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July 26, 2015
JANE FORBES CLARK:¬† Craig, as chairman of the National Baseball Hall of Fame, it is my honor to welcome you into the Hall of Fame family.
CRAIG BIGGIO:¬† Thank you.¬† This is pretty cool, I must say.¬† What an incredible honor it is to be standing in front of these great men.¬† I played against a lot of them, I admired a lot of them, but I respected all of them.
Thank you, Jane, for this honor and all that you do for the Hall.¬† I'd also like to thank Jeff Idelson, Brad Horn, Whitney, and the Hall of Fame staff for keeping the integrity of the Hall of Fame.
I'd like to thank the writers for the invitation to be part of the greatest team ever, the Baseball Hall of Fame.¬† I truly am honored.
What an amazing class to be part of.¬† Big Randy J was a teammate.¬† I tell you, man, he was an incredible competitor, boy.¬† We had him for 11 games.¬† It was amazing to watch in 1988.
John Smoltz, we had a lot of history together.¬† I'll never forget when we beat you guys in the playoffs.¬† Finally, at least we got them twice.¬† They sent us home three times.¬† He had the class and dignity to come into our clubhouse and wish Jeff and I good luck in the second round.¬† That's just class.¬† You don't teach that.
Pedro, you brought your A game out there every time you pitched.¬† You're a little guy, but you pitch like the big unit.
These guys are Hall of Fame players, but they're better people.¬† So the big question is, how do you get to the Hall of Fame?¬† You got to have a little bit of talent, and you got to have a lot of help along the way.
My journey started in a little town, Kings Park, New York, not too far from here.¬† My mother Johanna and father Lee Biggio were two hard‑working people who are no longer here, but I know they're watching.
My father was an air traffic controller, though hardly never missed a game.¬† One of the things he used to like to do was take some rope, tie it around my waist and then tie it to the backstop while throwing me batting practice to try and keep me from lunging.¬† It worked, but I came home every day with rope burns around my waist.
My mother, never missed a game.¬† Like most homes, she's the rock.¬† We spent a lot of time together traveling around from field to field. ¬†I know she's happy today.¬† I miss you so much, mom, and I really wish you were here today.
My brother Terry, my sister Gwen, we've been through a lot together.¬† I love you guys.
My in‑laws, Joe and Yolanda Egan were tremendous help along with their three kids, Joey, Timmy, and Kevin.¬† I took their daughter to Texas 25 years ago and we had three kids there.¬† I was very lucky to have a family that was so helpful and supportive as they have been throughout my life.
Growing up in Kings Park, I had three responsibilities:¬† school, sports and I had a job.¬† My job was I had a newspaper route, okay?¬† It was an afternoon newspaper, the Newsday.¬† Because most of the time I didn't get home until 7 or 7:30, that's when people on my route eventually got the paper.¬† Sorry about that.¬† But on my route, I had a family.¬† The family's name was the Albens.¬† They had a boy that came down with leukemia.¬† It was right then and there that I understood what a family goes through day in and day out when a family has to go through this.
I made a promise to them if I was ever in a position or situation to give back, I would.¬† Thus I'm the national spokesperson for the Sunshine Kids.¬† It's an organization that helps kids with cancer and their families.¬† The Sunshine Kids are a big part of my life and one of the reasons I stayed in Houston for 20‑plus years and continue to live there today.
My memories growing up in Kings Park are great.¬† I had a lot of great people around me.¬† My football and baseball coaches were hard working and very supporting people.¬† My first chance to get noticed by schools and scouts was when I played for a guy in Long Island named Marty Hasenfuss.¬† He was an air traffic controller like my father, but getting a chance to play for Marty was the first big opportunity I had to be noticed.
I had a chance to be drafted out of high school by the Detroit Tigers, but I decided to go to college.¬† I went to Seton Hall University where I met my wife Patty and had three great years there.
My college coach was Mike Sheppard.¬† He was a tough man.¬† He was a marine.¬† He was a disciplinarian, but he kept you in line.¬† Most of all he loved his players and he had their backs no matter what.¬† The man with 999 wins and had hundreds of players get drafted.
Coach Shep's motto was, 'Never lose your hustle,' which is something I took to my pro career.¬† I'm very grateful to have played for you, Shep.¬† Thank you.
Ed Blankmeyer was the assistant coach.¬† He was a tremendous teacher of the game.¬† A man who dedicated his life to college athletics, and has done an incredible job at St. John's University as the head baseball coach.¬† Thanks, Blanky, and keep up the good work.
Fred Hopke was a hitting coach, career minor leaguer for 11 seasons.¬† He brought a pro‑style approach to the program.¬† He's the first person who taught me how to work myself through an at‑bat.
Monsignor Sullivan was the baseball chaplain.¬† He was my roommate on the road at times, but most importantly he was a friend.¬† He helped me with my conversion to a Catholicism when I was going through a tough time in my life.¬† I miss you very much.
My teammates in college, we had a lot of fun together the three years I was there.¬† We had a good run, especially my last year.¬† In a regional, we beat Frank Thomas' team, then lost to Billy Spiers' team 2‑1, then we lost to Frank's team again.¬† My memories in college are great.
I had a man named Clary Anderson draft me in 1987.¬† Clary was legendary in New Jersey as a great football coach.¬† He was our national cross‑checker for the Astros.¬† He gave me a shot and I'll never forget that.
I had two owners in John McMullen and Drayton McLane.¬† John McMullen was more than an owner, he was like a father figure to me.¬† We did a lot things together off the field.¬† Dr.McMullen kept baseball in Houston when the franchise was struggling.¬† How many owners come watch a prospect work out in the gym in the middle of winter.¬† McMullen and Yogi Berra did that.¬† I was drafted by the Houston Astros the following spring.
Drayton McLane, we spent 17 years together.¬† We built a new stadium.¬† We built a successful organization.¬† But most importantly, I was able to stay with one organization for 20 years.
I was loyal to Drayton and he was loyal in return.¬† Drayton, you were my boss and my owner, but most importantly you were my friend.
I was lucky to have some incredible coaches and managers.¬† Like a lot of successful organizations, you're only going to be successful with good people around you.¬† One of those coaches was Hall of Famer Yogi Berra.¬† Yogi was the smartest baseball man I was ever around.¬† Although he's known for his Yogi‑isms, his baseball intellect was second to none.¬† Yogi would say things in a Yogi way, he'd walk by and say some things, I'd be confused.¬† Then the next half inning, the one thing would happen, then the next half inning the other thing would happen.¬† I sat back down on the bench and said, Oh, my gosh, I got a lot to learn about this game.
Yogi used to say, You have to have an idea and a plan.¬† But at the end of the day, keep it simple, stupid.
Then there was Matt Galante, my coach for many years.¬† I'm not here without that man.¬† Give him a round of applause, please.¬† You're an incredible coach and teacher of the game.¬† In the National League you got to play offense and defense or you don't play at all.¬† I just made the All‑Star Game as a catcher.¬† The following year the Astros asked me to go play second base, a position that I never played before in my life.
We had six weeks to learn it in spring training.¬† No pressure, huh, Matt?¬† A typical day with Matty was we started at 7 a.m., go to a half field when the sun was coming up, work for an hour and a half until 8:45 or so, then go practice with the team from 9 till around noon.¬† Grab a sandwich, go to the half field again, get some more work done.¬† Then we go back, play the game.¬† When the game was over, we went back to the half field again.
