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July 21, 2019
Cooperstown, New York
JANE FORBES CLARK: Good afternoon and welcome to the National Baseball Hall of Fame 80th annual induction ceremony. I'm Jane Forbes Clark and I have the wonderful privilege of serving as the chairman of the board of the Hall of Fame.
On this beautiful afternoon, we're looking to induct six of baseball's legends: Harold Baines, Roy Halladay, Edgar Martinez, Mike Mussina, Lee Smith and Mariano Rivera.
With these additions, the Hall of Fame will now have 329 members, 232 are Major League players. Only 1% of the 19,500 men who have ever played Major League Baseball.
35 are Negro league greats. 30 are executives, including our only female inductee, Effa Manley, 22 were managers, and 10 are umpires. They have all had incredible careers. They define the greatness of the game with their character, with their integrity, and with their sportsmanship. They are our legends.
Before we begin the program with the introduction of our 58 returning legends, I have a very special person to introduce you to: In addition to today's six new inductees, we are welcoming the Hall of Fame's new president to his first induction ceremony in this role. Tim Mead joined the Hall of Fame last month with 40 years of experience in baseball as an executive with the Los Angeles Angels. Deeply respected throughout the baseball industry, Tim has a great affection for the game and its history.
On behalf of the board of directors and the staff of the Hall of Fame, we are thrilled to have him now leading our efforts. Ladies and gentlemen, the new president of the National Baseball Hall of Fame, Tim Mead.
Now, to begin with the program, it is my pleasure to introduce to you our master of ceremonies. He's been with MLB Network since 2011. He is the host of MLB Now. He appears across the network's programming. He's a passionate baseball fan and a great friend to the Hall of Fame. He's in his third year as our master of ceremonies. Please give a warm welcome to Brian Kenny.
BRIAN KENNY: Thank you, Jane. Wow, you're a pretty good crowd. Thank you, everybody. It is my pleasure to be here with you at the 2019 National Baseball Hall of Fame induction ceremonies. We have a glorious day. We weren't so sure, but we're outside and the sun is shining.
Today we welcome back baseball's greatest players, managers, executives and umpires. We welcome six new members. It's an historic class, a record gathering, tremendous crowd, 52 returning Hall of Famers. We are welcoming them back to Cooperstown right now. Are you ready?
Our first Hall of Famer is a five-time Cy Young Award winner. Won 303 games. He led the Arizona Diamondback to the 2001 World Series title, from the class of 2015, Randy Johnson.
He is the all-time leader in stolen bases and runs scored. He also won an American League MVP, two World Series titles, the all-time great from the class of 2009, Rickey Henderson.
Our next Hall of Famer had 310 saves, four times pitching over 100 innings out of the bullpen. A nine all-time All-Star, he helped lead the Yankees to a World Series title in 1978, from the class of 2008, the Goose, Goose Gossage.
Our next Hall of Famer didn't become a relief pitcher until he was 32, yet his legacy is tied to his fantastic work in the ninth inning. The American League Cy Young winner and MVP in 1992, from the class of 2004, Dennis Eckersley.
He is third all time among managers in wins, winning six pennants, three World Series titles, one of the game's most innovative managers, from the class of 2014, Tony La Russa.
He is a two-time Cy Young Award winner, was the 1995 World Series MVP for the Atlanta Braves, a winner of 305 games, from the class of 2014, Tom Glavine.
A stellar all-around shortstop in Detroit for two full decades, the 1984 Tigers won seven of eight playoff games with this infielder slugging .806 and winning the World Series MVP. From last year, the class of 2018, Alan Trammell.
He was a Silver Slugger at both second base and catcher. He would lead the National League in runs, doubles, stolen bases, and hit-by-pitch, with 3,060 hits, from the class of 2016, Craig Biggio.
The architect of the powerhouse Atlanta Braves, qualifying for 14 consecutive post-seasons, and winning the World Series in 1995, from the class of 2017, general manager John Schuerholz.
Our next Hall of Famer is a beloved Cub, 426 home runs and held the National League mark for consecutive games played. From the class of 1987, welcome back Billy Williams.
He excelled as a starter and a relief pitcher, finishing with over 200 wins and 150 saves. A Cy Young Award winner, from the class of 2015, John Smoltz.
Our next Hall of Famer has over 3,100 hits, 460 home runs, he helped the Blue Jays to their first World Series title, from the class of 2001, Dave Winfield.
He led the American League in home runs three times and is the last man in the AL to top 400 total bases in a single season, doing so in his MVP season of 1978. From the class of 2009, Jim Rice.
This Hall of Fame pitcher saved at least 20 games in nine consecutive seasons, broke the National League single-season record, finishing with 300 in his career, Hall of Famer, class of 2006, Bruce Sutter.
He was known for his big post-season moments for a National League dynasty, finishing with 1,600 RBIs, a seven-time All-Star from the class of 2000, Tony Perez.
This lefty is still the National League record holder for strikeouts and also won 329 games. A four-time Cy Young Award winner, from the class of 1994, welcome him back, Steve Carlton.
He was a five-tool shortstop, the first shortstop ever with 30 home runs and 30 steals in the same season. A 12-time All-Star, 1995 National League MVP, from the class of 2012, Barry Larkin.
In his first seven years in the Major Leagues, he hit an astounding .356. Led the American League in batting average five times, and on-base six times. He helped lead the Yankees' return to dominance, winning a World Series title in 1996, class of 2005, Wade Boggs.
He won 13 Gold Gloves behind the plate, playing a record number of games at catcher. From the class of 2017, Ivan "Pudge" Rodriguez.
He has World Series rings with three different clubs, pitching brilliantly for the 1984 Tigers and 1991 Twins, famously throwing the only 10-inning shutout in a Game 7 of the World Series, from the class of 2018, Jack Morris.
His 3,319 hits have him number five all time in American League history, he also stole over 500 bases, leading the Brewers to a pennant and later the Blue Jays to a World Series title, Hall of Fame class of 2004, Paul Molitor.
He won 355 games, second only to Warren Spahn in the live-ball era. Five times he led the National League in innings pitched, and ERA, a four-time Cy Young Award winner, class of 2014, Greg Maddux.
He guided the game through a period of unprecedented growth through his 23-plus years as the ninth commissioner of baseball, from the class of 2017, Major League Baseball's Commissioner Emeritus, Bud Selig.
He is one of only six players to top 3,000, 500 home runs, an eight-time All-Star, three-time Gold Glove winner, class of 2003, Eddie Murray.
The 1984 National League MVP won nine straight Gold Glove awards at second base, in separate seasons had as many as 40 home runs and 54 stolen bases. From the class of 2005, Ryan Sandberg.
A slugging first baseman who also excelled on the basepaths and on the field, National League MVP from 1994, lifetime .408 on-base percentage, from the class of 2017, Jeff Bagwell.
In the volatile world of relief pitching, he was a constant with the San Diego Padres, 601 saves, the most games finished in the history of the National League. Welcome back from the class of the 2018, Hall of Famer Trevor Hoffman.
He was both a Cy Young and MVP coming out of the bullpen, averaging a now unheard of 120 innings per season for 12 years. His post-season work helped lead the Oklahoma A's to three straight World Series titles. From the class of 1992, Rollie Fingers.
He was successful in 85% of his stolen base attempts, finishing with 808 steals, a lifetime .385 on-base percentage, from the class of 2017, Tim Raines.
He put together the World Series champion Blue Jays of 1992 and 1993, and later the Phillies championship team in 2008, from the class of 2011, general manager Pat Gillick.
Our next Hall of Famer had 20 wins for three different teams and finished with 314 in his career. He and his brother Jim are the only brothers to win a Cy Young award, with him winning one in each league. From the class of 1991, Gaylord Perry.
The master of the knuckleball, he didn't pitch a full season until he was 28 years old, yet he finished with 318 wins and over 5,400 innings pitched, the most for any pitcher in the live-ball era. Class of 1997, Phil Niekro.
He won a record 10 Gold Gloves at second base, was an outstanding post-season player, leading the Blue Jays to back-to-back World Series titles, from the class of 2011 Roberto Alomar.
He was one of the greatest artists at the plate, winning seven batting titles four times. He finished with 3,053 hits, the 1977 American League MVP from the class of 1991, Rod Carew.
He threw an incredible 60 shutouts in his career, ninth highest in the history of baseball. He struck out over 3,700 batters, number five all time. The class of 2011, Bert Blyleven.
