The National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum announced Wednesday afternoon that its annual induction festivities won’t be held this summer. Tens if not hundreds of thousands of fans were expected to flock to Cooperstown, New York, to support the Class of 2020—headlined by longtime Yankees captain and current Marlins CEO Derek Jeter—but such a gathering obviously raises serious health and safety concerns in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. Instead, Jeter and Co. will be honored in July 2021.
Jeter issued the following statement about the change in plans:
“Being inducted into the Hall of Fame will be an incredible honor, but the health and safety of everyone involved are paramount.
“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.”
According to Bob Nightengale of USA Today, Jeter had already made HOF weekend arrangements for his family and friends. He rented out the Railroad Inn, a 22-room hotel in downtown Cooperstown. Unfortunately, that and countless other locally owned hospitality businesses in the village could face enormous financial challenges without the seasonal boon that the induction and its surrounding events always provide.
Earlier this month, Jeter decided to forgo his CEO salary indefinitely to preserve resources for Marlins employees. Other executives with the franchise also accepted undisclosed pay cuts. Everybody within the baseball operations is being fully compensated through at least May 31. However, the Miami Herald reported Wednesday that approximately one-third of their business employees will be furloughed beginning in mid-May (but they’ll continue to receive medical coverage).
Along with Jeter, the Baseball Writers Association of America also elected outfielder Larry Walker to the Hall of Fame this year. Catcher Ted Simmons and union leader Marvin Miller got in via the Modern Baseball committee.
Among the Class of 2021 eligibles, right-hander Curt Schilling appears to have the best odds of receiving the necessary 75% support from the BBWAA. Former Marlins Mark Buehrle and A.J. Burnett are expected to be listed on the ballot entering their first year of eligibility.