Rube Foster, Bob Gibson and Johnny Mize were enshrined on August 2, 1981 in front of 21 of the living Hall of Famers and 3,000 fans on the steps of the Hall of Fame Library. The Detroit Tigers’ Ernie Harwell received the Ford C. Frick Award for broadcast excellence and Milton Richman of United Press International was given the J.G. Taylor Spink Award for meritorious contributions to baseball writing.
BOB GIBSON: Named on 84 percent of ballots cast in his first year of eligibility, Gibson played all 17 of his big league seasons with the St. Louis Cardinals. He struck out more hitters (2,071) than anyone in the 1960s on his way to five seasons of 20 or more wins. Gibson won two Cy Young Awards and a National League MVP in 1968 when he went 22-9 with a 1.12 ERA, 13 shutouts and 268 strikeouts in 304.2 innings pitched. His 1.12 earned run average was the lowest in baseball since 1914. An eight-time All-Star, Gibson also won nine Gold Glove Awards and three NL pennants with the Cardinals. He went 7-2 with a 1.89 ERA in the World Series, winning two with St. Louis. Gibson won 251 games in his career with a 2.91 ERA and 3,117 strikeouts. He threw 255 complete games in 482 starts.
JOHNNY MIZE: A Veterans Committee selection, Mize spent 15 seasons in the big leagues with the St. Louis Cardinals, New York Giants and New York Yankees. He led the league in home runs four times, including 51 in 1947 when he struck out just 42 times, becoming the only player in history to hit 50 or more home runs and struck out less than 50 times. The 10-time All-Star was 20 runs batted in away from winning the National League Triple Crown in 1939 when he led the league with a .349 batting average and 28 home runs. While with the Yankees from 1949-53, Mize was a member of five consecutive championship teams and hit three home runs in the 1952 World Series. He retired with a career batting average of .312, 359 home runs and 1,337 RBI.
RUBE FOSTER: Selected by the Veterans’ Committee, Rube Foster was one of baseball's greatest Renaissance men. In his youth, Foster was a star pitcher of the dead ball era, and later as owner-manager of the Chicago American Giants, the burly Texan instilled in his players the daring, aggressive, yet disciplined style of play for which the Negro leagues became famous. In 1920, he founded the first successful Negro league, the Negro National League, which flourished throughout the decade.