August 28 - Accepting For The Iron Horse
For those of us lucky enough to be in the business of sports (including many of my colleagues on this
site), we do it because we have a passion for what we do and, in most cases, we are more interested
in quality of life and enjoying what we do every day versus doing something else less enjoyable but
for more money. We also get to do some very cool things that others making more money just don't
get to do.
I happened into one of those cool things just recently. If you think you're a sports afficianado, then of
course you know the location of the College Baseball Hall of Fame. You're excused if you don't
because it hasn't been built yet, but this year, the second class of inductees was honored in Lubbock,
Texas, the future site of this building. Last year, Dave Winfield (U of Minnesota) led a star studded
cast of former standouts. This year's group included Fred Lynn (USC), John Olerud (Washington
State), Jim Abbott (Michigan) and Pete Incaviglia (Oklahoma State). In addition, the CBHF also began
including a pre-1947 class of 'old timers'. This group was comprised of Lou Gehrig (Columbia),
Christy Mathewson (Bucknell), Jack Barry (Holy Cross) and Joe Sewell (Alabama).
As a senior member of the Athletics Department at Columbia, I was asked to represent the University
at the induction ceremony. Now, getting to and from Lubbock in July (thunderstorms in Dallas) is no
easy task, but once I got there, I was treated like royalty. When I landed, there was a driver who told
me he would take me anywhere in Lubbock I wanted to go. With Coach Robert Montgomery Knight
out of town, I settled for a campus tour of Texas Tech and a few Red Raider shops.
Dinner that night was a media event at the Ranching Museum, where, of course, the guy from New
York representing Lou Gehrig (and who knows how to talk in sound bites) was a big hit. But the next
morning was the big one-the actual induction ceremony. City Bank of Texas, the Hall of Fame's
founding sponsor, has a huge atrium at their corporate offices and with the public invited, held the
ceremony in the atrium. Sure enough, yours truly accepted a beautiful trophy/plaque on behalf of Lou,
said a few things about the Iron Horse and his legacy at Columbia (including a true story about a 500
foot home run through a classroom window) and then joined Lynn and Olerud, plus the three finalists
for the College Baseball Player of the Year Award (won by David Price of Vanderbilt) in a photo
It was one of those things that makes you glad to be a part of what we do everyday.