On July 24 the latest class of inductees, including former Phillies general manager Pat Gillick, will be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y. It’s an event that will be given saturation coverage as Gillick, Roberto Alomar and Bert Blyleven are formally welcomed into the exclusive club.
Less noticed is the orientation session each new Hall of Famer gets prior to the big day.
Gillick and his wife, Doris, went through that process earlier today. It was Gillick’s fifth trip to the Hall, but his most in-depth visit ever.
The Gillicks were given a private tour of the museum from the public areas to the library and the basement archives area where tens of thousands of artifacts are stored. It ended with him being shown the spot where his plaque will be hung.
“It really is a humbling experience to see all the great people who are in the Hall of Fame and just to have the opportunity to be nominated and be selected,” he said at the end of the 3-hour stroll. “To be a part of that group, it’s indescribable. It’s very difficult to put into words. It gives you a couple good lumps in your throat.”
He is just one of four men who were known primarily as team architects to be enshrined joining Ed Barrow, George Weiss and Branch Rickey.
As he has consistently since his election was announced last December, Gillick took pains to give credit to the people around him during a front office career that began as an assistant farm director for the Houston Colt .45s in 1963.
“I’ve always said I wouldn’t be seated here today if it wasn’t for a lot of people. I was just really fortunate to be nominated and then selected, but really I’ve been nominated to represent a lot of people who got us to this spot,” he said. “Everyone I’ve worked with through the clubs I’ve been associated with, that’s what it’s all about. I put my shoes and my pants on just like everybody else around here. I’m not any better than anyone else.”
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