Some of the Hall of Famers, like longtime second baseman Collins, were awestruck by the talent on the Cooperstown stage: “I’d be glad to be the batboy for such a team as this.”
Alexander, winner of 373 big league games, said during his speech, “In my dreams I often think what I could do today with a team like they were and if they could be now what they were then. I would have no mistakes to be worrying about or when they hit those line drives off me I would have no trouble wondering who was going to get them.”
The last player introduced was Ruth, who it was reported received the day’s loudest cheers.
“I hope some day that some of the young fellows coming into the game will know how it feels to be picked in the Hall of Fame,” Ruth said. “I know the old boys back in there were just talking it over, some have been here long before my time. They got on it, I worked hard, and I got on it. And I hope that the coming generation, the young boys today, that they’ll work hard and also be on it.
“And as my old friend Cy Young says, I hope it goes another hundred years and the next hundred years will be the greatest.”
Also attending this day was longtime American League umpire Tom Connolly, himself elected to the Hall of Fame in 1953, who was impressed with the improved verbal skills of the former players.
“The way those fellows have improved their vocabularies was something to hear. They walked right up to those radio microphones and started unloading words like ‘magnificent,’ ‘superb,’ ‘imposing’ and ‘stupendous,’” he said. “They sounded wonderful except they didn’t sound like the same fellows I used to know when they were playing baseball and I was umpiring.”