Navy commissions USS Cooperstown; honors war veteran players
NEW YORK (AP) — The U.S. Navy on Saturday commissioned the USS Cooperstown in honor of 70 Major League Baseball Hall of Fame players who served in the military during wartime.
The littoral combat ship is named after the village in New York state where the Hall is located.
Hall of Famers Joe Torre and Johnny Bench took part in the ceremony, with Torre delivering remarks and Bench presenting a long glass, a nautical telescope.
“It is critical that we honor the legacy of these Hall of Famers,” Torre said, “not just for what they did on the field, but for what they sacrificed and what they accomplished off the field. Their legacy lives on with the USS Cooperstown and with the sailors here today and in the years to come.”
The 70 players honored served during conflicts from the Civil War through the Korean War and include some of the sport’s biggest names, such as Ty Cobb (Army, WWI); Joe DiMaggio and Jackie Robinson (Army, WWII); Ted Williams (Marines, WWII and Korea); and Willie Mays (Army, Korea).
The ship’s motto is “America’s Away Team.”
Torre, a former player and longtime New York Yankees manager, was elected to the Hall in 2014. Bench, a catcher for the Cincinnati Reds, was selected in 1989.
Bench’s father and Torre’s older brother served in the Army and Navy, respectively, during World War II, according to the Hall of Fame.
The ship, built by the Lockheed Martin and Fincantieri Marinette Marine in Wisconsin, was launched in 2019 and christened in 2020. It was delivered to the Navy in September.
From New York City, the ship will sail to its base in Mayport, Florida.