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March 10, 2009

Arturo Gonzalez

Juan Jose Pacho

Alberto Saucedo

Jose Domingo Setien


THE MODERATOR: Welcome to this press conference for the Mexican Baseball League Hall of Fame. We have Gonzalo Camarillo, Chairman of the Board, Mr. Plinio Escalante, the chairman of the Mexican Baseball League, and Alberto Saucedo, Director of the Hall of Fame.
ALBERTO SAUCEDO: Good afternoon, and thank you for coming here today. 36 years ago, the Hall of Fame of Mexican Professional Baseball opened its doors. Since then and to date, we have 174 people who have become part of the Hall of Fame. 126 are ballplayers, and the rest are umpires, the directors.
Likewise, this year we celebrate 70 years of immortals, thanks to an election held by Fernando, and because they're immortal, Leonardo Alan√≠s, Fernando, Antonio La√Īiza, Lucas "El Indio" Ju√°rez and Julio Molina, that 1939 in June, the Hall of Fame was opened in Cooperstown, U.S., and 1939 in May, the Mexican Professional League registered the Monterrey Sultans.
So in 2009 there are many, many important dates that we're celebrating, and it is time that we have brought together this press conference so we can give you the official pronouncement of the new people.
We counted a vote last Wednesday, and we had the participation of Mr. Plinio Escalante. In his capacity as the director of the board, Gonzalo Camarillo, and the ex-president Enrique Kerlegand, Jesus Franco Garcia and Jesus Monterrey Gonzalez, who witnessed the electoral count and the number of votes sent by the Election Committee.
According to those votes, let me tell you who are the elected people into the Hall of Fame. They will be properly introduced in June in Monterrey.
The first member is Arturo Gonz√°lez. He's a pitcher. He was born in Monterrey. He holds the record for the highest number of consecutive seasons being on a team, the Sultans. He also has won 232 games in the Mexican Baseball League and 125 in the Pacific League. He also holds the highest number of strikeouts. He's played 10 seasons, and in 1983, 1984, he played against Mazatlan wearing the Navajo colors.
Second candidate, Juan José Pacho, shortstop. He played for the longest time with the Yucatán Lions. He holds the record for the most games played as shortstop, 19, and he also holds the A record as fielding leader, five out of eight. He has 1,768 hits in his career, and he's currently the Tabasco manager.
This year there's a chronicle writer that's been elected José Domingo Setién, who's been working for over 40 years reporting the chronicles of baseball. He's been broadcasting games for most of the circuits, including Córdoba, Poza Rica, Minatitlan, Puebla, Jalisco, Aguascalientes, and even the Industrials of Monterrey. In 2001 he received the Golden Microphone, and the Fray Nano Award, and he's a founding member of the Hall of Fame since it opened in 1972.
In the veteran area we have Mr. Salvador Colorado. He's a pitcher who worked with the Coatzacoalcos, Córdoba, Poza Rica teams. He was the Mexican Rookie of the Year in 1979 and 1980, and he's one of the best players with a winning percentage of .574 with a record of 58 won against 43.
It's an honor to introduce the new members for 2009.
We told you who they are. Here they are. And in the official ceremony in Monterrey, they will be formally enrolled into the Hall of Fame. Today they are among the immortals of Mexican baseball. We open the floor to any questions.

Q. (No microphone).
ARTURO GONZ√ĀLEZ: I started playing as an outfielder, and I started playing when I was 16. I've always worn the blue colors of Monterrey Sultans, 1975. Miguel Sotelo and Michael Rodriguez were the managers, and that's where my career began. It really took off since then.

Q. Juan José, I don't know if I can say, were you expecting this? Did it take a long time? Was it short?
JUAN JOS√Č PACHO: Well, I'm really privileged of being part of the baseball legends. We were talking with Mr. Escalante and Gonzalo and saying that after not playing and being inactive for eight years, this opportunity just fell in my lap, and I am truly, truly happy. I'm touched by it. It's an honor to be in the Hall of Fame, and I think it's something -- well, it was definitely unexpected, and I welcomed this.
Having told my family last night, my wife just went crazy, and my kids were overjoyed. I thank God and baseball.

