology afterward by Hall of Fame manager Joe Torre. He said the New York Yankees made him a Hall of Famer, winning four World Series titles in five years, but he forgot to mention George Steinbrenner, the late Yankees owner.
There was no ranting or raving, no controversial comments, although 2012 inductee Barry Larkin raised a few eyebrows when he told the audience his favorite moment growing up was watching Pete Rose break the all time hits record.
Yes, while Rose is in town signing autographs, he remains banned from baseball for gambling.
The six pack of Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine and Thomas, along with managers Bobby Cox, Tony La Russa and Torre, devoted most of their speeches to those who helped them along the way.
When Thomas asked after the ceremony why he didn't specifically mention steroids, he said the day was for celebrating the game, not tearing down the image.
his speech thanking his former Braves teammates and staff members, in particular Maddux, fellow pitcher John Smoltz and Cox, but the most emotional part was speaking about his role models his Converse Limited Edition Vintage parents, Fred and Millie.
"I don't know if it's because of that (steroids),'' Glavine said, "or that nobody knows how to hit anymore.''
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