We did that every day in spring training for six weeks.¬† I thank God for Matt Galante and I'm so grateful.¬† When I won my first Gold Glove, I gave it to him.¬† Matt, thank you for everything.¬† For being a great coach, a great teacher, but a better person and a better friend.
I want to thank all the clubhouse guys, the true heartbeat of the team.¬† Dennis Liborio was the first man I met in the big leagues, truly one of my best friends.¬† The first time I met him, I walked in the clubhouse and I asked him where Yogi Berra was.¬† He said, Who the bleep are you?¬† Your locker is over there, he turned and walked away from me.¬† That was the beginning of our relationship.¬† He can't be here today.¬† I hope he knows in his heart how much I love him and miss him.
I had some pretty special teammates over 20 years, especially my early years.¬† I was around guys like Nolan Ryan, Billy Doran, Buddy Bell, Terry Puhl.¬† Being around these guys taught me how to respect the game and play the game the right way day in and day out.¬† It was always about the team.
Ken Caminiti was a great teammate and a better friend.¬† I miss him a lot.
Nancy, Kendall, Lindsey and Nicole, your father has given us an amazing relationship.
Darryl Kile had the best curve ball I'd ever seen.
Brad Ausmus, a true friend.
Moises Alou, one of the greatest hitters I ever played with.
Jeff Bagwell, another East Coast kid who just loved to play the game.¬† We played 15 years together and changed the culture in Houston by making it a baseball town.
We both got to live our dreams together by playing in the big leagues side‑by‑side.¬† Thanks for being here today.¬† It really means a lot.
I want to thank my agent Barry Axelrod.¬† One of the most important ingredients in success is your agent.¬† We've been through a lot together over the last 25 years.¬† I had great confidence in you.¬† Your hard work and professionalism were part of my ability to stay with one team my entire career.
Barry was just always a phone call away, not just for me, but for all his clients.¬† I'm very grateful for all that you've done and continue to do, but most of all your friendship.
John Palguta, my family and I could not have done this without you.¬† Thank you, brother.
To my close friends, the Heberts, Tony, the Union crew, Illianna, my friends at St.Thomas and the late Monsignor Jamail.¬† I want to thank you for supporting me in my professional and personal life.
To the Astros fans, where you at?¬† Let me hear you?¬† Pedro is going to give you a run for your money.¬† There you go.¬† There you go.¬† You guys are the greatest fans in the world, man.¬† I love you guys.¬† I want to thank you for the way you treated my family and I.¬† I hope that I earned your respect by the way I played the game, and I never took that for granted.¬† I will never forget the playoff runs we had and the 20 years of memories.
To my family, the most important thing to me in my life.¬† Conor, a graduate from Notre Dame.¬† A four‑year letterman on the baseball team.¬† I'm so proud of the man that you've become.¬† And the man can type.¬† He typed this for me in like 20 minutes.
Cavan, I am so proud of you and your work ethic on and off the field.¬† I'm so proud of the man that you're becoming on the field and off as far as a student‑athlete.
Cavan just got here last night around midnight.¬† He was very fortunate enough to make the Cape Cod All‑Star team and played in the game last night, then got his way up there.
I love you.¬† Congratulations.¬† I'm very proud of you.
How lucky was I?¬† I'll never forget the memories we had traveling with the team when you guys were batboys, enjoying the three thousand hits on the field together.¬† Memories of a lifetime.
And to Quinn, you are beautiful and talented.¬† Although you were young and you may not remember my playing career, you sure play like you do.¬† I'm looking forward to your bright future.¬† You are a sweetheart and I love you very much.
Save the best for last.¬† To my wife Patty.¬† You gave me three incredible kids, but most of all you gave me my best friend the last 25 years.¬† You're a great person, and our kids are who they are because of you.
The baseball life is a great life, but it's a very hard life.¬† I was always in and out for eight months.¬† You were the one who did everything for the kids.¬† You were a mom, a dad, hitting coach, the driver, the list goes on.¬† But most of all, you were there and made things normal for our kids.
And last, I gave the game everything I had every day.¬† In baseball, tomorrow is not guaranteed, and I tried to play every game as if it was going to be my last.¬† I want to thank the game for everything.¬† The game has given me everything:¬† my family, my friends, respect, but most of all memories of a lifetime.
Thank you very, very much from the bottom of my heart.
JANE FORBES CLARK:¬† As we continue, John, as chairman of the National Baseball Hall of Fame, it's my pleasure to invite you into the Hall of Fame family.
JOHN SMOLTZ:¬† Wow.¬† Hope you're ready for a wild ride 'cause I'm going to warm you up for Pedro and Randy, and you never know what's going to be coming.
This is truly a treat.¬† I want to talk about four significant phone calls in my life.
The first was getting drafted by the Detroit Tigers, a dream that a hometown kid would have.
The second one was not the best of phone calls.¬† It was getting traded by the Detroit Tigers to the Atlanta Braves, the worst team in all of baseball at the time.
The third was very significant, and I will touch on it later.¬† It was a call from Tommy John, encouraging me to continue with my career at the age of 34.
The fourth call is not something I ever dreamed about.¬† I don't know, I can't speak for the rest of Hall of Famers, but on January 6, when I got the call letting me know that I had been inducted into the Hall of Fame, words and emotions could not describe.
The phone rang.¬† I was just thankful that Greg Maddux had not put up an ultimate prank in letting me know that this was not for real.¬† Thankfully they told me quickly that I had made it.
I truly want to thank the Hall of Fame, Jane Forbes Clark, and Jeff Idelson, for what they've done and preserved the character of this great Hall.¬† For Brad Horn, Whitney, all the people behind the scenes making this like the perfect wedding, orchestrating it to the fullest.¬† And of course the Baseball Writers of America, your votes obviously got me to this point.¬† I cannot thank you enough.
To Randy, Pedro and Craig, I will never forget this class.¬† It is a class that I have had the utmost respect for each and every one of them.
Of course, Craig, I've competed the most against.
It's hard to believe that I never competed against Randy Johnson.¬† I can't say that I'm sorry.¬† But I don't think we ever hooked up.¬† I had a seat in the bullpen when he pitched his perfect game as I was the closer for the Braves.¬† Actually half‑heartedly started to warm up in the ninth, it was a 2‑0 game, knowing full well I didn't think I was going to get in that game.¬† But at 6'10", he was truly the freak that mastered the game in a way that no other could.
In a weird way with Pedro Martinez being on the opposite end the spectrum, me in the middle at 6'3", it shows why baseball is a game of all sizes and shapes and why truly it is America's pastime.
Craig is a teammate that you always wanted and a guy you never wanted to play against.¬† And Pedro, you got me in a lot of trouble facing you in my career.¬† You were the most dominant pitcher I'd ever seen.¬† It was Bugs Bunny.¬† In today's world it was basically Nintendo or any kind of game you watch, that's the kind of stuff you had.
I got fined $100 for check swinging, hurting my wrist against you.¬† Thanks a lot.
Well, I'm going to try to do it backwards.¬† I'm going to do the tough part first.¬† I never thought I'd ever read a speech, but for the sake of time, I'm going to do.
