Oberacker Bill Naming Baseball as Official State Sport Receives Senate Approval

Idea originated with Cooperstown Elementary Students  

ALBANY, 06/07/21 -- State Senator Peter Oberacker (R/C – Schenevus) today announced senate passage of legislation he sponsors (S.5363) 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,” said Senator Oberacker.  “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.”

Senator Oberacker’s legislation originated from an idea thought up by Anne Reis’ fourth graders (now ninth graders) at Cooperstown Elementary School.  Reis said, “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.”

New York State has previously designated an official gemstone (garnet), fossil (sea scorpion), shell (bay scallop), bush (lilac), salt water fish (striped bass), and reptile (snapping turtle), to name a few.

National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum Interim President Jeff Idelson said, “The National Baseball Hall of Fame enthusiastically supports Senator Oberacker's legislation to designate baseball as the official sport of New York. 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.”

“As New York State reopens from the COVID pandemic, our baseball diamonds are playing a key role in bringing back tourism, boosting our economy, and providing many with a welcome recreational diversion.  Formally recognizing baseball as our official state sport is a homerun,” concluded Senator Oberacker.

The bill still requires assembly approval before it can be sent to the governor.  Companion legislation (A.5156) has been introduced in the state assembly by Assemblyman Michael Benedetto and referred to the Assembly Governmental Operations Committee.