A Brief History
On January 29, 1936, the first class of baseball “Hall of Famers” was named and was comprised of Babe Ruth, Ty Cobb, Honus Wagner, Christy Mathewson, and Walter Johnson. Before the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum finally opened in 1939, another 20 men were also selected for this honor.
This year’s (2015) group of inductees are the pitchers Randy Johnson, Pedro Martinex and John Smoltz, as well as second baseman Craig Biggio.
Located in Cooperstown, New York, the alleged site of the birth of baseball, the Hall of Fame currently has over 300 inductees made up of Major League players, Negro League players, managers, umpires and miscellaneous other baseball people.
There are, however, some glaring omissions in the membership in this elite club. Baseball’s all-time hits leader, Pete Rose, has been excluded due to his involvement in gambling, and “Shoeless” Joe Jackson has been denied entry because of his suspected involvement in the fixing the 1919 World Series. The all-time major league home run leader (and single-season home run champ) Barry Bonds has been snubbed as a result of his steroid use. Mark McGwire, one-time season home run record holder and the slugger with the highest amount of home runs per at bats and speed ball pitcher Roger Clemens have also been kept out because of suspected steroid use. (Enos Slaughter was blackballed because of his alleged racism and opposition to integration in major league baseball, but was finally inducted in 1985 after he claimed those charges were not true.)
Question for students (and subscribers): Will these former “greats” eventually be admitted? Should they? Please share your opinions with us in the comments section below this article.
Your readership is much appreciated!
For more information, please see…
Corcoran, Dennis. Induction Day at Cooperstown: A History of the Baseball Hall of Fame Ceremony. McFarland & Company, 2010.