New York Yankees icon Derek Jeter was finally ushered into baseball's Hall of Fame on Wednesday after a year-long wait to enter the sport's pantheon of greats following the COVID-19 pandemic.
Jeter and fellow inductees Larry Walker, Ted Simmons and the late Marvin Miller were saluted at an outdoor ceremony for the Class of 2020 held near the hall in Cooperstown, New York.
Basketball greats Michael Jordan and Patrick Ewing were in attendance along with a crowd of Yankees fans chanting Jeter's name as they saluted the man known as "Captain Clutch."
"I forgot how good that feels," Jeter told the cheering crowd before reading a prepared speech at a ceremony which had been postponed for more than year due to the coronavirus.
Jeter was chosen for the hall after coming within one vote of being a unanimous pick during voting by the Baseball Writers Association of America last year, garnering 396 out of 397 ballots.
"Thank you to the baseball writers -- all but one of you -- who voted for me," Jeter quipped on Wednesday.
Jeter used his speech to recall how he had been inspired by meeting Rachel Robinson, the widow of the late Jackie Robinson, at a dinner in 1996 as well an encounter with Hank Aaron in 1999 at the All-Star Game.
"These two moments in particular are when I realized it's more than just a game. During my career, I wanted to make Mrs. Robinson proud, I wanted to make Hank Aaron proud, I wanted to make all you behind me proud," Jeter said.
"Not the statistics. Proud of how I played the game, how I carried myself and how I respected the game for those before and after me."
Former Montreal Expos, Colorado Rockies and St. Louis Cardinals star Walker, only the second Canadian-born Hall of Famer, meanwhile, was greeted by fans waving Canadian flags.
"I share this honor with every Canadian," said Walker, National League Most Valuable Player in 1997 and a five-time All-Star.
"I hope for all you Canadian kids out there that have dreams of playing in the big leagues that seeing me here today gives you another reason to go after those dreams."
FROM THE ARCHIVES