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Hoffman follows Trammell's HOF example

Padres closer motivated by former Tigers great's competitive spirit
MLB.com @ToddZolecki

NEW YORK -- Trevor Hoffman sat at the dais on Thursday afternoon with Jim Thome, Chipper Jones and Vladimir Guerrero.

They talked about their careers. They talked about the moments they learned they had been elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame and what those life-altering moments meant to them. The foursome will be inducted on July 29 in Cooperstown. Alan Trammell and Jack Morris will join them after being elected by the Modern Baseball Era Committee in December.

NEW YORK -- Trevor Hoffman sat at the dais on Thursday afternoon with Jim Thome, Chipper Jones and Vladimir Guerrero.

They talked about their careers. They talked about the moments they learned they had been elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame and what those life-altering moments meant to them. The foursome will be inducted on July 29 in Cooperstown. Alan Trammell and Jack Morris will join them after being elected by the Modern Baseball Era Committee in December.

Hoffman spoke about Trammell following the media conference at the St. Regis Hotel. Trammell grew up in San Diego, where he starred in baseball and basketball at Kearney High School. After a successful career with the Tigers, he served as the Padres' first-base coach from 2000-02, when Hoffman was in the middle of his storied 18-year career.

"I couldn't get over his energy," Hoffman said. "I couldn't get over his tenacity to win, his competitive spirit. It's something I took to heart, and it rubbed off."

Hoffman and Trammell remained close over the years. They were on the same December flight from San Diego to Florida for the Winter Meetings, when Trammell got the call that he finally made the Hall of Fame.

Tweet from @ScottMillerBbl: Great photo at baggage claim in Orlando right after Alan Trammell got call that he was voted into #HOF. These guys were on same plane from San Diego: Trammell, Bud Black, agent John Boggs, Trevor Hoffman, Bruce Bochy & Brad Ausmus. (photo courtesy Boggs) pic.twitter.com/fMtL2LiT7N

Trammell never got elected by the Baseball Writers' Association of America, so he had to handle more than a decade of disappointment. It took Hoffmann three years to reach the 75-percent threshold needed for election. He fell just five votes shy last year.

"I certainly was impressed with his press conference [in December] and the humility and the grace that he showed," Hoffman said. "Going through this process, I couldn't imagine going through this process 15 years and not have that call come through. And then ultimately to have it happen through the [Modern Baseball Era] Committee, the way he spoke of it. He was still comfortable with his career. He never doubted the player that he was. He never held a grudge about the process. I think he's a great example of what it means to have class, to be a true professional. I think Detroit was lucky to have him for 20 years. It shows."

Hoffman said he has texted back and forth with Trammell since he was elected on Wednesday.

"He's been just a great resource of enthusiasm," Hoffman said.

Video: Hoffman on watching Gwynn play, joining him in HOF

Hoffman got the call because he is one of the best relief pitchers in baseball history, saving 601 games. He shared some of those memories on Thursday. Hoffman talked about grinding through the Minor Leagues. He talked about how he never thought too much about making the Hall of Fame. After all, he watched Tony Gwynn play every day for years. Hoffman never considered himself on that level.

"To watch him command a city, command a locker room, I was just a little brother watching that," Hoffman said. "I'm pinching myself. It's something that I don't think has really set in."

Todd Zolecki is a reporter for MLB.com.

San Diego Padres