Today, the Jackie Robinson Commemorative Silver Dollar Coin remembers the induction ceremony of four men into the Baseball Hall of Fame.
The Schenectady Gazette printed the following description of that event in New York 53 years ago:
Cooperstown, July 23—This picturesque village turned back the clock again today to welcome Bobby Feller, Jackie Robinson, Bill McKechnie and Edd Roush into baseball’s Hall of Fame in a tidal wave of nostalgia.
Many of the fans who had hoped to see the afternoon Hall of Fame game between the New York Yankees and Milwaukee Braves at Doubleday Field crowded around the wooden platform on Main Street during the morning ceremonies. Then they sauntered down the wide street to the tidy little ball park with its historic background.
But a heavy thunderstorm started after most of the people were in their seats and the teams were taking batting practice, and the game had to be cancelled.
It was ironic that the tremendous rainstorm broke today. This part of the country as well as other parts of the drought-stricken east needs rain desperately. Otsego county is one of the 24 counties of the state that has been designated a disaster area by Governor Rockefeller and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Robinson, 42, first Negro elected to the Hall of Fame, told the fans, “I’ve been riding on cloud No. 9 since the election and I don’t think I’ll ever come down. Today, everything is complete.”
Jackie’s wife, Rachel, sat at his side.
Branch Rickey, the man who helped Robinson break baseball’s color line as an infielder with the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947, applauded enthusiastically. So did Robinson’s three children, his mother and his sister.
“This could not have happened without the advice and guidance of the three most wonderful people I know,” said Robinson. He singled out Rickey, his mother, Mrs. Mallie Robinson, and his wife.
“I want to thank all the people who were so wonderful during those trying days,” said Robinson. “And the baseball writers. I never thought I’d have a chance to make it, especially the first year I was eligible.”
Feller, like Robinson, was chosen as soon as he became eligible (five years after he retired). He found this his “most pleasurable day.”
Feller and Robinson were picked by the writers, Roush and McKechnie by the veterans committee.
“I was born two years too soon to become a bonus baby,” said Feller with a smile. “I’m being very facetious, of course.” Bobby, the great Cleveland fireball pitcher, glanced at the replica of the plaque he held in his hand.
“Some of my records are not here,” he said. “Many of them are in jeopardy. But there is one here that is in no danger—most walks in a career and most walks in a season.
“I might have had a shot at some others but for the war and the three-year ‘vacation’ in the Navy. But you can’t saw dust.”
McKechnie, 72, only man ever to manage pennant winners in three different National League cities (Pittsburgh 1925, St. Louis 1928 and Cincinnati 1939-40) was overcome with emotion. He managed a joke, when, as the third man introduced, he said, “Someone got the batting order wrong. I never was a No. 3 hitter.
“If there is anything I ever contributed to baseball,” he said, “I have been repaid today, seven times seven.”
His eyes were misty and he sat down quickly.
Roush, 68, a great National League center fielder from 1916 to 1931, said, “I am glad I have been put in. I want to thank the committee (veterans) who voted me in. I’m glad I’m in along with the rest of the fellows.”
The addition of the four new men boosted the Hall’s total to 90 members, 27 of whom are living. The others present today were Joe McCarthy, Frankie Frisch and Rickey.
Ray Kelly of the Philadelphia Bulletin, president of the Baseball Writers Association, acted as master of ceremonies with Commissioner Ford Frick.
The Jackie Robinson Commemorative Silver Dollar Coin shows beside an official major league baseball.