Baseball Hall Of Fame Inductions Move Outdoors Again — On Sept. 8

Derek Jeter will get his day in the sun after all.

After cancelling Induction Weekend in 2020 and announcing that this year’s ceremony would be a private indoor event held indoors next month, the Baseball Hall of Fame changed course Wednesday.

It will now hold an outdoor ceremony, on the grounds of the Clark Sports Center, with limited crowds at an outdoor ticketed event on Wednesday, Sept. 8. Lawn seating will be free but tickets will be required because of lingering concerns over the pandemic responsible for last year’s postponement. Seating areas will separate vaccinated and non-vaccinated ticket holders.

Honored guests at the event will be the four-member Class of 2020: Jeter, Larry Walker, Ted Simmons, and the late Marvin Miller. No new members were added for 2021, as the baseball writers failed to give the required 75 per cent of the vote to any candidate and the veterans committees did not meet when the Baseball Winter Meetings were cancelled in December.

Moving the inductions to September allows living members of the Hall of Fame to make travel plans to Cooperstown, which last hosted inductions nearly two years ago. Including this year’s inductees, the Hall of Fame has 333 elected members, with 72 still living.

According to Hall of Fame chairman Jane Forbes Clark, who announced the new induction date, “We are thrilled to be able to welcome our Hall of Famers – the living legends – and fans back to Cooperstown to celebrate the Induction of the Class of 2020. Returning the Induction Ceremony to an outdoor event will provide the baseball community with the opportunity to visit Cooperstown and celebrate the Induction of four of the game’s greats.”

Although the induction ceremony will take place outdoors at 1:30 EDT on Sept. 8, it will be broadcast live on MLB Network. On the other hand, the Hall of Fame awards ceremony that usually precedes the inductions will remain a private, indoor, television-only event on its original date of Saturday, July 24. In previous years, it had been held at Doubleday Field, a historic venue two blocks from the Baseball Hall of Fame.

Awards will be given to Al Michaels and Ken Harrelson, winners of the Ford C. Frick Award for broadcast excellence in 2021 and 2020, respectively, and to Dick Kaegel and the late Nick Cafardo, winners of the Baseball Writers Association of America Career Excellence awards for 2021 and 2020. Also to be honored is David Montgomery, winner of the 2020 Buck O’Neil Lifetime Achievement Award.

Tickets for the September induction will be made available exclusively at the Baseball Hall of Fame beginning at 11 a.m. EDT on Monday, July 12. Planning for the induction continues to evolve in accordance with guidelines issued by the Centers for Disease Control and the State of New York.

Inductions have been held on the grounds of Clark Sports Center, about a mile from the Hall of Fame, since 1992. Estimated crowds have exceeded 50,000 at five of the last six ceremonies, from 2014-19, with a record turnout of 87,000 for the 2007 inductions of Cal Ripken, Jr. and Tony Gwynn.

Had the coronavirus pandemic not forced last year’s cancellation, the Class of 2020 might have outdrawn all others because of Cooperstown’s proximity to New York, where Jeter starred for 20 years as shortstop of the Yankees. He missed unanimous election by one vote.

Walker, a native of British Columbia, was a slugging outfielder-first baseman for several clubs, while Simmons was a switch-hitting catcher who starred for the St. Louis Cardinals and Milwaukee Brewers. Miller spent 27 years as executive director of the Major League Baseball Players Association and achieved many breakthroughs for players.

Last year’s cancellation due to the coronavirus pandemic marked the first time the Hall of Fame did not hold an Induction Ceremony in Cooperstown since 1960.

The National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum is open daily from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. during its expanded summer hours, which run through the Sunday of Labor Day Weekend. As part of its comprehensive health and safety plan, the museum has a timed admission ticketing system. Visitors need to reserve their time slots in advance.

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