The baseball world has been waiting for “The Captain”, Derek Jeter to finally enter the MLB Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York. Fans have been yearning to hear his speech. We have been waiting for Cooperstown and its surrounding areas to be full of visitors from around the world to celebrate the induction of Jeter and others.
Instead, the induction into the Hall of Fame for Derek Jeter, Marvin Miller, Ted Simmons, and Larry Walker must wait until 2021. The National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum announced on April 29th, 2020 that their Board of Directors voted unanimously to cancel the 2020 Hall of Fame Induction weekend, due to concerns about the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Hall of Fame Class of 2020 will be inducted at next year’s induction festivities, along with any additional new choices, on July 25, 2021.
This year’s Hall of Fame ceremony was expecting to have a crowd of over 70,000, mainly to honor Derek Jeter, former New York Yankees captain, who was one vote away from a unanimous election. Cooperstown is within driving distance from New York City, so there would have been many Yankee fans in Cooperstown to see their captain on the Hall of Fame Stage.
2020’s Hall of Fame Class was going to be a very special one. Derek Jeter was part of 5 Yankees World Series titles including three in a row, 1998-2000. 396 of 397 voters voted Jeter into the Hall on January 21st, 2020. Larry Walker, a right fielder and first baseman, primarily for the Rockies, received 304 of 397 voted, barely making it in, on his 10th and final ballot appearance. Marvin Miller, an executive director for the Major League Baseball Players Association from 1966-1982 was elected into the Hall as a part of the Class of 2020. Ted Simmons was a catcher, primarily for the Cardinals, who enjoyed a 21-year career. Simmons was elected into the Hall of Fame by the Modern Baseball Era Committee as part of the Class of 2020.
“Induction Weekend is a celebration of our National Pastime and its greatest legends, and while we are disappointed to cancel this incredibly special event, the Board of Directors’ overriding concern is the health and well-being of our new inductees, our Hall of Fame members, our wonderful fans and the hundreds of staff it takes to present the weekend’s events in all of its many facets,” said Jane Forbes Clark, Chairman of the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum. “We care deeply about every single person who visits Cooperstown.”
This will be the first year without an induction ceremony since 1960. The Baseball Hall of Fame was closed on March 15th and currently remains closed to the public due to the virus.
Next year’s induction ceremony will be the first ceremony since 1949 to combine multiple Hall of Fame classes. The first four Hall of Fame Classes, elected from 1936-1939, were inducted together in 1939, on the day the Hall opened. The Classes of 1946 and 1947 were inducted jointly in 1947 and the Classes of 1948 and 1949 were inducted jointly in 1949. There was no balloting from 1940-1943 and no ceremony was held in 1950, 1958, and 1960 because nobody was elected. Rogers Hornsby was elected in 1942, but there was no induction ceremony because of travel restrictions during World War II.
Harrelson, the long-time White Sox broadcaster who retired after the 2018 season, agreed.
“This was absolutely the right decision," he said in a statement. "Everyone’s safety -- the fans, the Hall of Famers, their families and friends -- is the most important concern. We all need to stay safe and healthy. We all will have fun in July 2021 when we all can join together safely to celebrate two classes on induction weekend.”
The 2021 Hall of Fame induction ceremony will be different, but it will certainly be just as special as ever.