Three committee members, representing the BBWAA, Jack O'Connell. To his left, former Major League executive, Andy MacPhail. To his left, National Baseball Hall of Fame member and Hall of Fame board member Phil Niekro. And to my left, your right, Hall of Fame President Jeff Idelson. It is my honor and pleasure to introduce the chairman of the board of the National Hall of Fame Board and Museum, Jane Forbes Clark.
JANE FORBES CLARK: Thank you, Brad, and thank you all for being here with us today.
The National Baseball Hall of Fame's 16 member Expansion Era Committee met here yesterday to consider 12 candidates for the Hall of Fame election, whose greatest contributions to the game were realized from 1973 to the present.
The ballot selected by an 11 member historical overview committee of the Baseball Writers Association of America was comprised of six former players, four managers, and two executives.
I'd like to introduce you to the 16 members of the Expansion Era Committee, some of them are here today with us in the front row and on the dais. And I'd like to ask them to stand when I introduce them.
Paul Beeston, Rod Carew, Andre Dawson, Carlton Fisk, Whitey Herzog, Steve Hirdt, Bruce Jenkins, Tommy Lasorda, Andy MacPhail, Paul Molitor, Dave Montgomery, Phil Niekro, Jack O'Connell, Jim Reeves, Jerry Reinsdorf and Frank Robinson. (Applause.)
I am so happy to tell you that the Committee has unanimously elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame a man who managed 29 seasons in the Major Leagues, recording 2,504 victories, the fourth highest total in Major League history. His teams won five pennants and the 1995 World Series. From 1991 to 2005 his Atlanta Braves team recorded an amazing 14 consecutive 1st place finishes. Please welcome the newest member of the National Baseball Hall of Fame, Bobby Cox. (Applause.)
BOBBY COX: Thank you so much. They say when you're voted to the Hall of Fame your life changes, I heard that from the Committee members this morning. And it has, I've got goose bumps and it's the greatest honor that we could ever have and I'm excited to be in Cooperstown in July and get inducted. And hopefully two guys that helped get me to the Hall of Fame, Tom Glavine and Greg Maddux will be inducted, as well. And I just want to say thanks to Bill Lucas for giving me my first Major League job with the Atlanta Braves in 1978, Pat Gillick, who was my GM in Toronto, and I worked for him in the Yankee organization, and John Schuerholz. Without them, I wouldn't be standing here today. Thank you so much, it's a great honor. (Applause.)
JANE FORBES CLARK: The Committee has also unanimously elected another manager to the Hall of Fame today, he managed 33 seasons in the Major Leagues, won 2,728 games, the third most in Major League history. His teams won six pennants and three World Series titles: The 1989 Oakland A's, the 2006 and 2011 St. Louis Cardinals, now he's a member of the National Baseball Hall of Fame, class of 2014, Tony La Russa. (Applause.)
TONY LA RUSSA: Good morning. The best way to describe the feeling is I keep thinking back to the way I was raised. My parents will always tell you: Dream the big dream. And if you're a baseball fanatic, then playing in the big leagues, maybe part of the championship that was a dream, and pursued it and sometimes they come true. But never, ever was the Hall of Fame part of that dream, never. And so it's a stunner. But when you love baseball and you appreciate the history and the club that you've just been voted into, and your total respect, humility and honor, I say thank you. (Applause.)
JANE FORBES CLARK: And the Committee's work didn't stop there. They unanimously, again, elected a third member to the Hall of Fame. His managerial career spanned 29 seasons, totaling 2,326 victories, the fifth most all time in Major League history. His teams won six pennants and four World Series titles, as he led the New York Yankees to one of the most dominant stretches in baseball history.
He also played 18 seasons in the Major Leagues, posting a career .297 batting average. Today he joins the National Baseball Hall of Fame, please welcome Hall of Famer, Joe Torre. (Applause.)
JOE TORRE: I was always trying to be like blase about this, saying that it's something I never obsessed about, because I had no control over it. But when the phone call comes and I hung up on Jane Clark the first time she called this morning, not meaning to, but I didn't have my glasses on, it hits you like a sledgehammer. I can't tell you how excited I am.
And then what makes it even better is to go in with these two guys who, you know, we waged a lot of battles against each other, and it's just a great, great feeling. And I don't know what else I can say. You guys are going to ask some questions, and I'm going to break down, so I'll just sit down for a second. (Applause.)
JANE FORBES CLARK: 12 votes were needed to reach the 75 percent necessary to earn election to the Hall of Fame. As I have said to you, Bobby, Tony, and Joe were unanimous selections with 16 votes.
