Induction Eve Thrills Fans, Hall of Famers in Cooperstown
Jeff Bagwell, Tim Raines, Iván Rodríguez, John Schuerholz and Bud Selig to Be Inducted Sunday at National Baseball Hall of Fame
(COOPERSTOWN, N.Y.) – It was a perfect Saturday in Cooperstown, from the 70-degree weather to the legends who enjoyed it.
If there was a better place to be than Hall of Fame Weekend, Ryne Sandberg wouldn’t know where to find it.
“It’s like a vacation, and you get to hang out with the other Hall of Famers,” said Sandberg, one of 50 Hall of Famers who returned to see the induction of the Class of 2017. “There couldn’t be anything better than that. This is one of the first things that goes on my calendar every year.”
Sandberg and many of his fellow Hall of Famers played golf in the morning, then enjoyed the Awards Presentation and the Parade of Legends before attending a private evening reception at the Hall of Fame.
At the annual Awards Presentation at Doubleday Field, Claire Smith was presented with the J.G. Taylor Spink Award for writers; Bill King was posthumously honored with the Ford C. Frick Award for broadcast excellence; and Rachel Robinson received the Buck O’Neil Lifetime Achievement Award. Hall of Fame board member Thomas Tull also spoke about the legacy of the film A League of Their Own, which was released 25 years ago this summer.
“Look where we are: Beautiful, memory-encrusted Cooperstown,” Smith said during her speech at the Awards Presentation. “Can’t you feel the spirit of Jackie Robinson? When you’re here, you can’t help but feel the angels on your shoulders. Because this is heaven on earth.”
A broadcast of the Awards Presentation will be shown at 11 a.m. on Sunday on MLB Network.
Fans packed Main Street throughout the day, with thousands entering the Museum to walk on baseball’s holy ground. Fans sported their favorite team’s jersey to support Class of 2017 members Jeff Bagwell, Tim Raines, Iván Rodríguez, John Schuerholz and Bud Selig. The highlight of Induction Weekend will come at 1:30 p.m. on Sunday when the Class of 2017 takes the Induction Stage at the Clark Sports Center.
Some of Saturday’s additional highlights included:
**The annual Hall of Fame Weekend Golf Tournament at the Leatherstocking Golf Course was won by the team led by Hall of Fames Ozzie Smith and Dave Winfield, which finished four shots ahead of a team led by Tim Raines and Tim Raines Jr. George Brett and John Smoltz tied for individual honors among the Hall of Famers with a low gross of 73 apiece.
**Fans jammed Main Street to get a glimpse of their Hall of Fame heroes during the eighth annual Parade of Legends, some lining up for spots along the parade route 24 hours before the event. The returning Hall of Famers rode down Main Street in pickup trucks provided by Ford Motor Company.
**Hall of Famer Rod Carew, who received a heart transplant last year, spoke about his Heart of 29 campaign, which in conjunction with the American Heart Association is educating people about the dangers of heart disease.
The Museum is open Sunday from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m., with participants in the Hall of Fame’s Membership Program able to enter the Museum at 7 a.m. For more information on Membership, please visit baseballhall.org/join.
Sunday’s Induction Ceremony is free and open to the public and will be shown live on MLB Network and broadcast nationally on MLB Network Radio on Sirius/XM. The Induction Ceremony is expected to last about three hours.