Baseball HOF's Idelson: '14 Induction Could Set Attendance Record
Baseball HOF President Jeff Idelson said the '14 class of inductees, representing the largest group of living honorees since '71, will help challenge the museum’s Induction Weekend attendance record of 82,000, set seven years ago. The HOF earlier today in N.Y. formally introduced the three players elected by the BBWAA: Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine and Frank Thomas. The trio will join previously announced Expansion Era Committee selections Joe Torre, Tony La Russa and Bobby Cox.
"Expectations are very high. Topping 2007 will be very difficult. But when you think about the big Induction Weekends in years past, years like '07, '99, '83 and so on, this will be right there with them," Idelson said. "These players and managers pull fans from a lot of big, key markets like New York, Chicago, Atlanta, and St. Louis." The HOF last year drew just 2,000 people to Induction Weekend, when the BBWAA elected no one and three honorees from the Pre-Integration Era Committee were long deceased.
The HOF said it yesterday saw unprecedented spikes in inquires into museum membership, which in part can provide priority seating for Induction Weekend. Membership in the HOF’s Presidents Circle and Benefactor levels of giving are up 27% since the Expansion Era selections were announced last month, and continue to grow. "Our phones yesterday were lit up like a Christmas tree. I haven't seen anything like it," Idelson said.