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On a beautiful sunny Sunday afternoon in Cooperstown, New York, thousands of fans of the game of baseball came to celebrate the addition of Major League Baseball’s newest Hall of Fame members: Fred McGriff and Scott Rolen.

Fred McGriff, nicknamed the Crime Dog, was a five-time All Star, 1995 World Series Champion with the Braves, and the first player in history to record a 30-homer season for five different major league franchises in his career (Blue Jays, Braves, Cubs, Devil Rays, and Dodgers). After being unanimously voted into the hall by the Contemporary Baseball Players Era Committee, he finally joined the game’s greatest team.

Scott Rolen—a seven-time All Star, eight-time Gold Glove winner, 1997 NL Rookie of the Year, Silver Slugger winner, and 2006 World Series Champion with the Cardinals— was the only player selected this year by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America.

In front of their family, friends, and fellow Hall of Famers, these two joined the most elusive professional sports Hall of Fame. Both receiving standing ovations before their heartfelt speeches, McGriff and Rolen had a day to remember.

They both talked about how this day compared to what they had imagined it would be like.

“Originally, I thought I was going to be sweating,” McGriff said. “We had rehearsals on Friday, and we were going through rehearsals, and they were like ‘Fred, you’re first.’ I was like ‘O.K.’.”

“So now we are lining up to be introduced on stage and I’m like ‘I’m alright—my heart is ok.’ It was so funny: I had on my watch and I put on my heart so it could tell me if my heart was pumping or not, just to see if it was getting too high. But that was cool. It was just a whole experience. It was awesome and I’ll never forget it.”

Rolen had similar feelings when expressing what this day was like for him.

“For me, I’m really going back to my son talking about having excitement. It let me switch a gear a little bit from anxiety and stress. I kind of tried to clear my head and look forward to it and say, ‘This is happening,’” Rolen said. “I stood back when they were introducing everybody and I watched the monitor. I watched everybody walk across the stage and I thought ‘I’m going to try and soak it all up, take it all in, because I don’t know what is going to happen out there but it’s happening.’”

These two will always have one thing in common: having the same year on their plaques in baseball’s great hall. Rolen talked about the growing relationship with McGriff.

“We knew each other and I have a lot of respect for Fred’s career,” Rolen said. “I knew he was a great person, great man. But we got to interact here, and we’ve talked about it between us and our families. Us entering together is going to be special for a long time. We’re the Class of 2023, and there can’t be a better man to enter with.”

Hall of Fame weekend never disappoints to create special memories that will truly last a lifetime.

Photo credit: Gregory Fisher/USA TODAY Sports