1975 Induction Ceremony

Members of the Hall of Fame's class of '75 poses with their plaques. (National Baseball Hall of Fame Library)The New York Times described the weather as “perfect” when the Hall of Fame enshrined five new members on August 18, 1975. BBWAA selection Ralph Kiner was inducted along with Veterans Committee choices Earl Averill, Bucky Harris and Billy Herman and the Negro Leagues Committee pick, Judy Johnson. Jon Carmichael of the Chicago Daily News and James Isaminger of the Philadelphia North American and later the Inquirer, were each presented with the J.G. Taylor Spink Award for meritorious contributions to baseball writing.

RALPH KINER: Elected in his 13th year of Hall of Fame eligibility, Kiner was named on 75.4 percent of ballots cast. He played just 10 big league seasons with the Pittsburgh Pirates. Chicago Cubs and Cleveland Indians, hitting .279 with 369 career home runs and 1,105 RBI. A six-time All-Star, Kiner’s name was frequently atop the National League leader board in power categories, leading or sharing the league in home runs seven times, leading in slugging percentage three times and in total bases and runs batted in once each. Kiner twice topped 50 home runs: in 1947 with 51 and 1949 with 54.

Ralph Kiner was inducted into the Hall of Fame after playing just 10 years in the big leauges. (National Baseball Hall of Fame Library)EARL AVERILL: Selected by the Veterans Committee, Averill played 13 seasons in the big leagues for the Cleveland Indians, Detroit Tigers and Boston Braves. The only American League outfielder to be named to each of the first six All-Star Games, he hit over .300 eight times with a career high of .378 in 1936. He finished in the top in AL MVP voting four times and was the first American League player to hit a home run in his first big league at-bat. Averill retired with a .318 batting average, 238 home runs and 1,164 RBI.

BUCKY HARRIS: After a 12 year playing career, Harris was selected to the Hall of Fame as a manager. He managed for 29 years, including seven as a player-manager, for the Washington Senators, Detroit Tigers, Boston Red Sox, Philadelphia Blue Jays and New York Yankees. Harris led the Senators to back-to-back American League pennants in his first two years as skipper, including the 1924 World Series title. He won another World Series as manager of the Yankees in 1947. In his 29 years he won 2,159 games and as a player hit .274 for his career.

BILLY HERMAN: Eight times a .300 hitter or better, Herman was selected for induction by the Veterans Committee. A 10-time All-Star who played 15 years for the Chicago Cubs, Brooklyn Dodgers, Boston Braves and Pittsburgh Pirates, he was a stellar defender and still holds the record for most putouts in a single season by a National League second baseman. He led N.L. second basemen in the category seven times. Herman played in three World Series with the Cubs and one with the Dodgers, losing three times to the New York Yankees and once to the Detroit Tigers. He retired with a .304 batting average, 47 home runs and 839 runs batted in.

JUDY JOHNSON: A sure-handed third baseman from the sandlots of Delaware, Judy Johnson was a key member of some of the greatest teams in Negro league history. Though he had little power, he was a skilled contact hitter who consistently batted .300 or better. Elected by the Negro Leagues Committee, he led the Hilldale club with a .341 average in the inaugural Negro World Series in 1924. A smart, soft-spoken and well-respected player, Johnson later served as team captain of the mid-1930s Pittsburgh Crawfords, perhaps the Negro leagues' greatest dynasty.