In an effort to increase attendance and excitement, Major League Baseball announced that they’ll be moving this summer’s Hall of Fame induction ceremony to September 8th. The MLB feels that a bigger crowd will make for a better, more engaging fan experience. By changing the event to fall, a larger crowd will be able to attend, as COVID-related attendance restrictions will have been lifted.
Derek Jeter, Larry Walker, Ted Simmons, and Marvin Miller are all set to be enshrined. The four inductees were elected as Hall of Famers in 2020. Because of the pandemic, their enshrinement was delayed until this summer, and now this fall. Having to wait a year for enshrinement was likely disappointing for the inductees, but Major League Baseball surely benefits from the delay. COVID restrictions aside, without the 2020 class postponing enshrinement by a year, Cooperstown would be more like a ghost town this summer since no one was elected to the Hall of Fame in 2021.
Despite moving the ceremony to the fall, the annual awards presentation will still take place next month (July 24th). The tv-only presentation will present awards for the following: The 2020 Buck O’Neil Lifetime Achievement Award, to David Montgomery; The Baseball Writers’ Association of America Career Excellence Award, to the late Nick Cafardo for 2020 and to Dick Kaegel for this year; Finally, the Ford C. Frick Award for broadcasting excellence will be presented to Ken Harrelson for 2020 with Al Michaels receiving the 2021 award.
If tv and streaming ratings are any indication of fan interest, Cooperstown can expect a good turnout in September. According to a memo sent out by the Major League Baseball earlier this summer, MLB.tv viewership minutes have increased 18% over 2020 and total games watched has increased by 22%.
Per the Boston Globe, tickets for the induction ceremony, held on the Hall of Fame’s lawn, will go on sale July 12th.