Over the years, action by the New York State Legislature has established a number of official symbols. The state tree is the sugar maple, the flower is a rose, the beverage is milk, the fish is the brook trout, to name a few. Why not baseball as the official sport?
There are two bills in the legislature that would do just that. In the Assembly, Bronx Democrat Michael Benedetto’s Bill # A05156 has 35 co-sponsors, including Assemblymembers Peter Abbate, Steven Cymbrowitz and Joanne Simon. In the Senate is upstate Republican Peter Oberacker’s Bill # S05363.
You may ask, why baseball? What about other major sports? Stay tuned. Baseball as a national sport was founded in New York in the 1840s by Alexander Cartwright of the Knickerbocker Baseball Club. The long-held belief that baseball was invented by Abner Doubleday at Cooperstown is inaccurate. Capt. Doubleday served as the post commander at Fort Hamilton in 1861, prior to his distinguished and heroic career during the Civil War. The old parade grounds at the Bay Ridge Army base were later named in his honor.
Another Brooklynite, Henry Chadwick, also helped to pioneer baseball by creating a scoring system and other attributes to the game, gaining the moniker “the Father of Baseball.” Both Chadwick and Cartwright were both inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame at Cooperstown.
Now to the other sports. Basketball was invented by James Naismith in Springfield, Mass.; football by Walter Camp in New Haven, Conn.; American soccer by Thomas Cahill in St. Louis, Mo., and hockey by James Creighton in Canada.
In addition, New York City had three major league baseball teams for many years. Besides the New York Yankees, there were the Brooklyn Dodgers and the New York Giants. The city still has two teams, the Yankees and the Mets.
The State Dept. of Motor Vehicles already offers a “Birthplace of Baseball” vanity license plate. Since baseball was born and bred in New York, why not also give it the additional recognition as our official sport?
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As the COVID-19 pandemic lingers into 2021, it means another year without the joy and revelry of the popular St. Patrick’s Day parades in Park Slope, Bay Ridge and elsewhere. Nonetheless, here’s wishing you the luck of the Irish and a happy St. Patrick’s Day.