The baseball world made its way back to Cooperstown, N.Y. this weekend to celebrate the six new entries into the Hall of Fame.
Mike Mussina, Mariano Rivera, Lee Smith, Roy Halladay, Edgar Martinez and Harold Baines each had their moment on Sunday afternoon. With family, friends and the most impressive collection of baseball players anywhere in the world on hand, the inductees were presented with their plaques and an opportunity to share their stories.
Here’s everything you may have missed from one of the most special days on baseball’s calendar.
The unquestioned star of the day was Brandy Halladay, wife of the late Roy Halladay, whose composure under pressure, and with all eyes on her, rivaled the achievements of everyone she shared the stage with.
Halladay received a standing ovation from the audience before she could even begin speaking. Her full speech is available below:
Philadelphia Phillies (@Phillies) July 21, 2019
It’s well worth the watch, especially for Halladay’s description of how her family decided not to include a team logo on Roy’s hat in his official plaque.
“Both [the Philadelphia Phillies and Toronto Blue Jays] quickly reached out to us telling us how proud they were of that decision, validating the choice that we knew in our hearts was right,” Halladay said. “We know without a doubt had Roy been here today this is the decision he would’ve made.
“Anyone who thinks baseball isn’t truly a family hasn’t been involved in baseball.”
Halladay opened her address by noting it was “not my speech to give, but I’ll do the best I can.” She surely did.
Mussina was the first speaker to take the podium and he made sure to turn behind him to thank both Smith and Rivera for saving games for him. He also had his high school coaches in the crowd, making sure to give them their credit for getting him to the bigs.
Smith detailed how he thought he was destined to play basketball until his Louisiana community taught him to love baseball. And Harold Baines, aware of his own introverted tendencies, poked fun at himself for being a man of few words.
“To all my former teammates, I know you’ve got a bet on it,” Baines said of his speech. “So you can start your stopwatch now.”
He officially clocked in under 10 minutes.
But two of the most memorable moments came from stalwarts of the 1990s and 2000s.
Edgar Martinez began his speech in Spanish and spoke directly to his fellow Puerto Ricans.
“Like most kids in Puerto Rico I wanted to be like Roberto Clemente,” Martinez said. “What an honor it is to have my plaque in the Hall alongside his.”
Martinez also had the best quip of the day, speaking of a time he gave a negative comment about former Mariners teammate Randy Johnson’s move to Arizona. After playing dumb when Johnson asked him about the quote, Johnson simply said, “Don’t worry, it’ll hurt. But only for a minute.”
Johnson sat stone-faced on the podium behind him as Martinez had the crowd giggling.
“I don’t understand why I always have to be last,” Rivera joked when it was finally his turn to speak. He went on to apologize for missing family events — especially the birthday celebrations of his son who happened to be born on October 4.
A few people who likely didn’t mind having Rivera at work that time of year were sitting in the stands to support him. Derek Jeter, Tino Martinez, Andy Pettitte, Jorge Posada and Bernie Williams were all on hand to see their former teammates enter the Hall.
With the conclusion of Sunday’s ceremony, the Baseball Hall of Fame now stands at 329 members with plenty of the game’s greats waiting for a call to join the club in 2020.
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