I want you to know the best way to describe my career is unique.¬† I can't think of another word.¬† It's unique in every way.¬† I have fingerprints all over my career by those who touched me and impacted me and helped me along the way.¬† It's a huge army that got me from Lansing, Michigan, to where I am today.¬† I'm not going to touch on all of them.¬† I'm going to do that in a personal way.¬† There's too many people to thank.¬† I know I'll forget somebody.¬† But I will take care of you on the back end, I promise.¬† But I will be talking about some who made it possible to reach this dream.
To my wife Kathryn, the hardest thing to do is when we met six years ago transition from a baseball career to retirement.¬† As Craig mentioned, this life is a great life but a cruel life, a tough one.¬† You made that transition so seamless, I can't even thank you enough.
You took a blended family and you made them seem like your own.¬† You love my kids as if they were your own.¬† You saw me at my worst, trying to make a comeback with the Boston Red Sox after major shoulder surgery.¬† I truly could not have made it without you.
Everything you did for this event, it's not possible.¬† I'm letting you know right now there's too many moving parts.¬† I love you so much.¬† You're where my place of comfort and peace really is.¬† I look forward to the future as a retired‑‑ well, broadcaster for the MLB Network as we transition our career.
To my kids, Andrew, Rachel, Carly and Kelly, I can't tell you what it's like for the journey of a major league player, you sacrificed so much.¬† I love you very much.¬† You adjusted and adapted to the challenges in our life.¬† It wasn't the perfect road.¬† You knew it wouldn't be.¬† I always tried to give you the best of what I had.¬† I can't wait to see what God has for every one of you as you pursue your passions.¬† Be unique, they are your own.¬† I can't wait to see the families that you are able to raise, as well.
To Sara Kathryn and Ashley, my two stepdaughters, can't imagine what you were thinking when your mom and I got married and you were starting a whole new journey.¬† Your willingness to adapt with the twists and turns and your ability to just go with the flow, it seems like we've been meant to be together our whole lives.¬† I can't tell you how much I love you guys.
To my mom and dad, this is where the story gets interesting, you did so much for me to get me to this point.¬† You didn't know much about sports or baseball.¬† You pretty much knew what you knew, and that was playing the accordion because that's how you met.¬† You were accordion teachers and I thank you for the opportunity to start me on my quest to be the next Lawrence Welk at the age of four.¬† I played till the age of seven.¬† Then I hit you with the ultimate whopper of all whoppers.¬† At the age of seven I said, I know what I want to be in life, and I'm going to be a Major League baseball player.
He loved me enough to give me room to go after my dream.¬† You didn't discourage me from leaving the accordion for Major League Baseball.¬† You just told me to have a backup dream, and I did that as well.
Even though it was a gas station attendant at the time, I thought that was pretty cool.
I cannot imagine the odds and what you felt when I told you I was going to play Major League Baseball.¬† These things might have caused you to sway me in a different direction.¬† You not only allowed me to pursue this newfound passion of mine, you went on a journey to find opportunities for me to play this great game of baseball.¬† You served as a great example for me and all future parents, that when a kid has a dream, no matter how outrageous or outlandish it might be, giving them the chance to pursue that is the greatest thing in life.¬† You put aside what you knew and what you thought would fall in the family line of tradition of great accordion players, I can't thank you enough.
I'm proud of the way I grew up, the heritage in which we grew up.¬† The polka music on the eight‑track tapes, I enjoyed it all.¬† You taught me so much to not be afraid of who I am, to learn, to laugh, to cry, you gave me the characteristics and morals by which I live by today.¬† I'm so thankful.¬† Dad, you taught me my competitiveness, your unwillingness to let me win at the age of four and five was relentless, but I thought it was great because I returned the favor when I got a chance to.
You taught me to honor God first, family second, school third, and sports fourth.¬† You put the priorities where they needed to be, and you stood by them.¬† I thank you for that.
To my brother and sister, I can't thank you enough for sacrificing your summers.¬† Thankfully we didn't grow up in Florida or warm weather where you fall prey to playing every day or all year.¬† Two months in Michigan is long enough.¬† But you sacrificed enough for me.¬† One year apart, close‑knit family, following my 21‑year career, you were there at every turn, when I needed you the most.
My extended family is my biggest army in the world and I can't thank them enough because of everything we did.¬† We were close‑knit and we had a blast.¬† Yes, it always involved playing the accordion and dancing.¬† One thing I never did do was dance, but I played the accordion.¬† I can't thank you enough for the love you had and I can't possibly repay you all.
To my extended family, to my in‑laws for jumping on this ride, not knowing exactly what you're going to get, this is a cool ending so far in the midst of my journey.
My baseball journey began outside our home in Lansing, Michigan.¬† I have a unique story.¬† I already told you about the accordion.¬† I had a wild imagination.¬† Before I go any further, Jeff Foxworthy, I'm not going to tell any corny jokes.¬† Relax, I can see you tense up as we speak.
I started with a rubber ball and a brick wall.¬† For those who know me, this won't come as a surprise.¬† The GM, the manager, the pitching coach, the grounds crew, the play‑by‑play, you name it, in my mind I did it.¬† I would stand outside that wall in a generous strike zone and pitch the greatest games ever known to mankind.¬† I'm a self‑taught baseball player, Tiger fanatic growing up.¬† I would watch someone and immediately emulate them outdoors.¬† Thankfully didn't have the technology that exists today that kind of distracts our attention to get outside and do that which we love.
I'm also happy to say that in all those big games that I pitched in my life, I won them all.¬† I truly believe if the moment were to get there, I would be a little kid on the mound relishing in the fact that I get to do this 'cause I've already done it in my mind so many different times.
Growing up in Lansing was incredible.¬† It's where my baseball career kind of took off.¬† My best friend Chuck Cascarilla, we did everything together.¬† We thought of games, we went outside, we were constantly doing whatever it took.¬† For a lot of you in the stands that might not know what it is, we played a lot of strike‑out, pickup baseball, games that I'll never forget.
Aside from my family and Chuck, a guy that I call my second dad, I owe great gratitude to, could not make it today, at home in Lansing, Michigan, hopefully watching, Carl Wagner, dedicated over 50 years of his baseball life teaching and honoring kids.¬† Over 50 years he provided the opportunity for kids to go out and play the great game of baseball.¬† He taught me to never be complacent, never think you arrived, because there's always somebody working harder to take your job and be better than you are.
Two other significant people from Lansing, Javier Cavazos dedicates his life to teaching youth all over Lansing, and he has been a big influence on me putting me in situations.¬† He may be one of the few people that as a coach will understand Pedro Martinez, because he told me in a game in Brooklyn, New York, where I gave up four two‑run homers in an inning, I'm not afraid to fail and I learned from some of the greatest failure moments in my life.
In Brooklyn, New York, they were all yelling at me in Spanish.¬† He came out.¬† He said, You want to know what they said?
You might as well tell me as you're taking me out.
He said, They were yelling to get Ben‑Gay for your neck because every time you threw a pitch you'd turn around because it was over the fence.
Thank you, Javier, for your humility as well as your ability to teach kids.
