Two of the best starting pitchers of the 1990s and 2000s, two standout designated hitters and two of the best closers of all time — including Cooperstown's first unanimous selection — went into the Baseball Hall of Fame on Sunday. Their words moved the crowd on a sun-splashed day in upstate New York:
MLB's all-time saves leader was the last to speak — "I don't understand why I always have to be last," the Yankees great quipped, before adding: "It was a privilege and an honor to wear the pinstripes, and I did it with dignity honor and pride. I tried to carry the pinstripes as best I could. I think I did all right."
Brandy Halladay (for husband Roy Halladay)
Roy Halladay died in November 2017, leaving his widow to speak for the two-time Cy Young Award winner: "I know how honored Roy would be to be sitting here with such accomplished men who have represented this game so well over the course of all your careers."
The 18-year starter thanked his family and coaches, adding: "I was never fortunate to win a Cy Young Award or be a World Series champion, win 300 games or strike out 3,000 hitters. My opportunities for those achievements are in the past. Today, I get to become a member of the Baseball Hall of Fame. This time I made it."
The five-time Silver Slugger winner thanked Mariners fans for his election on his final writers' ballot, adding: "This is a day I could never imagine happening when I was growing up in Puerto Rico. Honestly, there were times over the last 10 years I wasn't sure it was going to happen. I am so grateful and proud."
Smiling from beginning to end during his speech, the major leagues' No. 3 all-time saves leader credited his family and hometown of Castor, La. "I was 14 years old and I thought my future was basketball. It wasn't just my arm that got me here. It's the whole community of Castor. I thank you."
A man of few words, the longtime DH spoke of giving back, putting family ahead of everything else and working hard at your craft. Speaking of his dad, he said: "[He] taught me how to approach life. You work at it, you put your head down, you keep your mouth shut and you work at your craft day in, day out."