It's official. Derek Jeter won't be inducted into Cooperstown until 2021.
The Baseball Hall of Fame announced Wednesday evening that its Board of Directors voted to cancel this year's Hall of Fame Induction Weekend due to the health and safety concerns presented by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Originally scheduled for July 24-25, the Hall's executives understood that the induction's festivities would put countless individuals at risk – from this year's inductees, Hall of Fame members, fans and hundreds of staff. The decision was made unanimously.
“Being inducted into the Hall of Fame will be an incredible honor, but the health and safety of everyone involved are paramount,” explained Derek Jeter in the Hall's announcement. “I respect and support the decision to postpone this year’s enshrinement and am looking forward to joining current Hall of Famers, fans, staff and my family and friends in Cooperstown in 2021.”
Chairman of the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum Jane Forbes explained that although it's disappointing to cancel such a special event, the safety of all those who would visit Cooperstown is paramount.
“In heeding the advice of government officials as well as federal, state and local medical and scientific experts, we chose to act with extraordinary caution in making this decision,” said Forbes in the Hall's release. “The Board of Directors has decided that the Class of 2020 will be inducted and the 2020 Award Winners will be honored as part of next summer’s Hall of Fame Weekend, taking place July 23-26, 2021.”
The decision to postpone this summer's ceremony doesn't come as much of a surprise. As the novel coronavirus pandemic continues to spread, countless events have been canceled or delayed. Even the 2020 Major League Baseball season has been postponed indefinitely.
This year's class consists of Derek Jeter, the late Marvin Miller, Ted Simmons and Larry Walker. That group will share the stage at Cooperstown with next year's class, a group that has the potential to include additional former Yankees, although it's unlikely.
The financial implications of canceling this year's ceremony are staggering. As rumors of the ceremony's postponement circulated this week, reports suggesting devastating consequences for small business owners in the area have been published as well.
Next year will mark the first induction ceremony since 1949 to combine multiple classes of electees. Meanwhile, this July will be the first summer without the Hall's proceedings since 1961.
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