Baseball Hall of Fame welcomes class of 2015
The Baseball Hall of Fame has inducted four new members as part of the Class of 2015.
The ceremony on July 26 took place in front of more than 40,000 fans, including 49 returning Hall of Famers, making it one of the largest-ever gatherings of inductees.
First up was Craig Biggio, the former second baseman and catcher who spent his entire career 19-year career with the Houston Astros. Widely regarded as the greatest all-around player in Astros history, Biggio was a seven-time All-Star during his career before retiring in 2007.
“I’d like to thank the writers for the invitation to be part of the greatest team ever, the Baseball Hall of Fame," said Biggio. "I truly am honored. “The big question is how do you get to the Hall of Fame? You’ve got to have a little bit of talent and you got to have a lot of help along the way.”
Second was John Smoltz, the former Atlanta Braves pitcher and eight-time All-Star who won the World Series in 1995 and the Cy Young award in 1996.
"I can’t speak for the rest of the Hall of Famers, but on January 6 when I got the call letting me know that I had been elected into the Hall of Fame, well, it was a feeling words and emotions cannot describe," said Smoltz. "The phone rang and I was just thankful Greg Maddux did not pull off the ultimate prank letting me know that this was not for real. Thankfully they told me quickly that I had made it.”
The third inductee was Randy Johnson, the former left-handed pitcher known as "The Big Unit". Johnson won the Cy Young pitching award a remarkable five times, is the only pitcher to have thrown no-hitters in both leagues, and in 2004 became the oldest player to pitch a perfect game at the age of 40.
“So many of the reasons that I've been inducted in the Hall of Fame are long gone now," said Johnson. "I no longer have a fastball. I no longer have a bad mullet. And my scowl is long gone. I'm so happy to be elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame and be in the greatest fraternity of all time. And you the fans to share this great moment with me.”
The fourth and final inductee was Pedro Martínez, the Dominican-American pitcher and World Series winner with the Boston Red Sox in 2004. Martínez made the All-Star team eight times during his career, won the Cy Young award three times and has the third highest strikeout-to-walk ratio in modern history.
“I would like all of you to not look at me as numbers, as baseball, as achievements," said Martínez, in front of a crowd full of Dominican flags. "I would like you to actually see me as a sign of hope for a third-world country, for Latin America, someone that you can really look up to, and feel comfortable enough to say, I'm proud of you,” he said.
“Today I don't want to roll into numbers and games that I pitched. I just want to make sure that my people get a little message across from me and see me as a sign of hope for a future generation.”
All four men will now join 305 other players, managers, umpires, executives and pioneers who played a major role in the history of America's pastime, immortalized in bronze at the Hall of Fame and Museum at Cooperstown.
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