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updated: 7/23/2014 5:29 AM

Maddux admits he's nervous for HOF weekend

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  • STEVE LUNDY PHOTO/slundy@dailyherald.comGreg Maddux says he can't remember ever giving a speech, so he's a bit apprehensive about Sunday's Hall of Fame induction ceremony.

      STEVE LUNDY PHOTO/slundy@dailyherald.comGreg Maddux says he can't remember ever giving a speech, so he's a bit apprehensive about Sunday's Hall of Fame induction ceremony.

 
 

Tuesday morning in Las Vegas, Greg Maddux had to be deep in thought and busy preparing for the whirlwind tour of upstate New York that begins Thursday in Cooperstown.

"Actually, right now I'm at my son's school," Maddux giggled. "I'm in line to get his iPad. No more textbooks. No more dragging that backpack around with all those heavy books. Everything on the iPad. That's pretty cool."

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Yeah, that technology stuff is pretty amazing, um, but not exactly what we had in mind.

"I get it," Maddux said. "Today is what, Tuesday? Couple days, I'll be there. Getting a little nervous."

Yes, the Hall of Fame weekend is nearly upon us and ... wait, what? Nervous? I've never known Greg Maddux to be nervous.

"I have to give a speech," Maddux said. "I've never given a speech before."

You mean, not even in school?

"Don't think so," Maddux said. "Don't remember one."

Well, how's that going? Probably had it ready to go months ago, right?

"It's coming together," Maddux said. "Need to have one of my kids retype it for me and fix it up a little. I'll probably still be messing with it Sunday morning."

With six inductees in one afternoon, there won't be much time. Ryne Sandberg, for example, spoke for 22 minutes. Maddux will have 4-7 minutes, as will Frank Thomas, Tom Glavine, Joe Torre, Tony La Russa and Bobby Cox.

"That's probably a good thing," Maddux said. "I hear it gets pretty hot out there on Sunday afternoon."

The forecast isn't too bad, right now calling for a high of 77 degrees and a 40 percent chance of storms. Still, the guys front and center on stage will be sweating as the players and managers who have walked before them -- and sit behind them -- give the newest Hall of Famers a hard time.

"I hear there's a lot of that, giving the rookies the treatment," Maddux said. "I can handle that. Pretty good group to be a part of."

Maddux is on the verge of officially joining the greatest team in sports history.

There are 66 living Hall of Famers -- including this year's elected -- and only 115 players in the history of baseball have been voted in by the writers. Consider the 17,000-plus players who have put on a uniform and do the math.

Let's just say it's a tiny fraction.

"The thing is, nobody starts off thinking about something like this," Maddux said. "You play because you love it and then suddenly you have a chance to get to the big leagues.

"Then, you're trying to stay in the big leagues. Then, you're trying to stay healthy in the big leagues. Then, you hope you stay healthy long enough to get to free agency.

"You hope you can play long enough and you hope you're on a good enough team to win a ring.

"There's no point in there that you're thinking about the Hall of Fame. Then, you get old and stuff doesn't work as good anymore and it's time to go home.

"Five years later, the writers think you were good enough for this (Hall of fame) and it's kind of ridiculous because when you played you never allowed yourself to dream that dream.

"You're just too busy making pitches and working to get better to think about something like that.

"Besides, the Hall of Fame is for when you're done, and nobody wants to be done. You just want to keep going to the park every day and having fun with your teammates."

His teammates now are the best who ever lived, and Maddux got a feel for that over the weekend when he played in a Lake Tahoe celebrity golf event.

"I saw Goose (Gossage) and Ozzie (Smith) and they were really great, telling me what to expect and making me feel at home, and that's a pretty special feeling," Maddux said. "I played with Goose in Chicago, but never knew Ozzie much, but those guys were really great and it gave me a great feeling getting ready for this weekend.

"I'm excited, nervous, happy; all of those things. It's gonna be a great weekend, and I get to play golf Saturday morning."

'Nuff said.

brozner@dailyherald.com

•Listen to Barry Rozner from 9 a.m. to noon Sundays on the Score's "Hit and Run" show at WSCR 670-AM.

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