Q. José, congratulations. How are you feeling?
JOS√Č DOMINGO SETI√ČN: Boy, what can I tell you, my dear friend? This is probably one of the most beautiful occurrences or things that happened in my life. I was born into baseball in 1972, champion manager Mario Pelaez in his first campaign, and we played with the C√≥rdoba Cafeteros, and right then and there I was signed up by the brewing company, and that's when I had an opportunity to go out and play in these fantastic baseball locations and getting to know people like you and Sergio Morales, and we have Jorge de la Serna, and we have my friends from the '70s, Kerlegand and Tom√°s Morales and Baldwin, and right now I really have no words to express my feelings.
Honestly, I never even thought my name would appear in any form of ballot, and six years ago I received word from someone saying, hey, you're going to be on this ballot, and year after year, you know, just that illusion grew. I was chairman of the Election Committee, and I saw how Jorge Blanco practically died from feeling the excess stress in trying to win and trying to be get into the Hall of Fame.
He lost the first time around. I guess Tommy Morales, to whom I owe a lot, he's a fantastic producer. He's a great boss, a friend, longtime friend, and Jorge Fernandez-Aviles, he promoted us and he took us to the leading stadiums. And bay at that tap I can't from the Tabasco team, and Mr. Vazquez, who won the first championship. But I saw how Jorge Blanco lost by one vote against the "Commentator of Monster Reporting." And all those people in the '70s who really, really trusted me, who pushed me, who pulled me, and the magazines and the "Who's Who," because in 1975 "Who's Who" was published, calling me "the season's broadcaster," and then that section was deleted from the magazine.
Yet all my friends, even Pepé González, who was sort of like a fourth bat in the north, and Enrique Kerlegand, being part of this Hall of Fame means things are going to get real interesting, because although I've never sat back to study things, two members have worked for a team, and Enrique and I were part of the Tabasco club.
So I want to thank everyone who casted their vote for me because not only have you made Domingo Setién happy, you've made the entire family absolutely thrilled. It's a united family, and now I hold an even tighter commitment for my friends and for my Mexican League that I love so much.

Q. Arturo, what does it mean to you to be elected into this Hall of Fame this first year that you're eligible?
ARTURO GONZ√ĀLEZ: Well, of course I'm proud. I'm proud that you voted for me.
When I started playing baseball, I never thought so many incredible things were going to happen. I'm eternally grateful to baseball because it's thanks to baseball that I met my wife and I've got these wonderful kids, and I've been playing with my childhood team, and I'm very happy for your vote.

Q. I want to start by congratulating all three of you, especially for my friend over here. And for Pacho, my friend in Vera Cruz. I feel so proud seeing you sitting up there as part of the Hall of Fame, and next to "King Arthur," a fantastic pitcher. I saw you guys play, all three of you together. It was an extraordinary game, and that's when I found out that I'm getting old. But I want to congratulate you. Pacho, let me ask you, what did your wife tell you when you told her last night?
JUAN JOS√Č PACHO: You don't want to know. Let me tell you, she didn't pass out because I think she was sitting down and that's the first thing I asked. I said, "Listen, are you sitting down because I'm going to say something that's fabulous." It was incredible. She couldn't believe it. She started shouting and screaming. She was absolutely overjoyed, and that rush of emotions that she felt, she felt it because she's been a part of my process of this entire thing. Ever since I met her, she's lived my ups and she's lived my downs. But it's today that together with Arturo and Salvador and with Domingo Seti√©n, here we are, and boy, we're basking in this glory. As professionals, this is probably one of the best times in my life as a baseball player.

