The Triple-A International League has unveiled its 2019 Hall of Fame Class, with a contingent of four inductees that includes National Baseball Hall of Famer Bobby Cox. Joining Cox are two-time All-Star Sam Jethroe, two-time batting champion Billy McMillon, and 1992 Sporting News Minor League Executive of the Year Lou Schwechheimer. The four men were elected to the IL Hall by a vote of living Hall of Famers, longtime executives, broadcasters, and members of the media.
The members of the Class of 2019 have been added to the International League Hall of Fame plaque display. The new inductees or family members will be presented with “The Curtain Call” statue during individual enshrinement ceremonies yet to be scheduled. The IL Hall of Fame plaque display serves as a traveling testament to the storied legacy of the International League.
Bobby Cox won Governors’ Cups as both a player and manager with the Syracuse Chiefs. In four seasons as the club’s skipper, he took the Chiefs to three finals appearances and captured the 1976 League title. Before embarking on his Hall of Fame managerial career in the Major Leagues, Cox posted the highest winning percentage (.538) in the Chiefs’ franchise history, earning induction to the Syracuse Baseball Wall of Fame. In 2007, Cox moved into 4th place on the all- time MLB managerial wins list. He was elected to Cooperstown in 2014.
Sam “The Jet” Jethroe hit .293 over seven seasons in the International League for Montreal and Toronto. The two-time All-Star played for two Governors’ Cup champions and three pennant winners. He led the circuit twice in hits and three times in both runs scored and stolen bases. His totals of 207 hits and 154 runs in 1949 have not been matched since in the IL. The former Negro Leagues star was the 1950 National League Rookie of the Year for the Boston Braves.
The newly named manager of the Pawtucket Red Sox, Billy McMillon, earns induction to the IL Hall of Fame on the strength of his playing career with Charlotte, Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, Toledo, and Columbus. McMillon entered the League with a bang in 1996, hitting .352 with 17 home runs and 70 RBI to earn IL Rookie of the Year honors. That year the outfielder also picked up his first of three All-Star nods and first of two League batting titles. McMillon’s MLB career saw him appear in 269 games for the Marlins, Phillies, Tigers, and A’s. He retired following the 2004 season.
Lou Schwechheimer was twice honored as the IL Executive of the Year during a remarkable run of 37 years of service for the Pawtucket Red Sox. Hired as an intern in 1978, he would eventually be the franchise’s part-owner. Schwechheimer served as Pawtucket’s Vice-President and General Manager from 1986 through 2015. Over 17 million fans passed through McCoy Stadium’s gates during his tenure. PawSox Vice Chairman and IL Hall of Famer Mike Tamburro called Schwechheimer “a pillar on which the Pawtucket Red Sox franchise was built.”
The IL Hall of Fame, established in 1947, was dormant from 1964 until the League’s 125th Anniversary season in 2008. Following a three-year transition period (2008-10) in which a total of 50 individuals were inducted after having been selected by a committee, the Class of 2019 was the ninth chosen by the current annual election process. Each year the top three vote-getters who also receive a vote on the majority of ballots cast are elected. Due to two individuals having received an equal number of votes in this year’s balloting, for the first time a class is being expanded to four inductees.