Umpire Hank O’Day, Yankees owner Jacob Ruppert and 19th Century catcher/third baseman Deacon White have been elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame by the Pre-Integration Era Committee. This week O’Day, Ruppert and White were each named on the necessary 75 percent of all ballots cast by the 16-member Pre-Integration Era Committee. The ballot considered of six former players, three executives and one umpire whose contributions to the game were significant and dated from organized baseball origins through 1946. The Pre-Integration Era Committee held meetings on Sunday in Nashville, Tenn., site of Baseball’s Winter Meetings. O’Day, Ruppert and White will be joined in the Hall of Fame Class of 2013 by any nominees that emerge from the Baseball Writers’ Association of America voting. The rest of the class, if any, will be announced on Wednesday, Jan. 9.
The 16-member Pre-Integration Era Committee was comprised of Hall of Fame members Bert Blyleven, Pat Gillick, Phil Niekro and Don Sutton; major league executives Bill DeWitt, Roland Hemond, Gary Hughes and Bob Watson. It also included veteran media members and historians Jim Henneman, Steve Hirdt, Peter Morris, Phil Pepe, Tom Simon, Claire Smith, T.R. Sullivan and Mark Whicker. Hall of Fame Chairman of the Board Jane Forbes Clark served as the non-voting chairman of the Pre-Integration Era Committee. Jacob Ruppert and Hank O’Day each received 15 votes (93.8%). Deacon White received 14 votes (87.5%). The next closest in voting was Bill Dahlen who received 10 votes (62.5%).
O’Day, who passed away on July 2, 1935, umpired in the first modern World Series in 1903, one of 10 times that he worked the Fall Classic. O’Day was a National League umpire for 30 years and made the defining call in the famous 1908 Giants vs. Cubs contest that featured Johnny Evers forcing out Fred Merkle at second base after what appeared to be the game-winning hit. O’Day becomes the 10th umpire elected to the Hall of Fame.
Ruppert bought a struggling Yankees franchise in 1915 and quickly changed the team’s fortunes by purchasing Babe Ruth from the Red Sox and building Yankee Stadium. While Ruppert owned the Yankees, New York won 10 American League pennants and seven World Series titles. Ruppert passed away on Jan. 13, 1939.
White played 20 seasons for teams in the National Association, the National League and the Players League, compiling 2,067 hits in only 1,560 games. White led his league in batting average twice and RBI three times, and was a standout bare-handed defensive catcher before switching to third base later in his career. White passed away on July 7, 1939.
The Pre-Integration Era Committee will next consider candidates in 2015 for the 2016 Induction year, as the process to consider candidates by era repeats on a three-year cycle. In 2013, the Expansion Era Committee – which met previously in 2010 – will consider candidates whose main career contributions came from 1973 through the present. In 2014, the Golden Era Committee – which met previously in 2011 – will consider candidates whose main career contributions came from 1947-72. Committees will continue to meet at the Winter Meetings.
Hall of Fame Weekend 2013 will be held July 26-29 in Cooperstown, NY, with the Induction Ceremony slated for Sunday, July 28, 2013. The BBWAA election results will be announced at 2 p.m. ET on Wednesday, Jan. 9. The election of O’Day, Ruppert, and White brings the total number of Hall of Famers to 300.
Also this week at the Winter Meetings, two Hall of Fame award winners will be announced, with the BBWAA selecting its annual J.G. Taylor Spink Award on Tuesday, Dec. 4 for meritorious contributions to baseball writing. On Wednesday, Dec. 5, the Museum will announce the Ford C. Frick Award winner, given for excellence in baseball broadcasting.