Yesterday’s Moment in the Cooperstown Sun

THE CLASS OF 2015: Left to Right ~ Craig Biggio, John Smoltz, Randy Johnson, and Pedro Martinez.

THE CLASS OF 2015: Left to Right ~ Craig Biggio, John Smoltz, Randy Johnson, and Pedro Martinez.

New Hall of Fame inductee Pedro Martinez spoke warmly of his three brothers at the Cooperstown ceremonies on Sunday, July 26, 2015. His older brother Ramon Martinez may have lacked his younger sibling’s numbers over the course of his own 14 year (1988-2001) MLB career, but he still finished with 135 wins against only 88 losses, highlighted by the 1990 season in which we won 20, lost 6, and worked 234.1 innings at a 2.92 E.R.A. rate and led the NL as a LA Dodger with 12 complete games.

A younger than Pedro Martinez brother narrowly missed pitching in the big leagues and a third brother apparently never came close, but Pedro thanked them all. And openly told them of his love for them during his Hall of Fame induction speech. For the Martinez brothers, it was a proud and happy day for family and a large contingent of fans and supporters from the Dominican Republic that made the trip to Cooperstown to show support for their native son and the chance to take pride in the baseball accomplishments of their island nation.

It was a great finale moment when Pedro Martinez called upon the older fellow Dominican Hall of Famer, Juan Marichal, to come forth to the podium and hold with him their nation’s flag as a way of giving the individual moment over to the celebration of his honor as a Dominican Republic national accomplishment.

The love for his family, his country, and the game of baseball was visible in the words, eyes, and spirit of Pedro Martinez as he addressed the crowd of his family and fans at Cooperstown yesterday. And their love and support for Pedro shown back unto him in smiles, cheers, tears, and shouts of national joy. It was a beautiful day all the way around. Even from home, those of us who comfortably watched in HD TV over the MLB Network also got to run the bases on one more reminder of why the game of baseball is so special to us.

The people who play our game care deeply. An intense, closer-to-the-vest expression of love for family came through in the more somber delivery of Randy Johnson. Randy did raise the pitch a might when he said that his two months in Houston at the end of the 1999 season were his best moments in baseball. He proudly acknowledged that his ten wins against only one loss as an Astros ace were his most effective career season moment. And John Smoltz came through like the big joyous kid he apparently still loves to be in his approach to life, but the love poured freely from him too. The son of two accordion teachers in Lansing Michigan had grown up to be a Hall of Fame pitcher with the unique ability for succeeding as both a starter and a killer closer.

Then there was our Houston guy, Craig Biggio, the lead-off induction speaker. The Hall of Fame program planners must have liked their chances with Biggio leading off. He did yesterday what he has done so often during his career. He got the program started by hitting a home run with every thought and full emotion he expressed. I’ve already written the following as a comment of my own on yesterday’s column, but it bears repeating here. – Craig’s induction speech was the most eloquently anchored, humble, honest and acknowledging acceptance talk I’ve ever heard from an inductee at Cooperstown. I’m pretty sure I heard MLB host Harold Reynolds say it was the best he’d ever heard too – and that was just after Biggio had concluded what he had to say. – Craig even told former second base coach Matt Galante that “if it weren’t for you, I wouldn’t be here today.” – Matt was moist eyed and another sentence short of a full cry. – What a great, great total moment for Craig Biggio, his family, the Astros, the fans, and the whole City of Houston. And, as “Ole Diz” always liked to say, “It was a great day for baseball!”

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4 Responses to “Yesterday’s Moment in the Cooperstown Sun”

  1. Patrick Callahan '56 Says:

    BILL: –>
    Solid piece of work – stay the course……GO EAGLES & ASTROS
    Callahan

  2. Wayne Chandler Says:

    A MLB announcer said, immediately after Biggio’s speech, that it was the best Hall of Fame speech that he ever had heard, It was a well-organized , and genuine delivery, and reminds that we’re still glad he’s a Houstonian now..

  3. Dennis Corcoran Says:

    Hi Bill.
    I was there for my eleventh induction and I liked your column. I enjoyed Craig’s speech, especially his opening comments about his parents while growing up on Long Island. I originally found out he grew up in King’s Park because my wife’s niece and her husband and five kids live there now.
    If you or any of your readers have any questions about the Hall of Fame or the induction ceremony they can reach me at my email djcinductionguru@gmail.com

  4. Dennis Corcoran Says:

    Also, I wanted to add that I’ve seen fans from all over the country come to the eleven inductions to honor their heroes, but I found the Astro fans the nicest group that I’ve ever met!

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