Call it Take 2.
Four months after announcing that Derek Jeter’s induction ceremony would be held indoors with no fans because of the coronavirus pandemic, the Baseball Hall of Fame reversed course on Wednesday. Thanks to New York relaxing its restrictions, the Hall said Jeter and the other 2020 inductees would be honored outdoors before a limited crowd on Sept. 8 in Cooperstown, N.Y.
Jeter, who wore No. 2 as the Yankees’ shortstop from 1995 to 2014, will be joined by the former outfielder Larry Walker and the former catcher Ted Simmons at the ceremony, which will also honor a fourth inductee, Marvin Miller, the former executive director of the players’ union, who died in 2012. No new members were elected in 2021.
“We are thrilled to be able to welcome our Hall of Famers — the living legends — and fans back to Cooperstown to celebrate the induction of the class of 2020,” Jane Forbes Clark, the Hall’s board chairwoman, said in a statement. “Returning the induction ceremony to an outdoor event will provide the baseball community with the opportunity to visit Cooperstown and celebrate the induction of four of the game’s greats.”
The event, which is traditionally held on a Sunday in late July, now shifts to a Wednesday afternoon after Labor Day, timing that will naturally limit the influx of fans to Cooperstown, a village with fewer than 2,000 residents. The ceremony will be held at the Clark Sports Center, as usual, but instead of free, open lawn seating, only fans with tickets will be allowed on the grounds.
The tickets will be free, but the Hall did not specify how many would be available, citing the continuing changes in local health and safety guidelines. Tickets can be obtained from the Hall of Fame’s website starting at 11 a.m. on July 12.
Officials once expected a record crowd for Jeter’s ceremony, a reasonable guess based on his star power in the Hall’s home state. The last induction ceremony, headlined by Mariano Rivera in 2019, drew about 55,000, second only to the estimated 82,000 fans in 2007, when Cal Ripken Jr. and Tony Gwynn were inducted.
Jeter’s class will not come close to those figures, but at long last, it will finally get its day.