NEW YORK -- The day after receiving some of the biggest news of their baseball lives, Tom Glavine, Greg Maddux and Frank Thomas gathered in New York to meet as 2014 Hall of Fame classmates for the first time.
As they sat on a couch for a casual Internet meeting with fans, Thomas, the former White Sox great who grew up in Columbus, Ga., said having the former Braves pitchers as classmates has a special meaning. The trio was voted into the Hall on Wednesday by members of the Baseball Writers' Association of America.
"Going into the Hall of Fame (with Maddux and Glavine), I'm in heaven, really, because the first 21 years of my life, it was all about the Atlanta Braves (for me)," Thomas said Thursday morning during a Google Plus hangout session.
After the announcement, the players had a whirlwind first day of interviews and congratulations, including Thomas' phone call from President Barack Obama, a known Sox fan, the news of which Thomas tweeted out Wednesday night. They met with the media Thursday morning at an introductory news conference to reflect on joining Hall of Fame players they long have admired.
"To me, it's like you're a rookie all over again," said Maddux, also a former Cubs pitcher. "As a kid you put big league players on such a pedestal, and when you get to the big leagues, it's almost like, 'That's a Hall of Famer right there.' ... It's a tremendous honor."
All three said those nerves are sure to carry over as they prepare to give their Hall speeches for their induction ceremonies in Cooperstown, N.Y., this summer. Glavine said he hasn't started thinking about his speech because he doesn't want to have a panic attack. Thomas agreed, saying he will take a month later this year to think about the people who influenced his career.
"I really want to sit back for a month and reflect on my whole career," Thomas said. "I'm looking forward to it. No one wants to sit in front of (thousands of) people and do a 15-20 minute speech, but it's something we have to do. It's a special moment in time, and I'm happy to be there."
One of the first media inquiries was to ask what adjectives they would like to see on their Hall plaques.
Glavine offered up the words competitive, stubborn, dependable or durable. Maddux went with overachieved. And Thomas decided on consistent and driven.
Thomas earlier had offered another phrase -- familiar to Sox fans and broadcaster Ken "Hawk" Harrelson -- to describe his classmates.
"The will to win," he said. "I watched you guys many, many nights. You guys were the best painters I've ever seen in my life. That takes a lot of commitment and desire."
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