The Boston Red Sox Hall of Fame Class of 2012 met with the media prior to their induction ceremony on Friday at Fenway Park, reflecting on their careers with one of the most storied franchises in sport.
The latest round of inductees includes Marty Barrett, Ellis Burks, Joe Dobson, Dutch Leonard, Curt Schilling, Joe Mooney and John I. Taylor. The final game of 1967, when the “Impossible Dream” Red Sox defeated the Minnesota Twins, 5-3, was also recognized as the Hall of Fame’s Memorable Moment.
Schilling was the obvious center of attention, fielding questions on numerous off-subject topics, including his failed video game company, while also recalling the organization’s World Series success during his tenure.
“To walk out on that sacred ground and take the ball every fifth day was something I’m very proud of and proud to be associated with,” said Schilling, who compiled 53 regular season wins in a Boston uniform. “I’m very proud. The important thing about something like this is that it’s recognition of the group of people I was with when I was here.”
Schilling, who has been outspoken about the team and organization since former manager Terry Francona's departure, also gave his take on the current atmosphere on Yawkey Way.
“Communication is the essential piece to all of it and apparently it doesn’t seem like that’s going very well here," said Schilling. "It starts at the top in the owners' box and goes all the way to the clubhouse and everybody has to be on the same page. I’ve played on teams like this and it's hard and it's challenging because generally it never revolves around the nine innings in this place, its always about the other stuff. Its harder because its worse because there's more of it and a guys a lot of times aren’t prepared for that.
“You have to have the group of guys who handle all of the media and answer all of the questions for everybody. All the World Series teams I played on, we had leaders. I took a lot of flack for a lot of things, but that stuff never bothered me because I knew what my job was.”
During his four years in Boston, Schilling helped the team to two World Series titles, posting a 6-1 postseason record with a 3.28 ERA.
“We realized that we had something very special and we recognized it early,” said Schilling regarding 2004. “It was a special year and I wish it could have parlayed into more with that group. We had a very special group from the manager to the clubhouse guys. When you play in the big leagues you understand that it’s always about a family when you play on good teams. That was what we had.
“You literally couldn’t wait to get up and go to the ball park. You couldn’t wait to be around the guys and that was organization wide.”
Although he was only able to play in 11 games during the 2004 World Series campaign, Ellis Burks looked back fondly on the year when he returned to the organization where his career began.
“That was a lot of fun,” said Burks, who played for the White Sox, Rockies, Giants and Indians between stints in Boston. “I never in my wildest dreams thought the Red Sox would want me to come back here.
“I’ve never burned bridges wherever I went and played, it was just a matter of me accepting it and wanting to be a part of it once again. I’m glad I did.”
Burks' first six years with the Red Sox came from 1987 to 1992, crossing paths will fellow inductee Marty Barrett, who manned second base for nine seasons.
“When you’re in the minor leagues, you think you’re going to get there, but you never really know,” said Barrett, who played in Boston from 1982 to 1990. “I couldn’t have imagined back then that this would have happened.”
Representing the Hall of Fame Memorable Moment from 1967 that clinched the first Red Sox pennant in 21 years was Jim Lonborg, winner of that season's Cy Young Award.
“I remember Rico catching that last out,” said Lonborg, who vividly recalled the ensuing moments. “I remember the joy of being with all of my teammates for a brief moment. Then I remember the chaos of a lot of people that I didn’t know and not quite going exactly where I wanted to go, which was back in the clubhouse to be with my teammates.
“Thank god for the Boston Police, they were able to abscond me from the crowd and get me where I wanted to be.”
All of the Hall of Fame honorees were recognized in a mid-day induction ceremony at Fenway Park and will be part of a pregame ceremony prior to Friday night’s game against the Minnesota Twins.