Selected Quotes from the New Electee Press Conference
Bert Blyleven and Roberto Alomar were introduced as Hall of Famers on Jan. 6
Blyleven: "It's a great honor, my wife and I are still numb."
"I almost didn't pick up the phone, because I didn't want to jinx anything."
"I'm very, very honored to be part of baseball's elite in the game. I'm very much looking forward to the Induction Ceremony on July 24th".
"It's an honor for me to be a Hall of Famer."
Alomar: "For me, it's a special day."
"It was a special phone call for myself."
"I want to dedicate this special day to all my family, to my dad, who is here today, my mom, who was the mentor of the family, the one who carried me since little league all the way to the big leagues, all my teammates, all the teams."
"It's an honor to be inducted at the same time with Bert Blyleven who I used to play with his son at the ballpark, I watched him pitch and I even got to face him one time."
"I'm excited, this is an honor for me and there are no words I can say right now. I am excited and I am looking forward to July to be in Cooperstown."
First phone call:
Alomar: "My first phone call was to my mom. It was a special phone call. I think she was so excited, it was an emotional phone call. She meant a lot to me in my life and that's the first phone call I made."
Blyleven: "For myself, mine was also my mother. My mother lives in Southern California. She and my dad were born in Holland, we immigrated into the United States in 1957 through Canada. She and my dad, who I lost to Parkinson's in 2004, they wanted to give their children a better life and I think being inducted into the Hall of Fame, it can't come any better than that if you're a major league baseball player. So my call was to my mother, and my dad because he was there listening too."
Special artifacts from their career in their home collection:
Alomar: "Well, my first hit in the big leagues against Nolan Ryan. That was special. Knowing that he's a Hall of Famer and played with my dad for the California Angels, to get my first hit against him was an unbelieveable feeling. So I have that ball at home."
Blyleven: "For myself it's two World Series trophies, 1979 Pirates and 1987 Minnesota Twins, the original size trophies are displayed in my house."
"I have a baseball from every win, 287 balls going back to 1970-92. Baseball has meant everything to me. Now I broadcast for the Minnesota Twins and I'm lucky to be around the game I love."
Being a Hall of Famer:
Alomar: "When I heard those voices saying that I had been elected to the Hall of Fame, it was an honor to hear them tell me that. It's tough to describe the feeling of that phone call."
Blyleven: "My name has always been Rik Albert Blyleven. Now my name is Rik Albert Blyleven, the Hall of Famer."
"It's going to take a while to sink in."
Teams they played for:
Alomar: "I want to thank the Padres organization for giving me an opportunity to become a professional baseball player. They believed in me in the beginning when I signed with them and gave me the opportunity to play with them for three years and I appreciated every moment of it. Then I was traded to the Toronto Blue Jays. When I was traded, I was surprised. I was so young, I didn't know I was going to be traded to the Toronto Blue Jays and the first call I made was to my dad. He gave me the best advice that 'you are going to a great ballclub, you are going to a great city and you're going to be ok playing in Toronto. And he was right, we won two World Series, with great people, they embraced me since day one."
"I will go into the Hall of Fame with a Blue Jays hat. The first Blue Jay ever to go with a Blue Jay hat and I'm looking forward to it."
Blyleven: "I'm very, very honored to go in as a Minnesota Twin. It was a great ride for me, so many great ballclubs I played for and so many great moments."
On being the 3rd Puerto Rican-born player elected to the Hall of Fame:
Alomar: I feel honored to be in the same class as Roberto Clemente and Orlando Cepeda. I think they are some of the players that I respect the most, they come from Puerto Rico, the same country and I feel honored to be beside them in this elite group."
"I know Puerto Rico is really blessed now to have three Puerto Ricans in the Hall of Fame."
"It's been a long run for me since little league, I had to work so hard. I have to thank my dad because he game be the best advice, 'if you want to be a ballplayer one day, you have to work hard since day one. And that's what I did."
"Hopefully the young kids will see this as an inspiration and we'll get more kids playing baseball. Hopefully we can see more Puerto Rican kids coming to the big leagues."
Time in the minor leagues:
Alomar: "First of all, I didn't even know how to speak English."
"It was an experience. Especially coming from a different country, coming to the states, not knowing the language, not knowing the people real well. It was a challenge. It was a challenge for me, but I had the support of my family and the support of my teammates. When you set goals in mind, you have to not let that bother you so much, how tough it is, because I think my father went through tougher than I went to. He taught me that if you're going to reach your dream in baseball, you're going to go through tough battles in the minor leagues. And I did."
On being born in Holland:
Blyleven: "I've very honored to go in as a Minnesota Twin, also as a U.S.citizen and also being born in Holland, I'm very happy and proud be going in as a Dutchman.
How the game has changed:
Blyleven: "The game has changed, the pitch count has come into play."
"The guys are bigger and stronger than we were so there's no reason they can't go deeper into games."
"I'm very happy I pitched in the era that I did, when complete games meant something, shutouts meant something."
Being a broadcaster:
Blyleven: "I'm very lucky to be a broadcaster and have fun with it."