The International League announced that 14 individuals will be inducted into the circuit's Hall of Fame as members of the Class of 2009. The IL Hall, dormant since 1964, was formally revived last year during the League's 125th anniversary season with a class of 27 former players, managers, and executives. The Class of 2008 was the first of a three-year transition period as the Hall of Fame heads towards an annual induction of no more than three individuals beginning in 2011.
The Class of 2009 encompasses nearly the entire history of the International League, from Joe Knight, hitting star of the 1880's and 1890's, to Roberto Petagine, the two-time IL MVP who's last game in the League came in 2005. Some of the very best hitters, pitchers, and field generals ever to set foot on an International League field are members of the Class of 2009.
Buzz Arlett, the current Pacific Coast League Hall of Famer who is often mentioned among the greatest players in Minor League history, will be inducted on the strength of two monstrous seasons in the IL with Baltimore. Arlett's 54 home runs in 1932 remain the 2nd-highest total in League history. Other great sluggers being recognized this year are Ed Stevens (188 home runs from 1944-58) Steve Demeter (159 home runs from 1955-69), and Dutch Mele (Syracuse all-time leader with 111 HR).
Two more inductees being recognized for their offensive talents are Rochester shortstop Red Schoendienst, the 1943 ILMost Valuable Player and 1989 National Baseball Hall of Fame inductee, and Walter Cazen, the outfielder who still holds both the single season and career stolen base records for Syracuse.
Mele and Cazen were both part of the Syracuse team that won the 1942 Governors' Cup, as was a third member of the Class of 2009, Charles "Red" Barrett. Barrett was League MVP that season, winning 20 games with a 2.05 ERA. He is one of three pitchers earning induction into the IL Hall this year. Charles "Rube" Kisinger won 150 games between 1903 and 1911, establishing a League record for career shutouts (31) that still stands. Southpaw Bill Short posted an 83-50 record with a 3.08 ERA in the IL, earning a place on the Postseason All-Star Team in both his first season (1959 with Richmond) and his last (1967 with Columbus). One man will enter the IL Hall based on his abilities both as a player and a manager. Harry "The Hat" Walker, brother of Fred "Dixie" Walker (IL Hall of Fame Class of 1947), hit .365 in 115 games as player/manager to lead Rochester to the 1952 Governors' Cup. Walker later won pennants with Rochester (1953) and Jacksonville (1964). Other managers in the Class of 2009 include Clay Hopper, who remains the only skipper in League history to win three Governors' Cups in a four-year span (Montreal 1946-49), and Stump Merrill, Columbus' all-time leader in managerial victories.
Members of the Class of 2009 have been added to the International League Hall of Fame plaque display. Inductees or their families will be presented with "The Curtain Call" during a series of enshrinement ceremonies to be held throughout the League this season. The IL Hall of Fame plaque display does not have a permanent home, but rather serves as a traveling testament to the storied legacy of the International League.
Complete statistical data and biographical information on all 94 members of the IL Hall of Fame, along with a copy of the International League Hall of Fame policies, procedures, and guidelines are available at www.ILBaseball.com.
To learn more about the 2009 IL Hall of Fame Class click here.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.