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Current Major Leaguers Urged to Help Save Hall of Fame Game
WASHINGTON, DC - The savethegame.com campaign announced today that it has sent a letter to a select group of Major League players on the 30 Major League ballclubs, asking them to please join the effort to save the annual Hall of Fame Game in Cooperstown, a baseball and American tradition since 1940.
Major League Baseball announced its plan to discontinue the annual summer tradition following the 2008 contest between the San Diego Padres and Chicago Cubs, to be played on June 16 in Cooperstown.
The letter states, in part: "It is clear that many people feel that this decision came about from the players and the Players Association, despite Major League Baseball's public role in the cancellation. For many people, the idea that players wouldn't want to go to Cooperstown -– a place that most, if not all, players aspire to one day be immortalized –- is unfathomable and makes absolutely no sense. And it angers them to think that it's true. ... I'm reaching out to you and to other players in leadership positions because your word carries tremendous weight in this area, and you have the real capacity to stand up for the sport and for the sport's fans."
Text of the savethegame.com letter to current Major League players:
May 27, 2008
Dear Mr. Lackey and Mr. Hunter,
My name is Kristian Connolly, and I am a former Cooperstown resident, currently living in Washington, DC. I am contacting you today about the annual Hall of Fame Game in Cooperstown, NY.
You may be aware that Major League Baseball recently decided to end the annual Hall of Fame Game in Cooperstown following the June 16 contest this season. This tradition first started in 1940, with Major League Baseball teams participating every season. As a member of baseball's player fraternity and a leader among your peers, I am pleading with you today to please speak up against ending a nearly 70-year-old baseball and American tradition.
Following this season, Cooperstown's Doubleday Field will be one of three ballparks in America (Wrigley, Fenway) where a current Major Leaguer can dig the same hole in the batter's box, or stand atop the same mound, or field the same section of the field, as many of the true icons of the national game. Just look at a partial list of the game's greats that have played in Cooperstown: Hank Aaron, Yogi Berra, Roberto Clemente, Joe Dimaggio, Jimmie Foxx, Hank Greenberg, Harmon Killebrew, Mickey Mantle, Willie Mays, Stan Musial, Mel Ott, Brooks Robinson, Jackie Robinson, Babe Ruth, Duke Snider and Ted Williams.
It is clear that many people feel that this decision came about from the players and the Players Association, despite Major League Baseball's public role in the cancellation. For many people, the idea that players wouldn't want to go to Cooperstown – a place that most, if not all, players aspire to one day be immortalized – is unfathomable and makes absolutely no sense. And it angers them to think that it's true.
Since 1940, the Hall of Fame Game has celebrated the national pastime on the sport's historic home field in the sport's celebrated hometown. It has been symbolic of sportsmanship, of exciting kids and adults alike about the game, of connecting to the present and reconnecting to the sport's revered history, and of fine athletic traditions.
Baseball, as the national game and as an industry, cannot survive without its fans, and the Hall of Fame Game has remained a touchstone for what has always been pure and true about the national pastime, and we should continue to have that reminder as part of the sport's great place in our society.
I'm reaching out to you and to other players in leadership positions because your word carries tremendous weight in this area, and you have the real capacity to stand up for the sport and for the sport's fans.
Please do not underestimate the desire out there to save the Hall of Fame Game, and the role that you can play in helping to reverse this terrible decision and keeping a true baseball and American tradition alive.
Thank you for your time. Best of luck in the coming months and beyond.
Ken Griffey Jr.