COOPERSTOWN, N.Y. – Two patches on the shoulders of the jacket Pedro Martinez wore Sunday at his Hall of Fame induction were Martinez’s show of respect for the United States and the Dominican Republic.
“The flag from the Dominican Republic and this is the symbol from the United States – and I wanted to make sure that I recognized both sides, the Dominican Republic, because I was born there, a lot of the people, as you saw, showed up from all over the country and the Dominican Republic and different places to support one of its sons being inducted into the Hall of Fame,” explained Martinez.
“I’m a U.S. citizen, I respect America. I wanted to recognize America. I wanted to give America the same props I gave the Dominican Republic because without America, I wouldn’t be standing in Cooperstown, New York, being inducted into the Hall of Fame,” he added.
“Through baseball, I appreciate so much the opportunity America offered for me so it’s equally as important for me to recognize America. That’s why I came up with my little decorating part and I patched my left shoulder with the American symbol and the right shoulder with the Dominican symbols,” Martinez said.
At the end of his speech, Martinez called the only other Dominican player in the Hall, Juan Marichal, to the stage where they held the Dominican flag.
“It must have been 6:30 in the morning. I was having a hard time catching that last hour or two of sleep and it occurred to me that today on Father’s Day (in the Dominican), I don’t think the Dominican Republic will have a better image than having me and Marichal, who cleared the way for all of us to Cooperstown, on Father’s Day.
“To be out there and give them the opportunity to see their first two sons in the Hall of Fame. I think it was the greatest gift I could probably come up with for a Father’s Day in the Dominican and for the Dominican population.”