He won 10 straight Gold Gloves behind the plate, winning two MVP awards, leading the Reds to four pennants and two World Series championships. From the class of 1989, Johnny Bench.
In his first 11 seasons, he had a staggering .440 on-base percentage, finishing with 521 home runs, winning two American League MVP awards, from the class of 2014, the Big Hurt, Frank Thomas.
A switch-hitter who batted over .300 from both sides of the plate, the National League MVP in 1999, great postseason player, finishing with a .409 on-base percentage, just last year, class of 2018, Chipper Jones.
An incredibly durable pitcher, he averaged over 300 innings a season for a nine-year stretch, seven-time 20-game winner, six straight 20-win seasons with the Chicago Cubs, the first Canadian-born Hall of Famer, class of 1991, Ferguson Jenkins.
A five-tool player, great years with the Expos and the Cubs, at the time of his retirement one of only two players to have better than 400 home runs and 300 stolen bases, let's welcome back from the class of 2010, the Hawk, Andre Dawson.
He was a spectacular center fielder, who had tremendous power, finishing with 630 career home runs and 10 Gold Gloves, the 1997 American League MVP, class of 2016, Ken Griffey Jr.
This manager is top five all time in wins, leading the New York Yankees to six pennants and four World Series titles. Also a great player, the 1971 National League MVP is now the chief baseball officer for Major League Baseball, class of 2014, Joe Torre.
He is the all-time leader in total bases. He broke the most famous record in sports, passing Babe Ruth's 714 home runs. A former National League MVP who finished with 3,771 hits, from the class of 1982, the Hammer, Hank Aaron.
With him, as you saw right there, he is also a member of the 600 home run club, 12 times he topped 30 home runs, over 1,700 walks, finishing with a lifetime .402 on-base percentage, Hall of Famer Jim Thome.
He was a two-time American League MVP, finishing with over 3,100 hits, 431 home runs, he didn't miss an inning for five full seasons, played a record 2,632 consecutive games, the Iron Man, class of 2007, Cal Ripken Jr.
He finished his career with over 2,400 hits and 500 stolen bases, but it was his incredible defense that brought him to Cooperstown. A 13-time Gold Glove winner, holds the shortstop record for assists, from the class of 2002, the Wizard, Ozzie Smith.
His 563 home runs featured some of the biggest home runs in the history of baseball. Five World Series titles to his credit, 11 trips to the post-season, welcome back from the Hall of Fame class of 1993, Mr. October, Reggie Jackson.
He pitched some of the greatest singles seasons in modern baseball history. A three-time Cy Young Award winner to led the Red Sox to a World Series title in 2004, from the class of 2015, Pedro Martinez.
He was the American League MVP in 1964, the World Series MVP in 1970, he still holds the record at his position for games, putouts, assists and double plays. When a great play is made at third base, his name is the one that is uttered for comparison. From the class of 1983, Brooks Robinson.
An exciting five-tool player who hit for average and power. In 2002 he hit .336, slugged .593 and stole 40 bases. The 2004 American League MVP, from the class of 2018, Vladimir Guerrero.
He captured five straight ERA titles, the final five seasons of his career. He set a modern record with 382 strikeouts in 1965, a perfect game in 1965. The longest current-tenured Hall of Famer, from the Hall of Fame class of 1972, Sandy Koufax.
In a five-year stretch, he had a peak few have ever approached, with .431 on-base percentage, averaging 60 steals a season, winning a Gold Glove at second base each other. Now the vice chairman for the Hall of Fame Board of Directors, from the class of 1990, Joe Morgan.
Now, to the class of 2019. Up first, he pitched his entire career in the loaded AL East in a high-run scoring era. Still finished with 270 wins, over 2,800 strikeouts, and one of the best winning percentages in the modern era, let's welcome to the Hall of Fame, Mike Mussina.
One of the most consistent run producers of the 1980s and '90s, he is one of only 17 players in history with at least 2,800 hits and 1,600 RBIs. Please welcome six-time All-Star, and now Hall of Famer, Harold Baines.
A two-time Cy Young Award winner, Roy Halladay led his league in complete games seven times. The author of a perfect game and the second post-season no-hitter in baseball history, he is now a part of the class of 2019. Roy is represented on stage today by his wife, please welcome Brandy Halladay.
Widely regarded as one of the best hitters of his era, our next inductee won two batting titles, led the league in on-base percentage three times in an 18-year career with the Seattle Mariners. The namesake of the Designated Hitter of the Year Award, please welcome class of 2019, Hall of Famer Edgar Martinez.
Known for his intimidating stature on the mound, this pitcher helped revolutionize the fireman role into the ninth-inning closer. He held the all-time record for saves for 13 years and finished with 478 in his career. From the Hall of Fame class of 2019, Lee Smith.
To close us out, the all-time leader with 652 saves, he posted a minuscule 2.21 ERA, the lowest of the live-ball era. A post-season legend, he had a 0.70 ERA in 141 playoff innings, helping seal five World Series championships for the New York Yankees. Ladies and gentlemen, Hall of Famer class of 2019, Mariano Rivera.
Let's also welcome to the stage two special individuals who will be a part of today's ceremony. First a man who presided over the past 11 induction ceremonies on this stage as the Hall of Fame's president. He retired from the role earlier this year after a full 25 years of working at the Hall of Fame, and will always be considered a part of the Cooperstown and Hall of Fame community, please welcome to the stage Jeff Idelson.
He is the 10th commissioner in the history of Major League Baseball, a role he assumed in 2015. Previously he served the game as the chief operating officer, and before that spent 15 years as executive vice president of labor relations. He is a native of nearby Rome, New York, has been visiting Cooperstown his entire life, let's welcome the Commissioner of Major League Baseball, Rob Manfred.
Today is a celebration of our national pastime, and these all-time greats of the game that you see seated behind me are an integral part of the fabric of baseball. Sadly, two of our Hall of Famers passed away this past year.
Willie McCovey was a tremendous hitter. In 22 Major League seasons, 19 as a member of the Giants, Willie hit 521 home runs. He had a heart as big as his home run swing. One of baseball's true gentleman.
We also lost Frank Robinson. Frank will be remembered for the enormous impact he had on our game as both and extraordinary player, 586 home runs and as a gifted manager. The first African-American manager in Major League history. He was deeply committed to the Hall of Fame and served as a member of its board of directors.
I'd like to ask you now to observe a moment of silence as we remember these two baseball legends.
We have a tremendous afternoon here for you today with all of these Hall of Famers. Let's now welcome back to the podium board chairman for the National Baseball Hall of Fame, Jane Forbes Clark.
JANE FORBES CLARK: Thank you, Brian.
Now, if you would please rise, remove cover, welcome a very special guest to the stage to perform our national anthem. He's in Cooperstown today with a guitar, not a bat, and shows the same passion for music as he does for our game. A five-time All-Star, the 1998 batting champion, and a four-time World Series champion New York Yankee, please welcome Bernie Williams.
(National anthem played.)
JANE FORBES CLARK: Now it's time to induct our six new members of the National Baseball Hall of Fame. I would like to ask Commissioner Manfred to please join me.
As we begin, I would like to call your attention back to the video monitor for a short presentation about our first 2019 inductee, Mike Mussina.
JANE FORBES CLARK: Mike, if you would come up and join us. As chairman of the National Baseball Hall of Fame, it is my honor, Mike, to welcome you into the Hall of Fame family, and to ask the Commissioner to please read the inscription on your plaque.
COMMISSIONER MANFRED: "Michael Cole Mussina, "Moose," Baltimore, A.L. 1991 to 2000. New York, A.L. 2001 to 2008. With command of both sides of the plate, and a diverse repertoire, delivered consistent excellence in a career spent entirely in the powerhouse AL East division. Recorded 270 wins and a .638 winning percentage, one of only four live-ball era pitchers to attain both marks. Notched eight seasons with 17 or more victories, including 18 in 1992, his first full year, and 20 in his final campaign. Helped the Orioles and Yankees to nine post-seasons in his 18-year career. Five-time All-Star, and seven-time Gold Glove Award winner."
JANE FORBES CLARK: Ladies and gentlemen, from the class of the Hall of Fame 2019, Mike Mussina.
MIKE MUSSINA: Thank you. First I want to thank everyone for putting the best videos together they had of me. That was really great. Joe, that's the best monotone I got, okay? I'm sorry (laughter).
First, I want to welcome everyone to Cooperstown. Whether this is your first trip or you've been here many times before, we all appreciate your love of baseball and your efforts to be here.
