(COOPERSTOWN, NY) – The National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum participated in christening ceremonies for the future USS Cooperstown, a Freedom-variant littoral combat ship (LCS), on Feb. 29 in Marinette, Wis., at Fincantieri Marinette Marine, where the ship is nearing completion.
As the USS Cooperstown’s Honorary Sponsor, the Chairman of the Board of the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum, Jane Forbes Clark, delivered the ceremony’s keynote address. She spoke about the village of Cooperstown and the legacy of service by Hall of Fame members.
Announced in 2015 by United States Navy Secretary Ray Mabus, the Navy’s 23rd Littoral Combat Ship was named the USS Cooperstown to honor the military veterans who are members of the National Baseball Hall of Fame. Sixty-eight Hall of Fame veterans interrupted their careers for service in the United States Military. Their memories are preserved forever at the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in Cooperstown, N.Y.
“Baseball is our National Pastime, and the connections between our Hall of Famers and our military are strong,” said Clark at the christening ceremony. “Of the 333 members of the Baseball Hall of Fame, 68 served the United States in a range of conflicts that spanned the Civil War, World War I, World War II and the Korean War.
“The Hall of Fame, in the beautiful village of Cooperstown, serves as the spiritual home of baseball, and our National Pastime has never been more connected to the United States military than now, as the United States Navy has named this ship the USS Cooperstown.”
Clark and Hall of Fame President Tim Mead also provided several items to be sealed within the ship, including a document listing the Hall of Famers who served the United States during wartime.
As the ship’s Honorary Sponsor, Clark will continue to guide the connection between the Hall of Fame and the USS Cooperstown.
The Hall of Fame has been asked, and intends, to maintain a strong relationship with not only the ship, but also the officers and sailors assigned to the USS Cooperstown.
“We are in the process of developing a program for the Hall of Fame to stay in touch with the sailors on the USS Cooperstown, through copies of our publications and invitations to the Hall of Fame when they’re on leave,” said Jon Shestakofsky, Vice President of Communications and & Education for the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum. “We look forward to providing each of the sailors aboard the USS Cooperstown with a unique connection to our National Pastime.”
As an LCS, the USS Cooperstown is designed for operation in near-shore environments, but is also capable of open-ocean operation. It is engineered to defeat asymmetric “anti-access” threats, such as mines, quiet diesel submarines and fast surface craft.
The Freedom variant ships feature a steel monohull design and are designed and built by a Lockheed Martin-led team. The ship will be capable of traveling at speeds upwards of 40 knots and its modular design will incorporate mission packages that can be changed out quickly as combat needs change in a region. These mission packages are supported by detachments that deploy both manned and unmanned vehicles, and sensors in support of mine, undersea and surface warfare missions.
Secretary Mabus first announced this honor during the Awards Presentation at Doubleday Field on July 25, 2015.
The 68 members of the Hall of Fame whose careers were interrupted by military service, listed by their branches of service:
The American Civil War
Morgan Bulkeley – Army
World War I
Grover Cleveland Alexander – Army; Happy Chandler – Army; Oscar Charleston – Army; Ty Cobb – Army; Eddie Collins – Marines; Jocko Conlan – Navy; Red Faber – Navy; Warren Giles – Army; Burleigh Grimes – Navy; Harry Heilmann – Navy; Waite Hoyt – Army; George Kelly – Army; Larry MacPhail – Army; Rabbit Maranville – Navy; Rube Marquard – Navy; Christy Mathewson – Army; Herb Pennock – Navy; Sam Rice – Army; Branch Rickey – Army; Eppa Rixey – Army; Bullet Rogan – Army; Louis Santop – Navy; Joe Sewell – Army; George Sisler – Army; Tris Speaker – Navy; Casey Stengel – Navy; Jud Wilson – Army.
World War II
Luke Appling – Army; Al Barlick – Coast Guard; Yogi Berra – Navy; Willard Brown – Army; Nestor Chylak – Army; Mickey Cochrane – Navy; Leon Day – Army; Bill Dickey – Navy; Joe DiMaggio – Army; Larry Doby – Navy; Bobby Doerr – Army; Bob Feller – Navy; Charlie Gehringer – Navy; Joe Gordon – Army; Hank Greenberg – Army; Billy Herman – Navy; Monte Irvin – Army; Ralph Kiner – Navy; Bob Lemon – Navy; Ted Lyons – Marines; Larry MacPhail – Army; Lee MacPhail – Navy; Johnny Mize – Navy; Stan Musial – Navy; Pee Wee Reese – Navy; Phil Rizzuto – Navy; Robin Roberts – Army; Jackie Robinson – Army; Red Ruffing – Army; Red Schoendienst – Army; Enos Slaughter – Army; Duke Snider – Navy; Warren Spahn – Army; Bill Veeck – Marines; Ted Williams – Marines; Early Wynn – Army.
Ernie Banks – Army; Whitey Ford – Army; Whitey Herzog – Army; Eddie Mathews – Navy; Willie Mays – Army; Ted Williams – Marines
The National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum is an independent not-for-profit educational institution, dedicated to fostering an appreciation of the historical development of baseball and its impact on our culture by collecting, preserving, exhibiting and interpreting its collections for a global audience as well as honoring those who have made outstanding contributions to our National Pastime. Opening its doors for the first time on June 12, 1939, the Hall of Fame has stood as the definitive repository of the game’s treasures and as a symbol of the most profound individual honor bestowed on an athlete. It is every fan’s “Field of Dreams,” with its stories, legends and magic shared from generation to generation.