The other candidates on the ballot, Dave Concepcion, Steve Garvey, Tommy John, Billy Martin, Marvin Miller, Dave Parker, Dan Quisenberry, Ted Simmons, and George Steinbrenner each received 6 votes or fewer.
And on behalf of the board of directors of the National Baseball Hall of Fame, I would like to thank the Committee again for their great work. It was a great day yesterday. It's a great day today. Bobby, Tony and Joe will all be inducted into the Hall of Fame on Sunday, July 27th, 2014 in Cooperstown. And they will be joined by any electees who emerge from the BBWAA voting in January, and we announce that on January 8th in New York City.
And as all of you know, they'll be joined Hall of Fame weekend by Joe Garagiola, who on Thursday was named recipient of the Buck O'Neil Lifetime Achievement Award.
We are so looking forward to honoring Joe in July at our Saturday awards ceremony, the day before the induction. And he'll be there along with the winner of the J.G. Taylor Spink Award which will be announced Tuesday by the BBWAA and the winner of the Ford C. Frick Award, which will be announced on Wednesday.
All of that said, I will now turn the podium back over to Brad for a Q and A portion of this. Thank you.
MODERATOR BRAD HORN: Ladies and gentlemen, at this time we'll take questions of the media from here in the audience. Please wait until you're addressed.
Q. Gentlemen, congratulations. As you look back on your careers, each of you, not counting the wins and the pennants and the World Series, is there one ingredient that you think probably helped you get where you are?
BOBBY COX: I don't know if there's only one, Hal, but I remember playing for Ralph Houk in New York in the '60s, and we've all played minor league ball, winter ball, Major League baseball, and you take a little bit from everybody that you ever played with. And I liked Ralph Houk's style quite a bit. I learned a lot from him and kind of changed my thinking around about the game of baseball.
TONY LA RUSSA: I thought the most important thing was keep it simple, and that is it's a competition. And the reason that you put a team together is to play against another team, you keep score. And the way that works is the organization. If I think there was one thing that I was taught growing up in Kansas City years ago, it's about the whole organization, and I was -- I said it many times, perfect fortune, Chicago White Sox, Oakland A's, St. Louis Cardinals, people working in the organization, you want to win, you've got to have it together, everybody coordinated and just have it go your way.
JOE TORRE: You start in March, and everybody has the same aspirations. And I go back to my teenage years, my brother, Frank, who is sitting over there, it was in the World Series against the Yankees in '57, '58, and that was the one thing that I always felt was something I wanted to accomplish. Because after I was fired by from my second or third job, I'm not sure which one, you lose a little heart. And my wife said, How do you want to be remembered? I said, Somebody who really never reached, you know, what he was looking for. She said, What, are you dead? And so that was pretty inspirational there.
But as Tony and Bobby talked about, once you get into the competition, it never gets old. It never gets old. After we won in '96 with the Yankees, because that is really what I wanted, I realized it wasn't enough. And you just keep driving. You never really look back, I guess, until now what you did because once you start looking back you stop doing what you're trying to do.
So it's just a whole combination. To me, once you close your mind to thinking, you need to learn anything else, I think that's when it's time to move on. But I just felt that I needed to always get better to stay the same.
Q. Congratulations. Can I ask all three of you if you remember who the first person was inside the baseball, that actually brought up the possibility of becoming a manager.
BOBBY COX: That's a good question. Andy MacPhail is sitting here somewhere, he's on the Committee. It happened in Syracuse, I didn't make the Yankee club in 1970 and I was the last one cut by Ralph Houk and Andy MacPhail, Sr. And they called me in and they were both in there and they said, Bobby, you're not going to make the club. And I was prepared to go home and get back in school and become probably a football coach in high school. That was my endeavor at the time. And they said, We'll give you a $2,000 raise to go to Syracuse as a backup in case somebody gets hurt. And $2,000 in those days was a ton of money.
Anyway, at the conclusion of that season, the very last series we had, my manager Frank Verdi called me in and said Mr. MacPhail is flying in tomorrow and wants to have lunch with you. I sat down with him and he said, Bobby, I think your career is about over. I know he wasn't coming down to call me up in September, that's for sure. He said, There's a job opening in Fort Lauderdale, and that he and Ralph Houk thought I would make a good minor league instructor and manager, and the position is open and they would like me to take it and I did take it. If it wasn't for Mr. MacPhail flying down there and having lunch I never would have been sitting here today.
