Hall of Fame Overcame “Separate But Equal”

Induction Day at Cooperstown By  Dennis Corcoran

Induction Day at Cooperstown
By
Dennis Corcoran

Hall of Fame Overcame “Separate But Equal”

Dennis Corcoran is a long time member of SABR from back east. He Has attended 12 national SABR conventions, including SABR 46 that played in Miami last month. He was also one of the 32 abstract presenters on a topic we all might care to know more about. And that is – the process that actually unfolded as the HOF finally came around to deal with baseball’s need to recognize the career contributions of players and other personnel from the Negro Leagues that most certainly only missed the bigs because of segregation.

The Dennis Corcoran SABR 46 presentation was entitled “The Hall of Fame Overcomes Separate But Equal to Honor the Negro Leagues.” According to message we received from Corcoran, he “talked about Ted Williams’ historic induction speech, (50th anniversary of it- 1966) which he closed by asking the Hall of Fame to do something for Satchel Paige and Josh Gibson, stating the only reason they weren’t inducted was because they never had the opportunity in the Major Leagues during their prime years. The Hall of Fame didn’t want to induct Satchel in 1971 because he hadn’t played 10 years in MLB so they decided to put all the Negro stars in another area of the Hall of Fame (Separate But Equal.) There was an immediate outburst from Jackie Robinson , the NAACP and the BBWAA as the Hall’s Board of Directors reconsidered and inducted Paige with equal status to all other inductees. The Hall then went on to honor the Negro Leagues as I gave several examples. All the information in my presentation can be found in my book, “Induction Day at Cooperstown A History of the Baseball Hall of Fame Ceremony.”

The Pecan Park Eagle did a review column on Corcoran’s book a couple of years ago:

https://bill37mccurdy.com/2014/08/29/induction-day-is-informative-and-fun/

We had the privilege of meeting Dennis Corcoran in Houston at our own SABR 44 convention. We found him to be intelligent, dedicated, and more knowledgeable of the Baseball Hall of Fame induction process history than any other person we’ve ever spent time with in discussion of the subject. Reading the book he just mentioned in the quote simply reenforced those early impressions. And, oh yes, he’s also a nice down to earth guy too. Dennis also seems to write from his focused passionate love of the game – and with special interest on how well, or poorly, baseball takes care of honoring its greatest contributors. I would recommend the book to any of you who may share that common interest.

Separate but Equal. My foot. The old Hank Aaron metaphor applies here. The Hall of Fame had about as much of a chance of slipping that one by Jackie Robinson and others as the sun has everyday of sneaking daybreak past a sleeping rooster.

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eagle-0range
Bill McCurdy

Publisher, Editor, Writer

The Pecan Park Eagle

Houston, Texas

 

 

 

 

 

 

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2 Responses to “Hall of Fame Overcame “Separate But Equal””

  1. Rick B. Says:

    As I recall, Satchel Paige’s initial reaction to the plan for a separate Negro League wing was, “First they made me a second-class citizen, and now they’ve made me a second-class immortal.” (That may not be verbatim, but it’s the exact comparison he made).

  2. inductionguru2011 Says:

    Thanks Bill for your nice column about my SABR 46 Presentation and your kind and flattering words.
    Regarding Rick B. comment about Satchel Paige. Here is what Paige said to a reporter after he was chosen by the Negro League unanimously as the first inductee and that he and the other Negro league stars would all be in a separate display area. “I was just as good as the white boys, and I ain’t going in the back door of the Hall of Fame.”

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