I have a special welcome for all the Orioles fans, all the Yankee fans, and to all the central Pennsylvania people who drove up here for today's ceremony.
I'm standing up here with the best who ever played the game, some are my former teammates, some are former opponents, some I grew up watching on television. So the obvious questions are: what am I doing up here, and how in the world did this happen.
First to the voters, an enormous thank you, to those who voted for me in my very first year, and kept me on the ballot. I thank you. To those who continued to reevaluate my career, and ultimately felt I deserved this honor, I wholeheartedly thank you.
To Jane, Jeff, Shesta, Whitney and the entire staff, thank you for all you do to make Cooperstown what it is, the home of the great game of baseball.
I'm sure that every year the inductees take advantage of this one chance to stand up here and tell great stories about their lives, their challenges, their successes and their failures. In about a million words or less, I want to give you a few of my stories.
My baseball journey began in the backyards of our neighborhood, back in my hometown of Montoursville, Pennsylvania. It's located right next to Williamsport, the home of Little League baseball. Both are connected to Cooperstown by about a 200-mile stretch of the Susquehanna River.
Before I was old enough to play organized baseball, it was all about wiffle ball. Even after I was old enough to play organized, we still ruined people's yards with wiffle ball games. There was no travel ball, no fall ball. In fact, at eight years old, I barely made it to my first organized team practice. I rode my bike the four or five blocks to the field at the elementary school. I was so excited to go, I arrived so early, there was no one else there. I did not even get off my bike. I turned around and rode back home. As I pulled into our yard, my mom looked at me and asked the obvious question, What are you doing here?
My response was, Obviously there isn't anybody there.
Well, get back on your bike and go back to the field.
Luckily I did. My baseball career got better once I made it back to that first practice. The Little League years were great, just playing ball, no stress. It was all about pizza and sno-cones, the packs of baseball cards with that stale piece of gum inside.
During those Little League years, I saw my first big league game ever. It was in the late 1970s at Yankee Stadium. Our family seats were in the mezzanine behind the right field foul pole. At some point later in the game, my brother Mark and I got tired of sitting there, and went on an adventure. That took two kids from small town America to the back row of the right field upper deck at Yankee Stadium with no adult supervision.
The players look awfully small from way up there. That was my first taste of the Major Leagues.
Now, high school ball, that wasn't quite as stress free, but my coaches Carter Giles and Fred Springman who are here gave me the opportunity to play pitcher and shortstop for four years.
I want to thank them for trusting me at a young age and allowing me to grow as a player. We even got a state championship in there. Thank you, guys, again.
When high school was winding down, it was time to decide whether college was my next challenge or pro ball. I had the opportunity to play for an 18-and-under national team one summer during high school. That's where he met coach Dean Stotz from Stanford University. We sat down after a game for an hour or so, and needless to say, he did not leave a great first impression with me. He knows this, I've told him many times. Fortunately for me, I did not stick with my first impression. So even though I was drafted by the Baltimore Orioles after high school, at 18 years old, I left Pennsylvania for the land of palm trees and earthquakes, central California, and Stanford university.
Head Coach Mark Marquess, pitching coach Tom Dunton, coach Dean Stotz are all here. I thank you guys for coming all the way from California. They taught me more about baseball than I ever imagined. They also had the confidence in me to put me in the rotation for my entire freshman year. Somehow we won the National Championship.
I loved my years at Stanford. I met so many great people. These coach, still my close friends 30 years later.
Thank you again, guys.
After spending three years at Stanford, I was once again drafted by the Baltimore Orioles. Most of their minor league affiliates were near Pennsylvania, so I was looking forward to heading back east to play. My minor league debut was in Williamsport. After 14 months they drafted me, the Orioles took a shot, and I was called up to Baltimore with about two months left in the 1991 season. My first start was at Comiskey Park in Chicago. I actually threw really well that day, and only gave up four hits. The problem was Frank Thomas had three of them, including a solo home run and we lost 1-0. That was my introduction to the big leagues.
The next season was my first full year in the majors, and the first year for Camden Yards in downtown Baltimore. It was sold out every game, and we had a pretty solid season. I won 18 games to make my first All-Star team. I want to thank the Orioles organization for giving me the opportunity to prove that I could pitch and prove that I could succeed at the Major League level. To the Orioles executives who brought baseball back to Baltimore's Inner Harbor, it remains one of the best ballpark environments in the game.
To the Orioles fans who came out every game, 48,000 strong to support us and to support me, thank you. I have some great baseball memories from those years, and I loved pitching in orange and black.
For the longest time while I was in Baltimore, I told myself that I would never play in New York. I'm a small-town guy, and that place was just too much for me. Well, obviously I changed my mind, mostly because Joe Torre called me two or three days after they won the 2000 World Series over the Mets, and Joe simply said, "I just wanted you to know that we're interested in you coming to New York to pitch for us."
Well, his first impression was a big one. After 10 years in Baltimore, I was off to New York City. I want to thank the Steinbrenner family, general manager Brian Cashman, and the entire New York Yankees organization for making my transition painless, and making me feel like I'd been there forever. To all the Yankee fans everywhere, thank you for your support during my eight years in pinstripes. We made seven playoff appearances and two trips to the World Series, although we couldn't quite win one while I was there. I have tons of great stories from those years. The Subway Series matchups with the Mets, the Red Sox rivalry, historic playoff games, including my first ever relief appearance in Game 7 of the '03 ALCS, and of course, my only 20-win season in my final year.
Because I was an American League pitcher, I needed help every game if I wanted to be successful. I could pitch great and still lose. I could throw below average and still win. I needed guys to get hits, to make plays on defense, and quite often get the last few outs for me when I could not finish the game.
I did, however, get nine hits in the big leagues, including my first one off of John Smoltz. Since he's sitting behind me, I'm kind of proud of that (smiling).
Of course, I'm not up here because of my hitting ability. I need to thank everyone who is on this journey with me. You're all pieces of a giant puzzle. Whether your contribution was large or small, the final product would not be complete without you. From my childhood friends to all the friends I met along the way, for all the guys who worked out with me in the cold weather during the offseasons in Pennsylvania, to my agents Arn Tellem and Joel Wolfe and all their staff, to the athletic trainers in Baltimore and New York who kept me on the field and got me through 18 seasons with no surgeries. To all my coaches from Little League through high school, the minors and the majors, who all gave me information to use, ideas to try, and leadership to learn from. To each and every one of my teammates with the Orioles and the Yankees, you're all a part of this. Your base hit or the double play you turned or the strikeout you got in relief with the bases loaded in the eighth, you all contributed to this moment for me. I thank you for all your support.
That includes a few of my fellow inductees today. Harold Baines got more than a few hits for me in our seasons together in Baltimore. Lee and Mariano saved tons of games for me over the years. I want to congratulate them along with Edgar and the Halladay family on this great honor today.
It is definitely not easy to be the family of a professional baseball player or any family who has someone who is not able to be home all the time. That's one of the toughest parts of this game. To my wife Jana, who raised our three children by herself most of the time for most of those years, thank you for being this family's foundation. I love you, honey.
To our children, Kyra, Brycen and Peyton, sorry I wasn't around during those years. These last 11 years are great and I never regretted once retiring when I did. As you can see, things worked out nicely. I love you guys.
I can't be more grateful for my family for their love and patience and understanding to allow me to do this for 18 years. Thank you to my mom for convincing me to get back on my bike and go back to that first practice, for washing my stuff, for making me lunch, and for finally allowing me to stop taking piano lessons because it just wasn't working out.
Thanks to my dad for always being there, for playing catch and throwing me batting practice even after a full day at the office, for coaching some of my Little League teams, for your words of advice even when I didn't agree with them. For you and mom always being at my game for football, basketball and baseball, all the way through high school.
To my one and only sibling, my brother Mark, for watching, charting, sometimes recording many of my games. For being supportive and obsessively superstitious, to the level that no one could leave their seats in his row at the stadium for any reason whatsoever if I was throwing well, and for all those wiffle ball games when we were kids. Thanks for everything. Maybe all that superstition helped me out here.
Since I received the incredible and surprising news of my election to the Hall of Fame back in January, I spent a lot of time reflecting on my journey to Cooperstown. How did a kid from small town and rural PA play enough wiffle ball to make it to the Major Leagues and pitch there for 18 years. I was never fortunate enough to win a Cy Young award or be a World Series champion. I didn't win 300 games or strike out 3,000 batters. While my opportunities those achievements are in the past, today I get to become a member of the National Baseball Hall of Fame. Maybe I was saving up from all of those "almost" achievements for one last push. This time I made it.
Thank you to baseball for an awesome ride. To all the fans for supporting this great game, and to all of you for being here with me today. Thank you.
JANE FORBES CLARK: I would now like to call your attention back to the video monitor for a presentation about our second 2019 inductee, Roy Halladay.
JANE FORBES CLARK: Brandy, if you would please join us. It's my honor, Brandy, to welcome Roy into the Hall of Fame family, and ask the commissioner to please read the inscription on his plaque.
COMMISSIONER MANFRED: Harry Leroy Halladay III, "Doc", Roy. Toronto, A.L. 1998 through 2009, Philadelphia, N.L. 2010 through 2013. Top-of-rotation workhorse blended a blistering sinking fastball with pinpoint control, earning Cy Young Awards in both the A.L. and the N.L. Eight-time All-Star delivered a .659 winning percentage, 203 career victories, and three 20-win seasons. Led his league in strikeout-to-walk five times and innings pitched four times. League leader in complete games seven times, most of any pitcher whose career began after World War II. Threw two no-hit games, both in 2010, a perfect game in the regular season, and the second-ever post-season no-hitter in Game 1 of the NLDS."
JANE FORBES CLARK: Ladies and gentlemen, representing class of 2019 Hall of Fame member Roy Halladay, his wife Brandy Halladay.
BRANDY HALLADAY: I knew I was going to cry at some point. I never know what it is that's going to get me. That video, I couldn't watch it if somebody would send me a copy of that, I'd appreciate it.
It's overwhelming, the amount of people here today. I can't believe you came this far. I'm so grateful that you're here.
I want to start by thanking the entire Hall of Fame group for allowing me a few minutes today to speak on behalf of our family. To Jane, Jeff, Jon, Tim and Whitney, this is truly an amazing organization. The amount of support that we have received in the last six months, the friends that we've made, it's absolutely amazing.
Thank you to Harold, Lee, Mariano, Mike and Edgar for sharing your stage with me.
A special thanks to all these men behind me who I can't look at because I'll cry again. I can't tell you how many hugs I've gotten. To all of your families, too. They've extended so much love and friendship to myself and my children, I'm so grateful. Thank you.
Anybody who thinks baseball truly isn't a family has never been involved in baseball. I know how honored Roy would be sitting here today with such accomplished men who have represented this game so well over the course of all of your careers. Thank you for being such a good example to him and to supporting him in his career and all of his efforts.
This is not my speech to give. I'm going to do the best I can to say the things I believe Roy might have said or would have wanted to say if he was here today.
The thank yous could and should go on for days when you consider the impact so many people have had on Roy's career. Thank you first to the baseball writers, for the overwhelming amount of votes that Roy received his first year on the ballot.
To the scouts, the coaches, the mentors, general managers, teammates, our families and our friends, the fans, there are not enough words to thank you for your friendship, your support, your tutelage.
Roy's natural talent was obviously a huge part of this. Without the unconditional and continued support from every one of you, he never could have dedicated himself to being the best ballplayer he could be. I say it a lot, but it takes a village, and we truly have a great one.
To both of the teams that we were blessed to be a part of, the Blue Jays and the Phillies, thank you for allowing us to grow up, to fail over and over, and finally learn how to succeed within your organizations.
There were some really amazing years, but there were successful really tough ones, too, and you never gave up on him. When Braden, Ryan and I decided that Roy would be inducted into the Hall of Fame with no logo on his hat, both teams quickly reached out to us, telling us how proud they were of that decision. Validating a choice that we knew in our hearts was right, was in fact the correct one. We know without a doubt had Roy been here with us today, this is the decision he would have made, and more than anything would want both organizations to know that they hold a huge place in our hearts and always will.
Evidence of their love for us and our love for them, as well, was shown all week as they came together as one to celebrate Roy. That means the world to me. To both organizations, I can't thank you enough.
I've been asked over and over, How do you think Roy would feel if he were here? I'm pretty sure we all know the answer. Of course, he would be honored and humbled. In true Roy form, he would have quickly given any accolades or props to all of his coaches and teammates. He was a true competitor, went to the field every day ready to do whatever it took to give his team the best possible chance to win.
In a casual conversation last summer in Philly, I was talking with a friend and teammate of Roy's, JC Romero. He said to me, Roy didn't play that way because he wanted to be in the Hall of Fame. He'll be in the Hall because of the way he played. I know that's true.
I think Roy would rather be remembered by who he was, not what he did on the ball field. He was a very private person, often quiet and introverted, but he was also very generous and caring, the kind of man who made outrageous bets, would lose on purpose to help out a friend, the kind of brother who left cash in his pockets when he asked a sister to help with laundry, telling her she could keep whatever she found. I did the same thing, I kept what I found, too.
He was a great coach, a nervous husband and father only because he desperately wanted to be as great and successful at home as he was in baseball.
There are no words to describe how much joy coaching Braden and Ryan's teams brought him. His retirement was to make a huge impact on youth baseball. As a family, we are dedicated to continuing that work on Roy's behalf.
I think that Roy would want everyone to know that people are not perfect. We are all imperfect and flawed in one way or another. We all struggle, but with hard work, humility and dedication, imperfect people still can have perfect moments. Roy was blessed in his life and career to have some perfect moments. But I believe that they were only possible because of the man he strived to be, the teammate that he was, and the people he was so blessed to be on the field with.
I am so humbled to say congratulations to this year's Hall of Fame inductees, to say thank you to all of you on Roy's behalf. Thank you so much for all of your support, your continued dedication to the game of baseball. It means more to all of us than I think anyone could possibly know. Thank you.
JANE FORBES CLARK: If you would please turn your attention back to our video monitor for presentation about our next 2019 inductee, Harold Baines.
JANE FORBES CLARK: Harold, if you would please join us. As chairman of the National Baseball Hall of Fame it's my honor, Harold, to welcome you into the Hall of Fame family and ask the Commissioner to please read the inscription on your plaque.
COMMISSIONER MANFRED: "Harold Douglas Baines, Chicago, A.L. 1980 through '89, '96-'97, 2000-2001. Texas, A.L. 1989-'90. Oakland, A.L. 1990-1992. Baltimore, A.L. 1993 through 1995, 1997 to 2000, Cleveland, A.L. 1999. Respected and clutch left-handed hitter whose professional approach and humble demeanor made him one of the most consistent and reliable players of the 1980s and 1990s. Right fielder and heart of the lineup for 1983 AL West champion White Sox, persevered through knee injuries to earn Outstanding Designated Hitter of the Year Award in his first two seasons at the position, 1987 and 1988. Six-time All-Star and first overall selection in the 1977 MLB Draft. Totaled 2,866 hits and drove in 1,628 runs, retiring 21st on the all-time RBI list."
JANE FORBES CLARK: Ladies and gentlemen, from the Hall of Fame class of 2019, Harold Baines.
HAROLD BAINES: Thank you, Jane.
To all of our friends and teammates, you can start your stopwatch now, to time how long it's going to be. I know you got a bet on it, so you can start your stopwatch now.
Good afternoon. Thank you for that warm welcome. I want to thank Jane, Jeff, Jon and Whitney, the Hall of Fame staff, for being so gracious in accommodating me and my family. The hospitality has overwhelmed us and made us feel so welcomed in Cooperstown.
I'd also like to thank the members of the two committees who nominated me and Lee Smith for today's special honor.
Many of my former teammates, quite a few of my former opponents are sitting behind me today. Thank you for making baseball the greatest game of all and for pushing so many of us to accomplish beyond our dreams.
Congratulations as well to today's honorees, Roy Halladay and his wife Brandy, Mike Mussina, Mariano Rivera, fellow DH Edgar Martinez. It is a humbling and great honor for me to share today with each of you.
Somewhere, someplace in my career, I acquired a reputation for not saying much. I'm not sure why (smiling). Maybe it was May 9th, 1984, when my home run in a 25-inning game to beat the Milwaukee Brewers. When a writer approached me postgame, one asked, Harold, it appeared you got all of that one.
Evidently, I said.
Perhaps the reputation was born.
My journey started in small town on Maryland's eastern shore called St. Michaels. I owe a debt of gratitude to the entire close-knit community for help raising me as a child and teenager. St. Michaels for me, I would not be where I am today in baseball or in life without so many people from St. Michaels, who cared enough to do more than their respective part to help a youngster like me who may have had some athletic ability but not a lot else going for him in the 1970s.
From teachers to coaches to town residents who showed me both kindness and discipline, I thank you all for what you've done for me.
I cannot ever express enough appreciation for St. Michaels. It still remains my home to this day as I live there with my wife and family.
I could leave you with more message this afternoon, it was always to give back to your community so the next generation can enjoy even greater opportunity.
I stand here today very humbled by this honor. It has taken time to sink in. Moments like the Hall of Fame orientation, signing the wall where my plaque will hang, standing here today in front of tens of thousands of baseball fans, makes it feel like less of a dream.
As an 18-year-old, I could not imagine my career would lead me to being selected in the first round by Hall of Famer Bill Veeck, general manager and Buck O'Neil Award winner Roland Hemond.
Tony La Russa, thank you for giving me the opportunity to play in the Major Leagues and teach me a very important lesson: The game has always been played for the name on the front of the uniform, never for the one on the back.
To Jerry Reinsdorf, chairman of the White Sox, thank you for allowing me to be part of your organization for the last 30 years. The White Sox truly are my baseball family.
Baseball took me to the great city of Chicago where in some sense I grew up with teammates like Greg Luzinski, Carlton Fisk, Ozzie Guillen, Ron Kittle and so many others. With a few of these guys around, is there any surprise I never said much? Each of these men influenced my career and helped bring me here today.
I owe a special thank you to former White Sox trainer Herm Schneider, as well as his staff, Mark Anderson, Brian Ball, Alan Thomas for keeping me on the field despite so many troubling knees.
To my agent Jack Sands, thank you for your friendship and for guarding my money all of these years, my financial adviser.
Chicago became my home. White Sox fans became an important part of my extended family. Driving in the division-winning run on a September night in 1983, remains one of my career highlights.
Chicago is a city that honors and appreciates hard work. I hope this is one of the reasons White Sox fans connected with me. But who could ever imagine an entire stadium led by organist Nancy Faust chanting your name as you step into the batter's box.
White Sox fans, thank you for all the cheers and love over the years. I hope I made you proud along the way.
My baseball journey did take me to many other stops: Texas, Oakland, home to Baltimore and Cleveland. Before I ended my career back with the White Sox, where as a bench coach on the 2005 team we claimed the city of Chicago's first World Series in 88 years. What a celebration for two million White Sox fans on State and Wacker.
I stand here today very appreciative of all the people who helped me reach this point in my baseball career. Many are friends for life. I cannot thank them all. I look forward to personally thanking each of them with a handshake and hug. I appreciate what you have done for me.
I want to thank my many families and friends who traveled here to Cooperstown to be with us today, several of my former teammates, and many of my friends from the White Sox office.
As I mentioned, at the start of my speech, I'm not an emotional man, except when it comes to family. I want to thank my wonderful mother, Gloria, my brothers Linwood and Curtis, my sister Bertha. It means a lot to me that you guys are here today to share this special day. I love you.
To my beautiful wife Marla, who has been by my side every step of the way since high school, St. Michaels, "thank you" is not enough. We've been together each amazing moment of our lives. I'm happy to share today with you as well. You are the true Hall of Famer of our family. I love you.
To my children and their spouses, Antoinette and Charles, Britni and Josh, Harold Jr. and Callia, Courtney and Andrew, as well as the next Baines family, our grand-babies, Marley, Camille, Madison, I love you very much.
While baseball often took me away from you for far too long, the game gave us special shared moments, memories like today.
I'm very proud of the caring people you have become. Your presence here today makes my journey complete.
I owe so much to my father, Linwood, who through his words and more importantly his deeds taught me how to approach life. You work at it, put your head down, you keep your mouth shut, and you work at your craft day in and day out. He worked six days a week as a mason to support his family. He was a baseball player, loved the game. His time came too soon. He passed away in 2014. I know I made him proud on the baseball field, but I know I made him more prouder of the man, the husband, the father, the teammate, the friend I have become.
Thank you, dad. While you're not here today physically, we all know you are here in spirit, proud as you can be.
In the end, when you ask me why I never have been outspoken or said very much, think of my dad and the lessons he passed onto me many years ago, often as we were playing catch in the yard. As he told me, Words are easy, deeds are hard. Words can be empty, deeds speak loudest, and sometimes they echo forever. Thank you.
JANE FORBES CLARK: If you would please turn your attention back to our video monitor for a presentation about our next 2019 inductee, Edgar Martinez.
JANE FORBES CLARK: Edgar, please join us. As chairman of the National Baseball Hall of Fame it's my honor to welcome you into the Hall of Fame family and to ask the Commissioner to please read the inscription on your plaque.
COMMISSIONER MANFRED: "Edgar Martinez, Seattle, A.L. 1987 through 2004. One of the game's best pure batsman, defined designated hitter position with a precise batting eye and ability to consistently drive the ball to all fields. Became the third right-handed batter in history with as many as seven consecutive seasons with a .300 average, .400 on-base percentage, and .500 slugging percentage. Won two batting crowns and three on-base percentage titles, producing seven seasons with at least 20 home runs and six with 100 or more RBI. A seven-time All-Star, earned five Silver Slugger Awards in a career that began as a third baseman. Delivered signature moment in Mariners' history with a walk-off double to secure the 1995 ALDS victory."
JANE FORBES CLARK: Ladies and gentlemen, from the Hall of Fame class of 2019, Edgar Martinez.
EDGAR MARTINEZ: Thank you. Thank you to the writers for this incredible honor. I also want to thank Jane Forbes Clark, Jeff Idelson and the Hall of Fame staff. You have been incredible to me and my family throughout this wonderful journey. Thank you.
Please allow me to say a few words in Spanish to my people from Puerto Rico.
Mi gente de Dorado y mi barrio de Maguayo, un abrazo. Mi historia es sencilla. Criado en un barrio rodeado de gente humilde, con buenas intenciones. Yo me beneficie de la calidad de seres humanos que existe en mi barrio Maguayo, Dorado, Puerto Rico. Los quiero mucho y nos vemos pronto.
Thank you for that moment.
I want to congratulate the men inducted into the Hall of Fame with me. It is an honor to be a part of this class. Mariano, I would change all my hits for my last at-bat of the 2001 playoff. With the game on the line, you got me out with a sinker. I didn't even know you had a sinker (laughter).
Harold Baines, I loved watching you hit. You were one of the best clutch hitters I ever saw.
Lee Smith, I didn't get the chance to face you much, and I'm so glad.
Mike Mussina, you were one of the toughest pitchers to figure out.
The Halladay family, my respect, congratulations to you. We're thinking about Roy.
I am honored and humbled to be standing here in front of you. I admire the men behind me. I even imitated some of them during my career. I used George Brett's, Kirby Puckett's and others' batting stances when mine wasn't working. Tony Perez, you were one of my heroes back when you played for the Cangrejeros during the winter league. My grandfather and I would listen to the games on the radio, and my grandfather used to say, "Se acabÃƒÂ³ el juego. Tony viene ahora," which means, "Game over, Tony is coming to hit."
You were a big part of my youth in Puerto Rico.
Mis hermanos, Roberto, Ivan, Orlando Cepeda, as a Puerto Rican, I am honored to have my plaque in the Hall with yours.
It is hard to believe that a dream that started when I was about 10 years old would take me on an amazing journey. Since the first time I saw Roberto Clemente on TV and some highlights from the World Series, I was hooked on the game of baseball. All I wanted to do was play the game and like most kids in Puerto Rico, I wanted to be like Roberto Clemente. What a great example Roberto Clemente was to all of us in Puerto Rico. What an honor to have my plaque in the Hall alongside with his.
Every man on this stage has had the people that helped them along the way. It was the same with me. These people were a big reason why I'm here today. From my grandparents who raised me and instilled in me values like hard work, respect and discipline. To my whole family, my teammates, coaches, my people from Maguayo, where I grew up, thank you for providing a sanctuary that protected me. In Maguayo, my time was consumed with baseball, the game I love. I am so fortunate to be raised in Maguayo, Dorado, Puerto Rico. Gracias, mi gente.
Marty Martinez, I was so lucky to cross paths with Marty. I wish Marty was here. He passed away a few years ago. Marty is the scout that signed me. He saw something in me that others didn't see. I didn't have the classic home run power, but used the whole field. I didn't have a lot of range on the field, but I would make the plays. I didn't have a cannon for an arm, but I was very accurate with my throws.
Marty saw consistency and potential. Thank you, Marty.
