The 6-foot-10 pitcher Randy Johnson became the tallest player ever to be elected to the Hall of Fame Sunday. He was elected alongside two pitchers John Smoltz and Pedro Martinez and catcher-turned-second-baseman Craig Biggio with at least 40,000 fans cheering them on.
Sunday served as a historical moment for the four players and for the hall of fame. It was the first time since 1955 that four players were inducted, NBC News reports. And to an impressive Hall of Fame class!
Randy Johnson, 51, gave a special thanks to his parents–his father died in 1992–at the induction ceremony Sunday. Johnson thanked his mom and said, “You’re the Hall of Famer.”
Johnson was a lefty strikeout king. He won four consecutive Cy Young Awards, became a 20-game winner in 1997 and led the Arizona Diamondbacks to the World Series in 2001. Johnson finished up his 22-season career with 303 wins.
John Smoltz, 48, went to the playoffs with Atlanta 14 times and won the 1996 Cy Young Award. The Braves also won the 1995 World Series with Smoltz on their side. He’s the first pitcher to win at least 200 games and save at least 150.
He was also the first player inducted who had undergone Tommy John surgery. In his speech, which also included a strange wig, he spoke of the epidemic of arm injuries in the sport and his injury. “I’m a miracle. I’m a medical miracle,” Smoltz said.
Pedro Martinez, 43, was the last to speak at the ceremony where his country’s flags were waving. He discussed the pride he felt in being a Dominican player and said his induction was a “sign of hope, faith, determination, strength, courage, and dignity” for his country.
“We waited 32 years for another Dominican. I hope all Dominicans remember this,” Martinez said. According to CBS News, Martinez was the second Dominican player, along with former Giants player Juan Marichal in 1983, to be inducted.
Martinez was also the first (primarily) Red Sox pitcher to be inducted and he was 219-100 for his career. He grew up with five sisters and brothers in a one-room home, and he credits his brother Ramon–a Dodgers starter–for his success and called him his “second dad.”
In an offense-ruled period full of steroids, small strike zones and small ballparks, all three pitchers proved to be outstanding. Together, they earned 735 wins, 11,113 strikeouts and nine Cy Young Awards.
And then there’s Craig Biggio. He became the only player in history with at least 250 home runs, 3,000 hits, 600 doubles and 400 stolen bases, and he was asked to play four different positions in his 20-year career with the Astros. He was an All-star behind the plate and at second base.
Biggio, 49, thanked everyone who had touched his career, his wife, his family and his fans. “To the Astros fans, you guys are the greatest fans in the world,” Biggio said.
See some highlights from the ceremony here.