No place like home for The Wizard
By Craig Muder
Ozzie Smith leaned back in his chair and gazed out upon idyllic Otesgo Lake on Thursday. After arriving at his hotel in advance of Hall of Fame Weekend 2010, The Wizard seemed to have a permanent smile on his face.
Ozzie may live in St. Louis, but Cooperstown remains his home.
“This place is very special,” said the 2002 Hall of Fame inductee upon returning to Central New York. “I’m fortunate enough to come back three or four times a year, and I love every minute of it.”
Smith joined more than 40 other Hall of Famers in Cooperstown on Thursday in preparation for Sunday’s 1:30 p.m. Induction Ceremony for the Class of 2010. Andre Dawson, Doug Harvey and Whitey Herzog will be enshrined then, and the returning Hall of Famers will help thousands of baseball fans celebrate the moment.
Many of those Hall of Famers will also ensure that Dawson, Harvey and Herzog appreciate the experience.
“(Hall of Famer) Johnny Bench always sits the new class down at the hotel and has them just look out on the lake for a while,” Smith said. “He tells them to take time to understand what this all means.
“Coming back year after year, enjoying all the laughter… I always look forward to it.”
Craig Muder is director of communications for the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum.