January 29: First Players Elected to Baseball Hall of Fame

2015-01-29On 29 January 1936, in Cooperstown, New York, the first five players were to be elected into the Baseball Hall of Fame. These players include Ty Cobb, Babe Ruth, Honus Wagner, Christy Mathewson, and Walter Johnson.

In the midst of the Depression, 1936 had many interesting events take place, besides the induction of the first five players to the Baseball Hall of Fame. Franklin D. Roosevelt is about to begin his second term as President, the electric guitar makes a debut, the first successful helicopter takes flight, and Alexis Carrel and Charles Lindbergh develop the first artificial heart which eventually leads to many innovations in the medical field. All of these innovations have led to changes in the lives of people all over the world.

The Great Depression is the biggest economic collapse in history. It began on October 29, 1929, which is commonly known as Black Tuesday. The Depression lasts until the early 1940s, it was exactly the opposite of the 1920s, which were known as the roaring twenties.

Cooperstown is said to be where baseball was invented. Abner Graves said that Abner Doubleday invented baseball in Cooperstown, New York and the rumor spread quickly. Newspaper articles were published and then the myth was recognized by the Mills Commission.

The idea to have players be inducted into a hall of fame began in 1935. The Baseball Writers’ Association of America (BBWAA) elected the initial Hall of Famers. Ty Cobb, Babe Ruth, Honus Wagner, Christy Mathewson and Walter Johnson received at least 75% of the votes, this set the standard for admission and it still exists today.

On 12 June 1939, the Baseball Hall of Fame opened. A man named Stephen Carlton Clark wanted to bring tourists to Cooperstown which would bring more business to his hotel since Cooperstown had been suffering from the Great Depression. Between the economic collapse, which reduced traveling, and the Prohibition, which devastated local bars and restaurants, Cooperstown needed something to create a boost in the economy and the Baseball Hall of Fame was the perfect to bring tourists.

–Meagan Pace

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I attended Defiance College for my freshman year and am now attending Schoolcraft College. I plan on transferring again in the winter semester to Madonna University and pursuing a Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing.