The banners are out, adorning the brick facade of baseball’s spiritual home. The commemorative pint glasses, patches and T-shirts are on display in the gift shop. It’s time for the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum to celebrate its Class of 2013, with all the usual trimmings.
But for the first time in nearly 50 years, none of the guests of honor will be present.
A collision of the Hall’s two-tiered voting process and the first real referendum on baseball’s Steroid Era has produced an induction weekend unlike any in recent memory.
Oh, the people will come to this pastoral New York village this weekend, as they always do — “You’ll have your historians who look to come regardless, you’ll have the fans that come to every induction,” said Hall of Fame president Jeff Idelson.
What you won’t have, though, are fans with any firsthand memories of Hank O’Day, Jacob Ruppert or Deacon White, who Sunday afternoon will be immortalized in bronze relief in the Hall of Fame Gallery like 295 men and women before them.