COOPERSTOWN, N.Y. -- Every year, it is the quaintest ceremony of Induction Weekend. After months of drumroll and days of fanfare build up, and hours after the splashy introduction of the Hall of Fame's newest class on an outdoor stage, a quartet of staff members enters the Museum's centerpiece Gallery through a side door to apply the finishing touches. Thus, a little after 7 o'clock Sunday night, they filed in holding six plaques and one electric drill.
One by one, the bronze plaques portraying Goose Gossage, Dick Williams, Walter O'Malley, Bowie Kuhn, Barney Dreyfuss and Billy Southworth were affixed to their eternal resting places. They were mounted, in alphabetical order, under the "2008" designation on the Gallery's southwest wall. With Hall visitors gathered and snapping digital cameras behind a restraining rope, the staffers efficiently mounted each 22-pound plaque into their pre-finished places with four 2 1/2-inch bolts. Within minutes, the whir of the drill was muted, the staffers receded and the six new plaques were ready for ogling. The rope was removed, and fans crowded close to read the inscriptions on the new displays. After so much hubbub, an anticlimactic conclusion. Soon, the curious in front of the new plaques thinned, matching the traffic in the rest of the oval Gallery. Novelty, apparently, is short-lived. Unlike the placement of those plaques, which is forever.
Tom Singer is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.