July 28, 2013
For the first time since 1965, there wasn't a single living inductee into the Baseball Hall of Fame, as Hank O'Day, Jacob Ruppert and Deacon White were inducted posthumously.
Of course, had the steroids era not rocked baseball, both Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens would have been inducted if not for their associations with performance enhancing drugs.
That said, there were still 34 living members of the Hall in Cooperstown to celebrate the 2013 inductees, and there were plenty of highlights along the way. Let's take a look back at this year's induction ceremony.
Baseball Hall on Instagram captured many of the legends present.
Here's Cal Ripken Jr. signing some autographs for fans:
Dennis Eckersley did the same:
And Sandy Koufax and Hank Aaron were seated together during the festivities:
How awesome is that?
The ceremony began with a retrospective on the careers of O'Day, Ruppert and White.
O'Day, an umpire, is perhaps most famous for a decision in the 1908 pennant chase. Barry M. Bloom of MLB.com recounts the incident:
O'Day was the plate umpire at the Polo Grounds that fateful day when the Giants battled the Cubs to the last out. Both teams were battling the Pirates for the National League pennant. The game in question was started for the Giants by the great Christy Mathweson and went into the bottom of the ninth tied at 1.
The Giants had runners on first and third. Moose McCormick was on first with two outs when Fred Merkle came to bat and drove him around to third with a single. Al Bridwell singled home McCormick with what appeared to be the winning running, but Merkle failed to touch second base as the crowd swarmed the field, turning toward the Giants' dugout to avoid the mob.
The Cubs noticed the gaffe, second baseman Johnny Evers wildly calling for the ball. It was thrown to second base, and O'Day called Merkle out on a forceout.
Because fans had irrevocably stopped the game, it couldn't be continued, was declared a 1-1 tie, and had to be replayed. The Giants lost the makeup game and pennant by one game to the Cubs, who went on to win what is still their last World Series title.
Here's a look at his plaque, via Baseball Hall on Twitter:
The main takeaway from the story is this: O'Day was not just a great umpire; he was also a pitcher and manager. He truly ran the full gamut of positions within the game.
Next up was Ruppert, a former owner of the New York Yankees who really changed the face of that franchise.
Anne Vernon, the great-grandniece of Ruppert, had more to say about his legacy to MLB.com:
Up next was White, one of the finest catchers to play before the turn of the century.
He was a bare-handed catcher, folks. Try to imagine what that must have been like for a second.
The event concluded with a cool moment, as Joe Morgan read Rogers Hornsby's Hall of Fame plaque and Cal Ripken Jr. did the same for Lou Gehrig. The pair, who were members of the 1945 class, had never formally been inducted with a ceremony.
That was remedied on Sunday.
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