Iván Rodríguez Scored A Home Run With HOF Speech • Latino Sports


Iván Rodríguez Scored A Home Run With HOF Speech


Cooperstown, NY – Iván Rodríguez demonstrated that he still has the ability to surprise fans. However, not with his lighting speed throws catching runners off any base, or his bat, but this time with his mouth as he gave a passionate bi-lingual, Spanish-English speech to the delight of the thousands assembled at the Clarks Sports Center.

Iván started off thanking “my lord and Jesus Christ” and received the first of several applause interruptions from the crowd. Iván went on to explain his personal feeling of enjoying the moment as a dream come through for him.

Credit: George Napolitano/Latino Sports

Iván’s entire family. His mother and father surrounded by wife and children. (Credit: George Napolitano/Latino Sports)

He explained how as a child his baseball hero was Johnny Bench and how he would dangle from a tree to try and gain a few more inches to his stature because he was self-conscious about not being tall. He stepped away from the podium and told the crowd to see that he was not that tall, but said he was a very tall 5’9” and how he is a living example to kids to believe that they too can achieve.

He spoke about his experience signing at the age of 16 years and thanked all responsible for allowing a 19 year old to be the full time catcher for the Texas Rangers where he spent 16 of his 21 years of professional baseball. He gave an anecdote of meeting with the great Nolan Ryan (he turned to look at Mr. Ryan who was seated in the back along with many past inductee’s) at the time and being nervous to catch him, but relaxed after Ryan told him, “Kid don’t do too much. Just put your fingers down and I’ll throw the baseball to you.” He had the crowd sharing this and other personal stories that made everyone laugh and admire this incredible catcher who was now the fourth Puerto Rican to enter the Hall of the immortals of baseball, the Hall Of Fame.

Proud family wearing the jerseys of the 4 Puerto Ricans in the HOF (Photo Latino Sports)

Proud family wearing the jerseys of the 4 Puerto Ricans in the HOF (Photo Latino Sports)

Iván also did several classy things. He thanked and acknowledged all the Puerto Rican catchers of yesterday and today. He took the time to speak in Spanish. He also thanks everyone, literally everyone who helped him get to this moment in the HOF. He became very emotional and he warned everyone that this would be difficult because it was about family.

He stopped for a few seconds to gather his composure after becoming emotional to thank his father, who he said, was the reason he is who he is today. Told his father and his mother in Spanish that this HOF plaque also belonged to them. Every Spanish speaking person was feeling his emotion and many non-Spanish speakers could sense the love and respect Iván has for his parents. He also thanked his brother for always being with him to the present and never letting up on him. He thanked his wife, Patricia and all his three children. He also thanked his Puerto Rico little league coach, Julio Pabón (who many thought it was me, LOL). He then thanked all the fans and especially the Texas fans that were there in full force.

He finally ended with a message to all his fans that he will always sign autographs and take pictures with his fans. He told all the youth that “the future is in your hands. All you need is effort and dedication.”

About Julio Pabón

Julio is President and Founder of Latino Sports LLC., the parent company of Latinosports.com. Julio is a product of the South Bronx where he still lives and runs his businesses. Julio has written and has been interviewed for numerous publication and networks on sports & political issues. He has been an activist promoting social justice and respect for all communities. He is a recognized motivational speaker, was an adjunct professor of American History and presently volunteer's as a lecturer in local South Bronx High Schools. His primary goal is to make Latinosports.com a multi-facet sports portal that will engender social and economic empowerment to the Latino community.

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