What was to be the final Hall of Fame Game – scheduled for June 16, 2008 – was canceled due to inclement weather when a thunderstorm rolled through Doubleday Field just prior to first pitch.
The San Diego Padres and Chicago Cubs were set to play before the weather deteriorated.
The Hall of Fame game was the final in-season exhibition game permitted by the collective bargaining agreement between management and the union. But all in-season exhibition games, including the Hall of Fame Game, were eliminated following the 2008 season.
A total of 61 Hall of Fame Games were played, with the first game coming in 1940 between the Red Sox and Cubs. Originally a contest between an American League team and a National League team that was played on the day of the annual Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony, several changes were instituted over the years. Starting in 1986, the traditional interleague match-up was amended to allow teams from the same leagues to meet.
Then in 2003, the game was moved away from Hall of Fame Weekend to help alleviate scheduling issues.
Over the 69 years of the game, 61 games were played. Five games never started and were canceled due to rain. The 1945 game was called off due to war travel restrictions, and the 1981 game was canceled due to the strike.
The 1989 game between the Red Sox and the Reds was canceled when the Reds team plane had mechanical problems and was unable to fly. Instead, the Red Sox played an intersquad game at Doubleday Field.
In games between American League and National League teams, the AL won the series 27-22 with five ties.
The White Sox made the most appearances in Hall of Fame Games that were played, appearing nine times.
Rain pours down on fans sitting in the bleachers of Doubleday Field at the final Hall of Fame Game on June 16, 2008. (Milo Stewart Jr./National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum)
Blue skies were seen above Doubleday Field before the 2008 Hall of Fame Game. But just prior to first pitch, a thunderstorm rolled through Cooperstown, canceling the game. (Milo Stewart Jr./National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum)