Fun and games
By Craig Muder
Seven Hall of Famers, heroes all.
They range in age from 55 to 91, but they remain kids at heart. And on Saturday – the day before the Father’s Day Hall of Fame Classic – they were all thinking about their dad.
In front of a capacity crowd of more than 500 fans at Cooperstown High School, the seven Hall of Famers who will appear at Sunday’s Hall of Fame Classic reminisced about their playing days and told stories about one another.
Bob Feller, Harmon Killebrew, Goose Gossage, Ozzie Smith, Rollie Fingers, Phil Niekro and Gary Carter brought the house down several times with one-liners – and drew applause when remembering their fathers.
“I think all of us on this stage remember when we played catch with our dads,” Smith said. “To be here in the Mecca of baseball on this weekend is very special for me.”
Just being around their former teammates and opponents was pretty special, too. The jokes flowed quickly from the stage – much to the delight of the audience.
“Phil, you better get some rest,” said Carter to Niekro when Knucksie was told he’ll be starting in Sunday’s Classic.
“Why?” deadpanned Niekro. “I never did when I played.”
After an hour, it was over – the legends were gone. To be continued on Sunday at Doubleday Field. Where the legends live forever.
“I’ve always loved it in Cooperstown,” said Gossage. “To be elected to the Hall of Fame and to play in this game, I still can’t put into words what it means to me.”
Craig Muder is director of communications for the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum.