Experience of a Lifetime: What it was like to Cover the 2021 Baseball Hall of Fame Induction Ceremonies

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Writer Anna Laible interviews newly-minted Hall of Famer Derek JeterCourtesy of Anna Laible, IBWAA

By Anna Laible

At age 16, Anna Laible lands an exclusive interview with incoming Hall of Famer Derek Jeter, who got all but one vote as part of the Class of 2020.

When I found out I would be one of 10 kids in the country to write for Sports Illustrated Kids, I would have never imagined that it would have resulted in the opportunities that I have had over the past two years. Writing and interviewing gave me the chance to do what I love, and it showed me that this is what I was meant to do.

This gave me the confidence to start my own sports podcast, Speak Up Sports, this March during COVID to continue to improve my interviewing skills, amidst not being in-person for any sporting events. I started my podcast, never imagining that the first event I would cover would be the MLB Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony in Cooperstown, New York last month.

I hardly have words for what the day was like. Being the only kid reporter there, I treasured every moment. Because of COVID, the 2020 inductees had to wait more than a year extra to have their ceremony to celebrate their incredible honor. The four inductees included Derek Jeter, Larry Walker, Ted Simmons, and the late Marvin Miller.

I had the opportunity to interview Walker on a zoom press conference prior to the actual ceremony. On September 8th, I was able to talk with former Yankees great Jorge Posada, Players Association executive directo Tony Clark, and best of all, new Hall of Famer Derek Jeter.

As a reporter, you always dream of talking with the all-time greats in pro sports one day, but I didn’t think it could happen when I was only 16!

Derek, a five-time World Series champion and 14-time All-Star — among his many accomplishments — was the star of the show as he was a first-ballot inductee, receiving 99.9% of the votes. I wanted to ask Derek what the day was like for him, with thousands of Yankees fans cheering him on in-person.

“It was very special,” he said. “This is the epitome of any athlete’s career. I think what makes it most special is sharing the moment with family and friends. I think that is what stands out the most for me.”

After finishing up with all of the interviews, I went to the Hall of Fame museum to watch the new Hall of Famers’ plaques installed. It was so cool watching these people become enshrined in the hall live — especially Larry Walker’s father, who asked permission to screw in his son’s plaque.

I can’t wait to continue to do what I love, and I hope to make a difference as a female voice in sports. My podcast that is available on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, and more.

Speak Up SportsBy Anna LaiblePodcast

Anna Laible is a 16-year-old writer and reporter for Sports Illustrated Kids and is also the host of the Speak Up Sports Podcast. E.mail her via alaible20@aol.com.

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The Internet Baseball Writers Association of America represents hundreds of writers and content creators wherever baseball is played all over the world, ranging from hobbyists to professionals and everywhere in between. Learn more at ibwaa.com or follow @ibwaa on Twitter.

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