For those who are not diehard baseball fans or historians of the game, Major League Baseball held their Hall-of-Fame induction ceremony in Cooperstown, New York recently. Normally a big sports story, but for the first time since 1965 all of the inductees are deceased. The most hallowed of Hall-of-Fame shrines was quiet from the normal 10,000 in attendance to hear the stories from the inductees month. Instead grandsons and third generation relatives told stories of days past.
Jacob Rupert Jr., Hank O’Day, and James “Deacon” White were baseball pioneers that deserved to be in the hall long before 2013. James White was a barehanded catcher that played in the first professional baseball game in 1871 getting the first recorded hit, a double. Rupert was a U.S. Congessman from 1899-1907 and bought the New York Yankees in 1915. He pulled off the Babe Ruth trade with the Boston Red Sox and built Yankee Stadium. O’Day was an umpire in 1890’s and was the driving the force to making officials an important part of the game.
For the families of the inductees, 2013 could not come fast enough. Many family members have been lobbying the Baseball Writers’ Association of America for six decades to get them in Cooperstown. Ironically, none of the voters were alive when any of the deserving inductees played the game.
They were however alive to see and write about the living players that were up for their first year on the ballot. Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, and Sammy Sosa were firmly denied by the association. Even though many of the writers voting owe their jobs to the exploits of the denied players, they have chosen that now the bigger story is to shun them instead of exalt them.
Who knows when the next time the Hall-of-Fame ceremony will be filled again with baseball fans of today’s era. The way PEDs have infiltrated the game, silence may be the new normal.