COOPERSTOWN, NY – On Saturday morning, Hall of Fame inductees dating back to the 1980’s got together for a friendly golf outing and allowed for brief questions from members of the media.
Tom Glavine got the morning started at tee No. 1 and got a chance to talk about fellow Atlanta Braves legends Greg Maddux and John Smoltz. Glavine praised Smoltz’s ability to come up big in important games. “As far as what he was as a pitcher, I mean, when you needed to win a game there was better to put out there,” said Glavine, who also noted how Smoltz was able to transition from starter to closer and back to starter. “It says a lot about his ability and a lot about his mentality; he was able to do both,” finished Glavine.
Wade Boggs, a 2005 inductee, also met with the media following his shot at the first tee and talked about Pedro Martinez and his ability to be so dominant despite his height. “It’s great, when you look at how dominant he was during his tenure with the Red Sox; that little run of 6 or 7 years that he had he was virtually unhittable,” said Boggs.
He also talked about Randy Johnson, and in an attempt to sugar coat it for a kid to hear, Boggs said that Johnson was probably the second most intimidating pitcher he ever faced, ranking Nolan Ryan at number 1. Besides his height, Boggs said that the fact that you never knew when he was going to throw one over your head was a great factor of his intimidation. “I think when you look back at the All-Star game when he faced John Kruk, that’s the part that  you don’t know when he’s gonna throw one over your head,” said Boggs.
Jim Rice was also present for the outing, and he had a few words to say about Pedro, whom he compared to Roger Clemens. “Pedro reminded me of some guy we had named Roger Clemens, that we know when we were in a situation where we needed a win we could count on him, and that’s the kind of guy he is.” Rice also praised the entire 2015 class, saying that Johnson and Smoltz were also those type of guys.
Rice also gave Pedro some advice about his speech. “We talked about it and he said he was going to do 10 minutes. 5 in English and 5 in Spanish,” joked Rice, noting that it’s going to be 15 to 20 degrees hotter Sunday for the induction.
A day following the anniversary of the infamous Pine Tar Game, George Brett made an appearance on the course. He talked about the guys getting inducted to the Hall of Fame this year, in particular Pedro, Johnson, and Smoltz. He remembered facing Randy Johnson, saying “it wasn’t fun. You never looked forward to it.”
Other baseball icons, including Greg Maddux, Ozzie Smith, Phil Niekro, Rod Carew, Carlton Fisk, among others showcased their golf talents with smiles from ear to ear and shared the common theme of what this weekend represents.
Commissioner Robert Manfred was a pleasant surprise and showed his excitement about coming back to his home state and visiting the place he’s loved since he was a boy, namely Cooperstown. “It’s like a little boy’s dream; as good as it gets,” he said before driving off to tee No. 13.
Additional footage of the press briefing is available over at our YouTube channel.
Nick Hamelin co-authored to article.