Kaline, Snider, Klein, Yawkey are Inducted as Class of 1980
Finally came the posthumous induction of Chuck Klein, a former right fielder for the Philadelphia Phillies. The only player in the 20th century to notch more than 200 or more hits in his first five seasons, Red Smith once said that “the Philadelphia newspapers of the early ‘30s kept a headline standing in type to eliminate the expense of constant resetting. It read: ‘Klein hits two as Phils lose.” A Triple Crown winner in 1933, two-time All-Star and NL MVP in 1932, he also set the single-season record for outfield assists with 44, which still stands today.
The most important day of their professional careers, perhaps what made August 3, 1980 so special for Kaline and Snider was that genuine sense of doubt before hearing whether or not they’d received the necessary votes. Regardless, all anxiety disappeared once Kaline walked on stage that day.
“I was nervous coming up here,” Kaline admitted. “But then I thought nothing can be bad when you’re surrounded by baseball fans.”
Alex Coffey is the communications specialist at the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum