1971 Induction Ceremony

Satchel Paige headlined the '71 Hall of Fame class as the first player inducted by the Negro Leagues Committee. (National Baseball Hall of Fame Library)Four inductees were present at the August 9, 1971 induction ceremony: Satchel Paige, Chick Hafey, Harry Hooper and Rube Marquard. Of the other new members, Dave Bancroft and George Weiss were in poor health, and the Hall of Fame enshrined Jacob Beckley and Joe Kelley posthumously. The Veterans Committee or Negro Leagues Committee inducted all eight new members, as the BBWAA failed to elect anyone. Paige, listed as 65 years old, quipped, “people thought when I broke in with Cleveland in 1949 I was 65 then, and when Bill Veeck got me I was even too old to vote. They got my age mixed up in Cleveland and never did straighten it out.” Heywood Broun, who wrote for numerous New York publications and founded the American Newspaper Guild, was honored with the J.G. Taylor Spink Award for meritorious contributions to baseball writing.

DAVE BANCROFT: Elected by the Veterans Committee, Bancroft played for the Philadelphia Phillies, New York Giants, Boston Braves and Brooklyn Dodgers in his 16 year career. Noted more for his glove than his bat, Bancroft still topped the .300 mark five times, scored over 100 runs thrice and posted two top 10 finishes in league MVP voting. He finished in the top five in fielding percentage among NL shortstops twelve times and led the entire league in assists three times. He retired with a .279 batting average and 1,048 runs scored.

Jacob Beckley was inducted to the Hall of Fame by the Veterans Committee in 1971. (National Baseball Hall of Fame Library)JACOB BECKLEY: Playing 20 seasons with the Pittsburgh Alleghenys-Burgher-Pirates, New York Giants, Cincinnati Reds and St. Louis Cardinals, the Veterans Committee selected Beckley for induction. He hit over .300 13 times and still holds the record for career putouts. His 2,380 games played at first base are second to Eddie Murray. Beckley hit .309 with 87 home runs, 455 doubles, 276 triples and 1,601 runs scored in his career.

JOE KELLEY: Elected by the Veterans Committee, Kelley played 17 seasons with six different teams, most notably the National League’s Baltimore Orioles in the 1890s. He hit over .300 in 11 consecutive seasons and stole 30 or more bases six times, including a league leading 87 in 1896. He once went nine-for-nine in a doubleheader, which is still tied for a major league record. Kelley led the Brooklyn Superbas to a National League pennant in 1900 and would later manage the Cincinnati Reds and Boston Doves. He hit .321 for his career.

Chick Hafey received his plaque from commissioner Bowie Kuhn on August 9, 1971. (National Baseball Hall of Fame Library)CHICK HAFEY: Elected by the Veterans Committee, Hafey played 13 seasons for the St. Louis Cardinals and Cincinnati Reds. He put together a six year stretch in which he hit .329 or higher each year and was named to the first All-Star Game in 1933. Hafey had a career season in 1931 when he led the league with a .349 batting average, hit 16 home runs and drove in 95 runs on his way to a top-five finish in the MVP voting. A member of two World Series winners with the Cardinals, Hafey hit .317 for his career with 164 home runs and 833 RBI.

GEORGE WEISS: After buying the Eastern League's New Haven team in 1919 at age 24, George Weiss went on to become one of the game's most successful executives. In 1929, he left for Baltimore of the International League and then earned a job with the Yankees, where he developed a fertile farm system. As the Yankees' general manager from 1947 to 1960, his teams won 10 pennants and seven World Series, including five in a row. Elected by the Veterans Committee, he concluded his career as the first president of the Mets, and for his career, collected four major league executive of the year awards.

HARRY HOOPER: Hooper spent 17 years with the Boston Red Sox and Chicago White Sox and is the only player to play for four Red Sox World Championship teams. Elected by the Veterans Committee, he topped the .300 mark five times and stole 30 or more bases six times. Hooper is still Boston’s all-time leader in triples (130) and stolen bases (300). Considered one of the best defensive outfielders of his era, he finished in the top five in the American League in outfield assists seven times and ranks sixth all-time in the category. Hooper retired after the 1925 season with a .281 batting average and 375 stolen bases.

Rube Marquard was inducted to the Hall of Fame after winning 201 games in 18 big league seasons. (National Baseball Hall of Fame Library)RUBE MARQUARD: After 18 seasons spent with the New York Giants, Brooklyn Robins, Cincinnati Reds and Boston Braves, Marquard was elected to the Hall of Fame by the Veterans Committee. He helped the Giants to three straight pennants from 1911-1913, winning 24, 26 and 23 games in those three seasons. Marquard no-hit the Brooklyn Robins while on the Giants and was sold to the Robins later that season. He won 201 career games and posted 3.13 ERA.

SATCHEL PAIGE: Elected by the Negro Leagues Committee, Paige spent most of his career in the Negro Leagues before becoming the oldest player to make his major league debut with the Cleveland Indians at 42 years old. In five major league seasons with the Cleveland Indians and St. Louis Browns, he went 28-31 in 179 mostly out of the bullpen and made two All-Star appearances. In 1965 at the age of 58, Paige returned to pitch one game for the Kansas City Athletics, turning in three shutout innings while allowing just one hit. Paige was the first player selected for induction by the Negro Leagues Committee.