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June 11, 2013

Hall of Famer visits Victory Field

INDIANAPOLIS — Though Hall of Fame shortshop Ozzie Smith remains in great shape, it’s not done through baseball anymore.

Smith, who spends his spare time on the links now days, made a visit to Victory Field to meet fans and sign autographs Saturday as part of the Indianapolis Indians Signature Saturday’s promotion.

Though golf is his workout these days, “The Wizard” is not celebrating a made putt with his famous back flips.

“I try not to (do any more back flips),” Smith said. “Those days are long gone. Now, I’m scared, believe it or not. The part that keeps me from doing it is the mental part. I thought mentally that I could still do it until 2002 when I did one in front of the Hall of Fame and left there with (an injury) to my wrist and my knee skinned up. That was it.”

For Smith, being inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2002 came as kind of a culture shock. He recounts the call to the hall as one of his most fond memories.

“Getting the call to tell you that you’re in the Hall of Fame is great,” Smith said. “The Hall of Famers, they were always those guys over there. Those were the same guys that I admired growing up. Those are the guys that I would catch the bus out to the ballpark and sit in the bleachers and watch.”

Today, Smith is still working on placing himself in that class.

“Now, on Hall of Fame weekend, I find myself thinking, ‘how’d I get here,’” Smith said. “You look over there and see Mays, Aaron, Koufax, and on occasion McCovey. I look at where I’ve come and it’s very surreal to sit there and think that way. I still don’t allow myself to think that I’m like Mays and Aaron, because I think that there are different levels of Hall of Famers.”

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