April 29: The National Baseball Hall of Fame confirmed today that it has postponed this year’s induction ceremony until next year. Jeter, Walker, Simmons and Miller will be inducted along with any 2020-21 inductees on July 25, 2021. Said Hall of Fame chair Jane Forbes Clark:
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. We care deeply about every single person who visits Cooperstown. In heeding the advice of government officials as well as federal, state and local medical and scientific experts, we chose to act with extraordinary caution in making this decision.
You can view the full announcement at the Hall of Fame’s web site.
April 28: The National Baseball Hall of Fame is likely to announce this week that its annual induction ceremony and all of the surrounding festivities will be postponed and combined with the 2021 ceremony, USA Today’s Bob Nightengale reports. The Hall’s board of directors is meeting this week to make a final determination. The possibility of a virtual ceremony wasn’t seriously considered, per the report. Induction weekend had been slated to take place on July 24-26.
Earlier this year, the Baseball Writers Association of America voted to induct Derek Jeter and Larry Walker into the Hall of Fame, while the Modern Baseball Committee added eight-time All-Star catcher Ted Simmons and the late Marvin Miller to the class as well.
Last year’s induction ceremony drew an estimated 55,000 attendees to a city of just 1756 residents, and Nightengale notes that the enshrinement of Jeter and Walker led to some attendance projections that approached 100,000. An event of that size at a time when the COVID-19 pandemic has led to government regulations on public gatherings has long seemed implausible. Beyond the sheer size of the crowd the event would draw, thousands of attendees would’ve been flying into New York City, the current U.S. epicenter of the coronavirus, under normal circumstances. And, as Nightengale observes, many attendees would be higher-risk due to their age, including a significant number of the game’s legends; there are 38 Hall of Famers who are 70 years of age or older — including 19 Hall of Famers who are at least 80.