Governor Andrew M. Cuomo signed legislation (S.5363/A.5156) designating baseball as the official sport of the state of New York. This bill was proposed by a Cooperstown Elementary School 4th grade class. Cooperstown, NY is the home of the Baseball Hall of Fame and is believed to be the birthplace of the sport.
“Growing up a Queens boy, a love of baseball was instilled at an early age. From the ’69 and ’86 Amazin’ Mets to 27 world championships by the Yankees and even having been the home of the Dodgers with Jackie Robinson and the Giants, New York is steeped in an expansive and diverse past with our great national past time,” Governor Cuomo said. “The fervor of the sport is as reflective of our great state as a sport can be, bringing together diverse crowds for the love of the game. New York is the birthplace of baseball and I’m proud to finally make it our official state sport.”
Not only is New York home to the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown where Abner Doubleday is said to have created the sport, it has been home to four of the most popular franchises in the sport – the New York Yankees and the New York Mets, as well as the New York Giants and Brooklyn Dodgers which moved to San Francisco and Los Angeles, respectively, in 1957. Despite the loss of the Giants and Dodgers, no other state has been home to more World Series titles than New York, with the Yankees winning 27 (1923, ’27, ’28, ’32, ’36, ’37, ’38, ’39, ’41, ’43, ’47, ’49, ’50, ’51, ’52, ’53, ’56, ’58, ’61, ’62, ’77, ’78, ’96, ’98, ’99, 2000, ’09), and the Mets winning two (1969, ’86), along with the Giants winning five (1905, ’21, ’22, ’33, ’54) and the Dodgers winning one (1955) prior to their moves to the west coast. The Yankees were also ranked by Forbes in 2021 as being the world’s second-most valuable professional sports franchise, with an estimated value of $5.25 billion.
These teams also have a large presence in the Hall of Fame itself — 59 of the 333 Hall of Famers all primarily played for New York teams. Additionally, while they did not necessarily play for New York-based teams, 33 of the 333 inductees were born in the Empire State.
As the state sport, baseball joins a list of New York State symbols which includes milk as the state beverage, apple as the state fruit, the snapping turtle as the state reptile and yogurt as the state snack.
Senator Peter Oberacker said, “Baseball is known as our national past time, but the game has deep roots and a rich history here in New York State. Fans from around the globe flock to Cooperstown, in my senate district, to celebrate the game at the storied National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum and we have teams of all levels – the Mets and Yankees, countless college, high school, and Little League teams – proving that New York State’s connection to baseball is undeniable. My special thanks to Anne Reis and her students at Cooperstown Elementary who researched the impact of baseball on our state and developed the idea for this legislation. As a former high school and college player, I learned great life lessons on the baseball diamond and those same messages of teamwork, tradition, and dedication are still being taught today. Formally recognizing baseball as New York’s official state sport is a homerun.”
Assembly Member Michael Benedetto said, “Baseball is the perfect sport to represent New York. It emphasizes teamwork and sacrifice, two principle concepts that are important during a child’s development. Everyone pulling together for the team, in essence, is a metaphor for real life – everyone working together as one, for the betterment of the community.”