Welcome my Friends
Today is a very special day for two of baseball?s greatest. Although and Cal Ripken, Jr. have always been considered stars, today, as Dale Petroskey, President of the Baseball Hall of Fame announced their induction into Cooperstown, he solidified their place in the grand history of our game as immortals.
Cal Ripken Jr. and Tony Gwynn, welcome to Cooperstown.
Both men are deserving of the high honor. For those of you who don?t know, the motto of the Hall of Fame is: Preserving History, Honoring Excellence, Connecting Generations. Both Gwynn and Ripken have made tremendous contributions to our game. Their play on the field is most was definitely excellent, as Gwynn led the league in hitting seven times, was on 15 All Star teams, won five Gold Gloves, seven Silver Slugger awards, had a .338 lifetime average and challenged the hallowed mark of hitting over .400 in a season in 1994 ending the year with a .394 average. With Ripken, well, you?re talking about a player who broke a record that nobody thought would ever be broken.
Lou Gehrig, the Iron Horse, is certainly one of baseball?s immortals because of his consecutive games-played streak. When Ripken broke that streak, I, along with everyone else in baseball stood in awe of his accomplishment. He also hit more than 400 homeruns and collected well over 3000 hits. But playing in 2,131 consecutive games is just amazing.
What makes each career even more special is they never played for more than one team.
Both men are ambassadors of the game. Cal and Tony wore their respective uniforms in the highest degree of class, dignity and character. Neither did anything to embarrass themselves, the organization which the represented or the game. They are both fine role models for children and adults, fans and players. If you don?t believe me, just ask Alex Rodriguez who his favorite was while he was growing up.
It is a pleasure to have them inducted into this special fraternity. The Hall of Fame is a place for excellence in all of its forms. I am looking forward to being in Cooperstown this summer to see each man enshrined, to hear their acceptance speeches, to see their plaques unveiled and to shake each man?s hand and thank them for their contributions to the game and their commitment to the fans.