I just watched Pat Gillick's Hall of Fame acceptance speech at Cooperstown.
His eyes were watering and so were mine and many others.
It wasn't a hokey speech, it wasn't a particularly great speech - as a coarse required highschool speech it would have been good enough. But it did not lecture, it did not preach, it was just the man's story, a story he hoped, it seemed to me, might be of benefit to some others as well. But, though his halting delivery, as he simply touched on everyone who had been a part of his baseball life, I began to glean a genuineness.
All the Hall of Famers gathered there on the stage seemed to be listening intently though the 12 minute speech that didn't seem to last that long - as was the crowd fanned out on the lawn. I think we all learned some life lessons from a man with some wisdom to offer.
He spoke of himself in the plural 'we', but not in the way that some people with giant ego's do - he was always referring to his wife, who was amongst the audience and near tears herself. And he spoke of his daughter and son-in-law and grandson - also there, and in that stone face you see right before a body bursts into tears.
He said he hoped that baseball would always more be about the people than about the money that's around the game - and he said, that he thought it always would be.
To have heard Pat Gillick give this speech was a blessing.
He must be a quite man. I never heard him speak so many words before. Even through all those heady, winning years he was here in Toronto working for the Jays.
Congratulations Pat Gillick.
May you have many, many more good years ahead.
And Thank you.
Pat Gillick's Hall of Fame Induction Speech isn't up as of this time, but it will be soon at MLB Video - click on "Baseball Hall of Fame Induction Speeches" tab below the fold on the left side of the page.
(MLB Advanced Media might want to give that tab an address of it's own - ?)