Carmelo Martinez, my cousin. Carmelo is like a brother. He signed before me and had a big influence in my life. When Marty Martinez offered me a contract, I didn't want to sign. I thought I was going to school, also playing on the weekends, life was good for me. New car, nice clothes. Why would I want to risk what I have for $4,000?
Well, Carmelo convinced me. He told me, You can make it. Give it a shot. We argued and he won. Carmelo, thank you. You are a big reason why I am on this stage.
To my managers, coaches, thank you all. Jeff Scott, Greg Mahlberg, R.J. Harrison and Bill Plummer. Thank you for teaching me the fundamentals of the game during my minor league years.
Lou Piniella, you meant so much to me and to my career. From the first time I talked to you, I knew that dramatic change would come to the Mariners organization. I loved talking hitting with you. You are a very special man, and I hope you get the call soon. You deserve it.
To all my teammates, you made me a better player. Baseball is a team sport, and without your talent, passion and brotherhood, I would not be here. I won't be able to mention all of you, but you know who you are.
I love you and I considered you brothers for life.
I wanted to make a few special mentions: Harold Reynolds, Alvin Davis, Dave Valle. Thank you for teaching me the way in the big leagues the first few years. I love you guys.
Junior, "The Kid," thank you for being a great teammate. It was such a treat to look at your beautiful swing from the on-deck circle. And thank you for your words about me during your induction speech.
Jay Buhner, "Bad to the Bone," thank you for being like a brother to me and for being outspoken leader in the clubhouse. I love you.
Randy, "Big Unit," I don't know if you remember, but when you went to play for Arizona, a reporter quoted me in the paper. I'd said something about you that you didn't like. You came to me and asked, What was that in the paper?
I say, What paper?
Then you told me, Don't worry, it will hurt, but only for a minute.
Watch him, he might throw at me right now (laughter).
I love that you had the intensity and drive, gave our team an edge.
To the Mariners organization, the people in the organization, they are all wonderful, Rick Griffin, Tom Newberg, the trainers that got me back on the field after my injuries. Thank you.
Thank you to the PR team, what an amazing job with my Hall of Fame campaign. I don't think I would be here without your work.
Thank you to the management for believing in me, Howard Lincoln, Chuck Armstrong, Nicholas (indiscernible) Kevin Mather, John Stratton and John Ellis. Thank you.
To my mom and my sister, Sonia, I'm so glad that I can share this great moment with you. I love you.
My brother, Elliot. Thank you for all those pebbles you pitched to me when we were kids. You helped develop my hand-eye coordination. I love you.
To my son Alex, I'm looking forward to our classes together, spending time with you and taking courses with you is so much fun. You are a very smart and have a great soul. I love you very much.
To my girl Tessa, I can't believe you're 17 years old and going to college soon. Sometimes I look at the pictures of our trips, when I see yours, it makes me smile every time. You are so kind, so smart and beautiful. You have a natural grace. I love you.
My girl Jacqueline, J.J. I know you never saw me play. You were born after I retired, and probably wonder what is the big deal? You are so much fun. Your personality fills our house. You make us laugh every day. I am so curious how you know word by word most of the Hamilton songs. I love you very much.
To my wife, Holli, I am so thankful for you and for all the great things you have accomplished in the last 10 years. You got your Masters degree and became a successful professional. You are such a great example to our kids. I love you for who you are and for your drive. I love you.
Mariners fans, I am so fortunate to have two homes, Puerto Rico and Seattle. Seattle fans, thank you for always being there for me. Since 1987, you gave me your unconditional support, and it was even more prevalent in the last 10 years. The support you gave me over the social media really helped me to get here today. Thank you, Mariners fans. You are the best fans I could ever hope for. I am so glad that I stayed with you till the end of my career. I love you, Seattle fans. Thank you.
This is a day I never could have ever imagined happening when I was growing up in Puerto Rico, or when I was in Minor Leagues wondering when my chance will come. Honestly, there were times over the last 10 years I wasn't sure it was going to happen. So thank you once again, to everyone along the way who made this dream come true. I am so grateful and proud. Thank you.
JANE FORBES CLARK: If you would turn your attention back to our video monitor for a presentation about 2019 inductee Lee Smith.
JANE FORBES CLARK: Lee, if you would join us. As chairman of the National Baseball Hall of Fame it's my honor, Lee, to welcome you into our Hall of Fame family. I ask Commissioner Manfred to read the inscription on your plaque.
COMMISSIONER MANFRED: "Lee Arthur Smith, Chicago, National League 1980 through 1987. Boston, A.L. 1988 through 1990. St. Louis, N.L. 1990 through 1993. New York, A.L. 1993. Baltimore, A.L. 1994. California, A.L. 1995 through '96. Cincinnati, N.L. 1996. Montreal, N.L. 1997. Combined bat-shattering fastball and darting slider to save 478 games, topping the all-time list for more than a decade. Originally a multi-inning relief ace totaled 169 saves of more than three outs. Transitioned into feared one-inning closer as bullpen roles specialized, becoming the first to record at least 30 saves in 10 different seasons. Named to seven All-Star teams, and earned his league's Reliever of the Year honors three times. Retired with the highest strikeout rate among pitchers with at least 700 relief appearances."
JANE FORBES CLARK: Ladies and gentlemen, from the Hall of Fame class of 2019, Lee Smith.
LEE SMITH: Thank you, guys, so very much. I did promise to Ozzie Smith after I saw that video that I promised him I was going to break out my Caucasian voice (laughter).
First, I'd just like to say I'm really honored to be here on this stage alongside all these baseball legends. Although I'm a little nervous with all these great hitters sitting behind me.
Like to say congratulations to my classmates, Edgar, Mo, Harold, Moose, Brandy and her wonderful sons. Awesome getting to know you guys this year.
I want to begin by thanking the baseball Hall of Fame, in particular Jane Forbes Clark, Jeff Idelson, running a tremendous museum and organization. I'd also like to thank Shesta, Whitney for all their help in preparing me for this special weekend. Thank the members of the Modern Baseball Era Committee who gave me this incredible honor. I'm also thankful to the sportswriters to keep my name on this ballot for so many years.
Like all the other guys here, you couldn't do this without your family. So many people have helped me reach this stage. But before the very beginning, it's been my family that made me into who I am today. They're the main reason I'm on this stage right now.
My family have given me the support I needed to find success, and have been with me through thick and thin. It began with my parents, my grandparents, my oldest sibling who taught me the invaluable pulse of life: treat people the way you want to be treated, treat people the same no matter who they are, and most importantly always be respectful.
Bobby Jean, my oldest sister was the backbone of our family. If there is one person I wish could be here to see this today, it would be her.
To my mom, my dad, my sisters, your support have meant everything to me.
To my children, Nikita, Lee Jr. Dimitri, Nicholas and Alanna, you guys mean the world to me. Especially to my lovely Dyana, thank you guys, I love you.
It all started in a small town, Castor, Louisiana. If you think Cooperstown is small, you've never been to Castor. But don't let the small town fool you, Castor provided one of the strongest local communities you could ever find. So many people came from Castor together to support me, to put me on the path to success in baseball, and kept me on that path.
It was Mr. Sneed, my high school principal, once he called me into his office, I thought I was in trouble. But instead, he wanted me to come out for the baseball team, after seeing me throw a ball in our PE class.
But I was focused on basketball. I said, No. I knew my family couldn't afford the equipment I needed. The next day Mr. Sneed called me into his office again. I can still picture it. On his desk was a brand-new uniform, glove, all the equipment I needed. It was community that gave me the chance to play baseball.
There was another young man named Mr. Bobby Gray, a community leader, who loved the game and saw something special in me. He wasn't affiliated with the school, but he made it his business to get me on the baseball diamond. There were times I didn't show up to practice, even games I was supposed to pitch. I'm not proud of it, but I was 14 years old and I thought my future was basketball.
Bobby would come and find me either at home, at my parents' pulp wood business, or even one day on the lake fishing. He got me on the practices. Once he even held up a game claiming there was something wrong with the field until I arrived.
Castor is a rural area. Sometimes we drove hours to countless baseball games on the road. What I'm trying to say is, it wasn't just my arm that got me here, it was a whole community of Castor, Louisiana. I'm thankful to each and every one of you.
So how does a kid who thought he'd be playing college basketball end up signing with the Cubs? It was a stroke of luck. I happened to be pitching against Vida Blue's nephew Cliff, who drew some scouts including the great Buck O'Neil. But the scouts ended up more interested in me. I'll never forget Cliff. I thank him every time I see him.
