MELBOURNE, 11 October - Two World Series rings, a silver medal, a host of Australian benchmarks in Major League Baseball, and now, Perth Heat pitching coach Graeme Lloyd can add another honour to his already impressive CV: Sport Australia Hall of Famer.
Lloyd was inducted into the prestigious hall of sporting elite Thursday night in Melbourne, becoming just the third baseballer and second major leaguer to receive such an honour.
"I was very excited and thrilled to be inducted into The Sport Australia Hall of Fame. I'm nearly 50 years old and I couldn't wait to get off the phone to call mum and dad. It was a great feeling," Lloyd told the ABF upon hearing the news of his induction.
The tall, long-limbed lefty first picked up a baseball at the age of ten and never looked back. A fine junior and senior performer for Australia, Lloyd took his talents to the United States in the late 1980s after signing with the Toronto Blue Jays. Following a five-year stint in the minor leagues, he made his big league debut on 11 April 1993 as a member of the Milwaukee Brewers and became a regular in Major League Baseball.
With Milwaukee, Lloyd was a pioneer along with catcher and fellow Sport Australia Hall of Fame inductee David Nilsson, helping to open the door to the dozens of Australian major leaguers to follow over the last two decades.
"To think that anyone is following in my footsteps because of what I have done is a tremendous feeling of satisfaction," Lloyd said.
Over the course of a ten-year major league career, Lloyd pitched for the Brewers, Blue Jays, Montreal Expos, Florida Marlins, New York Mets, and Kansas City Royals, but it was his three seasons with the New York Yankees that most put him on the big league map. Lloyd won two World Series championships with the Yankees and was an integral part of the legendary franchise's bullpen during that time. In the Yanks' 1996 postseason run, Lloyd pitched three scoreless outings, earning a win in one of them, and added three more scoreless appearances during New York's 1998 title push.
In addition to his two World Series crowns, Lloyd won a silver medal with Australia at the Athens Olympics in 2004, an accomplishment he called "a pinnacle moment in my career."
Lloyd has been an anchor point of the Heat's coaching staff in the ABL, and his coaching contributions include work with the Australian Under-18 team.