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December 5, 2011

Wezen-Ball

The Joy of Being Selected to the Hall of Fame

by Larry Granillo

A selection of quotes from newly elected members of the Baseball Hall of Fame detailing their thoughts and emotions after hearing the news. In nearly all instances, the quotes were taken the day of the election. If a Hall of Famer is omitted, it is because there were no relevant quotes to be found.

George Brett, 1999, elected in his first year of eligibility
"I start bawling, crying like a baby. Baseball was so hard for me, and to get that high of [a] vote total, it got to me. It was fantastic. But now my friends are hearing me cry, and they're thinking, 'Maybe he didn't make it.'"

Nolan Ryan, 1999, elected in his first year of eligibility
"It's certainly an honor, that I was thought of on that level. Tom was obviously one of the best pitchers I ever saw throw the baseball."

Tony Perez, 2000, elected in his ninth year of eligibility
"It's sweet now, when I'm in. It doesn't matter how long I had to wait. The first thing I thought of was calling my mother in Cuba. The family was there, too. They started jumping around. My mother was crying."

Bill Mazeroski, 2001, elected by the Veteran's Committee 29 years after retiring
"I'm pretty happy. I don't really know what to say. I never, ever expected to be here. You dream of a lot of things. You want to be in the big leagues. You want to make the All-Star game. You want to be in a World Series. You want to do all those things, but you never dream of this. It's pretty exciting. I just hope I can live up to."

Kirby Puckett, 2001, elected in his first year of eligibility
"I never forgot where I came from. I grew up in the projects, I came from nothing, and here I am ... This is one of the proudest days of my life."

Dave Winfield, 2001, elected in his first year of eligibility
"I've been to the Hall of Fame, and I know who are in there and what they achieved in this great game. It inspires my awe at this moment, and I can't even begin to describe how I'll feel if elected."

Ozzie Smith, 2002, elected in his first year of eligibility
"To be the only one going in I think speaks to the impact I had at my position."

Gary Carter, 2003, elected in his sixth year of eligibility
"I got overly excited and screamed. Now we can do a little celebrating."

Dennis Eckersley, 2004, elected in his first year of eligibility
"I need to regroup here. I feel like a child."

Paul Molitor, 2004, elected in his first year of eligibility
"There was a huge sigh of relief on my part. The room kind of erupted with some screaming and applause. It was pretty emotional. I don't think it's one of those moments you can really plan for."

Bruce Sutter, 2006, elected in his 13th year of eligibility
"It was a call that you always hope for, but you never really expect it to happen. I didn't think it would affect me or hit me as hard as it did." Sutter noted that he cried when he received the call.

Tony Gwynn, 2007, elected in his first year of eligibility
"It's an unbelievable feeling to know that people think that what you did was worthy. For me, it's kind of validation. The type of player that I was doesn't get a whole lot of credit in today's game."

Cal Ripken, Jr., 2007, elected in his first year of eligibility
"It's a wonderful moment right now. It's almost more an extension of a boyhood dream. Sometimes maybe you fantasize you'll be good enough to make the Hall of Fame, but it's such a fantasy, you don't really think about it."

Goose Gossage, 2008, elected in his ninth year of eligibility
"It was like being hit with a brick. My head just went numb."

Jim Rice, 2009, elected in his 15th year of eligibility
"I don't think it matters what ballot I was on as long as I got in. That was the key thing right there. I guess everything was just timing, because my numbers have not changed over the last 14 years. The only thing I can say is I'm glad it's over with. I'm in there and they can't take it away."

Rickey Henderson, 2009, elected in his first year of eligibility
"It's really just an honor to me. I'm really just spaced out. I haven't really thought about what I'm going to say (in my induction speech)."

Andre Dawson, 2010, elected in his ninth year of eligibility
"I really can't explain the elation. It's the greatest feeling an individual can have."

Roberto Alomar, 2011, elected in his second year of eligibility
"I didn't expect to get that many votes. Last year, I was a little bit disappointed, but I'm real excited. Last year, I got so close that I expected this year I'd be able to make it, but I didn't think I'd get that many votes."

Bert Blyleven, 2011, elected in his 14th year of eligibility
"It's been 14 years of praying and waiting. And thank the baseball writers of America for, I'm going to say, finally getting it right."

Ron Santo, 2012, elected by the Veteran's Committee 37 years after retiring
(Ron Santo died on December 3, 2010, nearly one year to the day before being elected to the Hall of Fame.)

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<< Previous Article
Baseball Prospectus Ne... (12/02)
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