For Phil Odlum, my high school basketball coach, I had the two greatest years of my life.¬† I loved every minute of my life where I grew up, where it ends and where it's going.¬† You gave me the keys to lead a basketball or baseball team that I would take later and pursue that in my big league quest, to be the best baseball player, but the best teammate I possibly can be.
To start with the drafts, I have to thank the Tigers for drafting me in the 22nd round.¬† I think I'm the latest round draft pick to be in the Hall of Fame.¬† If it were not the scouts, the backbone of our game, for seeing what I had, the motor that was ticking inside the 6'3", 180‑pound skinny kid, this would all not be possible.
Drafted by my hometown team was a dream come true, as I said.¬† I had a unique situation where I got drafted, the last day before you go to college.¬† Imagine getting drafted and going to the team you idolized and staying with them for 35 days in the big leagues.¬† Instead of going to rookie ball, I went to the big club, got a chance to see what the heroes were doing in their locker room, in their home.¬† I got to say this:¬† As odd and as in awe as I was of these guys, I remember sitting in the locker room at Tiger Stadium, a fish out of water, scared to death a Hall of Famer in my mind, a guy I will never forget in making the first impression in my pro career, came up to me and said, Hi, I'm Alan Trammell.¬† Anything I can do for you, don't hesitate to ask.¬† This house is your house.
I will never forget.¬† I thank you, Alan Trammell, for teaching me what a professional baseball player is all about.
It was as if he introduced and gave me a baton and said, Now, pay this forward every chance you can because this game has a chance to impact a lot of people.¬† And I have done that to the best of my ability thanks to Alan Trammell's imprint in my life, just that five‑ to 20‑second time of his day took to welcome a newcomer to the game.
I also want to thank a good friend of mine, Bruce Fields, taking me into an instructional league.¬† Right after big leagues I went right into instructional league and I worked 6'3", 185, went into a home of veterans.¬† They helped and nurtured me for the big leagues, thanks to his wife Julie, they put 20 pounds on me, which I desperately needed.
Now the most infamous trade in Atlanta Braves history.¬† I can't spend enough time talking about this gentleman.¬† I will hear about it later from the fellow Hall of Famers that I respect, but Bobby Cox is every single thing to me on why I stand up here today.
He was the general manager that took the chance and made the trade and got me over to Atlanta.¬† And, yes, sir, they were the worst team in baseball at the time.¬† It was the most devastating time of my life.¬† But I realized I would have an opportunity to pitch in an organization that desperately needed pitching.
I used to only think of that trade as myself and what it did for me.¬† Tom Glavine reminded me that that trade opened up a spot for him in the big leagues and he never looked back.¬† I'm glad that two‑for‑one worked out.
Bobby became my manager.¬† He's the reason I stayed in the organization for 20 years.¬† I would rather go nowhere else.¬† As I said, time does not permit me to tell you what an incredible manager, the history I was able to watch.¬† He empowered people, he gave you confidence when you didn't have it.¬† He was a tremendous leader.¬† I owe a great amount of my career to this man.
Because of the faith that he had in me, it was the reason I was able to make the transition from starter to closer, then start back to starter.¬† He believed in everything I did.¬† He knew my personality.¬† He allowed me to play golf, which always puts a smile on my face.¬† It's the reason that the three of us were able to play as long as we did.
The starting rotation will be talked about for the rest of time and maybe always compared to things.¬† But to do something and make it come full circle, to talk about the two greatest teammates, the two greatest pitchers that got inducted, I was watching them actually rip me a new one, enjoying every second of it.¬† I thought we would go back in time and just do this for a second.
Glav, Maddux, back when I had hair, we had the time of our lives.¬† It's the only time, Greg, you're not going to be able to talk about my bald head.¬† What I want to talk about is the time we had playing golf and pitching.¬† What you don't know about Greg and Tom is you know that all the statistics got him here and they got him here in the Hall of Fame.¬† But they did things behind the scenes for me that I will never, ever forget.¬† When I lost my change‑up, they were there helping me to find it.¬† When I lost my golf book, which was the prize of what I had, because I was the golf concierge, they looked tirelessly and helped me find it.¬† Recently I lost 20 pounds, and they helped me find it.¬† Thank you, guys.
I cannot say enough about them.¬† As time permits, obviously you know how much we have been together.¬† Tommy for 15 years, Greg for 10.¬† To Chipper Jones, soon to be inducted in the Hall of Fame, another one of the Atlanta Braves.¬† I'm not going to say anything about him because he'll have the mic last.¬† Would somebody please steal his Twitter account.
Thanks to all the trainers that worked so hard.¬† I'm a medical miracle that stands before you today.¬† I spent more time in the training room.¬† I can't thank them for their patience.¬† I know I drove them crazy.¬† Dave Pursley, Jeff Porter, and Jim Lovell, everybody else that had a hand in my career.¬† I can't thank you all enough.¬† Like I said, I hope one day to be able to give you something special.
To Chris Verna and Peter Hughes, you were invaluable in my career and crucial for the day‑to‑day what it took to get to the mound.
To all the doctors in Atlanta, I spent a lot of time counseling with you and seeing how it was going to be possible to throw another pitch.¬† One doctor I spent the most time with and the most passionate doctor, as Tommy said and even Greg, Dr. Joe Chandler, there's no possible way I could have done this without you.¬† I can't thank you enough.¬† You are everything I could ask for in your profession.
You watched the medical miracle keep existing.¬† We had many times at your house, in your office, and I can't thank you enough for the time you spent with me.¬† It's invaluable.
To all the pitching coaches I had, roving pitching coaches in Detroit, John Hiller and Ralph Treuel, bearing with the wild stallion.¬† Thank you to Bruce Dal Canton, my first pitching coach.¬† Then Roger McDowell, of course.
My first encounter of Leo Mazzone is when I came over from the Detroit Tigers in a trade.¬† He helped simplify my mechanics and my ability to pitch.¬† With the throwing program we were able to use over the last 15 years of my career is the reason we stayed healthy.¬† Thank you, Leo, for your patience and your diligence in seeing something through and making it work.
To my good friend Greg Olson who is here today.¬† We hit it off right away on the field and off.¬† His upbeat attitude helped me get through so many of my tough games.¬† I'll never forget him jumping in my arms against the Astros, the first time we were able to get to the playoffs.¬† He jumped in my arms, I never anticipated after nine innings, he was pretty heavy, but at that time he felt pretty light.
We got a chance to do it again after Game 7 after an unbelievable game of Steve Avery 1‑0 in Pittsburgh.¬† Jumped into my arms again, and we were on to the World Series.¬† This all happening after a 2‑11 first start, and then Bobby's patience and faith and a 12‑2 second half allowed this all to be possible.
We never planned it, but however we were working on a Trifecta in Game 7 against Jack Morris.¬† We were one run away from that happening.¬† It didn't happen.¬† My idol growing up Jack Morris ruined that incredible opportunity to have three times you jumping in my arms.
Thank you, Ollie, for all we did and all we did in our friendship, all the catchers I had.¬† I was not an easy person to catch. ¬†I can't thank them enough for their willingness to get me through a game.
To Brian McCann, now with the New York Yankees, it truly was a privilege to teach him what I learned from a lot of the other catchers in our game.
