In Cooperstown, N.Y., they couldn't care less whether there's a players strike. The Hall of Fame's induction ceremonies go on come rain, shine or collective-bargaining impasse. This weekend, baseball formally pays homage to the three latest inductees, pitcher Steve Carlton, shortstop-turned-broadcaster Phil Rizzuto and late manager Leo Durocher. Hall of Fame vice president Bill Guilfoile has witnessed induction ceremonies since 1979. He spoke recently with The Sun's Mark Hyman.
Q: How many spectators are expected for the induction ceremonies?
A: Admission to the induction itself is always free, so it's just sort of an estimate. But, generally, we have between 12,000 and 15,000. When Brooks Robinson was inducted, the number probably was closer to 18,000, certainly one of the largest.
Q: The inductees each make a speech, thanking friends and loved ones. Does the Hall of Fame offer advice on what to say or how to say it?
A: Only if they ask. Of course, we encourage them to be relatively brief because the program lasts a couple of hours. Sometimes when one is rather brief, it is more effective.
Q: Memorable induction speeches?
A: Hank Aaron's was very good. Pee Wee Reese. As I recall, both Robinsons' speeches, Frank and Brooks, were very well-delivered.
Q: It has become custom for a number of Hall of Famers to return for induction weekend. Which ones are coming?
A: We usually get between 30 to 40 returning Hall of Famers. This year, we're expecting Luis Aparicio, Stan Musial, Robin Roberts, Hoyt Wilhelm, Brooks Robinson. Carl Yastrzemski is coming for the first time since he was inducted.