This weekend, during the Awards Ceremony on Saturday, the Baseball Hall of Fame honored former St. Louis Cardinals catcher Joe Garagiola with the 2014 Buck O’Neil Lifetime Achievement Award.
In addition to Garagiola’s honor, the Hall of Fame honored Texas Rangers broadcaster Eric Nadel with the Ford C. Frick Award for excellence in broadcasting and The New Yorker‘s Roger Angell was honored by the BBWAA with the J.G. Taylor Spink Award.
Garagiola had a series of health issues in the fall of 2013 and was unable to travel to Cooperstown to accept the honor in person. However, he did have a taped message that was shown during the Awards Ceremony, which will be aired Sunday on the MLB Network. Here’s a brief excerpt:
“The Hall of Fame is a magic phrase,” Garagiola said. “It’s what a player wants next to his name once he gets to the big leagues, and baseball gives you the chance. They give you the bat, the ball and it’s up to you. As you look at these Hall of Famers, you can say, ‘You did it.’ This is your weekend.”
In addition to his career in broadcasting, Garagiola founded The Baseball Assistance Team (B.A.T.) and the National Spit Tobacco Education Program.
MLB.com columnist Richard Justice had an opportunity to talk with Garagiola recently.