To all my teammates, I can't name you all, I thank you for what we had, an incredible run.¬† My goal in life was to be the best teammate that I possibly could be.¬† That meant caring for you on and off the field, being there doing my best to be prepared, laughing, joking, golfing, whatever it took.¬† I cared about each and every one of them.¬† That was our family away from our family and we spent a lot of time and good times together.
A special thanks to the great centerfielder I've ever seen in Andruw Jones.¬† Andruw Jones caught more fly balls that I threw than probably anybody else.¬† He was truly a pleasure to be playing behind.
To the Atlanta Braves organization, to wear this great uniform and represent the great state of Georgia, I never took one day for granted.¬† Wearing this uniform, I played every game as if it was my last.¬† The Braves uniform became such a platform for not only your foundation, but my later foundation I formed and the charities we were able to touch.¬† I can't wait to represent these organizations in the future as now representing the greatest team behind me in the Hall of Fame.
A special thank you to the Boston Red Sox for taking a chance on a broken‑down guy recovering from a shoulder surgery.¬† I can't thank you enough for this experience, giving me an opportunity.¬† Although I did not do very well, I am so sorry for that.¬† But giving me that opportunity, you showed me what another organization's view is like and the rich history you had.
To the St.Louis Cardinals, I will never thank you for giving me that chance after being released by the Boston Red Sox, and deservedly so by the way, for giving me an opportunity to end my career in what was an improbable and unbelievable playoff season.¬† For Tony La Russa, I can't thank you enough for making me feel like one of your own, trusting me with the ball in some of the big moments.
I will never forget these two organizations because I would retire after wearing the Cardinals uniform in 2009.
Last but not least, I want to steal a little bit of what Craig Biggio said in my speech, I want to thank the clubhouse guys.¬† They are the heart and soul of our team.¬† They are the heart and soul of every junk we bring to them.¬† I watch these kids grow up from kids to adults to now having families.¬† It started with Casey Stevenson, Chris Van Zant, Ben Acree to name a few.
Bill, for all the things you did away from the game.¬† The game consumes you and you need things to be in the proper order, in the right way.¬† I can't thank you enough.¬† John Schuerholz, Terry McGuirk, the whole Braves organization, you treated me as the family I now have in Atlanta and will forever live there, Lord willing.
John Holland and Fred Stone in spring training, I had so much fun with the guys behind the scenes because they never get enough time to be noticed or even know that they're there.¬† Sometimes get treated in a way that doesn't represent what the game is.
Before I hand it over to the next inductee, I'd be remiss if I did not talk about Tommy John.¬† I've been given an opportunity as one of the only players, the only one right now to be inducted into the Hall of Fame, with Tommy John surgery.¬† It's an epidemic, something affecting our game.¬† It's something I thought would cost me my career.¬† Thanks to Dr. James Andrews and all those before him, performing the surgery with such precision has caused it to be almost a false read like a Band‑Aid you put on your arm.
I want to encourage the families and parents that are out there to understand that this is not normal to have a surgery at 14 and 15 years old.¬† You have a time.¬† Baseball is not a year‑round sport.¬† You have an opportunity to be athletic and play other sports.
Don't let the institutions that are out there running before you guaranteeing scholarship dollars and signing bonuses that this is the way.¬† We have such great dynamic arms in our game that it's a shame that we're having one, two, three Tommy John recipients.¬† I want to encourage you if nothing else, know that your children's desire and passion to play baseball is something they can do without a competitive pitch.¬† Every throw a kid makes today is a competitive pitch.¬† They don't go outside, they don't throw enough.¬† They're competing and maxing out too hard too early.¬† That's why we're having these problems.¬† Please, take care of those great future arms.
To Tommy John, I can't thank you enough for the phone call, whether you were coerced or not.¬† The phone call at the age of 34 years old meant the world to me.¬† Emotionally I'd given up.¬† I thought that no one would wait for a pitcher of my age on the last year of my contract.¬† Thank you for encouraging me.¬† That was a pivotal part of my career to push through what I thought might be a career‑ending.
At 34, and 14 post‑season years and 200 post‑season innings is one of the reasons that I thought Tommy John, besides genetics, had happened to me.¬† Because of Dr. Andrews and the team that had been before him, I had confidence that the surgery would work and the rest would write its story.
Last but not least, or close to last but not least, I want to thank Mike Nixon, Scott Runyun for taking our family up here in a plane.¬† That was an absolute gift.¬† As you can see, my family is huge.¬† It takes an army.¬† Thank you for your generosity.
Being inducted into the Hall of Fame is one of the greatest honors that I could have here on earth.¬† However, I know there's another one coming.¬† The ultimate Hall of Fame.¬† I want to thank God for the talent He has given me and the support system that I have.
I would not be the man I am today if it were not for a couple people who sowed seeds into my life, telling me about Christ and telling me to take a deeper look into my faith.¬† Jose Alvarez, Marty Clary, Sid Bream, Terry Pendleton, the list could go on.¬† They took the time, not to care so much about my talent, but the heart and the man I would become.
Jackie and Ken Kendall, Mike and Kellie McCoy, Walt and Patty Wiley, and last Tim Cash and Barb, these are the people through the toughest times of my life, the intimacy of knowing what life has challenged you with, they've been in my every corner.¬† They've allowed me to know that I have more to live for than just the uniform I was wearing.¬† They gave me the greatest gift, to find my salvation in Christ.¬† I can't thank you enough for caring enough to invest your time and heart in me.
I have a unique group of men that meet every Thursday in JR's.¬† Jeff Foxworthy and the likes of so many men who have, through those days, taught me the impact I can make just beyond wearing a uniform.
I'm so humbled to be a member of the National Baseball Hall of Fame, I'm honored by so many of my family members.¬† To be here in Cooperstown is not something I ever dreamt.¬† I know along the way I forgot some people, but in my baseball career, I've been around two men that I would entrust my children with, I would leave my children with, who have represented me in baseball with the first class and degree in it that I always wanted my parents to be proud of.
Myles Shoda and Lonnie Cooper, I cannot thank you enough for taking care of my needs away from the game and my intentions, yours.¬† It's so vital.
To the guys who introduced me in transition to broadcasting.¬† Thank you for taking the time for taking a simple‑minded, no vocabulary, accordion‑playing player into transition to baseball.¬† Thank you to the MLB Network.¬† It started with TBS.¬† I can't think of another home I'd rather be and take the abuse when I get back from a great organization like the MLB Network.¬† Think I covered it all.
I am thankful, honored and blessed.¬† Thank you very, very much.
JANE FORBES CLARK:¬† Randy, as chairman of the National Baseball Hall of Fame, it is my honor to welcome you into the Hall of Fame family.
RANDY JOHNSON:¬† Thank you.¬† I'm so honored and privileged to be here.¬† I'll forever be linked to the 2015 inductee class with John, Craig and Pedro.¬† Thank you.
There's a lot of people on this journey that I've had for 20 years in the Major Leagues.¬† That's what it's about for me today.¬† Giving the recognition that they so readily deserve.
First I'd like to thank all the sportswriters for voting me into the Baseball Hall of Fame.¬† Thank you.
Secondly I'd like to thank the Hall of Fame executives and staff.¬† Jane, you have brought hospitality to a new level for my family, guests and me.¬† Thank you.
