Larry Walker’s Baseball Hall of Fame induction postponed to 2021

Coronavirus

Derek Jeter, Colorado Rockies great Larry Walker, and the rest of this year’s Baseball Hall of Fame class will have to wait another year for their big moment at Cooperstown.

The Hall of Fame announced Wednesday that it has canceled the July 26 induction ceremony because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Instead, the class will be included at next year’s induction festivities — along with any additional new choices — on July 25, 2021.

This will be the first year without an induction ceremony since 1960.

A record crowd of over 70,000 had been expected this summer in an outdoor field at the small town in upstate New York to honor Jeter, the former New York Yankees captain who came within one vote of unanimous election by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America in January.

Record attendance for an induction ceremony was set in 2007, exceeding 70,000 when Cal Ripken Jr. and the late Tony Gwynn were enshrined. Cooperstown is within easy driving distance of the New York metro area, and loads of Yankees fans had already made their plans to see Jeter on the Hall stage.

Jeter and Walker were to be inducted with catcher Ted Simmons and the late Marvin Miller.

“Being inducted into the Hall of Fame will be an incredible honor, but the health and safety of everyone involved are paramount,” Jeter said in a statement released by the Hall.

“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,” he said.

Jeter, now the CEO of the Miami Marlins, and Walker were elected by member of the BBWAA. Simmons and Miller were chosen in December by the Hall’s Modern Era Committee.

“I fully understand and agree with the board’s decision,” Walker said in a statement from the Hall. “It is most important to do the right thing for everybody involved, and that means not putting any participants in jeopardy.”

Statement from Larry Walker

Next year’s first-time eligible players have no odds-on favorites: Torii Hunter and Mark Buehrle are among the players who will be on the BBWAA ballot for the first time.

Holdovers include Curt Schilling, who fell 20 votes short this year, and steroids-tainted stars Roger Clemens (56 shy) and Barry Bonds (57). All three will be on the ballot for the ninth time, one shy of the limit.

If anyone new is elected, it would be the first ceremony since 1949 to combine multiple classes.

The first four Hall classes were inducted jointly in 1939 on the day the Hall of Fame opened. The classes of 1946 and ’47 were inducted together, as were the classes of 1948 and ’49.

Rogers Hornsby was elected in 1942, but there was no induction ceremony because of travel restrictions during World War II.

There was no balloting in 1940, ’41 and ’43. No ceremony was held in 1950, ’58 and ’60 after no one was elected.

Since Ty Cobb, Walter Johnson, Christy Mathewson, Babe Ruth and Honus Wagner became the original Hall of Fame class in 1936, the only previous years with no inductions were 1940, ’41, ’43, ’50, ’52, ’58 and ’60.

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