BOOK CLUB – 7 p.m. Read ‘The Gown: A Novel Of The Royal Wedding’ by Jennifer Robson about the wedding gown of Queen Elizabeth II and the women who made it. Then discuss with the group. Presented by Huntington Memorial Library. 607-432-1980 or visit www.facebook.com/hmloneonta/
COOPERSTOWN – Live from the Hall of Plaques for the first time, the Hall of Fame Class of 2121 will be revealed on an MLB Network Broadcast at 6 p.m. tomorrow, the Hall announced a few minutes ago.
MLB Network will air extensive coverage, interviews and analysis beginning at 3 p.m. ET, then televise Hall of Fame President Tim Mead’s announcement of the results. The announcement will be simulcast on MLB.com and at facebook.com/baseballhall.
COOPERSTOWN – Hank Aaron’s “generosity of spirit and legendary accomplishments will live in Cooperstown forever,” Hall of Fame Chairman Jane Forbes Clark said in reaction to this morning’s passing of the baseball legend.
“Hank Aaron’s incredible talent on the baseball field was only matched by his dignity and character, which shone brightly, not only here in Cooperstown, but with every step he took,” said Clark.
“His courage while pursuing the game’s all-time home run record served as an example for millions of people inside and outside of the sports world, who were also aspiring to achieve their greatest dreams.”
CURATOR SPOTLIGHT – 2 p.m. Hall of fame curators give glimpses of artifacts in the museums collection from each of the five American League East Teams, featured from the ‘Starting Nine’ exhibit. This exhibit is a great introduction to the 30 MLB teams. Free, registration required. Presented by Baseball Hall of Fame. 607-547-7200 or visit baseballhall.org/events/virtual-curator-spotlight-starting-nine-al-east?date=0
COOPERSTOWN – National Baseball Hall of Fame announced yesterday that pitcher and Hall of Famer Phil Niekro passed away overnight after a battle with cancer. He was 81 years old.
For years after he entered the Hall, he was often seen along Main Street during the annual Induction Weekend.
Niekro rode his knuckleball to 5,404 innings pitched – the most of any pitcher who started his career in the live ball era. But Niekro, who pitched for 21 of his 24 big league seasons with the Braves, was more than simply durable. His 318 wins and 3,342 strikeouts are a testament to a pitcher who was often untouchable.
The Baseball Hall of Fame is striving to balance the sport’s sometimes troubled racial history with athletic prowess on the diamond.
“The conversation began this summer,” said Jon Shestakofsky, the Hall’s vice president/communications.
“We wanted to shine a light on these conflicted stories. And when the Board of Directors met this summer, its members unanimously decided to make these important changes”
So now, the “Pride and Passion” exhibit has been renamed “Ideals and Injustices: A Chronicle of Black Baseball.”
It focuses not just on the formation of the Negro Leagues and Jackie Robinson’s breaking of the color barrier, but addressing the history of racism within the game, even by those honored in
the Hall of Plaques downstairs.
“Cap Anson, for example, was an early superstar of baseball, but his actions helped lead the league towards segregation,” said Shestakofsky.
A first baseman for the Chicago Cubs, Anson was reported to have said he “would never step on a field that also had a Black man on it.”
He was inducted into the Hall with the first class, in 1939.
Though Anson and others, including Commissioner Kenesaw Mountain Landis, had previously been mentioned in “Pride and Passion,” Shestakofsky said the updated panels “clarifies” their opposition to integrating the league.
“These upgraded panels delve more deeply into the complicated history,” he said. “They’re in the Hall of Fame for a reason, they did a lot to sustain the game, but there’s more to be said about their lasting impacts.”
Nonetheless, the Hall does not plan to alter the plaques in the gallery.
“I don’t feel in any context that one should expunge history, that one should erase history,” said Jane Forbes Clark, Hall of Fame chairman, in an interview with the New York Times that appeared over the weekend.
“Part of our mission is not only to honor excellence and connect generations, but it’s to preserve the history of the game, and that’s what we’re doing,” she said. “We’re reacting to the evolution of society and society wanting a deeper understanding of underlying racism — its causes, its history, and how it continues to affect the game.”
Instead, a sign has been placed at the entrance to the Hall of Plaques, which reads: “Enshrinement into the National Baseball Hall of Fame reflects the perspective of voters at the time of election. The plaques on these walls recognize Members for their accomplishments in the game.”
It also directs visitors to continue their own exploration of the history in the museum exhibits, library archives, and educational resources.
“When people request educational materials, Jackie Robinson and Civil Rights are requested the most often,” said Shestakofsky. “Education is one of the pillars of our work as an institution.”
But the changes have also allowed the Hall to tell more stories to their visitors.
“Someone like Effa Manley, the only woman enshrined in the Hall, deserves a more full look,” he said. “As an owner, she did a lot to enhance the status of black baseball.”
“She was exceptional,” Clark told the Times. “I just find it a wonderful balance, because it’s not just that we’re looking at racists and Anson and Landis, we’re also looking at somebody who did something so positive.”
Manley was among 17 figures — all deceased — from the Negro leagues elected to the Hall in 2006, following a study by the Major League Baseball. However, that same vote excluded Buck O’Neil, former players and the MLB’s first black coach.
In 2006, O’Neil spoke at the induction ceremony, and a lifetime achievement award at the Hall was named in his honor. But he was never voted into the museum.
Shestakofsky said the exhibit and new signage have received “a very positive response,” so far, and that the curators will continue to look at ways to improve exhibits throughout the museum.
“We are a history museum,” he said. “Our job is to preserve the game’s history.”
VIRTUAL FIELD TRIP – 1 p.m. “Women’s History: Dirt On Their Skirts” program about how women made their baseball dreams come true and how that led to greater opportunities for all. Includes Q&A session. Free, registration for Zoom meeting required. Presented by The Baseball Hall of Fame. 607-547-7200 or visit baseballhall.org/events/virtual-ask-the-expert-curatorial?date=0
VIRTUAL FIELD TRIP – 1 p.m. Learn about Cultural Diversity in the ‘National Pastime’ and how the game changes around the world. Includes Q&A session. Free, registration for Zoom meeting required. Presented by The Baseball Hall of Fame. 607-547-7200 or visit baseballhall.org/events/virtual-ask-the-expert-curatorial?date=0
ASK THE EXPERT – 3 p.m. Join the Curator of the Baseball Hall of Fame to discuss how the collections are selected and organized. Includes Q&A session. Free, registration for Zoom meeting required. Presented by The Baseball Hall of Fame. 607-547-7200 or visit baseballhall.org/events/virtual-ask-the-expert-curatorial?date=0
FROSTBITE 5K – Ongoing. Run, walk, or bike anytime during the month of December. Post your results, then a picture of yourself in an ugly sweater with your race bib for the chance to win prizes. Benefit for the Oneonta YMCA. 607-432-0010 or visit www.facebook.com/OneontaFamilyYMCA/
VIRTUAL TOUR – 2 p.m. Zoom meeting featuring walk through of exhibit ‘Albrecht Dürer: Master Prints’ with Assistant Curator of American Art Ann Cannon featuring in-depth discussion and Q&A session. Free, registration required. Suggested donation $5. Fenimore Art Museum, Cooperstown. 607-547-1400 or visit www.fenimoreartmuseum.org
COOPERSTOWN – The 2021 Hall of Fame ballot is eing mailed this week to more than 400 voting members of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America, and includes 11 new candidates.
Pitchers Barry Zito, Tim Hudson, Mark Buehrle and A.J. Burnett, infielder Aramis Ramírez, outfielder Torii Hunter and infielder-outfielder Michael Cuddyer will join 14 holdovers from the 2020 balloting.
Derek Jeter and outfielder Larry Walker were elected in the 2020 ballot, and will join those elected from this year’s ballot at this year’s induction in to the National Baseball Hall of Fame.