Quotes from the 500 Home Run Club Members Hall of Fame Plaques in Cooperstown.
Ted Williams - HOF Induction in 1966
"No one has come up with a substitute for hard work. I've never met a great baseball player who didn't have to work harder at learning to play baseball than anything else he ever did. Whether I was striking out or hitting a tape measure home run, I never forgot how lucky I was to have been born in America and to have had a chance to play the game I loved, the greatest game of them all...baseball."
Mickey Mantle - HOF Induction 1974
"I was named after a Hall of Famer. I think this is the first time it's ever happened that a guy has ever come into the Hall of Fame that was named after one who was already here. Before I was born my father lived and died for baseball and he named me after a Hall of Famer, Mickey Cochrane."
Mantle credits his father with having he foresight to realize that someday in baseball the left-handed hitters would have an advantage hitting against right-handed pitchers, and visa versa. "My father and my granddad taught me to switch hit when I was at a real young age. He told me that if I could hit both ways when I got ready to go to the major leagues that I would have a better chance of playing. And believe it or not, the year that I came to the Yankees was when Casey started platooning everybody. Since I could switch hit, I got a lot more playing at bats than I would have hitting from one side of the plate."
Ernie Banks - HOF Induction in 1977
"This is certainly, and will always be the happiest day of my life. I once read that a person's success is dependent upon not only the talent that God gave him, but also upon the people who believed in him. This is certainly true as it concerns my own person baseball career. Sure I was the one who played the games. But if it had not been for people who believed in me and gave me the encouragement, I would not be here today."
Commenting at Banks' HOF induction ceremony, then-Commissioner Bowie Kuhn said. "There's a sign over her which I think says what needs to be said. It says 'America Loves Ernie Banks.'"
Eddie Murray - HOF Induction 1978
"Baseball's been so good to me. It's given me everything that I've got and I tried to give it everything that I had.
Baseball is a team sport and I've never in my life heard a ballplayer say anything to another ballplayer other than something constructive. But I want to thank the fans number one, because without you folks there would be no major league baseball.
Frank Robinson - HOF Induction 1982
"I would like to say a special thanks to Roy Campanella, and all, and Jackie Robinson, to all the black baseball players and professional baseball negro league too.
For the sacrifices they made, and the things they had to put up with to make the road easier for the black players that have come along today. They opened the doors. And without Jackie...I don't know if that door hadn't stayed open and it was closed I know for many, many years it would have been closed to us. I want all the black players wherever they are to know that I appreciate what they did for me. They made it possible for me to play in the major leagues.
Hank Aaron - HOF Induction 1982
"I am extremely proud to be joining a group of men who performed on the baseball field. Epitomized the highest and the best in professional athletics. I am especially proud to be standing here where Jackie Robinson and Ray Campanella paved the way and he made it possible for Frank (Robinson) and me and for other blacks. They proved to the world that a man's ability is limited only by this lack of opportunity."
Willie McCovey - HOF Induction 1986
All of the people I mentioned today have played a part in the success I've been fortunate enough to have throughout my life and my career in baseball. I wanted you to know who they are because without them I certainly would not be standing here on this stage today. They are the most valuable players in my life, and they are the champions of my world. They are the people in my own Hall of Fame."
Reggie Jackson - HOF Induction in 1993
"I'd like to take this time to pause and remember Larry Doby. He was the first black player in the American League. Before Jackie Robinson opened the door, the players in the Negro Leagues knocked on that door. However, we all know what happened; no one answered. They were all outside and nobody let them in. I don't think we can talk about our success without turning to those players and saying 'We're grateful you were there. We thank you, we owe you.'"
Mike Schmidt - HOF Induction in 1995
In 1976, Dick Allen (then American League batting champion) took me aside before a game in Chicago and said to me, "Mike, let's go out and have some fun today. No matter what the outcome, enjoy the sunshine, the crowd, this beautiful ballpark. And I went out and hit four straight home runs. Words of encouragement at the right time for our kids could be more powerful and more enduring than any trophy you might give them. I assure you that without so many words of encouragement from so many pivotal people in my life and career...I would not be standing here today in Cooperstown. And to those young kids out there I just want to say one thing, "Never stop chasing your dreams. You can be taught, supported, motivated and loved by others. But ultimately your success depends on you."
500 Home Run Club® items in Cooperstown
On August 25th 1999, The National Baseball Hall of Fame & Museum announced that it had acquired the bat that Mark McGwire used to hit his 500th career home run.
Mark McGwire on having his bat enshrined in Cooperstown: "I touched Roger's (Maris) bat and held it to my heart. My bat will lie next to his. I'm damn proud of that."
The bat that Ted Williams used, and the ball that he hit for his 500th home run on June 17, 1960, are enshrined in Cooperstown.