Baseball Hall Inducts Class of 2013
The National Baseball Hall of Fame’s 74th Induction Class was celebrated and honored with a ceremony Sunday afternoon at the Clark’s Sports Center in baseball’s hometown of Cooperstown.
After rain caused a delay in the regularly scheduled 1:30 p.m. induction, the ceremony began around 2:30 p.m. at the Clark’s Sport Center facilities and lasted until 4:15 p.m.
This year’s induction was out of the ordinary in that none of the inductees were living. In fact, the umpire, owner and catcher, have all been dead for 70 years. This is only the second time in 42 years that the Baseball Writers’ Association of America (BBWAA) failed to elect anyone to the Hall of Fame.
This situation came as no surprise to many, as most of the players nominated were of the steroid era, including Barry Bonds, Sammy Sosa, Rodger Clemons and Mark McGwire. The BBWAA’s actions set the standard for how the players of this time would be judged for admission to the Hall of Fame.
The Pre-Integration Era Committee set the task to find possible inductees for the Class of 2013. The committee is made-up of former major league players, executives, Negro Leaguers, managers and umpires. The group decided to induct Hank O’Day, Jacob Ruppert and Deacon White, three men that all had a significant impact on the early decades of baseball.
O’Day’s grandnephew, Dennis McNamara, Ruppert’s great grandniece, Ann Vernon and White’s great grandson, Jerry Watkins accepted the honors bestowed to their relatives by the Hall of Fame.
O’Day was born in Chicago and pitched for many local teams. He turned professional in 1884, but his arm suffered after seven seasons with the New York Giants. He retired in 1889 after leading the Giants to a National League Pennant. After his playing days, O’Day became an umpire in the minors and joined the National League as an umpire in 1897 and went on to umpire 4,000 games.
Ruppert, a businessman a politician, purchased the New York Yankees in 1915 and had a hand in transforming it into a powerhouse. He was the man at the head of the Babe Ruth trade from the Boston Red Sox in 1919, which changed the dynamics of the sport forever. The Yankees won 10 American League Pennants and 18 World Series under Ruppert’s ownership.
White was a barehanded catcher and one of the first stars of major league baseball. He was the first batter in the first professional game on May 4, 1871. White was widely regarded as the best catcher in baseball until switching the third base later in his career. White played for the Cleveland Forest Citys, Chicago White Stockings, Cincinnati Reds, Buffalo Bisons, Detroit Wolverines and Pittsburgh Alleghenys. White retired in 1890 with 2,067 hits, 270 doubles, 98 triples, 24 home runs and 988 RBIs.
At the ceremony, 12 inductees who never had a formal induction were also honored. Lou Gehrig, Rodgers Hornsby along with the entire Class of 1945 received official recognition into the Hall of Fame. 32 of the living Hall of Famers were in attendance as well, including Cal Ripken, Jr., Ozzie Smith and Hank Aaron.
Plans are already in place to celebrate the Hall of Fame’s Diamond Anniversary with the 75th induction ceremony in 2014. A live concert event is set for August 2, 2014 where the Boston Pops Orchestra are set to perform on the same stage as the induction.