I never thought I would be on this stage, baseball's greatest fraternity.¬† It's humbling to look behind me and see the best who have ever played this game.¬† I had the honor of playing against many of these gentlemen, some I watched on TV.¬† But it would have been really fun to face you, Reggie.
My journey in baseball lasted 44 years.¬† I started when I was seven years old playing little league baseball in Livermore, California, a small little town.¬† Went from little league to Babe Ruth to high school.
I'd like to say thank you to Steve Fallon and his mom Betty for coming all the way from Livermore, California, to be here.¬† Thank you.
After my time in Livermore, California was over, it was a decision I had to make.¬† I got drafted by the Atlanta Braves, and I also had an opportunity to go to college.¬† I chose to go to college and further my education.¬† I played for the legendary baseball Coach Rod Dedeaux at USC.¬† A few of my teammates are here.¬† Thanks for being here, Albee, Phil, Randy.¬† You traveled a long ways.¬† Thank you.
I didn't learn how to throw a lot of strikes there, but I did learn how to take a few pitchers.¬† That's my passion today, always has been and always will be.
After USC, I was drafted in 1985 by the Montr√©al Expos.¬† The first team that gave me an opportunity to play in the Major Leagues.¬† I'm forever indebted to them.¬† As you know, my minor league was not stellar.¬† It took me four years in the minor leagues to finally get a call‑up, a September call‑up.¬† I relished that moment to get to pitch in Montr√©al against the Pittsburgh Pirates.
The following year, 1989, didn't go so well.¬† I got sent back down to the minor leagues.¬† Then I was part of a trade from Montr√©al to Seattle that would bring Mark Langston from Seattle to Montr√©al, and myself, Brian Holman and Gene Harris to Seattle.¬† Brian is here with his wife.¬† Thank you for traveling so far on this important day for me.
The trade to Seattle set my career in motion.¬† It was my apprenticeship.¬† 10 years there.¬† I played with Ken Griffey, Jr., Edgar Martinez, Omar Vizquel, Dan Wilson, and so many more.¬† Ken Griffey, Jr., will for sure be here next year.
There were some lean years there in Seattle as we were learning how to play our game.¬† Lou Piniella came into place and 'Refuse to lose' became our motto in 1995.¬† With his leadership and his guidance, we came down in '95 to a one‑game playoff.¬† Ironically enough I would pitch against the same guy I got traded for to Montr√©al, Mark Langston, for the AL West.¬† Very magical moment for Seattle.¬† Very proud to have played there for 10 years.¬† Thank you, Seattle.
I'd also like to thank ownership for being here on this important day to me.¬† Howard Lincoln, Chris Larson, Kevin Martinez, and one of only a few catchers that could handle me over my 22‑year career, and understand me, Dan Wilson and his wife Annie.
As my time finished up in Seattle, I went to Houston for two months.¬† It would inevitably be the two best months of my career, pitching 11 starts and going 10‑1.¬† The Houston Astrodome wasn't bad to pitch in either, was it, Nolan?
Then I became a free agent, going back home to Arizona, meeting Jerry Colangelo.¬† He had a vision for that baseball team in Arizona.¬† I bought into it.¬† He believed in me.
I played there.¬† The ball started in motion there.¬† Individual accomplishments are great, but in 2001, we had a team that in spring training we were all on the same page and we never deviated or wavered from that.¬† It led us to the World Series against the greatest team of all time, the New York Yankees.
Those are some very memorable moments there in Arizona.¬† I'm so grateful for everybody that I played with, and the franchise.¬† I moved on from Arizona and then I went on to New York.¬† I still remember getting a phone call from George Steinbrenner welcoming me to play for the New York Yankees.¬† I also enjoyed playing for Joe Torre.
After two years in New York, I came back to Arizona, 2007, 2008.¬† Recovering from back surgery, I thank Derrick Hall and Ken Kendrick for having me come back to Arizona.
In 2009, I finished my career in SanFrancisco.¬† There's so many memorable moments when I was growing up as a young boy watching the Vida Blue pitch in Oakland, and watching Willie Mays also play before that when I was even younger for San Francisco.
My career in baseball didn't go without being injured.¬† Having four knee surgeries, three back surgeries, and I tore my rotator cuff the last year of my career and still tried to pitch through it.
I'll be forever in debt for all the doctors and trainers that worked with me.¬† Brett Fischer, a very good friend, my physical therapist that lasted 22 years, getting me through my career, these knee surgeries, back surgeries, a torn rotator cuff.¬† I'll be forever indebted to you, Brett.¬† Thank you for traveling out here for my important day.
As I said, there was a lot of catchers in my career over 22 years.¬† I feel blessed that I had the opportunity to pitch to so many.¬† Dan Wilson, Damian Miller.¬† The game in Atlanta wouldn't have been perfect without Robby Hammock.¬† Thank you.
Then there's you, the fans.¬† I've had a chance to play for six different teams, never really having a place I could call home like Craig, to play my entire career there.¬† I got to know a lot of ball players, played with some of the greatest of my era.¬† Played for wonderful fans every stop along the way.
If I was a visiting player coming in to pitch against your team, you motivated me by screaming at me.¬† If you were rooting for me, I would run through a brick wall for you and throw as many pitches as I needed to throw to get that game and us a victory.
Now that my baseball career is over, I have the opportunity to support our USO, our troops all around the world.¬† In six years of retirement, I've been on seven USO tours, Iraq, Kuwait, Afghanistan, South Korea, Cuba.¬† It means a lot for me to see our men and women doing what they do for all of us.
We wouldn't be here without the sacrifices of our men and women that protect our country.¬† At this time I would like to point out and recognize two of my friends from the Wounded Warrior Project in Arizona that traveled all the way to be with me.¬† Roy Halvorgen and Specialist Kenji Knee‑ha‑Poll.¬† Thank you.¬† Without your service to this country, nothing would be possible.¬† I'm so grateful for you.¬† Thank you very much for being here.
Now to my family.¬† My dad passed away in 1992, on Christmas Day.¬† He saw three years of my career.¬† Not a lot to brag about.¬† But there was that one game where I threw a no‑hitter.¬† I gave him a call, but he said it was far from perfect, I had walked seven batters.¬† 13, 14 years later, I was perfect, dad, that one game.
As I said, I grew up in the Bay Area.¬† I emulated Vida Blue.¬† He was the local left‑handed pitcher I could watch on a daily basis pitching for the Oakland A's.¬† I would be out in the front yard throwing a tennis ball against our garage door, a wooden garage door.¬† My dad would come out after about half an hour with a hammer, put the hammer down and say, When you're done playing catch against the wall, make sure you pound all those nails in.
He also took the time as a police officer when his shift was over to come in his police uniform and watch me pitch in high school.¬† I never forgot those moments.
Then there's my mom, the backbone to our family, working 25 years for General Electric as a secretary.¬† I'm one of six children.¬† She raised six children, still had a full‑time job, and came home and fed us, took care of all of us.¬† Thank you, mom.¬† You're the Hall of Famer.
I can remember when I was seven years old going to my first little league practice.¬† She and my dad were both at work.¬† It was the way we were raised.¬† We were kind of tough as young ones.¬† You kind of did things on your own.¬† I took myself to where practice was being held.¬† I came home confused because there were so many people there.¬† By the time she got home, I was walking through the door having never made the little league practice.¬† She took me by the hand, took me to my first little league practice, making sure that baseball would start for me on that day.
