In July I was invited to attend the Baseball Hall Of Fame Induction Ceremony as well as the Chicago Cub's HOF party for Lee Smith. Because Lee had already been inducted into the Louisiana Sports HOF Doug Ireland, the Chairman of the Board for the Louisiana Sports HOF, and I were asked to attend the Party by Lee's family.
The party was Saturday night and it was an amazing event. Being able to meet such baseball greats as Andre Dawson, Fergie Jenkins, Ryne Sandberg, Jim Leyritz, and of course Lee Smith was unbelievable. I also got the opportunity to have a nice conversation with Cub's owner Tom Ricketts.
Each of the above mentioned gave a small speech about Lee Smith and got to say their congratulations. Billy Williams and MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred gave a nice speech as well.
The Induction Ceremony was an awesome event as well. There were 58 returning HOFers in attendance including Hank Aaron, Sandy Kofax, Wade Boggs, Joe Morgan, Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine, John Smoltz, Bobby Cox, Tony Larussa, Bert Blyleven, Reggie Jackson, Ken Griffey Jr., Chipper Jones, Goose Gossage, Rollie Fingers, Trevor Hoffman, Randy Johnson, and Johnny Bench just to name a small number.
To make the ceremony even more unbelievable was former Yankee center fielder Bernie Sanders playing the national anthem on guitar as well as "take me out to the ball game" with a small hint of "Enter Sandman". And guess who was in the front row. Derrick Jeter, Jorge Posada, Tino Martinez, and Andy Pettitte.
Also receiving the J.G. Taylor Spink Award for his work as a sportswriter was Jason Stark who has won recent acclaim as his work on ESPN and The Athletic.