O’Day’s most controversial call came during a Sept. 23, 1908 game between the Cubs and Giants. With runners on first and third in a 1-all game in the ninth inning, Al Bridwell hit what appeared to be a walkoff single for the Giants.
But Fred Merkl never advanced from first base. The Cubs produced a ball and appealed the play. O’Day ruled Merkl never reached second and disallowed the run. The game counted as a tie. Chicago went on to win the pennant by one game over the Giants and beat the Detroit Tigers in the World Series.
“It wasn’t a popular call,” Idelson said. “He had knowledge of the rulebook and enforced to a T.”
O’Day is the 10th umpire to earn election into the Hall.
Twelve others, including former Yankees great Lou Gehrig and Rogers Hornsby, also will be honored. Those two, along with the 10-man class of 1945, never had an induction ceremony, so living members of the Hall will honor them Sunday.
Cal Ripken, who drew an estimated 75,000 fans to Cooperstown for his 2007 induction, will read Gehrig’s plaque. Ripken and Gehrig rank 1-2 in major league history in consecutive games played at 2,632, and 2,130, respectively.
“The bond doesn’t get any stronger than Ripken reading Gehrig’s plaque,” Idelson said. “They’re known for their longevity streaks, but it almost takes away from their other accomplishments and achievements.”
The Class of 1945 is comprised of Roger Bresnahan (plaque read by Carlton Fisk), Dan Brouthers (Orlando Cepeda), Fred Clarke (Bert Blyleven), Jimmy Collins (Wade Boggs), Ed Delahanty (Billy Williams), Hugh Duffy (Jim Rice), Hughie Jennings (Ozzie Smith), Mike “King” Kelly (Andre Dawson), Jim O’Rourke (Tony Gwynn) and Wilbert Robinson (Tommy Lasorda).
Joe Morgan will read Hornsby’s plaque.
“We’re honoring those who were never afforded the opportunity of inductions,” Idelson said. “We’ve talked about it for a number of years. After the results of the December election of the three Pre-Integration selections, it became obvious it was time to honor these 12 men.”