Baseball HOF Induction Ceremony Draws Third-Largest Crowd In Event History
The '14 Baseball HOF Induction Ceremony yesterday drew an estimated crowd of 48,000 fans at the Clark Sports Center, marking the third-largest estimated crowd in the history of the event. The '07 ceremony drew an estimated 82,000 fans and the '99 ceremony crowd was estimated at 50,000 (Baseball HOF). In New York, Anne Delaney notes the crowd "likely was enhanced by the weather, which turned out to be favorable, despite forecasts calling for thunderstorms" (Utica OBSERVER-DISPATCH, 7/28). In N.Y., Richard Sandomir notes with most of the HOF class associated with the Braves, there was a "besotted crowd of tomahawk-chopping fans, many in blue and red jerseys and caps." Some spectators "sat beneath tents on a distant hill in an outpouring reminiscent of the estimated 75,000 who gathered" in '07 for the inductions of Cal Ripken Jr. and Tony Gwynn. The weekend "was tonic for what ailed Cooperstown at last year's induction." The HOF had "lines snaking out its door; more than 6,700 people entered, the best single day of admissions since the Ripken-Gwynn induction seven years earlier" (N.Y. TIMES, 7/28). In Minneapolis, La Velle Neal III noted the '14 HOF class was "the highlight of a thrilling weekend" in Cooperstown. The crowd was "a loud and proud group" and the speeches "were excellent" (STARTRIBUNE.com, 7/27). In Toronto, Bob Elliott notes it "seemed like a day game at either Fulton County Stadium or Turner Field with many fans doing the Tomahawk Chop wearing" HOFers Tom Glavine's No. 47, Greg Maddux' No. 31 or Bobby Cox' No. 6 jersey. The Braves front office "chartered a 48-seat plane to fly from Atlanta to Albany, N.Y., for the event" (TORONTO SUN, 7/28). In N.Y., Bill Madden writes this HOF induction "delivered everything it promised" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 7/28).
SPEAK FROM THE HEART: In Chicago, David Haugh notes HOF inductee Frank Thomas spent 17 minutes "wowing everybody in a way South Siders will be talking about for years." Thomas' speech will "be what baseball people remember most" about the enshrinement ceremony. Thomas "left the most lasting impression speaking straight from the heart" (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 7/28). Also in Chicago, Rick Morrissey notes the scope of Thomas' gratitude was "so wide that the huge crowd threatened to be swept away." It "wasn't just the names Thomas mentioned -- and he mentioned a lot -- it was the feeling with which he mentioned them" (CHICAGO SUN-TIMES, 7/28). The CHICAGO TRIBUNE's Paul Sullivan notes, "All in all, 138 people were mentioned." Thomas' speech "went over the prescribed time limit by several minutes, but no one seemed to care." He was "on a roll, and there was no stopping him" (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 7/28). On Long Island, Anthony Rieber notes he "never mentioned 'steroids' or 'performance-enhancing drugs,' but Thomas' message was as powerful as one of his signature 400-foot-plus home runs" (NEWSDAY, 7/28). Meanwhile, the CHICAGO TRIBUNE's Sullivan notes inductee Joe Torre "forgot to mention late Yankees owner George Steinbrenner" in his speech. Torre said, "We had mutual respect, and I feel terrible. It was so obvious for me that I passed him. It's what it is, but they threw a party for me at MLB last night, and Hal (Steinbrenner) was there" (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 7/28). In Dallas, Evan Grant notes Rangers broadcaster Eric Nadel on Saturday was honored by the HOF with the Ford C. Frick Award for Excellence in Broadcasting (DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 7/28).
VOTER REGISTRATION CARD: NEWSDAY's Rieber noted the HOF on Saturday announced "changes to the oft-criticized voting process for induction into baseball's most exclusive club." Starting with the Class of '15, recently retired players on the ballot for the Baseball Writers Association of America "will be eligible only for 10 years instead of the current 15." In addition, writers who cast ballots "will be required to fill out a registration form and sign a code of conduct." For the first time, the "names of those who voted will be revealed by the Hall, but writers still will have the option of keeping their ballots secret." The "need for a code of conduct -- the details of which were not released -- was apparently spurred by the case" of Miami-based writer and radio host Dan Le Batard, who "allowed fans to cast his ballot for him last year." The 10-year rule for players "could have a profound effect on chances for forgiveness -- and an eventual spot in Cooperstown -- for those who are believed to have used performance-enhancing drugs" (NEWSDAY, 7/27). In Atlanta, Carroll Rogers noted HOF BOD Chair Jane Forbes Clark said that the change "had nothing to do with trying to rush through players under steroid suspicion" (ATLANTA JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION, 7/27).