Saturday, August 1, 2015

Alumni Weekend - Pat Burrell Wall of Fame Ceremony

Hi everybody,

It is Alumni Weekend down at the ballpark and former Phillies left-fielder Pat Burrell was added to the Phillies Wall of Fame in a ceremony last night (July 31st) before the ballgame.  Burrell is the second member of the 2008 World Series Championship Team after former skipper Charlie Manuel (2014 Inductee) to be enshrined on the Phillies Wall of Fame.

Burrell was the first pick of the 1998 MLB Draft.  He had 251 Home Runs in his Phillies career (which ended after the 2008 World Series Championship)...which is the fourth all-time after Mike Schmidt, Del Ennis and Ryan Howard.

Here is Burrell's Wall of Fame acceptance speech followed by some pictures of the ceremony:

I want to thank all the Philly fans here tonight and all of you out there that made this possible for me to get voted into the Wall of Fame. Thank you so much. When Mr. Montgomery called me to tell me that I had been voted in by the fans, of course I was overwhelmed and amazed. And then he told me not to worry. The press didn’t get to vote on this one. It made a little more sense.

Anyhow, we got off the phone and this was in January. I figured over the next four or five months, ex-teammates, friends, neighbors, and so on would call and be happy that I was coming back and congratulations. Actually, none of that happened. Ironically, the only people that were happy to see me back were the local bartenders around town. I guess they were happy that business was going to be taking a spike the next couple days. Anyways again, honestly thank you fans for everything. You’re the reason that this place is so special to me. Thank you.

There are so many people to thank here tonight and I hope I don’t leave anybody out. I’m going to make sure I’m brief because these guys want to get off the stage. First, Debbie Nocito. We love you, wherever you are. You put this thing together every year and somehow you get this cast of characters together to make this work. Thank you so much, Debbie. We love you.

I’m sure all these guys would agree. To be standing here today wouldn’t be possible without the support of your family. From the time we start playing this game until the time literally they rip these jerseys off our backs, my family has been behind me the entire time. Mom, Dad, Lisa and you Felicity, I can’t forget you, thank you for all the support over the years. I wouldn’t be here without you. Thank you.

To all my boys that came here tonight. Thanks for coming. It means a lot. When I was walking into the ballpark today, I got a little concerned. I saw an abundance of police officers around the stadium. Probably because of the big crowd. But, I was so concerned that J-Mike might not be able to make it into the building. But he made it. Fortunately. But the night is young.

I want to thank the Phillies organization, top to bottom. This truly is one big family here. They're the reason that all this is possible. I know that all of us owe everything to the Phillies and the job that they have done here. The ownership, the Montgomerys, the Giles, the Bucks, the Middletons. We may not hear about these guys on a daily basis, but they truly are responsible for all the success that’s happened here in the last hundred and whatever years it is.

I want to thank Ed Wade and Pat Gillick for coming together and putting together that 2008 team that got us this ring here. I played for some great managers and coaches from the minor leagues all the way up. None more instrumental in my life than the late John Vukovich. They took you too soon, bud. We miss you. We love you. Vince, Nikki, Brian, and the kids thank you so much for the support over the years and thanks for being here tonight.

I played for Terry Francona briefly in 2000. And then the organization decided to make a change. For four years, I called those “the calming years” when Larry Bowa took over as manager. I can’t tell you what a relief it is to walk into the clubhouse and know exactly what you’re going to get every single day. The definition of even keeled. And of course they went in the direct opposite direction when they hired Charlie. The roller coaster of emotion. He hung on every pitch. We didn’t know what to expect everyday. Obviously, I’m kidding. Thank you guys for putting up with my shit.

I played with some great players. Some are here today. Jim Thome, Bobby Abreu, Scott Rolen, Jimmy Rollins, Ryan Howard, Aaron Rowand who’s here today. But the guy that I enjoyed playing with the most is actually still here in the dugout. I hope that all of you realize how special of a player and a man Chase Utley is. It may not happen this year, but if he gets back healthy and things turn around, you might even see him smile once or twice a year.

Two people I want to thank that are more under the radar guys that were terribly instrumental in me as a player even after I left the Phillies: Frank Coppenbarger and Jeff Cooper. Frank’s the equipment manager slash traveling secretary. Jeff was the head athletic trainer here for I guess 30 years. These two guys are behind the scenes. The fans don’t get to see them. But, as players and I know all these guys know, they make our job a lot easier. And I want to make sure we recognize you. Thanks Franky.

I want to thank the scouting world, who let me in with open arms after I got off the field. For all you guys up there that are writing reports and racking up your Marriott points, I just want to thank you for taking me into the group. I couldn’t be more appreciative. One of my best friends and mentors, Dave Hollins, who unfortunately can’t be here tonight. He’s like a brother to me. I love him. I wish he was here, but I understand. He’s been a great help to me. Thank you, Dave.

Finally, so I can get out of here. I came here to Philly as a young kid and I wasn’t sure what to expect, what the city would bring. We had our ups and downs. I’m not sure more of which. It was a fun ride. The only thing that matters to me is when I left, I was on the back of some Clydesdales coming down Broad Street. Thank you.

Pat giving his speech and getting a laugh from Charlie

Old teammates Jason Michaels and Nick Punto unveil Burrell's Wall of Fame Plaque

Burrell presented miniature copy of plaque by Chase Utley and the granddaughters of John Vukovich
Burrell soaking in festivities

Burrell taking a lap around CBP

After the ceremony...Pat even showed up at my saloon for a few drinks.;-) What a great guy!

Pat and I hanging at my saloon.  Thanks to Frank Berlingis (@fjbjrtxnj) on Twitter for this fun pic

One last picture I wanted to share is a great pic of Pat and Charlie celebrating the World Series win in 2008.  It is one of my favorite Phillies pictures

Congrats for your induction, Pat!  The first of many of the players from the 2008 World Champions!

Talk to you soon,
Little Chase

No comments:

Post a Comment