Induction Week Memories
By Trevor Hayes
After this Sunday’s Induction Ceremony at 1:30 p.m. EDT, nine men who have worn the San Diego Padres uniform will have been enshrined in the Hall of Fame. Of those nine, Lillian Edmondson and Ann Spraker will have seen eight.
The two women have seen Rollie Fingers, Goose Gossage, Tony Gwynn, Gaylord Perry, Ozzie Smith, Dick Williams and Dave Winfield grace the stage at Clark Sports Center after making the cross-country pilgrimage from San Diego to Cooperstown. Spraker, who is originally from Upstate New York, always made an annual trip, but 20 years ago Edmondson started coming along as well.
“We come to Cooperstown every year because it’s a beautiful place,” Edmondson said on Tuesday. “And the Hall of Fame is great.”
This year the two will see their eighth Padre inducted into the Hall of Fame – they missed the induction of Willie McCovey in 1986 – when Rickey Henderson joins Jim Rice and Joe Gordon as the Induction Class of 2009.
“We had Rickey for a little while and then we traded him, but then he came back and when he came back, he made the game fun, lively and interesting,” Edmondson said. “When Rickey was on base, look out. You never knew what was going to happen.”
Henderson holds a place in Edmondson and Spraker’s hearts, but one man stands above the rest: Mr. Padre, Tony Gwynn. Now with Tony Gwynn Jr. playing in San Diego, it’s a bit of a trip back in time.
“It’s fun when you look up at the scoreboard and see a Tony Gwynn batting,” Edmondson said. “We had to be here the year Tony went in as well as Cal Ripken – two very high-class individuals.”
That summer they enrolled in the Hall of Fame Membership Program for the first time – something they’ve done every year since. Spraker said they wanted to make sure they weren’t going to miss out on any of the events.
“We wanted to be sure we didn’t miss out on anything,” Spraker said. “It was the most fantastic week. Everyone was wearing clothes of both teams and just being courteous to each other.”
As veterans of several Inductions prior to 2007, they knew Hall of Fame Weekend provides a lot to do, but a few events are exclusive for members. There are still tickets for a few of this year’s the Member events, including:
The Legends for Youth Skills Clinic gives children (5 to 12) a chance to enhance their baseball skills with former major leaguers on historic Doubleday Field. (1:30 p.m.)
Saturday July 25 -
At Connecting Generations, audience participants will compete with Goose Gossage, Ryne Sandberg and Dick Williams in a trivia contest moderated by former major leaguer and MLB Network analyst Harold Reynolds. (3 p.m., Clark Sports Center)
Monday July 27 -
The Legends Series Rickey Henderson and Jim Rice relive the memories from their playing careers. (10:30 a.m., Clark Sports Center)
To become a member click here and to reserve tickets for Member exclusive Induction Weekend events call 607.547.0397.
Trevor Hayes is editorial production manager for the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum.