Smith, Baines humbled by call to Hall of Fame
The first two members of the National Baseball Hall of Fame Class of 2019 were announced by Hall of Fame President Jeff Idelson live on the MLB Network on Sunday evening, Dec. 9. The two bring the total to 325 elected members of the Cooperstown shrine.
“Today was very surprising,” Baines added with a chuckle. “I wasn’t expecting this day to come. I had a great career, and I’m very proud of it, but I think any player will tell you he doesn’t play the game of baseball to try and get into the Hall of Fame.
“When I got today’s call from the Hall of Fame it was just and my wife and the dogs. We were very shocked when we got the phone call. I wasn’t really expecting it, but I’m very grateful that it happened. I have four wonderful kids that are very proud of their dad today. After it was announced we called everybody and my phone hasn’t stopped ringing yet.”
During their long career, Baines faced Smith seven times, batting 2-for-5 against him (two singles) with a pair of walks.
Smith and Baines will be inducted in Cooperstown on July 21, 2019, along with any electees who emerge from the BBWAA election, to be announced on Jan. 22, 2019.
Bill Francis is the senior research and writing specialist at the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum