A selection of memorable remarks made by Biggio, Smoltz, Johnson and Martinez during the induction ceremony
By Chad Thornburg
On Sunday afternoon in Cooperstown, N.Y., Major League Baseball welcomed four new members into its National Baseball Hall of Fame ranks. The 2015 class -- featuring greats Craig Biggio, John Smoltz, Randy Johnson and Pedro Martinez-- was enshrined before thousands of fans at the Clark Sports Center.
Here's some of what they had to say at their induction ceremony.
"This is pretty cool, I must say. What an incredible honor it is to be standing in front of these great men. I played against a lot of them, I admired a lot of them, I respected all of them."
"To the Astros fans. Where you at? Let me hear you. Pedro is going to give you a run for the money. You guys are the greatest fans in the world. I love you guys. I want to thank you for the way that you treated my family and [me]. I hope that I earned your respect by the way that I played the game, and I never took that for granted. And I will never forget the playoff runs that we had and the 20 years of memories."
"Another East Coast kid who just loved to play the game. We played 15 years together and changed the culture in Houston by making it a baseball town. We both got to live our dreams together by playing in the big leagues side by side. Thanks for being here today. It really means a lot." -- On his former Astros teammate, Jeff Bagwell
"Yogi was the smartest baseball man I was ever around. Although he's known for his Yogi-isms, his baseball intellect was second to none. Yogi would say things in a Yogi way, and he'd walk by and say some things and I'd be confused. And then the next half-inning, the one thing would happen, and then the next half-inning, the other thing would happen. And then I sat back down on the bench and said, 'Oh my gosh, I've got a lot to learn about this game." -- On former Astros bench coach and Hall of Famer Yogi Berra
"I gave the game everything I had every day. In baseball, tomorrow is not guaranteed, and I tried to play every game as if it was going to be my last. I want to thank the game for everything. The game has given me everything. My family, my friends, respect, but most of all, memories of a lifetime. Thank you very, very much from the bottom of my heart."
"I want you to know that the best way to describe my career is unique. I can't think of another word. It's unique in every way. And I have fingerprints all over my career by those who touched me and impacted me and helped me along the way. It is a huge army that got John Smoltz from Lansing, Michigan, to where I am today."
"It's hard to believe that I never competed against Randy Johnson. I can't say that I'm sorry. But I don't think we ever hooked up. I had a seat in the bullpen when he pitched his perfect game as I was the closer for the Braves. I actually halfheartedly started to warm up in the ninth because it was only a two-to-nothing game, knowing full well I didn't think I was going to get in that game."
"At 6'10, [Johnson] is truly the freak that mastered the game in a way that no other could. And in a weird way, with Pedro Martinez being on the opposite end of the spectrum and with me kind of fitting in the middle, it shows why baseball is a game of all sizes and shapes and why it is truly America's pastime."
"You loved me enough to give me room to go after my dream. You didn't discourage me from leaving the accordion for Major League Baseball. You just told me to have a backup dream, and I did that as well. Even though it was a gas station attendant at the time, I thought that was pretty cool. You served as a great example for me and all future parents that when your kid has a dream, no matter how outrageous or outlandish it might be, giving them a chance to pursue that is the greatest thing in life." -- On his parents
"[Tommy John surgery] is an epidemic. It's something that is affecting our game. ... I want to encourage the families and parents that are out there to understand that all this is not normal, to have a surgery at 14 or 15 years old -- that you have time, that baseball is not a year-round sport, that you have an opportunity to be athletic and play other sports. Don't let the institutions that are out there running before you, guaranteeing scholarship dollars and signing bonuses, [tell you] that this is the way. We have such great dynamic arms in our game that it's a shame that we're having one or two or three Tommy John recipients. So I want to encourage you, if nothing else, know that your children's passion and desire to play baseball is something that they can do without a competitive pitch. Every throw a kid makes today is a competitive pitch. They don't go outside, they don't have fun, they don't throw enough, but they're competing and maxing out too hard, too early, and that's why we're having these problems. So please take care of those great future arms."
"Going back home to Arizona, meeting Jerry Colangelo, he had a vision for that baseball team in Arizona. I bought into it, and he believed in me. I played there, and the ball started in motion there. Individual accomplishments are great, but in 2001, we had a team that in Spring Training we were all on the same page and we never deviated and wavered from that. And it led us to the World Series against the greatest team of all time, the New York Yankees." -- On the former D-backs owner and his time in Arizona.
"There's you, the fans. I've had a chance to play for six different teams, never really having a place that I could call home like Craig, to play my entire career there. I got to know a lot of ballplayers, played with some of the greatest of my era, played for wonderful fans every step along the way. If I was a visiting player coming in to pitch against your team, you motivated me by screaming at me. If you were rooting for me, I would run through a brick wall for you and throw as many pitches as I need to throw to get that game and us a victory."
"My dad passed away in 1992 on Christmas Day. He saw three years of my career. Not a lot to brag about, but there was that one game where I threw a no-hitter. I gave him a call, and he said it was far from perfect. I had walked [six] batters. Thirteen, 14 years later, I was perfect, Dad. That one game."
"When I won my 300th game, it was supposed to be a special moment. And it was, but my son was a bat boy that day. I had pitched six innings, was watching the remainder of the game in the dugout. I was watching his every move in a San Francisco Giants uniform. We were getting closer to the finish of the game, he was standing on the top step. As soon as the last out was made, I watched his emotions. That's what I took from that game that day. Winning the 300th game was great, but watching how emotional my son was was even better."
"So many of the reasons that I've been inducted in the Hall of Fame [for] are long gone now. 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."
"It's a great moment, not only for me, for my family, it's a great moment for the Dominican Republic and Latin America."
"Randy Johnson. The Big Unit. My brother from another mother. How much I enjoyed getting to know you and having you coming over to this class with me. Thank you, bro. You are special. Hey, I just want to ask a question. How does the weather feel when you stand up?"
"I have a gentleman here that I think is crazy. I have a gentleman here who's name is Dan Duquette. He was crazy enough to trade twice for the same little player, and both times he ended up looking great. And he wanted me a third time, but I was too old." -- On the former Montreal Expos and Boston Red Sox general manager, who traded for Martinez in 1993 and 1997
"Montreal, I hope you get a team pretty soon. Boston, I don't have enough words to say how much I love you. Even though the L.A. Dodgers never got me the chance to prove what I could do, I was given an opportunity there to showcase a little bit to let someone else pick me up. Philadelphia, where I finished my career, little did I know I was going to finish my career, but the fan base was great. The experience in Philadelphia was great. To all of you, thank you. The Mets fans, if you look at me and see me going wild, well that's the Mets fans. That's how we are. So, Queens, I love you, too." -- On the five franchises he played for in his 18-year career
"Today I don't want to go 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. I'm going to have to switch a little bit to Spanish, because I would like these people to really feel what I feel today and what I mean to say." -- Before closing his speech in Spanish
Chad Thornburg is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.