One of the best weekends of the calendar year is here. That little village in upstate New York will be inundated with eager baseball fans looking to celebrate the greatest contributors in baseball history.Hall of Fame Induction Weekend, hosted by the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum, is on
One of the best weekends of the calendar year is here. That little village in upstate New York will be inundated with eager baseball fans looking to celebrate the greatest contributors in baseball history.
Hall of Fame Induction Weekend, hosted by the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum, is on most baseball fans' bucket lists. Those who make the trek to Cooperstown, N.Y., for this special weekend will leave with a lifetime of memories. Whether you're watching up close or from far away, it's fun to follow along during induction weekend. In a nutshell, here is what to expect:
:: 2017 Hall of Fame induction coverage ::
Who's being inducted?
Sunday's Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony, which will be broadcast exclusively on MLB Network and stream live on MLB.com at 1:30 p.m. ET following a special noon edition of MLB Tonight, will honor the following five people:
• First baseman Jeff Bagwell, who over 15 seasons with the Astros compiled a .297 batting average and set Houston club records with 449 home runs and 1,529 RBIs -- 49th all-time and just eight behind Hall of Famer Joe DiMaggio.
• Catcher Ivan "Pudge" Rodriguez, owner of 14 All-Star Game selections and 13 Gold Glove Awards -- a record for any catcher in history. Rodriguez spent most of his career with the Rangers but also won a World Series with the Marlins in 2003 and a pennant with the Detroit Tigers in 2006. He is the fourth native Puerto Rican in the Hall after Roberto Clemente, Orlando Cepeda and Roberto Alomar.
• Outfielder Tim Raines, whose induction is special for fans of the Montreal Expos, as he could be the last player from the organization to enter the Hall. During a 23-year career, Raines recorded 2,605 hits, 980 RBIs and a .294 batting average. His 808 stolen bases rank fifth all-time.
• Commissioner Emeritus Allan H. "Bud" Selig, who during his tenure from 1992-2015 oversaw expansion in 1993 and 1998, the addition of two Wild Card teams, the creation of Interleague Play, MLB.com, the World Baseball Classic and the introduction of instant replay as a tool for umpires. He also enjoyed two decades of labor peace following the strike of 1994.
• John Schuerholz, who built powerhouses in Kansas City and Atlanta during his tenure as a top executive with each club. He oversaw the retooling of a Royals team in the early 1980s that won a World Series in 1985, and he guided a Braves organization to one of the most dominant eras in baseball history, during which it won 14 straight division titles from 1991-2005 and a World Series title in 1995.
Who else is being honored?
The Hall of Fame will hold a one-hour awards presentation on Saturday at Doubleday Field beginning at 4:30 p.m. ET. The program will feature three presentations:
• The J.G. Taylor Spink Award will be presented to veteran columnist and pioneer Claire Smith for her contributions to baseball writing. She is the first woman to win the Spink Award.
• The Ford C. Frick Award for broadcasting excellence will be presented posthumously to beloved Bay Area announcer Bill King, who called Oakland Athletics games for more than a quarter-century.
• The Buck O'Neil Lifetime Achievement Award will be presented to Rachel Robinson, who for decades has carried out the legacy of her husband, Jackie, with tireless work including establishing foundations to help low-income people and educate young people through scholarship programs.
How can I watch it all?
MLB Network's exclusive live coverage of the 2017 Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony -- simulcast live on MLB.com -- begins with MLB Tonight at noon ET Sunday, followed by the ceremony at 1:30 p.m.
Prior to Sunday's live coverage, MLB Network will televise the 2017 Hall of Fame Awards Presentation at 11 a.m., featuring Robinson, Smith and King. The presentation will also commemorate the 25th anniversary of the release of the film "A League of Their Own."
Saturday's Awards Presentation will also be available live on MLB.com and the Hall of Fame's Facebook page at 4:30 p.m. And the Hall of Fame Legends Parade will stream live on MLB.com, as well as on both Hall of Fame and MLB Facebook pages, beginning at 6 p.m. Saturday.
What else is planned for the weekend?
An action-packed three-day weekend begins early Friday morning, when Hall of Famer Ozzie Smith, the Education Ambassador for the Hall of Fame, joins fellow Hall of Famers Fergie Jenkins, Randy Johnson and Ryne Sandberg for a special "Play Ball" fundraising event. Participants will receive instruction from the Hall of Famers during the two-hour private event at a Cooperstown-area field.
Saturday's activities will begin at the Leatherstocking Golf Course, where the Hall of Famers will gather for a private round of golf. A few hours later, the Hall of Fame Class of 2017 will appear at the Clark Sports Center for a mass media session, and once the formal questions and answers are out of the way, the real fun begins.
One of the best events of induction weekend is the Hall of Fame Legends Parade, which will be held Saturday from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. ET. The parade will begin on Chestnut Street and proceed down Main Street before concluding at the Hall of Fame.
The best part about the parade? There are no bad seats. The second-best part? The Hall of Famers love this event and really play up to the crowd. Don't be surprised to see a few of them hop off their parade vehicles and jump into the fray to offer up some high-fives to fans lining the streets.
While soaking in the action-packed weekend, don't forget to stop into the centerpiece of the village in Cooperstown -- the Hall of Fame! In addition to the fabulous display of the most important and interesting elements of the game's history, there is also a new 2017 Inductees Exhibit, which will remain on display through next May. Among the highlights:
• Bagwell's 1994 National League Most Valuable Player Award;
• An Expos jersey worn by Raines during his rookie season of 1981 when he stole 71 bases in 88 games;
• A bat used by Rodríguez during the 2003 World Series with the Marlins;
• Personal World Series trophies from the 1985 Royals and 1995 Braves given to Schuerholz;
• A pitching rubber from the first Interleague game on June 12, 1997, highlighting Selig's work to bring Interleague Play to Major League Baseball.
Alyson Footer is a national correspondent for MLB.com. Follow her on Twitter @alysonfooter.