Postponing Baseball Hall of Fame induction ceremony ‘right thing to do,’ honoree Ken Harrelson says

The coronavirus, which has caused one cancellation after another in the sporting world, is adding another casualty to its list: the Baseball Hall of Fame induction ceremony in July in Cooperstown, New York.

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Former White Sox broadcaster Ken Harrelson agrees with postponing this year’s Baseball Hall of Fame induction ceremony. Harrelson will be among the inductees at Cooperstown.

Former White Sox broadcaster Ken Harrelson agrees with postponing this year’s Baseball Hall of Fame induction ceremony. Harrelson will be among the inductees at Cooperstown.

David Banks/Getty Images

The coronavirus pandemic, which has forced one cancellation after another in the sports world, is adding another casualty to its list: the Baseball Hall of Fame induction ceremony in late July in Cooperstown, New York.

Former White Sox play-by-play man Ken ‘‘Hawk’’ Harrelson was set to be inducted as the Ford C. Frick Award winner for excellence in broadcasting as part of a class that also included former players Derek Jeter, Larry Walker and Ted Simmons and longtime union chief Marvin Miller.

‘‘I think it’s the right thing to do, I really do,’’ Harrelson said Tuesday. ‘‘They were going to have 100,000 people there, with Yankee fans coming in from all over the world with Derek Jeter. I wouldn’t want my family going up there.’’

The Hall of Fame announced Wednesday that the induction ceremony scheduled for the weekend of July 24-26 will be postponed till next summer, with two classes getting inducted simultaneously.

“We care deeply about every single person who visits Cooperstown,” said Jane Forbes Clark, Chairman of the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum.

“In heeding the advice of government officials as well as federal, state and local medical and scientific experts, we chose to act with extraordinary caution in making this decision.”

“Being inducted into the Hall of Fame will be an incredible honor, but the health and safety of everyone involved are paramount,” Jeter said. “I respect and support the decision to postpone this year’s enshrinement and am looking forward to joining current Hall of Famers, fans, staff and my family and friends in Cooperstown in 2021.”

Harrelson, 78, who is on the mend after experiencing high blood pressure and falling in January at his home in Orlando, Florida, has a pacemaker now and said he is feeling ‘‘great,’’ although he did slip at home recently and suffer a small cut near his eye. He said it was a reminder to observe a ‘‘15-second rule’’ of sitting still for 15 seconds before getting up from lying down.

Major League Baseball remains sidelined but is considering numerous plans to play a schedule of some sort — likely with no fans — after suspending spring training March 12 and the start of the season. The hope is for play to begin in late June with numerous scenarios, including realigned divisions, being considered.

The latest plan floated, as reported by USA Today, would divide the 30 teams into three divisions. A Central Division would feature the Sox, Cubs, Brewers, Cardinals, Royals, Reds, Indians, Twins, Braves and Tigers.

Meanwhile, MLB reversed a policy Tuesday restricting refunds for tickets to about 400 games that have been postponed so far and will allow teams to offer refunds for games not being played because of the pandemic.

Teams will set their own policies and can announce them beginning Wednesday. Many are expected to offer a credit for 2021 as an option.

‘‘We have been contacting and talking to our season-ticket holders over the past weeks, explaining their various options,’’ Sox vice president for communications Scott Reifert said. ‘‘The teams have been waiting for direction from MLB related to individual ticket sales, which are being handled based upon the date the game was supposed to be played.’’

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