Buck was scouting for the Cubs and took a keen interest in me. He followed me around the middle of nowhere for a summer. He did a lot of traveling, but he kept up with me. When I graduated from high school, it was Buck who offered me a contract in 1975.
In the minors, things weren't always easy, but they got off to a great start, thanks to my first manager and coach, Mr. Jack Hiatt. Jack was the first person I met in pro ball. He picked me up from the airport in a Datsun 240-Z. I don't know how I fit (laughter). At that point the honesty I felt from Jack was unbelievable. Through our first three years of my minor league career, as we moved up through the Cub ladder together until 1977, when I was converted to a relief pitcher in 1978, I hit a roadblock. I thought I was on the path to the majors, pitching well. But the team decided they wanted to make me a relief pitcher. I was discouraged. In those days, you wanted to be a starter or nothing.
Near the end of that '79 season, I packed my bags, instead of going on a 10-day road trip, I went home. I think back now, it's hard to believe I didn't want to sign that next year's contract.
Well, thank God for Mr. Billy Williams. He knocked some sense into me. After that '79 season, he explained that the game was changing, and relief pitching could be valuable. So I went back to the Cubs, began the 1980 season with the Wichita Aeros as a reliever. Suddenly it all clicked. I wasn't thinking seriously about the game as a starter but as a reliever. I saw a tunnel to home plate and I was painting. I focused at every at-bat, concentrated open each hitter. Five months later I was in the Major Leagues.
I stayed in the majors because of a young man behind me, Mr. Ferguson Jenkins. He was my teammate, also my pitching coach, and like an older brother. I mimicked him on and off the field. I even started wearing the cowboy boots. He was someone to look up to. Also taught me a great curve ball, a third pitch that became very valuable out of the bullpen.
I got to say there is a young man out here in the audience, Mr. Gene Clines. He was one of my first coaches in those early days with the Chicago Cubs. He was like a father figure. I still look up to him. He always lent a helping hand when I needed someone to talk to. He wasn't afraid to give me a little tough love when I needed it.
Family means so much to me. I felt the warmth from the Cub family every day I walked to the ballpark. Even before I got to Wrigley Field, from the fire department across the street, to the grounds crew on the field, to me it truly was the "friendly confines."
I loved pitching at Wrigley. Yes, there were home runs flying out of the ballpark, especially in late innings of the game, but it helped me learn to pitch. Wrigley taught me to concentrate on every pitch. There was no margin for error.
I have so many positive feelings about Chicago cub fans. Chicago is where I started. They gave me my first opportunity to play in the Major Leagues. Even when I left, I knew I wanted to come back because I love it. Thank you.
Mr. Wrigley was a wonderful owner to have as a young player. What Tim Ricketts and the new ownership group have done is amazing. The same family feeling and what they accomplished in 2016 is unbelievable.
While my plaque in the Hall of Fame has a Chicago Cub on my hat, all eight teams I played for were outstanding organizations. The fans in all eight cities had the same love of the game and I felt their energy every time I recorded that 27th out. It drove me to try my hardest.
Boston, when I was traded to the Red Sox, how lucky am I to move from Wrigley Field to Fenway? I really enjoyed my time in Boston. The fans' love for their team and their spirit, it was undeniable.
I felt at home in St. Louis because it matched my personality. A laid-back, small-town feel with fans who had great passion for their team. Those were some of my favorite seasons, playing under the great Joe Torre.
My next stops were special in their own way. The Yankees, who it turned out, didn't need a closer. They had somebody else ready for that role (smiling).
The Orioles, playing under a good friend, the late Johnny Oates.
The Angels, whose owner Gene Autry, came down to the clubhouse to talk every day. A real thrill for me after growing up on his westerns.
The Reds, where I became fast friends with Barry Larkin.
With the Expos, my career came full circle because I had a chance to play under Felipe Alou, who is one of the first people I met in baseball. I got to round my career in a wonderful city with the twin phenomenon of Pedro Martinez and Vlad Guerrero. Now we're together again, teammates.
I have to thank another classy organization, the San Francisco Giants for a chance to continue my life in baseball after I retired from pitching. I owe a lot to Bobby Evans who I met when he was a Red Sox intern. Bobby opened the door for me to find a second-chance career, something I loved sharing, the knowledge, with my next generation of young pitchers. No matter where I pitched, I always wanted to embody my two traits: loyalty to the team and my teammates, I never wanted to disgrace the uniform, dependability as a teammate and as a pitcher.
It didn't matter when I was given the ball, seventh, eighth or ninth inning, no matter how many innings I pitched, as long as I could impact the game and help my team. I truly believe from all walks of life, if you work hard, and if you're loyal and dependable, you can really find success.
Those are the lessons that I learned throughout the course of my life, from the community, from the people in baseball, who have become my second family, many of whom sit behind me today. You kept me pointed toward home plate, and I am forever grateful. Thank you.
JANE FORBES CLARK: If you would turn your attention back to the video monitor for a presentation about our final 2019 inductee, Mariano Rivera.
JANE FORBES CLARK: Mariano, if you would join us. As chairman of the National Baseball Hall of Fame, it's my honor to welcome you into the Hall of Fame family. I'll ask the Commissioner to please read the inscription on your plaque.
COMMISSIONER MANFRED: "Mariano Rivera, "Mo", "The Sandman." New York A.L., 1995 through 2013. Set standard for relief pitchers with unprecedented consistency and efficiency as a pillar of the Yankees dynasty of the 1990s and 2000s. Devastating cut fastball, frustrated batters, generating broken bats at a prolific rate. Saved record 652 games and compiled a 2.21 career ERA, lowest for any pitcher with at least 1,000 innings in the live-ball era. 13-time All-Star, recorded 40 or more saves in nine seasons. Native of Panama, pitched on five World Series winners, setting post-season records with 42 saves and a 0.70 ERA in 96 appearances. Named World Series MVP in 1999, and ALCS MVP in 2000."
JANE FORBES CLARK: Ladies and gentlemen, from the Hall of Fame class of 2019, Mariano Rivera.
MARIANO RIVERA: Thank you. Thank you. First of all, I don't understand why I always have to be the last (smiling). I keep saying that for the last 20 years. Last 17 years of my career, I always say, Why I have to be the last one?
I guess being the last one is special.
I wanted to start this thanking my good Lord and Savior Jesus Christ for giving me the talent and the blessing and opened doors that I could never close, and no man can close. So He has given us a beautiful day today. It's amazing. So thank you, Lord, for everything You have done in my life.
To my wife, Clara, thank you, thank you. You have been the pillar of our wonderful family. You have been the backbone in our family. I couldn't have done it without you. You were there alone to raise our boys, support. Always been there in the good times and the tough times. For that I respect you, I love you. If we had to continue to do this again, I would love to do it with you again. I love you.
To my children, Mariano, Jefet and Jaziel, Jamilet, Alissa, thank you. You guys been amazing. I have to apologize and I say I'm sorry for all those times I couldn't be there for you guys. Tough times, but I know I have to be at the ballpark. Days that I know you guys wanted me there at home, but I have to go to work. Mariano, I missed all your birthdays. October 4th, man, I'm sorry about that. I'm sorry. I was on a mission. We celebrate later on.
Jefet, February 12th, imagine that, I was in spring training. Jaziel was the one I always celebrate with him because it's November 20th.
All of you guys mean a lot to me. This honor and this blessing is for all of us, not just for myself, but for all of us. I love you all. Thank you very much.
To my parents, Mariano and Delia Rivera, gracias, thank you. Thank you very much. Thank you for teaching me the right way. Thank you for loving me unconditional. That tough love that you always showed me, my dad, I know why you did that. Dad, I understand. I know that it made me better man today.
To my mother, always been there for me. Thank you. I always said and will continue to say it again, before I pitched my last game at Yankee Stadium, I said these words: Whatever my dad and ma did, I don't know if it was day or night, but they were good because they did a good job with me. So I thank you for that.
To my in-laws, Anna, Juan, and the entire family, I cannot do it without you guys. I mean, you guys helped me. Anna and the rest of the girls, you helped me raise the boys. I know Clara and I sometimes were away and you had to stay at home helping, taking care of the boys, raise them for us. So for that, thank you. Thank you very much.
To my brothers and my sister, thank you. Thank you for always being there for me. Thank you for the support. Thank you for all those advices and all the helps and prayers that you guys did for me. For that I love you always and I thank you.