Q. Who were you looking up to before you made it into this Hall of Fame? What were your idols to follow?
JUAN JOS√Č PACHO: H√©ctor Espino.
ARTURO GONZ√ĀLEZ: Since I was a kid and dad would take me to baseball, actually since the first time he bought one of those black and white TV sets, H√©ctor Espino was definitely someone to follow.
JOS√Č DOMINGO SETI√ČN: As a ballplayer, H√©ctor Espino, and can we give two names as a reporter? It's really tough because sometimes you go with your heart. Probably Jorge Blanco. I worked with him part of the time. And Chara Mansur, who was a director.

Q. Another question, this is open for all three: If you can pick a time in your baseball life, which one would you remember the most?
JOS√Č DOMINGO SETI√ČN: There's so many. Maybe 1972. I'm really sorry he narrated the winter Vera Cruzan game. He could have worked more. He could have been more. He was a reporter, and he was known as "Tira Tira." He just passed away recently. These were very hot winters in the state of Vera Cruz.
Now, what else can I say of Pedro Septién? An unforgettable person. It was incredible that after 6:00 or 7:00 p.m. I could enjoy Angel Fernandez, who used to edit the Hit magazine, and if I remember correctly, he rebuilt in one hour's time that game Roberto Avila was a champion, and he walks away with the batting title. He won. And incredible as it sounds, he really fed baseball with a sense of life.
ARTURO GONZ√ĀLEZ: I can think of many fabulous moments. I was pitching a no-hitter. The first hitter I walked, and I pitched 15 innings, and I was ready for the 16th inning, but the umpire said, "That's it. You're going right back." That's one of the best games I can think of.
JUAN JOS√Č PACHO: Probably I lived one of the most incredible moments in my life, in my professional life, when I played as a manager. I went back to Mazatlan in 2004 and 2005. We were the champions of the Mexican Pacific league and represented Mexico in the Caribbean, and we won in Mazatlan, especially at that time period. My friend next to me was there.
ARTURO GONZ√ĀLEZ: Yeah, that was another one.
ALBERTO SAUCEDO: Let me tell you about Salvador Colorado. Salvador is in the city of Xalapa. He works with the Minatitlan team. He's sick. He was in a hospital this past week. He wanted to come, but of course, the best thing to do, the most logical thing, was just to recover. But he'll be with us in July.

Q. I come from Venezuela. We follow Mexican baseball closely. We've done so for a long time. I want to congratulate you for entering the Hall of Fame. Now as the president of the Hall of Fame, how does it feel to be Mexican and to be part of the Hall of Fame that is part not of the Major Leagues but it's part of Latin American leagues?
LIC. ALBERTO SAUCEDO: Thanks for your question. Of course I feel honored, and I feel proud to be leading this institution. One of its missions is to promote the sport. We also need to get as much information as possible from our stars, and baseball in Mexico is actually the only sport that has a Hall of Fame, follows statistics, recognizes its heroes and makes them known.

Q. Alberto, you just began acting as chairman. Is there anything that you'll be doing differently for July's ceremony?
LIC. ALBERTO SAUCEDO: Of course we're thinking of some other things, but I can't share these with you. I can't share them with you because you'll have lots of surprises as soon as we have our plan we'll make it known.

Q. I think we've heard the nice part about the people going into the Hall of Fame, and I hope my question doesn't stir the waters: There's some of us that have spent years as sportswriters, and I was even there and was counting, but honestly, Mrs. Magdalena stopped sending people out. I was talking with the current chairman in the city of Hermosillo. I gave him my information. I've worked for years, not as much as Setién, but I don't think you've reviewed the roster, and I've made this known. Of all the good things that you want to do that weren't planned, why don't you look into your roster, vote for people that are still active and don't vote for any dead guys.
LIC. ALBERTO SAUCEDO: We did. We are reviewing the roster, and there are three people that have passed away, and we've deleted them, as well, from the roster. We're reviewing each individual case, as well.

End of FastScripts

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