I love you, mom.¬† I love you so much.¬† You're the most important person in my life.
Then there's my siblings.¬† My brother Jeff, my brother Greg who passed away, my sisters Sue, Cathy and Debbie.¬† You're all the oldest, I'm the youngest, and I'm so grateful that you looked out for your little brother along the way.
As Craig and John said, baseball is a long sport.¬† You're not home much.¬† Someone has to run the household.¬† I'll be forever in debt to Lisa for looking out for our children and raising them.¬† Thank you.
Three daughters and a son.¬† Samantha, Willow, Lexie and Tanner.¬† There's no accomplishments I achieved that would ever outweigh anything that you could ever do in life.¬† I'm so blessed and happy that I'm watching you guys grow up and become young adults.¬† I'm so proud of you.
When I won my 300th game, it was supposed to be a special moment, and it was.¬† But my son was the batboy that day.¬† I had pitched six innings, was watching the game in the dugout.¬† I was watching his every move in a SanFrancisco Giants uniform.¬† We were getting closer to the finish of the game.¬† He was standing on the top step.¬† As soon as the last out was made, I watched his emotions.¬† That's what I took from that game that day.¬† Winning the 300th game was great, but watching how emotional my son was was even better.
So many of the reasons that I've been inducted in the Hall of Fame are long gone now.¬† I no longer have a fastball.¬† I no longer have a bad mullet.¬† And my scowl is long gone.¬† I'm so happy to be elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame and be in the greatest fraternity of all time.¬† And you the fans to share this great moment with me.
In closing, I would just like to thank everybody for being here, and my special friends the Wounded Warriors, and also Zach Farmer who I don't know personally, but I called him two days ago.¬† He's dying with leukemia.¬† I was reached by two different people to give him a call.¬† He was an All‑American at Ohio State, left‑handed pitcher, wanted to talk to me.¬† I called him a couple days ago.¬† He doesn't have long to live.
Zach, I love you.¬† I've never met you before, but hang in there.
Thank you once again.¬† I appreciate it.
JANE FORBES CLARK:¬† It is my pleasure as the chairman of the National Baseball Hall of Fame to welcome Pedro Martinez into our Baseball Hall of Fame family.
PEDRO MARTINEZ:¬† Thank you so much.¬† There we go.¬† Hola!¬† Hola!¬† Well, now let's go to the serious stuff.¬† A lot of people been sitting down for a long time.¬† It's now time to get serious.
(Speaking in Spanish.)
I'm going to start in English, but I'm pretty sure I'll finish in Spanish.
Let me just start by saying may God bless each and every one of you here today.¬† Before anything, I would like to apologize because I'm speaking here in a second language.¬† Remember, I'm Dominican.¬† Even though I get away with English pretty well, I remain Dominican, and I have a hard time sometimes expressing myself this way.¬† So bear with me, everybody.¬† Please bear with me.
I'm going to have to translate, as well.¬† So bear with me.¬† Be patient.
If forget someone to mention, please don't feel bad.¬† It's been 32 years before we get this opportunity to get here.¬† If I get emotional or I don't say something or don't mention someone or don't say it appropriately, please forgive me.
Well, first of all, welcome, everybody.¬† I would like to take a moment to actually say hello to all my peers, the Hall of Fame, Jane, Jeff, Brad, the whole staff.¬† Thank you for having us.¬† It's a great honor to be here.¬† It's a great moment, not only for me, but for my family.¬† It's a great moment for the Dominican Republic and Latin America.
I would like to also welcome my amigo, the new commissioner, Rob Manfred.¬† We have a lot of work to do in the Dominican Republic to keep bringing people to the Hall of Fame.
I would like to thank MLB baseball also.¬† I would like to actually thank my colleagues over there.¬† I got you!¬† Hello, Greg, John, everybody.¬† I have you here.¬† You're hanging in my heart.
Well, Tony Clark is not here, but he represents the Players' Association, the one that we were part of for a long time, for me 18 years.
I would like to thank the members of the media that actually voted us in. ¬†I couldn't thank you enough.¬† In '99, I had a little stretch where I felt you guys didn't like it, didn't like me so well.¬† But, hey, you made it up.¬† You really show that you really care when it matters.
I think I just made three new brothers, three guys that while competing against them and looking at them and learning from them, gave me great joy, a lot to learn, a lot to take with me up to this moment.
Greg, what a headache you were on the bases and hitting, as well.¬† Too bad I couldn't realize that I couldn't throw fastballs up and away on time, especially late in the count.
John, what a competitor.¬† If you put me and Randy together, I always say this, as far as staff is compared, I think Randy and I make the same stuff that you carried yourself.¬† That's how talented you were, John.¬† I appreciate you, bro.
Randy Johnson, the big unit.¬† My brother from another mother!¬† How much I enjoyed getting to know you and having you coming over to this class with me.¬† Thank you, bro, you are special.¬† I just want to ask you a question:¬† How does the weather feel when you stand up?
My class of 2015 is a unique class, today is a unique day.¬† Today I don't have enough words to actually thank you all enough.¬† My peers back here, the veterans, in the next dinner we have, I know I'm going to be with the Punching Judys.¬† I heard that already.
I would also like to welcome all the government officials from the United States, from the Dominican Republic.¬† We have a huge package of people representing the country, the people.¬† Thank you so much.¬† Also the officials here, I know the Secretary of the Navy is here.¬† He became a friend, also a fan from Boston.¬† So welcome aboard.
Well, all of you, thank you for being here.¬† Dominican pride is here.
As you know, we all have people to thank.¬† We all have different reasons that made us special and made us be here.¬† I don't think I could have been here without having all the things that I had happen in my life in general, and also as a player.
I would like to thank my people from Dominican and my family members and all the friends from all over the country that came over.¬† I would like to thank America for the opportunity that baseball had to offer for me.
Words have the power to build you or break you.¬† I chose two words to describe pretty much how I feel today in this special day with all of you.¬† There's so many things I would like to say that I don't know if I will find the words in Spanish or English.¬† But, my God, I'm thankful.¬† I'm thankful for everything.
The two words I chose today were 'God' and 'thank you'.¬† I chose God because He's the reason we're all here.¬† He is the one that allows us to be here.¬† He's the one that pretty much builds the way for you to make it here, to actually become who you are.
I have here the reason why Pedro was so determined out there.¬† I have here the glory of God with me, and I can only look to my left a little bit, and I have all the motivation I needed to be the way I was in baseball:¬† my family.¬† My kids.
Boys, you don't know what you're taking on when you take baseball.¬† It's very hard.¬† But it's rejoicing to be here.
Kids, I love you guys.¬† You are actually my legacy, my generation next.¬† It's a huge commitment, as you can see, not only with baseball, not only with your peers, not only with the fans.¬† You have a huge commitment with the legacy that I have built for you guys.¬† So thank you, God, for them, and I love you all.
My mom, the nucleus of my family.¬† My dad is not here today.¬† But I have a second dad.¬† Ramon, you're right there.¬† You were my second dad.
My brother Ramon, another veteran in the big leagues.¬† I followed his footsteps and led me to where I didn't expect to be today.¬† Thank you, bro, for being my support, for cleaning the way where I was going to walk.¬† So thank you, bro, I love you.¬† I respect you, as well.
The rest of my family, my brother Jesus.
Let me say something to everybody now that I can.¬† In 2002, I wasn't given a Cy Young supposedly because I missed the start.¬† Well, that Cy Young I didn't win because I chose to give an opportunity to a kid named Josh Hancock.¬† And why do I bring it up?¬† Because out of four brothers that we are, Ramon, Nelson, me and eventually Jesus, three of us made it to the big leagues.¬† But Jesus is not in the record books because the organization he was playing for did not find the chance to give him one pitch in the big leagues so that he could be in the records.
That was the main reason why I decided not to take that outing, but to give it to Josh Hancock.¬† I felt bad that my brother Jesus did not experience what it was like to pitch in that game that day.
So, Jesus, don't feel bad.¬† We pitch enough for you.¬† We're here.¬† So love you.¬† Baseball is yours, too.¬† What we get is ours.
I would like to thank God also for my beautiful wife, my other mother, Luz Maria, my other partner in crime Ana Lelia, my cousins, nephews.¬† Lilly, I don't have enough words to say how much I appreciate you.¬† My in‑laws.¬† All the people that have somehow influenced my life.¬† But Carolina, I must say, the way you're dealing with me, I know I'm not an easy out when it comes to keeping me quiet, especially after I retired, where I didn't know what I was going to do with so much time.¬† Carolina, I love you.¬† I appreciate what you have done for my family, the things you have done to actually get all my family here.¬† Close to a hundred people we have here, ladies and gentlemen.¬† Carolina, Kerry, Pam, Nancy Lane, they were responsible for us being here and making this moment so special.¬† I love you all.¬† Nana.
People in baseball that I feel so fortunate to have had by my side.¬† When I look over there, it's funny, but so many names that I want to mention.¬† We waited 32 years to see one more Dominican.¬† You have to imagine that there was a lot of people involved in this.
So I'm just going to draft a couple of names that I would like to mention after thanking God for the beautiful family that's witnessing what we have today.
Right away I have to think Rafael Avila, the man with the biggest history as far as ball players coming out of the Dominican Republic.¬† If you didn't know, Rafael Avila over here, my first mentor, that signed more than 50 players that have made it to the big leagues.¬† Rafael Avila, an icon of Latin America and a symbol of baseball in the Dominican Republic.
My first coach who was always there to teach me the baby steps I needed to take to become better every day.
I have a gentleman here that I think is crazy.¬† I have a gentleman here whose name is Dan Duquette.¬† He was crazy not to trade twice for the same little player, and both times he ended up looking great.¬† And he wanted me for a third time, but I was too old.
So, Dan, thank you so much for having so much faith in me, trusting that I was going to make you look good.¬† I thought you were good‑looking without me, but I guess I shape you more.
I have here a name, two names, that I can't go without mentioning.¬† Felipe Alou and Tommy Harper.¬† Felipe gave me the opportunity.¬† I was trying to take advantage of it.¬† There was a time where I felt like I wasn't performing up to the level.
You gave me one of the best advice I could ever take with me.¬† Thank you for telling me that the organ kept on playing because at that moment I felt like I was failing, and you just told me, That's only a little slump.¬† How do you get into the slump?¬† You got into the slump pitching.¬† Well, that's the same way you have to come out of it.
I kept my faith and I kept my head up and I kept working.¬† Today I can say I thank you for that.¬† The organ, yes, kept on playing.
I would like to take the moment to thank all the franchises that I played for, L.A. Dodgers, Montr√©al Expos, Boston Red Sox, New York Mets, and the Philadelphia Phillies.
At the same time I want to say to the fan bases that we appreciate you all.¬† Montr√©al, I hope you get a team pretty soon.¬† Boston, I don't have enough words to say how much I love you.
Even though L.A. Dodgers never got me the chance to prove what I could do, I was given an opportunity there to showcase a little bit so that someone else could pick me up.¬† Thank you.
Philadelphia, where I finished my career, little did I know that I was going to finish my career.¬† But the fan base was great.¬† The experience in Philadelphia was great.
So to all of you, thank you.
The Mets fans.¬† Well, if you look at me and you see me going wild, that's the Mets fans.¬† That's how we are.¬† So Queens, I love you, too.
A lot of people that influence your life in other ways, I have names that I have to mention, as well. ¬†One of them is my dear friend from the Dominican Republic, all‑time friend.¬† Able to put up a lot of stuff with me.¬† Evita (phonetic), my agent Fernando Cuza is out there, as well.¬† I have to thank Guy Conti, the guy that taught me the circle change‑up, the change‑up that gave those batters a lot of trouble.¬† His wife Janet, as well.
I have to thank the family who introduced me to the United States, all the way in Great Falls, Montana.¬† Thank you so much.
I have to thank some people in Montr√©al.¬† Sam, Mark Routtenberg.¬† The fan base in Montr√©al, thank you, thank you for supporting me, thank you for being there for me.¬† It's too bad you don't have a team.
All the coaches and trainers that I was able to spend time with.¬† Chris Correnti is one name that I could never forget.¬† This is the guy that went through war with me.¬† Wherever you are, Chris, I love you.¬† I appreciate it.¬† May God bless you.
I would like to thank God for all the teammates I had.¬† Jason Varitek, Kevin Millar, Manny Ramirez, David Ortiz.¬† So many names that I could mention today.¬† I would like to thank all of you.¬† The ones that I played with, the ones that I competed against, you guys helped me on the field, helped me defeat those other teams, and at the same time you guys built my courage, strength and desire to go out there and beat you.¬† The competition, I want to acknowledge you, and I want to tell you that I respected you, even though sometimes by the pitches you wouldn't tell that.
I would like to thank God for the opportunity of being here.¬† I would like all of you to not look at me as numbers, as baseball, as achievements.¬† I would like you to actually see me as a sign of hope for a third‑world country, for Latin America, someone that you can really look up to, and feel comfortable enough to say, I'm proud of you.
Today I don't want to roll into numbers and games that I pitched.¬† I just want to make sure that my people get a little message across from me and see me as a sign of hope for a future generation.
I'm going to have to switch a little bit to Spanish because I would like these people to really feel what I feel today and what I mean to say.
(Speaking in Spanish.)
I will go back to English so I can sum up some of the stuff I said.
I feel proud to be from Dominican Republic.¬† I give this to all the fathers in the Dominican because today is Father's Day in Dominican.¬† The day I got called to be in the Hall of Fame is January 6th, which is Kid's Day.¬† To all the fathers in the Dominican Republic, feel like this is your gift today.
I thank you all for your patience.¬† I would like to do something will probably break the protocol, but I would like to give my people an opportunity that we don't get very often, and we had to wait for 32 years for us to do.¬† So I would like to invite Mr. Juan Marichal to come forward and give the Dominican Republic a gift they waited 32 years to get.
Thank you so much.¬† Thank you for having us.
JANE FORBES CLARK:¬† Thank you so much for coming and please come back next year for our 2016 induction ceremony, July 24th.¬† Thank you and travel safely.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports