Martinez stole the show during the ceremony. He gave an excellent speech, (see video below) he was smart, serious and funny throughout as he spoke for nearly 25 minutes. He spoke about hi playing career, and told some jokes, but kept coming back to how much the Dominican Republic meant to him. That led to a very touching moment where he and Juan Marichal held up the Dominican Republic flag in front of the fans.
“When you see me,” Martinez said, “you can see a sign of hope, of faith, of determination, of strength, courage, with dignity.”
Martinez opted to wear a bright colored blue suit, not the more traditional darker (conservative look) and on each shoulder of his suit jacket, Martinez wore a patch. The left shoulder was a bald eagle with an American flag, an homage to the country that made him rich and famous and where he eventually became a citizen. The other commemorated the D.R., his homeland, his lifeblood, his soul, the place that courses through him no matter how long he spends in the United States.
The Dominican flag flew everywhere in Cooperstown, invading the city for the first time in 32 years. Dominican players have been in baseball since Ozzie Virgil joined the New York Giants in 1956, and only Juan Marichal has made it to the Hall of Fame.
After about 25 minutes of speaking in English, Martinez finally transitioned to Spanish. “Today,” he said,
“hoy, es el dia de los padres en la Republic Dominicana.”
It was Father’s Day in the Dominican Republic on Sunday, which made Martinez chuckle, because on Jan. 6, the day he found out he’d been elected into the Hall on his first ballot, it was Three Kings Day, a holiday for children in the D.R. Martinez’s father, Pablo, died seven years ago Friday, so he instead took it upon himself to honor a forefather.
“I would like to do something that will probably break the protocol,” he said into the microphone, “but I want to give my people the opportunity.”
Martinez pulled out a Dominican flag. He invited Juan Marichal to the lectern. Pedro held the right side, Marichal the left of the Dominican flag… There they were, two generations of baseball royalty.