For my spiritual parents, Naomi and Mario Gandia, Jojo Boy, thank you for all those prayers, all that love and support. The day I met you guys, you became someone special in my life. For that I always will be grateful and thank you for.
Fernando Cuza, you always believed in me. You always were there fighting for me. Fern, today I thank you. You're a special man. Thank you very much.
To my boss, Mr. George Steinbrenner, it's a person that I would love for him to be present so I can look at his face and say thank you for believing in me. Thank you for all those times. Thank you for always trying to give us the best team to succeed.
To the whole entire George Steinbrenner family, the family, they're special to me. They always were there for me. I remember when we have tough times in Panama, a tragedy happened in 2004. They sent me to Panama, they brought me to New York in a private plane. Can't believe that, talking about a private plane when I was in Panama. They always believed in me and trust me. Therefore, I always will appreciate that.
The New York Yankees organization, Brian Cashman, everybody else, front office. Man, it's a privilege and honor to just be part of one organization. I did it with dignity, with honor and with pride. I tried to carry the pinstripes the best that I could. I think I did all right with that.
To my skipper, they're all special, this one has a little bit more time because he's a little older than everybody else, that's Mr. Joe Torre. I call him Mr. T. That man is something. For me, he's an older brother and a father figure and a friend. I remember when I met him in 1996, spring training. I start talking to him in Spanish. I said, Hola, Torre, Ã‚Â¿cÃƒÂ³mo estÃƒÂ¡s? He looked at me like I'm crazy. I didn't know that the man didn't speak Spanish.
But for me, it was a blessing to meet him, to be part of his team. For that, Mr. T, it was special. So thank you very much.
Baseball is a team sport. You cannot do it alone. This honor is always the same. You cannot do it alone. To all my coaches, all my managers, all my teammates, man, you guys are special. I cannot do it without you guys.
I have few guys of those here. Those four are special. But to Gene Monahan and Steve Donahue, those guys always kept me ready. Times when I was injured, times when I needed their help. They always were there for me. I will no be standing here today giving this speech if not for them. Thank you very much.
To the Hall of Fame, the Hall of Fame for me is important. The history of baseball is within these walls. For that, thank you Jane, Jeff, Jon. And all you guys do that for old-timers and all the fans. Thank you.
To the baseball writers, thank you for voting me and making me a Hall of Famer. Thank you for all your support. I always respect you guys and give you time. If I didn't give you time, I'm sorry. I might give you time later on (smiling).
To the fans, you guys always push me to be the best. All those New York fans, when I was at Yankee Stadium, pitching, it felt like I was pitching with 55,000 people next to me throwing one pitch after another. You guys are the best. Man, without your support, I cannot do it. You always push me to the limit, always wishing me the best, but always all the boos when I don't do my job, I really deserve it. I deserve it. You guys came to see me succeed. But those guys also that have a bat in their hand, they have a job to do, too. So thank you. Thank you for all of you fans, thank you very, very much.
As a young boy in my beautiful Panama, yes, I wanted to be the next PelÃƒÂ©. Was not about Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, I wanted to be a PelÃƒÂ©. PelÃƒÂ© is a soccer superstar. So every child in every Latin country wanted to be the next PelÃƒÂ©.
But my abilities were not good enough for me to be a soccer player. So the Lord was pushing me to baseball. I loved baseball, but I didn't thought that baseball would be something I would use as a career.
As a 20-year-old boy, man, I went to try out with the New York Yankees, where my two teammates from my hometown team gave me a tryout with the New York Yankees. I asked them to do what? He says, To pitch.
Guys, I didn't know how to pitch. I was throwing baseball, I wasn't pitching. I was throwing baseball when I was playing back home. I wasn't pitching. But I took the opportunity. I had no uniform. My spikes, have a big hole in my big toe. I didn't have a glove. But I went and I asked my father at that time, I was fixing the nets for the boat that my father and I work. I asked permission to my father to allow me to go and practice. He said, Go ahead. I did that.
When I got there, I met my coach, Mr. Karl Heron. A man that I learned to love and respect for what he did for me and baseball. Then Sunday came and we had to face the national team, the Panamanian national team of baseball. There were two guys that they want to see before me, since I was the fill-in. I thought, Well, if I pitch last, I might do a good job because the two guys that are in front of me will start the game, and I will come out good. Maybe I had a chance to sign as a professional player.
Well, to my surprise, I started the game. I did good. I threw three innings, few punch-outs, no hits, came out smelling like roses. Next day I was signed for the New York Yankees. They gave me $2,000. They gave me a glove and a shoes. I was happy. Happy because I took that opportunity that the Lord has given me.
On my way to Tampa, 1990, I didn't know what to expect. I was leaving my hometown, my family, my people. First time on a plane. Arriving to Miami. I don't know where to go. No English. Thank God for the people that were there that help us.
We got to Tampa. I don't know what I was expecting. But God guided me through. At that time everybody, most of the guys I played with, they were Spanish, so they spoke Spanish.
But my second year in professional baseball, I went to Greensboro, North Carolina, where not too many people spoke Spanish. I used to at times go to bed crying because I couldn't communicate, couldn't communicate with my teammates. I was frustrated. I was frustrated because no English, no relationship with my teammates, with my manager, my pitching coach. I made one of the biggest decisions and the greatest decision I made. I talk to a few of my teammates, one is here, Bob Dillard and his family. I asked them, Guys, please I need to learn English.
Whatever I do, whatever things I said that is not right, please you can laugh all you want, but please teach me, teach me the right way. And they did. They never laughed. They never laughed. They teach me the right way.
'95 I got the call, made it to the big leagues as a starter, like Andy Pettitte was saying. I didn't do too good. I have another friend with me also. They send me down. They send him down with me, too. That was Mr. Derek Jeter. Can you believe that now (laughter)? We were almost little bit crying. Couldn't believe it.
That only make us stronger. '96 I had to fight for my job again. I made the team from the beginning. I start as a long reliever. The middle of the year, early in the year, I was the setup man. We accomplish great games, accomplish something special. That was a championship. That team was special.
1997, to my surprise I became the New York Yankees' closer, and I was shocked. I thought I was looking for Wetteland and we would doing the same thing over and over, I would be seventh and eighth guy, and he would be the ninth. Again, God had different things for me.
At the beginning of 1997, I was struggling a little bit. Then my manager and my pitching coach, Joe Torre and Mr. Mel Stottlemyre, that I miss dearly, I wish he was here today, too. He said, Mariano, I am the manager here, you will be my closer. I knew that if I don't do my job, I won't be his closer. But that's what I took, that's what I wanted to hear, and my career took off after that.
Little after that, few days after that, the Lord gave me the best pitch in baseball. Sorry, guys (smiling). The cut fastball. I was playing catch with Ramiro Mendoza. I'm throwing the ball the same way I'm throwing it since I was six years old. Now the ball is moving. I was afraid, I don't know what to do.
Imagine that a closer that don't know where the ball is going to go, just won the World Series the previous year, now you have all that responsibility, and you don't know where the ball is going. That was me.
As a matter of fact, after that game we went to Detroit, and Mel, Mike Borzello the bullpen catcher and myself, we worked for 45 minutes almost to an hour to make the ball stop from moving. Thank God the ball didn't stop.
I told Mel, I said whatever is going to happen is going to happen. I learn how to use that pitch. I use that pitch for 17 years, and I used it well. I used it to the last day that I pitched at Yankee Stadium. My two brothers came in and take me out of the game. That moment was special for me. I was grateful to the good Lord that allow me to play in New York with the greatest fans and end out my career the way I did, with my two brothers next to me, me hugging them and crying over them, being thankful for them.
Derek, Andy, Mr. Posada, Bernie Williams, Mr. Tino Martinez, thank you, guys. I love you, man. You guys mean so much to me. To all my friends, I got my family here, the rest of the family, my friends here, thank you. Thank you for all that support.
Now I'm going to speak a little Spanish. I promise I will finish.
There is a family here I cannot pass. There is the Foncina family. Thank you for being here, Mark and Lisa, thank you. I'm so humble and blessed to receive this incredible honor. God bless you all and I love you. Thank you.
JANE FORBES CLARK: Ladies and gentlemen, the Hall of Fame class of 2019. All six plaques will be hanging in the Hall of Fame gallery within a few hours. We hope you stop by the museum to see them. We also hope you mark your calendars for the 2020 induction ceremony right here, Sunday, July 26th. Thank you so much for coming and travel safely.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports