After waiting for years, Ken “Hawk” Harrelson will now have to wait one more before he can become an inducted member of the National Baseball Hall of Fame. This year’s ceremonies have officially been postponed, in a unanimous decision by the Hall of Fame’s Board of Directors, due to the health and safety concerns of the coronavirus pandemic.
The long-time play by play voice of the White Sox was set to be inducted as this year’s recipient of the Ford C. Frick Award for excellence in broadcasting, an award won by other broadcasting greats like Bob Costas, Vin Scully, and Harry Caray. Harrelson was part of a prestigious class that included former players like Derek Jeter, Larry Walker, and Ted Simmons, and longtime union chief Marvin Miller.
“This was absolutely the right decision,” Harrelson said on Wednesday in a statement released on the White Sox Twitter account. “Everyone’s safety – the fans, the Hall of Famers, their families and friends – is the most important concern. We all need to stay safe and healthy. I do feel badly for the people of Cooperstown and the staff at the Hall of Fame because of what the weekend means to the area, but we all will have fun in July 2021 when we all can join together safely to celebrate two classes on induction weekend.”
As mentioned by Hawk, the Hall of Fame announced that the Class of 2020 and its award winners will now be honored with the incoming 2021 class. Next summer’s Hall of Fame Weekend will take place from July 23-26, 2021, with the Awards Presentation featuring Hawk Harrelson set for Saturday, July 24th.
While not necessarily shocking news, this is still very unfortunate for all of those involved at the Hall of Fame and local businesses in the Cooperstown area. Per Bob Nightengale of USA Today, the town could see an economic loss of roughly $150 million after what was set to be a record-breaking summer in terms of attendance. It’s hard to predict the future, but I would guess that the high expectations can now be placed on next year, especially given that two classes will be going in at once.
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