Thirty-two Hall of Famers paid tribute to the Class of 2013 on July 28 in Cooperstown. The Class of 2013 featured three pioneers from baseball’s earliest days: Umpire Hank O’Day, who called the first World Series in 1903 and was the ruling arbiter in the 1908 game between the Giants and Cubs where Fred Merkle’s base running mistake cost the Giants a walk-off win; former Yankees owner Jacob Ruppert, who purchased the contract of Babe Ruth from the Red Sox and built Yankee Stadium; and Deacon White, a brilliant bare-handed catcher from the 19th century.
HANK O'DAY: Hank O’Day became just the 10 arbiter to earn induction and the first since Doug Harvey in 2010. O’Day, who umpired National League games for 30 years and also served as a player and a manager, received 15 of 16 votes (93.8 percent) from the Committee. O’Day umpired in the first modern World Series in 1903, one of 10 World Series he worked overall. O’Day was also the ruling umpire in the famous Cubs vs. Giants game on Sept. 23, 1908 when Chicago’s Johnny Evers tagged out New York’s Fred Merkle following what appeared to be the game-winning hit by the Giants. O’Day ruled that because Merkle had not touched second base that the force out ended the game, which was ruled a tie when the fans overran the field. The Cubs later won a re-played version of the game and captured the National League pennant. O’Day passed away on July 2, 1935.
JACOB RUPPERT: Jacob Ruppert became the 33rd executive elected to the Hall of Fame. The former Yankees owner ran the club from 1915-39. Ruppert received 15 of 16 votes (93.8 percent) from the Pre-Integration Era Committee. Ruppert bought the Yankees in 1915 with Tillinghast Huston and quickly turned a second-division team into the game’s most prominent franchise. Ruppert brought future Hall of Famers Miller Huggins (as manager) and Ed Barrow (as general manager) to the Yankees, purchased the contract of Babe Ruth from the Red Sox prior to the 1920 season and built Yankee Stadium, which opened in 1923. While he was the Yankees owner, the Bronx Bombers won 10 American League pennants and seven World Series. Ruppert passed away on Jan. 13, 1939.
DEACON WHITE: James Laurie “Deacon” White was a brilliant bare-handed catcher and later a third basemen during the earliest days of professional baseball. White received 14 of 16 votes (87.5 percent) from the Pre-Integration Era Committee. White played in the first professional league, the National Association – which debuted in 1871, and he later played for Chicago in the National League’s inaugural year of 1876. Despite league schedules that often were limited to 70 or 80 games, White finished his 20-year career with 2,067 hits and a .312 career batting average, winning two batting titles and three RBI crowns. White played for nine franchises in three leagues and appeared in 122 games at the age of 42 in his final season of 1890. White is the oldest person elected to the Hall of Fame as a player, with a birthday (Dec. 7, 1847) that pre-dates every other player in the Hall of Fame. White passed away on July 7, 1939.
AWARDS PRESENTATION: The 2013 award winners featured J.G. Taylor Spink Award winner Paul Hagen and the late Tom Cheek, whose wife Shirley accepted the Ford C. Frick Award on his behalf. Also honored during Hall of Fame Weekend were Dr. Frank Jobe, who pioneered the ligament transplant procedure known as "Tommy John Surgery" (Tommy John was on hand to honor Dr. Jobe) and Thomas Tull, CEO of Legendary Entertainment who produced the Jackie Robinson biopic "42".