Chapter 6: Call to the Hall - The Legend Grows
When the Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum opened its doors to the public on June 12, 1939, Cap Anson was waiting inside to greet the crowd. Or more accurately, his HOF plaque was. Anson was one of the original 26 members of the Hall of Fame, voted in by the Hall of Fame's Centennial Commission.
The Baseball Hall of Fame's biography for Anson boldly states "the very name 'Cap Anson' is synonymous with 19th century baseball." Anson's contributions to the game as a player and manager earned him a place in Cooperstown's halls, an honor only 1% of all the men to play the game at the major league level have received.
By the numbers, Anson is one of 37 Hall of Fame players who have spent time on a Chicago National League team roster. He is one of the 14 Chicago managers to be enshrined. Including Anson, 19 first basemen are members of the Hall of Fame. He is one of only 7 players born in Iowa to earn membership to baseball's hallowed halls.
To earn a plaque on Cooperstown's walls is to become a baseball immortal. Here is the plaque that commemorates Cap's career:
As today's historians continue to document the beginnings of baseball, Cap Anson's name becomes more cemented in the annals of baseball lore. Cap's legacy to the game is both colorful and complicated. How he will ultimately be remembered is still to be determined. Certainly, he should be celebrated for his record-setting accomplishments on the field, and for helping to save the National League while its future was uncertain in its formative years. Yet we must also recognize his role in segregating baseball, a blemish that many find hard to forgive. In any regard, Adrian Constantine Anson deserves to remembered as a defining figure in baseball's history, a legend for all time.