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Carlton Fisk Discusses Induction Into Baseball Hall of FameAired July 13, 2000 - 2:48 p.m. ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
NATALIE ALLEN, CNN ANCHOR: A serious of baseball trades to report as the pennant races start to heat up. The New York Yankees yesterday traded four players to get Reds Pitcher Denny Neagle and Minor League outfielder Mike Frank. The Atlanta Braves picked up right-handed pitcher Andy Ashby in a trade with Philadelphia. Thirty- three-year-old Ashby is in the last year of a $15 million contract.
ANDRIA HALL, CNN ANCHOR: Well, any one of those players could eventually go on to be a Hall-of-Famer and join legends of the game, such as Carlton Fisk. Fisk spent 24 years in Major League Baseball, and he will be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame on July 23. And he joins us from our bureau in New York.
HALL: Mr. Fisk, congratulations.
CARTON FISK, BASEBALL HALL OF FAME INDUCTEE: Thank you very much.
HALL: This is your second year of eligibility. You didn't get it the first time around. Is it just as sweet today?
FISK: I think it might be a little more sweet. It makes me appreciate it more. The fact that I've played a long time and didn't make it in the first year is sort of is how baseball is. But the fact that I have been recognized and inducted here on the millennium might make it even more special, maybe even more recognizable. Maybe people will remember who got inducted at the millennium.
HALL: Well, I'll certainly remember because I'm getting to interview you. Now, you played for the Red Sox and you played for the White Sox, but you're choosing to go into the Hall of Fame under the Boston banner. Why?
FISK: I grew up in New England and everybody -- every little boy's fantasy back in -- where I grew up was to either play for the Celtics or for the Boston Red Sox. I was able to play for the Red Sox and sort of fulfill that part of my dream. And playing at Fenway Park in a Boston uniform and then playing in the '75 World Series and hitting that homerun in a Boston uniform, I felt as though I couldn't emotionally detach myself from wearing that uniform for that moment.
HALL: Top catchers today like Pudge Rodriguez and Mike Piazza, you know, they're known as really great hitters. But let me ask you this: They're hitting huge numbers. They didn't do that back in your day. How do they do that, according to the way you see the game?
FISK: There's a lot of different factors involved there. I don't know if we have time to go through them all, but, one, strength and conditioning has become a greater part of the game than it ever has. It was taboo when I first started playing, that you weren't supposed to lift weights. Now that's an integral part of the preparatory process. There's better nutrition, there's better supplements, nutritional supplements, there's smaller ballparks, there's harder baseballs, there's a lowered mound. Pitchers can't pitch inside anymore without being reprimanded or tossed out of the game.
So there's a lot of factors that are involved in numbers. But it's going to be really difficult to try to compare eras when numbers like these guys are putting up are used in the comparison.
HALL: Well, let's talk about you. Let me read a quote about you. It says that you are "one of the American League's premier catchers for almost two decades, Carlton Fisk overcame a series of serious injuries early in his career to establish himself as a marvel of durability at baseball's more taxing position."
Do you think that the players today are as durable as when you were playing, especially in light of the fact that now they're more concerned about protecting their assets, if you will, because they're being paid such big dollars?
FISK: Well, I think there's -- make no mistake about it: The players that are playing today are terrific athletes, they are terrific baseball players. But I think the biggest difference is, I'm -- I question sometimes whether they need to be as tough as the players in my era. If you want to -- I feel like an old guy when I say that, but we had to play in order to earn position in our negotiating rights, when we negotiated our contracts for the next year, to have games played, to have a few numbers on the board when we went in there.
Now, the contracts are lucrative enough so that, one, the players maybe don't have to be as hungry or as tough; two, the reason that they don't maybe sometimes is that the organizations and the teams that they play for want to protect that investment when they do suffer a potential serious injury. So they're protected in that right, so you don't have to play through a lot of the injuries that may turn into something serious later on.
HALL: Well, we certainly don't want to overshadow your accolades in being inducted into the Hall of Fame, Carlton Fisk. And also to let folks know that you're playing these days in such charity events as the Smirnoff Long Ball Contest (ph). And we want to say congratulations again, and thank you for joining us on CNN TODAY.
FISK: Thank you very much. It's great to be involved here with the Smirnoff program, and it helps out a lot of people. Thank you.
HALL: We thank you, Carlton Fisk.
ALLEN: Good for him. The game certainly is changing. Just with the trades today, how can you keep up with who plays for whom?
HALL: That's very true.
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