{}
CLOSE

Now Commenting On:

Cooperstown special to Carlton prior to Hall call

|
Cooperstown special to Carlton prior to Hall call play video for Cooperstown special to Carlton prior to Hall call

Steve Carlton was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y., on July 31, 1994. The following is an excerpt from my book, "If These Walls Could Talk."

Steve Carlton put up Hall of Fame numbers.

When Carlton was finished playing, he was a first-ballot inductee in 1994. As was customary, the new inductees were expected to attend a press conference in New York the day after the announcement. Lefty asked me to be there and also in Cooperstown. Guess I was his security blanket.

The night before, we had dinner in his suite. Carlton seemed very excited. I attempted to "coach" him on some of the potential questions he would face, especially why is he talking now after not doing so most of his career. His focus wasn't there so there was no use in pushing my case.

Next day Carlton stood behind the microphone and answered question after question. After 30 minutes, the president of the Baseball Writers' Association of America asked me to end the press conference. I stepped forward and announced we had time for one more question. He gently pushed me aside, "No, let's keep going." He did.

When he got to the podium on induction day, Lefty began, "This is a very special moment for me. Most of you probably don't know that I got my big break in baseball right here in Cooperstown. Back in the spring of 1966, I had been sent down by the Cardinals to work on a few things in the Minor Leagues. It just so happened that the Cardinals played in an exhibition game here that year against the Twins and the Cardinals invited me up from Tulsa to pitch in that game.

"I had the good fortune to strike out 10 Twins in seven innings that precipitated my return to the Major Leagues."

Carlton concluded his talk, "Memory is baseball's fourth dimension and I know the memory of this day will be with my family and me forever. Thank you so much. You are very kind."

Larry Shenk is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

{}
{}
Boys and Girls Club of America

©2014 MLBAM, LP. All rights reserved.

The following are trademarks or service marks of Major League Baseball entities and may be used only with permission of Major League Baseball Properties, Inc. or the relevant Major League Baseball entity: Major League, Major League Baseball, MLB, the silhouetted batter logo, World Series, National League, American League, Division Series, League Championship Series, All-Star Game, and the names, nicknames, logos, uniform designs, color combinations, and slogans designating the Major League Baseball clubs and entities, and their respective mascots, events and exhibitions. Use of the Website signifies your agreement to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy (updated May 24, 2013).

View MLB.com in English | En Español