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Fred McGriff: ‘This is a dream right now’

Fred McGriff met with the media Monday in San Diego to discuss his election to the Hall of Fame

142nd Kentucky Derby - Unbridled Eve Gala Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images for for York Sisters, LLC

Fred McGriff flew from his home in Tampa to San Diego Monday where he was introduced as the newest member of the Baseball Hall of Fame. McGriff was voted in unanimously Sunday receiving all 16 votes by the Contemporary Baseball Players Committee.

“This is a dream right now,” McGriff told a group of assembled media.

“When I first played that one day in the big leagues, that was my goal, but to sit here is just such a great honor. I just want to thank the whole committee, everyone and this is just awesome and beautiful day.”

McGriff was cut from his high school team so his stated goal was to play in one single game in the major leagues. He did much more than that over his 19-year career where he amassed 493 home runs and won a World Series title with the Atlanta Braves.

“This ain’t my Tom Emanski hat, but this is a whole lot better.”

McGriff spent parts of five seasons with the Atlanta Braves after coming over in a trade with the San Diego Padres on July 18, 1993. Atlanta was eight games behind the San Francisco Giants at the time of the trade, but the deficit would grow to 10 games four days later.

McGriff would make his Atlanta debut on July 20 where he homered and helped spark an 8-5 win over the Cardinals. This was also the day where part of the press box caught on fire at Fulton-County Stadium.

McGriff told the story Monday of his Braves debut with a small detail that was unknown. When he was acquired from San Diego, he had a slight rib injury that had occurred during a scuffle between the Padres and the Giants. McGriff didn’t think he would be able to play and was surprised to see his name in the lineup when he arrived in Atlanta. He headed straight for the training room for treatment and said that the delay from the press box fire allowed him enough time to get ready to play.

McGriff homered in storybook fashion and the Braves finished the season 51-18 to overtake the Giants for the division crown.

“The whole experience in Atlanta was just awesome. Just a great bunch of guys,” McGriff said of his time with the Braves. “We lost to the Phillies, in 93 and then the strike year in 94. So to come together in 95 and to finally win it. It was the ultimate.”

McGriff was no slouch in the postseason either. He hit .435/.519/.696 in the NLCS against the Phillies. For his career, he hit .303/.385/.532 with 10 home runs in 50 career postseason games.

“Bobby Cox was the leader, he kept everybody together,” McGriff said of his memories in Atlanta. “Just a good bunch of guys from Greg Maddux and Glavine and Mark Lemke. You go down the list, David Justice, just good people. Forget about their play on the field, they were just good people. So it’s a great honor to be in the Hall of Fame with those guys.”

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