US Navy Honours Baseball Hall of Famers with USS Cooperstown Littoral Combat Ship

The US Navy has christened its newest Freedom-variant littoral combat ship, the USS Cooperstown, in New York City.[0] Named after the National Baseball Hall of Fame located in Cooperstown, New York, the ship honours the 70 Hall of Fame members who served in the military.[1] It is the first ship to be named after the village of Cooperstown, and each of its staterooms will be named after a Hall of Famer who served in the military, with a replica of their Cooperstown plaque on the door.[2] The vessel is the 12th Freedom-class variant introduced into service and the 23rd across the LCS class as a whole.[3]

During World War II, many professional baseball players joined the Navy with some military branches curtailing organised sports.[4] More than 500 players from the major league and 4,000 from the minor league were enlisted.[4] After the Vietnam War, Major League Baseball honoured hundreds of American POWs with a “Golden Ticket,” granting lifetime admission to any baseball game for the recipient and a guest.[4] The unique pass provided an opportunity for prisoners of war to reunite with their loved ones and experience their liberty once again, all while indulging in America's beloved sport.[4]

Attending Saturday's commissioning ceremony, representing the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum will be Jane Forbes Clark, Joe Torre, and Johnny Bench, as confirmed by Craig Muder, the museum's director of communications.[5] At the commissioning ceremony, Torre and Bench will stand on behalf of their 70 Hall of Fame teammates who have served in the United States Armed Forces during periods of conflict stretching from the Civil War to the Korean War.[6] This heritage is reflected in the ship’s motto, “America’s Away Team.”

The USS Cooperstown’s motto reflects the ship’s mission as a fast, agile, mission-focused platform designed to operate in near-shore environments, winning against 21st-century coastal threats. The commissioning ceremony was co-hosted by the New York Council Navy League and the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum, with the event featuring an all-star lineup of speakers including Joe Torre, a Major League Baseball executive.[7] The ship's significance was also discussed by New York City Mayor Eric Adams and Governor Kathy Hochul during their stage appearance.[4]

0. “USS Cooperstown (LCS 23) Commissions in New York” DVIDS, 6 May. 2023, https://www.dvidshub.net/news/444170/uss-cooperstown-lcs-23-commissions-new-york

1. “Navy christens USS Cooperstown in honor of baseball Hall of Fame veterans” WGMD Radio, 6 May. 2023, https://www.wgmd.com/navy-christens-uss-cooperstown-in-honor-of-baseball-hall-of-fame-veterans/

2. “Navy christens USS Cooperstown, which honors HOF veterans” ABC News, 6 May. 2023, https://abcnews.go.com/Sports/navy-christens-uss-cooperstown-honors-hof-veterans/story?id=99141506

3. “Freedom LCS commissioning continues despite USN eyeing the exit” Naval Technology, 5 May. 2023, https://www.naval-technology.com/news/freedom-lcs-commissioning-continues-despite-usn-eyeing-the-exit/

4. “Cannons Over Hell's Kitchen — USS Cooperstown Commissioned” W42ST magazine, 6 May. 2023, https://w42st.com/post/cannons-hells-kitchen-uss-cooperstown-commissioned-pier-88

5. “USS Cooperstown to be commissioned Saturday | News | thedailystar.com” Oneonta Daily Star, 4 May. 2023, https://www.thedailystar.com/news/uss-cooperstown-to-be-commissioned-saturday/article_e2754026-eaad-11ed-b1ec-e35716d53e12.html

6. “USS Cooperstown to be commissioned Saturday” Yahoo News, 5 May. 2023, https://news.yahoo.com/uss-cooperstown-commissioned-saturday-035900077.html

7. “Navy to Commission Littoral Combat Ship USS Cooperstown – USNI News” USNI News, 5 May. 2023, https://news.usni.org/2023/05/05/navy-to-commission-littoral-combat-ship-uss-cooperstown