NEW YORK -- Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine and Frank Thomas were at the podium of a news conference for the first time together as electees to the National Baseball Hall of Fame on Thursday at the Waldorf Astoria New York.
And each was asked to provide a one-word description of themselves that they might want to see on their plaques when those are unveiled during the ceremonies in Cooperstown on July 27.
"I guess, 'Overachieve' would be a good one," said Maddux, who won 355 games for the Braves, Cubs, Padres and Dodgers. "I got everything I had out of every bit of talent I had."
"I think for me you can pick either one: 'Dependable' or 'Durable,'" said Glavine, a teammate of Maddux for 10 years in Atlanta, and winner of 305 games for the Braves and Mets. "I'm proud of the fact that I made as many starts as I did  and pitched as many innings as I did [4,413 1/3] and didn't go on the disabled list. Durable is the way I'd like to be viewed, as that type of guy."
"For me, I think it would be 'Consistent' and 'Driven,'" said Thomas, who batted .301, hit 521 homers and amassed 1,704 RBIs in 19 seasons, 16 of them with the White Sox and the last three split between the A's and Blue Jays. "I was a very driven person. I wouldn't call myself a diamond, but it took many years of polishing in my career in getting it to where I wanted it to be."
The trio of first-time ballot electees will join three of the greatest managers of all time -- Bobby Cox, Joe Torre and Tony La Russa -- on the stage behind the Clark Sports Center this summer. The managers were all selected by the Expansion Era Committee last month.
And so, from humble origins, we bring you the majestic Class of 2014. Three players who combined to win six Cy Young Awards and a pair of league MVPs, and three managers who won 17 pennants, eight World Series titles, 7,558 regular-season games and had 40 first-place finishes.
Not since the four inaugural classes of 11 all-time great players were inducted together when the Hall opened in 1939 will more talent be assembled on the same stage in upstate New York. Not since 1999, when Nolan Ryan, Robin Yount and George Brett were elected, will three first-time electees be together. And for the first time since Warren Spahn and Mickey Welch in 1973, two 300-game winners will be inducted at the same time.
"It's the largest class of living inductees since 1971," Hall president Jeff Idelson said. "What a great blessing, this year, for the museum to have a class like this. It's going to add so much to our year-long [75th anniversary] celebration."
The Hall now includes 211 players -- about 1 percent of the approximately 18,000 players who have played in the Majors -- 115 of the Hall of Famers elected by qualified members of the Baseball Writers' Association of America. There are 22 managers enshrined in Cooperstown.
As per usual, the three playing members of the new class were asked to don their white Hall of Fame jerseys with the red lettering and dark blue caps. Still to come is the mass announcement next week of what caps the six inductees will wear as they enter the Hall, Idelson said.
Perhaps an obvious clue of what is to come, placards displayed to the left of the podium had Maddux and Glavine in Braves uniforms and Thomas in his White Sox garb.
As far as the managers are concerned, it can be speculated that Torre will go in as a Yankee, the team with which he won all four World Series and six American League pennants in 12 seasons, and Cox will certainly go in with the Braves, the team with which he won a record 14 consecutive division titles, five National League pennants and a World Series. La Russa may be a bit interesting, since he evenly split six pennants between the A's and Cardinals, winning one World Series in Oakland and two in St. Louis. But he did manage his last 16 years in St. Louis after 10 in Oakland.
With all the good feeling going around on Thursday, it was hardly a time for those politics. All three players profusely thanked members of the BBWAA for overwhelmingly voting them in. Maddux, who won 355 games, the eighth-highest figure in Major League history, had 97.2 percent of the vote, not appearing on 16 of the 571 ballots cast.
Glavine, who won 305 games, fourth-most among left-handers, was at 91.9 percent, and Thomas finished at 83.7. Glavine and Maddux will be the first pair of first-timers to go in together at over 90 percent since 2007, when Cal Ripken Jr. was elected at 98.5 percent and Tony Gwynn at 97.6.
"It's certainly an honor," Glavine said. "'Overwhelmed' would certainly be the word to explain the first 24 hours of this experience. It's been a lot of fun. I'm certainly humbled and proud to have the opportunity to go in with two guys like Greg and Frank, who played the game the right way and played it hard. They did things the right way and were fierce competitors. It's even more special for me to go in with Greg and Bobby, two guys who were my teammate and manager and were so influential and instrumental to me as a player."
"This is a very humbling experience, like Tom said," Maddux added. "It's a tremendous honor to be included in this. I can't wait to meet some of the guys who are already in the Hall of Fame. To share this moment with Glav and Frank is pretty special, as well. Bobby and Joe Torre, I was lucky enough to play for those two guys. I'll look forward to going in with those guys as well. It's a tremendous honor."
"And for me, I'm overjoyed and overwhelmed," Thomas said. "I'm still thrilled to death and it hasn't sunk in yet. There were so many people involved in my career that I didn't want to forget anyone. I'll sit back for the next few weeks and reflect, so that by July, I don't forget anyone. Coming from a small town [Columbus, Ga.], you can only dream so much. To dream about being in the Major Leagues was crazy enough, but to dream to be in the Hall of Fame with the best of the best? I'm just very thankful and humbled."
Barry M. Bloom is a national reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, Boomskie on Baseball. Follow @boomskie on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.Less