Burrell: ‘It was a fun ride’

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Pat Burrell walked to the podium, wearing his new Phillies jersey with Wall of Fame patch, and broke the microphone stand. It was the start of a comical speech for Burrell, who touched on many memories and stories from his nine seasons with the Phillies.

Ultimately, it ended with sentiment.

"It was a fun ride," Burrell said, "but the only that matters is when I left, I was on the back of some Clydesdales going down Broad Street."

Burrell was emotional after a video of his Phillies career played on Phanavision, showing his career highlights.

"My family and friends have been looking forward to this for the last five or six months," Burrell said. "Everyone's been so excited, including me, to be back."

Burrell thanked the past inductees that turned out to attend the ceremony, including Hall of Famers Jim Bunning, Mike Schmidt and Steve Carlton, Burrell's former teammate Mike Lieberthal and two of Burrell's former managers, Larry Bowa and Charlie Manuel.

Burrell also thanked the fans who voted for him to be the next inductee.

"I want to thank all the Phillie fans here tonight and all of you out there who voted that made this possible for me to make the Wall of Fame," Burrell said. "You're the reason this place is so special to me."

Burrell even took a shot at the media when discussing the voting process and how David Montgomery told him of his induction.

"When Mr. Montgomery called to tell me that I had been voted in by the fans, I was overwhelmed and amazed. Then he told me not to worry, the press didn't get to vote on this one. It made a little more sense."

Two of Burrell's close friends and former teammates, Nick Punto and Jason Michaels, helped unveil the plaque. Burrell thanked them and the rest of his "boys" in attendance, throwing a jab in Michaels' direction about the amount of police around the ballpark prior to the game.

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Then Burrell turned to 2008, and the men who helped construct that team.

"This truly is one big family here," Burrell said. "I know all of us owe everything to the Phillies and the job they've done here.

"I want to thank Ed Wade and Pat Gillick for coming together and putting together that 2008 team that got us this ring here."

Burrell mentioned the managers and coaches, including Bowa and Manuel, that were part of his career. He paid tribute to the late John Vukovich, whose granddaughters presented the plaque replica to Burrell along with close friend and former teammate Chase Utley.

Burrell had some kind words about Utley, who was part of trade rumors as the trade deadline approached on Friday afternoon.

"The guy I enjoyed playing with the most is actually still here in the dugout and I hope that all of you realize how special a player and man Chase Utley is," Burrell said. "It may not happen this year, but if he gets back healthy and things turn around, you might see him smile once or twice a year."

Burrell concluded with his final sentiments, talking about his career path and how it ended with the ultimate high.

"I came here to Philly as a young kid and wasn't really sure what to expect, what the city would bring," Burrell said. "We had our ups and downs, I'm not sure more of which. It was a fun ride."

The ceremony concluded with Burrell's victory lap around Citizens Bank Park, capping off another excellent ceremony by the Phillies.

Burrell is just the second of the 2008 Phillies, alongside manager Charlie Manuel, to enter the Wall of Fame. He certainly won't be the last.

Kevin Durso is editorial assistant for Philliedelphia. Follow him on Twitter @Kevin_Durso.

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