Jeter, Simmons, Walker prepare for induction day
For Derek Jeter, Larry Walker and Ted Simmons – all members of the National Baseball Hall of Fame’s Class of 2020 – their upcoming trip to Cooperstown for this year’s Induction Ceremony on Sept. 8 will forever establish them as members of the National Pastime’s most exclusive fraternity.
Another member of the Class of 2020, longtime union leader Marvin Miller, passed away at the age of 95 on Nov. 27, 2012. Former Major League Baseball Players Association executive director Don Fehr will speak about Miller at the 2021 induction.
Soon enough, though, three of the sport’s greatest will find themselves in front of dozens of returning Hall of Famers, thousands of rabid fans and before a national television audience receiving what is considered the greatest honor the game can bestow.
The election of Jeter and Walker were by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America in January of 2020, while with the election of Miller and Simmons were by the Modern Baseball Era Committee in December 2019.
The four members of the Hall of Fame Class of 2020 – increasing the total number of overall inductees to 333 – will be inducted at 1:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 8, on the grounds of the Clark Sports Center in Cooperstown. The Induction Ceremony will be carried live on MLB Network and at mlb.com.
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Of his induction speech, Simmons claims he got to it right away.
“After I was elected, I said I'm not going to let this sit out there and angst over this for the next however long. I'm gonna get right after it, which I did, and in a fairly short period of time,” Simmons said. “I feel confident that I was going to get to say what I wanted to say. They had given us fairly liberal instructions, somewhere between eight to 10 to possibly 12 minutes. With that kind of help I was able to condense lots of the thoughts into the most essential things that I felt were necessary to say.
“At this point I'm glad I'm reading it because I don't trust myself with that kind of memory, especially at my age. But I've gotten to the point now where I shouldn't mess this up. And it's at a place where I don't feel like I'm going to be putting people to sleep. It should be over and done so people won't end up staring back at me with giant yawns.”
The 2020 and 2021 award winners, Nick Cafardo (2020 BBWAA Career Excellence Award winner), Ken Harrelson (2020 Ford C. Frick Award winner), Dick Kaegel (2021 BBWAA Career Excellence Award winner), Al Michaels (2021 Ford C. Frick Award winner) and David Montgomery (2020 Buck O’Neil Lifetime Achievement Award winner) will also be recognized at the Induction Ceremony.
Bill Francis is the senior research and writing specialist at the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum