State Sen. Peter Oberacker, R-Schenevus, announced on Tuesday, June 8, that the Senate passed of legislation designating baseball as New York’s official state sport.

“Baseball is known as our national pastime but the game has deep roots and a rich history here in New York State,” Oberacker said. “From the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in storied Cooperstown, to the Mets and Yankees, the pinnacles of Major League Baseball, to countless college, high school, and Little League teams, New York State’s connection to baseball history and greatness is undeniable.”

The legislation originated from an idea thought up by Cooperstown Elementary School teacher Anne Reis’ fourth-grade students.

“While studying New York State government and state symbols, the students realized that we lack a state sport. They immediately decided that baseball would be the perfect fit to fill the void,” Reis said.

“The National Baseball Hall of Fame enthusiastically supports Senator Oberacker’s legislation to designate baseball as the official sport of New York,” said Jeff Idelson, interim president of the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum. “Cooperstown serves as the spiritual home of baseball, our national pastime, as well as the eternal home of our Hall of Famers. Since opening in 1939, more than 17 million fans have made the pilgrimage to Cooperstown to learn more about the legends of baseball and to savor the stories of our game, which are interwoven into the fabric of American culture and history.”

The bill still requires Assembly approval before it can be sent to the governor. Companion legislation has been introduced in the state Assembly by Assemblyman Michael Benedetto and referred to the Assembly Governmental Operations Committee.

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