COOPERSTOWN, N.Y. — Baseball's annual celebration of the greatest players to ever play the sport has been put on pause.
On Wednesday, the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum announced that the board of directors had voted unanimously to cancel the 2020 Hall of Fame Induction Weekend because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The 2020 class, which includes former Cardinals Ted Simmons and Larry Walker, Yankees legend Derek Jeter and late former union boss Marvin Miller, will be enshrined on July 25, 2021, along with any new members inducted in the next balloting.
Late writer Nick Cafardo and long time broadcaster Hawk Harrelson will also receive their honors next year as well.
"It's clear that canceling this year's induction ceremony was the appropriate decision," Simmons said in a release from the Hall of Fame. "I commend the board for making this decision under these difficult circumstances, particularly in New York, a state severely hit by the pandemic. This was the wisest and smartest thing to do, given the existing environment and the danger that this pandemic presents."
"I fully understand and agree with the board's decision," Walker said. "It is most important to do the right thing for everybody involved, and that means not putting any participants in jeopardy, whether the Hall of Fame or visitors. I realize how serious this has become and how many lives have been lost."
Simmons waited 25 years to finally hear his name called for the hall, after falling off the writers' ballot after just one year. Walker was elected in his tenth and final year on the writers' ballot. Jeter was a first-ballot inductee.
The 2021 induction ceremony will be the first since 1949 to combine multiple classes of electees.