Deane: Memories of Hall of Fame Induction Day

From SABR member Bill Deane at WordPress on July 26, 2019:

Sunday marked the 34th Hall of Fame induction ceremony since I moved to the Cooperstown area. As usual, I watched it – from my living room couch.

After my eight years as a Hall of Fame employee, I didn’t attend the ceremony again until 1999, when one of my favorite players, Orlando Cepeda, was inducted. But Nolan Ryan, George Brett, and Robin Yount were honored that year, too, so the crowd was overwhelming. I parked at a friend’s house nearly a mile away, and walked to the gym where the event is held. I found myself standing in a field with tens of thousands of other people, exposed to the elements, and hundreds of feet from the stage. The only way I could make out what was going on up there was to look at the Jumbotron set up off to the side. I thought, “If I knew I was going to be watching this on TV, I could have stayed home and done it.” And that’s what I’ve been doing ever since, with the exception of a couple of times I was able to score reserved seating.

The first induction ceremony I ever saw was as an employee, in 1986. In those days, the event was held on the steps of the National Baseball Library, which is where I worked. To top it off, Willie McCovey, one of my all-time favorites, was being inducted that year. I was like the proverbial kid in the candy store, meeting childhood heroes and all-time legends like Hank Aaron, Ted Williams, and Stan Musial, and getting paid for it.

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Originally published: July 25, 2019. Last Updated: July 25, 2019.