Phil Rizzuto was practically singing. Steve Carlton was actually talking. In doing so, each made the Hall of Fame induction ceremony a memorable gabfest.
Leo Durocher was inducted posthumously. His ex-wife, actress Laraine Day, and their son, Chris, stood in for the man they called The Lip."I'm the oldest living rookie in the Hall of Fame," a joyous Rizzuto said Sunday during a rambling speech at the induction ceremonies for baseball's most coveted honor.
Rizzuto, who finally made it to the Hall at age 76 after 26 tries, spent a zany half-hour roaming through, among other things, his baseball career with the New York Yankees.
Carlton, elected in his first year of eligibility by the Baseball Writers Association of America despite his long-running disdain for the media, delivered a short speech that had some unanticipated humor and a dash of emotion.
"I was known as Silent Steve all those years, and this will probably be the most talking I've done in quite a while," said Carlton, who shut out the press for the last half of his 24-year career.
"Being voted in by the writers is like Rush Limbaugh being voted in by the Clintons. I'll take it as a compliment. I appreciate the honor."
Honor notwithstanding, baseball's only four-time Cy Young Award winner appeared somewhat ill-at-ease. Asked afterward about the sport's current labor problems, he gave a glimpse of the reclusive lifestyle he leads in the Colorado Rockies, where he lives on a 400-acre farm with his wife.
"In negotiations, you have to have a certain day (deadline)," said Carlton, who spent 15 years with the Phillies. "I don't know. I don't read newspapers and I don't have a television."
Carlton, 49, who was miffed by a Philadelphia magazine article earlier this year that portrayed him as anti-Semitic, had the chance to tell the baseball world what he really felt all those wonderful years, when he won 329 games, second all-time among left-handers behind Warren Spahn.
He didn't, though, playing it close to the vest in a 15-minute speech that ended with his voice cracking.
"Memory is baseball's fourth dimension. I know the memory of this day will be with my family and myself forever," Carlton said.
Rizzuto promised to tell his story as quickly as it was flashing by. And it appeared to be approaching warp speed. He jumped from the nine World Series he played in to the minor leagues, to his childhood in Brooklyn, to a favorite subject - food.
Recalling his first taste of southern fried chicken when he was a minor-leaguer in 1937, Rizzuto drew a blank and yelled into the crowd of over 15,000 looking for his former broadcasting sidekick, Bill White.
"Hey White," the Scooter shouted to the ex-National League president. "What's that stuff that looks like oatmeal? Grits! They gave me these grits and I didn't know what to do with them, so I put 'em in my pocket."
Rizzuto had the audience in his pocket, evoking laughter at every turn, especially from the 34 Hall of Famers seated on the podium. Even ultra-serious Bob Gibson and stoic Carl Yastrzemski keeled over at times.
The feisty Durocher, whose Giants, Dodgers, Cubs and Astros teams won 2,008 games, seventh on the all-time list, died in 1991 at age 86.