TONY LA RUSSA: That's a painful question. Because when I was 17 years old -- when I was around 20, 21, played for a couple managers, and they said start thinking about managing (laughter). One of them even said, we talked about prospects, and the list of suspects. I remember I played winter ball in Escondido for Tommy Lasorda. He said the only reason you're here is because you speak some Spanish. You ought to think about going -- I played 16 years, and it was always mediocre at best.
And right there towards the end I had the great opportunity to end my career as a player coach in St. Louis with the great Kissell. And he said, are you still playing? You've got to get out of here. You've got to start coaching for real. All the guys that knew I was lousy, I should have started earlier.
JOE TORRE: When I was traded from the Braves to the Cardinals, I think that was the start of my maturity, basically. I was a little irresponsible before that. And just being with the Cardinals and of course going through their hallways and seeing them in many World Series they were part of and having just come off two straight World Series in '67 and '68, and then playing for Red Schoendienst, just sitting there and having been a fan of Red Schoendienst, because he was part of that ball club I was talking about earlier, the Braves in '57, and just started paying attention, started paying attention.
Of course, Bob Gibson said every once in a while, go tell Red this, go tell Red that, and I did every once in a while, and it didn't turn out very well, so I knew Gibson couldn't manage. (Laughter.)
And then I got traded to the Mets and of course always feeling that getting an opportunity to manage usually you had to go through the minor leagues, but one day Joe McDonald, who was the general manager, came in one day and asked if I'd be interested in managing the ball club during the season, we were in an exhibition game in Tidewater and I really have to thank Donald Grant for allowing me to manage the New York Mets at the age of 36. And that has certainly meant the world to me and made a difference in the rest of my professional life.
Q. I was wondering if each of you could say a few words about the other two, and what it's like to all three of you to be going in together.
BOBBY COX: Well, we had our fun going against each other, that's for sure. And I was fired from Atlanta, what, 1980, Joe? And Joe took my spot '81, and immediately won the Division. So it's been fun going against Tony. They're not the easiest guys to manage against, that's for sure. But it was fun. It was always a battle. And I consider them enemies on the field, but friends off the field.
TONY LA RUSSA: Well, I've already mentioned the career, so when I had a chance to manage for Chicago I was 34 years old, I had a real poor career, and hadn't managed very long. A lot of good things happened, I had great coaches, but Jim Leyland and I got together and we analyzed the coaches, because the managers in the American League, you recognized by their first names, Whitey, Billy, Sparky, Gene, Johnny Mac. And we would always analyze after playing against them, we were trying to learn.
And I'll never forget we were playing against Toronto, and after the series was over Jim and I are riding the plane out of there, and saying that guy over there in Toronto, he's as good as anybody. And that was Bobby Cox. And that's what he ended up being, as good as anybody. The thing that I mentioned to Joe outside, first time I came to National League, I knew Bobby from the winter meetings, had a great time talking to him, a wonderful guy, we played our first game against him. And he was always standing at first base, and I thought it was conversation if he stays right there. He never conversed.
He's a ferocious competitor, in the highest class way. And you play against guys like that, it's a great competition. They really want to beat you. But you learn about winning and losing the right way. And from Bobby I always thought great guy, but whenever you start keeping score he was there to beat you. And he tried everything he could in the right way to do it.
And with Joe, he's with the Yankees, they had some assets, and nobody ever really got upset. They were disappointed, but the reason I really believe this, Joe taught a lot of us about how to win the right way and then lose the right way. Tip your cap when you get beat, but when you win you don't show anybody up. For both of these guys to be at this table and going with them, part of two guys you're honored to be a part of.
JOE TORRE: As Bobby pointed out, I managed the Braves, because I was always told the second job is the toughest one to get. I was hired by Ted Turner to manage in '82 after Bobby had left. And I sort of want to amend that, because the third job is the toughest one to get, because I was broadcasting for six years. That's when I got a chance to meet Tony, watch him manage the Oakland ball club. And of course I managed St. Louis and then Tony, we sort of connected at some point. Tony followed me in St. Louis.
But as far as managing against them, you knew you had to be at your best, because Tony -- Bobby and Tony were two different guys, but the one thing, the one common thread was the fact how ferociously they wanted to win, and how badly they wanted to win, and how ferociously they would compete. And it was just something that, you know, in managing against them, you certainly learned things, also. Because the worst thing a manager can have happen is to have something surprise you. But when you manage against the best, and I certainly am honored to go to the Hall with these two guys, because it just would have felt somewhat empty if one of us or one of these two guys, in my case, was left out.
MODERATOR BRAD HORN: The next question is on your far right.
Q. Congratulations, gentlemen. This is a question, if it could be answered by one of the voting members, when the plague is chiseled for Joe Torre, was his playing career considered as well as his managerial career? Is he going in as a manager?
