Legendary New York Mets catcher Mike Piazza and former Seattle Mariners center fielder Ken Griffey Jr. were inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York, on Sunday.
Piazza spent eight seasons of his 16-year career with the New York Mets, leading them to the 2000 World Series and hitting a memorable home run in the first game in New York following the 9/11 terror attacks.
"To witness the darkest evil of the human heart ... will be forever burned in my soul," Piazza said, according to the Associated Press. "But from tragedy and sorrow came bravery, love, compassion, character and eventual healing.
"Many of you give me praise for the two-run home run in the first game back on Sept. 21st, but the true praise belongs to police, firefighters, first responders that knew that they were going to die, but went forward anyway. I pray that we never forget their sacrifice."
Piazza, who ended his career with 427 home runs, 1,335 RBIs and 2,127 hits, became just the second MLB player to wear a Mets cap on his Hall of Fame plaque (Tom Seaver). He was emotional during his induction speech when he spoke of his father.
"Dad always dreamed of playing in the major leagues," Piazza said. "He could not follow that dream because of the realities of life. My father's faith in me, often greater than my own, is the single most important factor of me being inducted into this Hall of Fame. Thank you dad. We made it, dad. The race is over. Now it's time to smell the roses."
Griffey, a 13-time All-Star and 10-time Gold Glove Award winner, hit 630 home runs and 1,836 RBIs, as he was just three votes shy of becoming the first unanimous selection into the Hall. He played the first 11 seasons of his career with the Mariners.
"There are two misconceptions about me -- I didn't work hard and everything I did I made look easy," Griffey said. "Just because I made it look easy doesn't mean that it was. You don't become a Hall of Famer by not working, but working day in and day out."