The National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum announced that its Board of Directors has voted unanimously to cancel 2020 Hall of Fame Induction Weekend events as a result of health and safety concerns associated with the COVID-19 pandemic.
“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.”
“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,” Clark continued. “The Board of Directors has decided that the Class of 2020 will be inducted and the 2020 Award Winners will be honored as part of next summer’s Hall of Fame Weekend, taking place July 23-26, 2021.”
The Class of 2020 – consisting of Derek Jeter, Marvin Miller, Ted Simmons and Larry Walker – will be inducted on Sunday, July 25, 2021, in Cooperstown, alongside any new members elected as part of the Hall of Fame Class of 2021. The Awards Presentation on Saturday, July 24, 2021 will recognize the Hall of Fame’s 2020 and 2021 Award Winners, including 2020 J.G. Taylor Spink Award winner Nick Cafardo, 2020 Ford C. Frick Award winner Hawk Harrelson and the winner of the 2020 Buck O’Neil Lifetime Achievement Award, David Montgomery.
“It was a very difficult decision, but with so many unknowns facing the world, the Board felt strongly that this was the right decision,” said Hall of Fame member Joe Morgan, Vice Chairman of the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum’s Board of Directors. “Our Class of 2020 electees should enjoy the same wonderful experience that I did when I was elected, and they will have that opportunity next summer.”
“I fully understand and agree with the Board’s decision,” said Class of 2020 Hall of Fame member Larry Walker. “It is most important to do the right thing for everybody involved, and that means not putting any participants in jeopardy, whether Hall of Famers or visitors. I realize how serious this situation has become and how many lives have been lost.”
“It’s clear that cancelling this year’s Induction Ceremony was the appropriate decision,” said Class of 2020 Hall of Fame member Ted Simmons. “I commend the Board for making this decision under these difficult circumstances, particularly in New York, a state severely hit by the pandemic. This was the wisest and smartest thing to do, given the existing environment and the danger that this pandemic presents.”
“Being inducted into the Hall of Fame will be an incredible honor, but the health and safety of everyone involved are paramount,” said Class of 2020 Hall of Fame member Derek Jeter. “I respect and support the decision to postpone this year’s enshrinement and am looking forward to joining current Hall of Famers, fans, staff and my family and friends in Cooperstown in 2021.”
“Most importantly, is to maintain the integrity of the process and honoring the inductees in the proper way they are most deserving of,” said Hall of Fame member Ozzie Smith, also a member of the Hall of Fame’s Board of Directors.
The Hall of Fame has held an Induction Ceremony in Cooperstown every year since 1961. An Induction Ceremony was not held in 1950, 1958 and 1960 after voting resulted in no new electees, while no elections were held in 1940, 1941 and 1943. In 1942, Rogers Hornsby was elected but an Induction Ceremony was not held due to travel restrictions related to World War II.
Next summer’s Induction Ceremony will be the first since 1949 to combine multiple classes of electees. The first four Classes of Hall of Fame members, elected from 1936-39, were all enshrined on June 12, 1939, the day of the Museum’s formal opening. The Classes of 1946 and 1947 were inducted together in 1947, and the Classes of 1948 and 1949 were inducted together in 1949.
The National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum remains closed to the public. Updated information regarding this closure is being provided every Sunday at noon ET at baseballhall.org and via the Hall of Fame’s social media channels.