JACK O'CONNELL: Well, we were instructed that the totality of a person's career can be considered by the Committee. So we did discuss Joe's playing career, because as part of discussion. But he's going in as a manager. It was his managerial career that he was placed on the Committee -- on the ballot as a manager.
Q. Congratulations. Bobby, this is for you. You alluded to or mentioned the fact that Maddux and Glavine might be going in this summer or should be going in this summer. What's that going to add for you, and describe the dynamic looking ahead to what it's going to be like possibly being there in Cooperstown with those two guys?
BOBBY COX: They're the guys that got me this far, that's for sure. It would be just unbelievably great. I've got my fingers crossed for both of them. Of course, Maddux, he's won more ballgames, but Tommy topped .300. You talk about big game pitchers at the right time and if you're in a losing streak and you've got Maddux or Glavine going, you always felt like you were going to win.
You talk about competitors, like Joe and Tony, you're talking about two of the greatest competitors ever, Tommy Glavine did not go on the disabled list until his 19th or 20th year. And Maddux the same. Maddux was hit by a line drive. It was on his back down day in Kissimmee before the season opened and he was our opening day pitcher, and he got hit on the big toe on his right foot. And I went into the clubhouse with him in the cart and he finally got his shoe off and his toe was split wide open. And had to be stitched. And was swollen. I said, Mad Dog, we're not going to make this. We've got to do something else. And he said put me in back of the rotation, we've got two days off in between, the fifth guy, don't disable me. Threw a two hit shutout for 8 innings. It would be quite an honor to go in with those two guys that, as I said, got me this far.
Q. Congratulations. I imagine since you were all working, you've never been in an induction ceremony and I would think that this year is going to be incredibly special for you. As you project ahead what do you think July 28th is going to be like?
BOBBY COX: I've been to one induction ceremony, Mr. Pat Gillick, my GM in Toronto and farm director in the New York Yankees. I have experienced the chills when they get up there and speak. And I'm sure I'm going to have goose bumps, there's no doubt about that. But I'm certainly looking forward to it, it's quite a class, no matter who the writers are going to vote in, it's going to be just tremendous. It's an honor for me to say I'm proud to be a part of that.
TONY LA RUSSA: I've never been 2012 on a Saturday I was there with Whitey and Red. We had a party that weekend, I went there Sunday for Barry. But you realize that you want to offer thanks to the people that made it possible and I know there's a trick to -- I'm going on forever, but you've got to do it justice. I think there's also something about what you've learned. One thing I said I was signed as a kid, I've been in graduate school in baseball. So I'm never invented anything, but always somebody taught me something.
So you want to teach what you learned and express thanks to the family, because a lot of sacrifice from my wife and daughters. And finally you realize who is sitting behind you. And I don't think I will honestly state I don't think I'll ever feel comfortable being part of that club. But I'm aware of who is sitting behind us.
JOE TORRE: I was at one. I watched when Tim McCarver was inducted. And just the whole buzz around Cooperstown that time of year is something very special. And I can't tell you how I'm going to feel. All I know is, and Tony just said it, when you see who else is who's there, and players who obviously have been inducted before you, and show up every year, it's obviously special to them. And having admired these players, even though I may have played across the field or alongside of them and managed against some of them, the one thing about it, I love baseball. And whether you're competing against someone or not, but you always admire the ones that should be admired.
And I'm not really sure how I'm going to feel, but I know it's going to be a feeling I've never had before.
Q. Tony, you mentioned growing up in Tampa that your parents told you to dream big, but you didn't think of this. What were your hopes when you signed of going forward into baseball?
TONY LA RUSSA: You know, because of living in Tampa, you had the White Sox? Cincinnati in spring training, my dad was just a classic six day a week, hard laborer, worked so hard, it was hard for him to do anything except rest a little bit and enjoy family. But on Sunday during that one spring, 30 days, we would pick Tampa or St. Pete and I was just a kid, and we also had the influence of Al Lopez growing up in Tampa, just an amazing, amazing man, who would come back to the neighborhood, never changed.
So I grew up in a baseball atmosphere and the dreams were always, hey, my dad would push me, he said you can do this. I thought, well, when I was a kid, that would be nice. As you get older you think maybe, and then you realize that it's the best baseball in the world. And in my case, when you weren't good enough to play, if you could stay around as a coach or a manager you'd be part of the best baseball in the world, it's a dream come true. I've never worked a day in my life. Earning money in an occupation that I love. So it started when I was a kid and my parents were the ones that started it.
