Class of 2020 Honored on Historic Day in Cooperstown
(COOPERSTOWN, N.Y.) – The Hall of Fame Class of 2020 made it a memorable Induction Ceremony in 2021.
An estimated crowd of 20,000 fans journeyed to Cooperstown on Wednesday to watch as Derek Jeter, Marvin Miller, Ted Simmons and Larry Walker were inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame – completing their legendary careers and capping a voyage from election to induction that lasted more than 20 months.
In front of 31 returning Hall of Famers and a national television audience on MLB Network, Simmons opened the ceremony with a speech detailing his career and the baseball families he has loved.
“Our game is about wins and losses, but after 50 years in baseball I’ve found it is about so much more,” said Simmons, who cited Curt Flood, Catfish Hunter, Andy Messersmith and Marvin Miller as players and executives who changed the game. “For those of you who are concerned that our game has changed – it has. Our game is fluid. The game evolves. It’s just a matter of time.”
Don Fehr spoke about Miller, who Fehr succeeded as the executive director of the Major League Baseball Players Association. Miller brought about historic changes as the head of the union from 1966-82.
“I met Marvin first in 1975,” Fehr said. “He was quiet, soft-spoken. The man had endless reserves of patience. He was ever-willing to listen, respond and converse. It was an extraordinary set of characteristics for anyone to have. He was easily the most practical person I ever saw.”
Walker was greeted by hundreds of maple leaf-adorned flags as the first Canadian-born position player – and second player Canada native overall after Fergie Jenkins in 1991 – to be elected to the Hall of Fame.
“If you don’t mind, I don’t want to forget this moment,” said Walker as he took a photo of the crowd at the Clark Sports Center. “Thank you Canada. I share this honor with every Canadian. Me standing here right now is proof that hard work can pay off.”
Jeter closed the two hour and 36 minute ceremony by first waving to his family while the Yankees fans cheered.
“I forgot how good that feels,” Jeter said as he acknowledged the fans during a relaxed-and-conversational speech. “The greatest people and the players, the Hall of Fame family, I wanted to make them proud.
“I had one goal: To win and win more than anyone else. And we did.”
Other highlights from Wednesday included:
**The 2020 and 2021 Award Winners were acknowledged on the Induction Ceremony stage: Nick Cafardo, represented by his son Ben Cafardo, and Dick Kaegel, the 2020 and 2021 BBWAA Career Excellence Award winners, respectively; Ken Harrelson and Al Michaels, the 2020 and 2021 Ford C. Frick Award winners, respectively; and David Montgomery, the 2020 Buck O’Neil Lifetime Achievement Award winner, who was represented by his widow, Lyn.
**A crowd filled with New York fans saved one of its biggest ovations for Reggie Jackson, who was sporting a No. 2 Yankees jersey to honor Derek Jeter. Yankees legends Goose Gossage, Mariano Rivera and Joe Torre were also greeted with rousing cheers that echoed off the surrounding hills in pastoral Cooperstown.
**Wednesday’s crowd at the Clark Sports Center included NBA legends Patrick Ewing and Michael Jordan along with former MLB stars Andruw Jones, Tino Martinez, Jorge Posada, CC Sabathia, Alfonso Soriano and Tim Wallach.
**Yankees World Series hero Bernie Williams gave a soulful guitar rendition of The Star-Spangled Banner while accompanied by saxophonist Richie Cannata.
**Johnny Bench narrated a moving tribute to the 10 Hall of Fame legends who have passed away since the last Induction Ceremony in 2019. Hall of Famer Joe Torre introduced the piece, which was produced by MLB Network.
Transcripts of Sunday’s Induction Ceremony speeches of Derek Jeter, Ted Simmons, Larry Walker and Don Fehr will be available this evening at https://basebalhall.org/media-info.
The National Baseball Hall of Fame’s 2022 Induction Weekend will take place July 22-25, with the Induction Ceremony scheduled for Sunday, July 24. For more information, please visit https://baseballhall.org/hall-of-famers/future-eligibles.