Derek Jeter, Larry Walker to enter Hall of Fame in TV-only event

Jan 22, 2020; New York, New York, USA;  New Hall of Fame 2020 inductees Larry Walker, left, and Derek Jeter pose for photos at St. Regis Hotel. Mandatory Credit: Danielle Parhizkaran-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Danielle Parhizkaran-USA TODAY Sports

The delayed Hall of Fame induction ceremony for Derek Jeter, Larry Walker and others will be a made-for-television event and not held at its traditional outdoor location this summer.

Tens of thousands of fans were expected to descend upon the quaint village of Cooperstown, N.Y., this July for the ceremony, which was canceled last year amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

But on Friday, the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum announced that the induction will take place behind closed doors instead of at the expansive field that typically hosts the enshrinees, their families and thousands of fans.

The Hall of Fame also announced the cancellation of Hall of Fame Classic Weekend, which was scheduled for Memorial Day weekend. Among the events that had been scheduled were the Hall of Fame Classic legends game, which features appearances by Hall of Famers and players representing each of the 30 major league teams.

Hall of Fame Classic Weekend also was canceled last year.

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“Though we are having to cancel our 2021 Hall of Fame Classic Weekend, the Hall of Fame is maintaining its commitment to hold an Induction Ceremony on July 25,” said Jane Forbes Clark, Hall of Fame chairperson. “We had hoped to be in a position to welcome loyal baseball fans back to Cooperstown for Induction Weekend, but with the continuing uncertainties created by COVID-19, the Board of Directors has decided not to hold Induction Weekend ceremonies at the traditional Clark Sports Center location.

“We have prepared alternative plans to conduct our annual Awards Presentation and Induction Ceremony as television events taking place indoors and adhering to all of the required New York State guidelines.”

The Hall of Fame did not disclose the location.

Cooperstown had been bracing for a potentially record-setting crowd. It was expected to surpass the estimated 55,000 people who were on hand in 2019 for the enshrinement of Mariano Rivera, Edgar Martinez, Roy Halladay, Mike Mussina, Lee Smith and Harold Baines.

The record is about 82,000 in 2007, when Cal Ripken and Tony Gwynn saw their plaques go up in Cooperstown.

Also to be enshrined this year are the 2021 Ford C. Frick Award winner for broadcasting excellence, Al Michaels, and the 2020 Frick Award winner, Ken Harrelson; the 2021 Baseball Writers’ Association of America Career Excellence Award winner, Dick Kaegel, and the 2020 BBWAA Career Excellence Award winner, Nick Cafardo; and the 2020 Buck O’Neil Lifetime Achievement Award winner, David Montgomery.

Cafardo, a longtime reporter for The Boston Globe, will be inducted posthumously. He died in February 2019.

No players were elected to the Hall of Fame Class of 2021 by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America.

–Field Level Media

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