Ten years in the making, Edgar Martinez was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame on Sunday in Cooperstown, New York. Throughout his 12-minute speech, he thanked his friends, competitors, family and Mariners fans, among others.
“Mariners fans,” he said. “I am so fortunate to have two homes: Puerto Rico and Seattle. Seattle fans, thank you for always being there for me.
“Since 1987, you gave me your unconditional support, and it was even more prevalent over the last 10 years. The support you gave me over social media really helped me to get here today. Thank you Mariners fans, you are the best fans I could ever hope for. I’m so glad I stayed with you until the end of my career.
“I love you, Seattle fans. Thank you.”
Watch the entire speech:
Read the full transcript:
“Thank you. Thank you to the writers for this incredible honor. I also want to thank Jane Forbes Clark, Jeff Idelson and the Hall of Fame staff. You have been incredible to me and my family throughout this wonderful journey. Thank you.
Please allow me to say a few words in Spanish to my people from Puerto Rico.
Mi gente de Dorado y mi barrio de Maguayo, un abrazo. Mi historia es sencilla. Criado en un barrio rodeado de gente humilde, con buenas intenciones. Yo me beneficie de la calidad de seres humanos que existe en mi barrio Maguayo, Dorado, Puerto Rico. Los quiero mucho y nos vemos pronto.
Thank you for that moment.
I want to congratulate the men inducted into the Hall of Fame with me. It is an honor to be a part of this class. Mariano, I would change all my hits for my last at-bat of the 2001 playoff. With the game on the line, you got me out with a sinker. I didn’t even know you had a sinker (laughter).
Harold Baines, I loved watching you hit. You were one of the best clutch hitters I ever saw.
Lee Smith, I didn’t get the chance to face you much, and I’m so glad.
Mike Mussina, you were one of the toughest pitchers to figure out.
The Halladay family, my respect, congratulations to you. We’re thinking about Roy.
I am honored and humbled to be standing here in front of you. I admire the men behind me. I even imitated some of them during my career. I used George Brett’s, Kirby Puckett’s and others’ batting stances when mine wasn’t working. Tony Perez, you were one of my heroes back when you played for the Cangrejeros during the winter league. My grandfather and I would listen to games on the radio, and my grandfather used to say, “Se acabá el juego. Tony viene ahora,” which means, “Game over, Tony is coming to hit.”
You were a big part of my youth in Puerto Rico.
Mis hermanos, Roberto, Ivan, Orlando Cepeda, as a Puerto Rican, I am honored to have my plaque in the Hall with yours.
It is hard to believe that a dream that started when I was about 10 years old would take me on an amazing journey. Since the first time I saw Roberto Clemente on TV and some highlights from the World Series, I was hooked on the game of baseball. All I wanted to do was play the game and like most kids in Puerto Rico, I wanted to be like Roberto Clemente. What a great example Roberto Clemente was to all of us in Puerto Rico. What an honor to have my plaque in the Hall alongside with his.
Every man on this stage has had people that helped them along the way. It was the same with me. These people were a big reason why I’m here today. From my grandparents who raised me and instilled in me values like hard work, respect and discipline. To my whole family, my teammates, my coaches, my people from Maguayo, where I grew up, thank you for providing a sanctuary that protected me. In Maguayo, my time was consumed with baseball, the game I love. I am so fortunate to be raised in Maguayo, Dorado, Puerto Richo. Gracias, mi gente.
Marty Martinez. I was so lucky to cross paths with Marty. I wish Marty Martinez was here. He passed away a few years ago.
Marty was the scout that signed me and he saw something in me that others didn’t see. I didn’t have the classic homer power, but used the whole field. I didn’t have a lot of range in the field, but I would make the plays. I didn’t have a cannon for an arm but I was very accurate with my throws. Marty saw consistency and potential.
Thank you, Marty.
Carmelo Martinez, my cousin. Carmelo is like a brother. He signed before me and had a big influence in my life. When Marty Martinez offered me a contract, I didn’t want to sign. I thought I was going to school, also playing on the weekends, life was good for me. New car, nice clothes. Why would I want to risk what I have for $4,000?
Well, Carmelo convinced me. He told me, You can make it. Give it a shot. We argued and he won. Carmelo, thank you. You are a big reason why I am on this stage.
To my managers, coaches, thank you all. Jeff Scott, Greg Mahlberg, R.J. Harrison and Bill Plummer. Thank you for teaching me the fundamentals of the game during my minor league years.
Lou Piniella, you meant so much to me and to my career. From the first time I talked to you, I knew that dramatic change would come to the Mariners organization. I loved talking hitting with you. You are a very special man, and I hope you get the call soon. You deserve it.
To all my teammates, you made me a better player. Baseball is a team sport, and without your talent, passion and brotherhood, I would not be here. I won’t be able to mention all of you, but you know who you are.
I love you and I considered you brothers for life.
I wanted to make a few special mentions: Harold Reynolds, Alvin Davis, Dave Valle. Thank you for teaching me the way in the big leagues the first few years. I love you guys.
Junior, “The Kid,” thank you for being a great teammate. It was such a treat to look at your beautiful swing from the on-deck circle. And thank you for your words about me during your induction speech.
Jay Buhner, “Bad to the Bone,” thank you for being like a brother to me and for being outspoken leader in the clubhouse. I love you.
Randy, “Big Unit,” I don’t know if you remember, but when you went to play for Arizona, a reporter quoted me in the paper. I’d said something about you that you didn’t like. You came to me and asked, “What was that in the paper?”
I say, “What paper?”
Then you told me, “Don’t worry, it will hurt, but only for a minute.”
Watch him, he might throw at me right now (laughter).
I love that you had the intensity and drive, gave our team an edge.
To the Mariners organization, the people in the organization, they are all wonderful. Rick Griffin, Tom Newberg, the trainers that got me back on the field after my injuries, thank you.
Thank you to the PR team, what an amazing job with my Hall of Fame campaign. I don’t think I would be here without your work.
Thank you to the management for believing in me. Howard Lincoln, Chuck Armstrong, Lee Pelekoudas, Kevin Mather, John Stanton and John Ellis, thank you.
To my mom and my sister, Sonia, I’m so glad that I can share this great moment with you. I love you.
My brother, Elliott. Thank you for all those pebbles you pitched to me when we were kids. You helped develop my hand-eye coordination. I love you.
To my son, Alex, I’m looking forward to our classes together, spending time with you and taking courses with you is so much fun. You are very smart and have a great soul. I love you very much.
To my girl, Tessa, I can’t believe you’re 17 years old and going to college soon. Sometimes I look at the pictures of our trips, when I see yours, it makes me smile every time. You are so kind, so smart and beautiful. You have a natural grace. I love you.
My girl, Jacqueline, J.J. I know you never saw me play. You were born after I retired, and probably wonder what is the big deal? You are so much fun. Your personality fills our house. You make us laugh every day. I am so curious how you know by word most of the Hamilton songs. I love you very much.
To my wife, Holli, I am so thankful for you and for all the great things you have accomplished in the last 10 years. You got your Masters degree and became a successful professional. You are such a great example to our kids. I love you for who you are and for your drive. I love you.
Mariners fans, I am so fortunate to have two homes, Puerto Rico and Seattle. Seattle fans, thank you for always being there for me. Since 1987, you gave me your unconditional support, and it was even more prevalent in the last 10 years. The support you gave me over social media really helped me to get here today. Thank you, Mariners fans. You are the best fans I could ever hope for. I am so glad that I stayed with you til the end of my career. I love you, Seattle fans. Thank you.
This is a day I never could have ever imagined happening when I was growing up in Puerto Rico, or when I was in minor leagues wondering when my chance will come. Honestly, there were times over the last 10 years I wasn’t sure it was going to happen. So thank you once again, to everyone along the way who made this dream come true. I am so grateful and proud. Thank you.”