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Schuerholz humbled to enter Hall with legends

MLB.com @mlbbowman

ATLANTA -- Those who have had the pleasure of being introduced to John Schuerholz's elegant and substantive communication skills have often said he could roll out of bed and steal the attention of any room with a speech he might not have previously prepared.

Blessed with the ability to educate and lead via the expression of the knowledge he has gained while spending more than a half-century within the baseball world, Schuerholz has established himself as one of the greatest executives in professional sports history. But now that it's time for him to gain his game's greatest honor, Schuerholz admits he was somewhat challenged as he attempted to provide proper thanks and context within the speech he has prepared to deliver on July 30, when he is inducted into Baseball's Hall of Fame.

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ATLANTA -- Those who have had the pleasure of being introduced to John Schuerholz's elegant and substantive communication skills have often said he could roll out of bed and steal the attention of any room with a speech he might not have previously prepared.

Blessed with the ability to educate and lead via the expression of the knowledge he has gained while spending more than a half-century within the baseball world, Schuerholz has established himself as one of the greatest executives in professional sports history. But now that it's time for him to gain his game's greatest honor, Schuerholz admits he was somewhat challenged as he attempted to provide proper thanks and context within the speech he has prepared to deliver on July 30, when he is inducted into Baseball's Hall of Fame.

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:: 2017 Hall of Fame induction coverage ::

"I've made a lot of speeches in my life as a baseball executive, and before that I was an educator and communicator who spoke on my feet a lot," Schuerholz said. "I don't mind making speeches, but this one was the most profound and challenging [to prepare], because it's about me, it's about my life, it's about people in my life and circumstances in my life that have allowed me to go where I'm going to go."

Schuerholz's highly successful and celebrated journey will be highlighted when he travels to Cooperstown, N.Y., next week for the Hall of Fame induction ceremonies. The former general manager, who currently serves as the Braves' vice chairman, will be inducted within a class that also includes Tim Raines, Jeff Bagwell, Ivan Rodriguez and former MLB Commissioner Bud Selig.

MLB Network's exclusive live coverage of the 2017 Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony -- simulcast live on MLB.com -- will begin with MLB Tonight on Sunday at noon ET, followed by the ceremony at 1:30 p.m. Prior to Sunday's live coverage, MLB Network will televise the 2017 Hall of Fame Awards Presentation at 11 a.m., featuring Rachel Robinson (Buck O'Neil Lifetime Achievement Award), Claire Smith (the J.G. Taylor Spink Award for writers) and the posthumous honoring of Bill King (Ford C. Frick Award for broadcasters). The presentation will also commemorate the 25th anniversary of the release of the film "A League of Their Own."

"[These players] have distinguished themselves and separated themselves as consistently reliable winners," Schuerholz said. "They have committed themselves to be the greatest players in the world, and they have achieved that. I'm so proud and happy for all of them and honored to be inducted with guys of this caliber. I couldn't have picked three greater [players]. I probably tried to get all of them at one point as a general manager."

Schuerholz's speech will give context to a baseball journey that began when he ended his days as a junior high school teacher in his native Baltimore to accept an entry-level position for the hometown Orioles. He'll give thanks to Lou Gorman, who took him to Kansas City to help start the expansion Royals, who won the 1985 World Series, just four years after Schuerholz was named the team's GM.

Then, of course, Schuerholz will reminisce about the days he has spent in Atlanta, where he arrived in 1991 and immediately guided the Braves to a record 14 consecutive division titles. In '95, he became the first GM to win a World Series in both the American League and the National League.

Schuerholz's success in Atlanta was enriched by the time he spent employing Hall of Fame manager Bobby Cox and three Hall of Fame pitchers -- John Smoltz, Tom Glavine and Greg Maddux. Each of these men will be reunited again next week in Cooperstown to celebrate and reminisce about the greatest era in Braves history.

"I didn't expect to win 14 consecutive division championships, and neither did Bobby," Schuerholz said. "We just put our noses to the grindstone each and every year. We worked shoulder to shoulder to build the best teams possible, made the adjustments when we had to and just kept going."

Mark Bowman has covered the Braves for MLB.com since 2001.

Atlanta Braves