Q. Congratulations. I'm curious if each of you could identify someone who is or would be most proud of you today.
BOBBY COX: Well, of course our family. We have 8 children, 14 grandchildren, 2 great grandchildren. But I do know another guy that would be very proud, two guys, really. The fellow that signed me, Red Adams, when the Dodgers moved to Los Angeles, gave me a chance to play pro baseball. And the other one would be Al Campanis that allowed Red to sign me. And he was the scouting director at the time for the Dodgers at old Wrigley Field were the offices.
And I remember getting a check in the mail in 1968 and I signed in 1959, for $2,500 and it was from Al Campanis, and the Dodgers, it was some type of bonus that I didn't even realize was in my contract. And I'll never forget what Al said, he said, I'm the proudest guy ever, sending money to somebody. You know how tight they were in those days, but I finally made the big leagues, and I was awarded $2,500 for doing it.
TONY LA RUSSA: I think first family, because of the sacrifices. When you're in baseball, especially when you start coaching, managing, you're gone half the time. Even when you're home your mind is someplace else. So I think they realize that this is very special and something that's worthwhile as far as the sacrifices they made. Baseball wise, I grew up in Tampa with some really good coaches, but John McNamara was a manager in the minor leagues and a little bit in the big leagues, he was smart enough not to play in any. But later on our staff had a very personalized approach, we tried to build relationships, and I think back to Johnny Mac. Johnny really cared for us. And we tried harder for him, I thought, because we knew that he cared for us. So we always followed that over.
Loren Babe was the manager of AAA, he really opened up managing, but as I said, I got to the big leagues and Whitey gave me and Chuck Tanner and Sparky, all these guys. But I will say that there at the end Kissell, who was like a father to me, like to many, put his arm around me many times with a hug and I loved him and then I had a great chance for 16 years being in Red Schoendienst, and I think they feel pretty good about this.
JOE TORRE: Well, again, like everybody else, family. My mom, who is no longer with us. My brother, Rocco, and of course all my family, my extended family in Cincinnati, my wife Ali is one of 16 children, so it's going to be a little crowded.
But the one person who probably put in the most time with me and learned the most baseball from, and you've heard the name before, Kissell. As I said, I came to St. Louis, I was starting to mature and they asked me to play third base. George would be out there at 7:30 every morning. He put me face against the wall and he'd throw the balls from behind me and it was tireless. And he had all these little gimmicks in order to help me play the position. I think if there was one person in baseball that would be most proud it would be Kissell, because he would sit next to me in spraining training and say all right, count one to nine, and he'd have me going around all the positions and just count one to nine to make sure everybody was where they should be, instead of saying you should have been playing over here. There were a lot of things I never thought to think about until really I associated with Kissell.
Q. Congratulations all three of you, this question is for Joe. Joe, we know how the World Series was your goal, and how emotional you were when you won it. How does today compare to 1996?
JOE TORRE: Well, it's different. It's different. You know, I always obsessed about a World Series. And I remember Ali saying after going in '96, that's it, let's go retire. And I said let's see if we can do it again. You know, it's a different feeling because you sort of proactively you have something to do in trying to win a World Series. This was, you know, being inducted in the Hall of Fame is really somebody else's opinion. You look at the people who voted for us to get in and look at the quality of these baseball people and players that you admire, that means a lot, because anytime you are recognized by your peers, I think those are the only guys that really know how tough it is to do what you do.
So it's very different. I really can't tell you. I mean, I thought -- as I said earlier, not that I was blase, just sort of -- the decision was somebody else's, so I really never obsessed about it. But once it happened, man, it was like being hit with a sledgehammer. And I'm a little fearful to think about the end of July at this point in time. But hopefully I'll have my thoughts together.
Q. Just wanted to ask Phil Niekro, you were managed by both Bobby and Joe, you competed against Tony's teams in the American League. Can you talk about what made Bobby and Joe such special managers and any memories you have also of Tony?
PHIL NIEKRO: Well, I played against Joe and Bobby. I played for Joe and Bobby. Tony and I were roommates -- not roommates, but we played together in the Braves organization in the Instructional League in 1944 something like that (laughter).
When I think of these guys, I think of respect by their players, their fans, their whole organization, they're men of integrity and character. And I was honored and privileged to play for these guys. Played against Tony a little bit. But you knew when these guys were managing that you were going to see well managed ballgames.
We're in Disney World right now, this is the "magical kingdom," I think we just hired three kings of the managers. It's a magical day for each and every one of them. And we're so excited to have them in the Hall of Fame.
MODERATOR BRAD HORN: Ladies and gentlemen, thanks for being a part of this historic day for the National Baseball Hall of Fame. (Applause.)