By Wes McCurtis
COOPERSTOWN, NY – Trevor Hoffman took his rightful place in the Baseball Hall of Fame on Sunday when he was formally inducted alongside Alan Trammell, Vladimir Guerrero, Chipper Jones, Jack Morris and Jim Thome.
Each inductee had their opportunity to speak with 51 Hall of Famers behind them and an estimated 53,000 fans on hand, the largest gathering of Hall of Famers and the second-largest crowd to witness an induction ceremony, after the 82,000 who attended the 2007 enshrinement.
Hoffman, who played shortstop for Cypress College (1985-86) before transferring to the University of Arizona and developing into one of the most dominant relief pitchers in Major League history, spoke about his time as a Charger during Saturday's media session. "If I didn't have the community college to go to out of high school, I wasn't very big when I graduated, so it was a great opportunity to continue playing. It allowed me to go to the University of Arizona after that. I can't say enough good things about Cypress College and Coach Pickler."
Hoffman also mentioned the significant role that Cypress College Athletics Director, Bill Pinkham, and Head Coach Emeritus, Scott Pickler, played in his development. "When I graduated from Savanna High School I was 5-foot something, 100-and-nothing," Hoffman said. "I headed to Cypress College where I got the opportunity to play for coach Scott Pickler and Bill Pinkham. Coach Pick helped me develop both emotionally and physically and taught me the fundamentals of the game."
Coach Scott Pickler, who was present during the Hall of Fame induction, addressed the bond he shares with Hoffman following the ceremony. "Trevor is special to us and I guess we were special to Trevor," said Pickler. "The things that Pink and I try to instill in our athletes, you look at his work ethic and everything else he fit right in at Cypress. He's accomplished the highest level in Major League Baseball because of his work ethic. It's an awesome day."
Hoffman, who earned 601 saves during his MLB career, is one of twenty Chargers who have gone on to play Major League Baseball, and the first to be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame.
He pitched 18 seasons for the Marlins, Padres and Brewers, spending 16 seasons in San Diego where they retired his #51 jersey in 2011. Hoffman was the first pitcher to reach both the 500-save and 600-save milestones, ranking second in MLB history with 601 saves and second with 856 games finished.