Base­ball greats show class at in­duc­tion

The Hamilton Spectator - - SPORTS - JOHN KEKIS

COOP­ER­STOWN, N.Y. — Ivan “Pudge” Ro­driguez stared out at his dad, wip­ing away tears as he spoke.

“I love you with all of my heart,” Ro­driguez said. “If I’m a Hall of Famer, you’re a Hall of Famer — dou­ble.”

Those words punc­tu­ated Ro­driguez’s speech as he was in­ducted Sun­day into the Base­ball Hall of Fame. Jeff Bag­well and Tim Raines, along with for­mer com­mis­sioner Bud Selig and front-of­fice guru John Schuer­holz also were en­shrined on a pic­ture-per­fect sum­mer day in front of over 27,000 fans.

“It’s al­ways emo­tional when you see the fans cheer­ing for you, and my whole fam­ily in front of me,” Bag­well said. “I’m an emo­tional per­son. It’s a dream just to be part of this beau­ti­ful group. Now I have that plaque for­ever. It’s un­be­liev­able.”

Be­fore he started, Ro­driguez re­ceived a stand­ing ova­tion from hun­dreds of fans, many wear­ing redand-white jer­seys with Puerto Rico em­bla­zoned on the front, and pro­ceeded to give half his speech in Span­ish.

“This is such an in­cred­i­ble hon­our for me,” Ro­driguez said. “A lit­tle kid from Puerto Rico with a big dream. Never let them take your dream away from you.”

Bag­well played his en­tire 15-year ca­reer in Hous­ton. Bag­well started his speech by thank­ing his fam­ily, sin­gling out his par­ents and wife.

Raines was greeted by scores of fans from Canada, many of whom came aboard sev­eral buses. He thanked his mom and dad, who were seated in the front row and later fo­cused on Hall of Famer An­dre Daw­son, his team­mate with the Mon­treal Ex­pos when he first broke into the ma­jor leagues in the early 1980s.

For Selig, who was cel­e­brat­ing his 83rd birth­day, it was a re­ver­sal of roles. For more than two decades he gave out the Hall of Fame plaques on in­duc­tion day.

In 26 years as a GM for the Kansas City Roy­als and At­lanta Braves, Schuer­holz stood alone. His teams won 16 di­vi­sion ti­tles, six pen­nants and two World Se­ries.

HANS PENNINK, THE AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

From left, Hall of Famers Bud Selig, Ivan Ro­driguez, John Schuer­holz, Tim Raines Sr. and Jeff Bag­well hold up their plaques Sun­day.

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