Chris Burke couldn't help but chuckle.
The former Tennessee infielder and MLB vet owns several impressive titles, including consensus All-American, first-round draft pick and postseason hero.
But Hall of Famer?
The 33-year-old's still finding his footing with that one.
"I'm kind of trying to wrap my brain around that because I don't feel old enough to be called that," Burke said with a laugh, "but it's an honor."
Burke, who manned the Vols' middle infield positions from 1999-2001, was recognized Thursday night at the inaugural Tennessee Baseball Leadoff BBQ, becoming the 19th member inducted into the Tennessee Baseball Hall of Fame.
"The exciting part," Burke said, "is to get to thank so many people publicly that were instrumental in my career that have helped me along the way.
"To have an opportunity to come back and celebrate an unbelievable part of my life — which was my three years spent here — that's a huge part of what tonight means for me."
A three-year starter for the Vols, Burke's most memorable campaign came in 2001 as he garnered SEC Player of the Year honors, posting a .435 average with 20 home runs and 60 RBI.
His efforts helped lead UT to 48-20 record and a College World Series appearance, an experience the Louisville, Ky., native vividly remembers as both exhilarating and overwhelming.
"When you take the field in Omaha for the first time as a ball player — and as one who always dreamed big — the moment hits you a little bit," Burke said.
"Hey, I'm playing in the College World Series."
The big stage opportunities would only continue as Burke's career transitioned into the major leagues.
The Houston Astros selected him 10th overall in the 2001 MLB draft, and just four years later, Burke found himself in the midst of a dramatic playoff run that would produce the defining moment of his 6-year professional career.
In Game 4 of the 2005 National League Division Series, Burke delivered a game-winning, series-clinching home run in the 18th inning as Houston upended the Atlanta Braves 7-6 in what is currently the longest game in postseason history,
"When I hit that home run as a young arrogant rookie", Burke said, '(I was like) what's the big deal? I'm going to be doing this for a long time to come,' and boy I'm glad I hit that home run now because no one would remember me otherwise.
"It's certainly a fond memory and one I was fortunate to be a part of."
The Burke Effect
With the 2014 UT baseball team in attendance for the induction, head coach Dave Serrano admitted he believes this year's squad can benefit from what the former Vol has to offer.
"I'm hoping," Serrano said, "as our guys sit in the audience and listen to Chris, and listen to his accolades and listen to him speak, that one of them sitting there is hoping they can be a Chris Burke."
"I think every good team; every great team has a Chris Burke on it."
But what exactly is Serrano's definition of a 'Chris Burke'?
"Knowing that he was a young man coming out of high school that wasn't drafted ends up being a first rounder three years later," Serrano said. "A guy that just wasn't going to take no for an answer and proved a lot of people wrong and played the game the right way.
"Our guys can learn a lot from that."
In a surprise to many, the Vols will add another uniform option to their repertoire in 2014 as this year's squad unveiled the brand new, all-orange jerseys at Thursday's banquet.
"It's a new jersey that we'll bring in this year," Serrano said. "The guys wore them the other day in some stuff we did, and I'm really excited about it.
"The Tennessee Volunteers are orange, and we're trying to get more orange into our uniforms."