Congress Announces National Baseball Hall of Fame Commemorative Coin Act

Congressmen Hanna, Barton and Doyle Sponsor Legislation Authorizing United States Mint to Produce Coin Honoring Museum’s 75th Anniversary in 2014

July 14, 2011
Hall of Famer Phil Niekro (front) speaks at Thursday's announcement with Hall of Fame President Jeff Idelson (back) in Washington. (NBHOF)

COOPERSTOWN, NY – The National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum has spent the last seven decades celebrating and honoring the history of the National Pastime.

Today, the United States Congress announced legislation that will celebrate and honor the 75th anniversary of the Hall of Fame through the National Baseball Hall of Fame Commemorative Coin Act.

Under a bill introduced by Congressman Richard Hanna (R-Barneveld), whose 24th District includes Cooperstown, N.Y., the National Baseball Hall of Fame Commemorative Coin Act authorizes the production of an official United States Mint Commemorative Coin featuring the Baseball Hall of Fame. The coins, which are legal tender but produced in limited quantity, will become available in 2014 – marking the 75th anniversary of the June 12, 1939 opening of the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown.

"The National Baseball Hall of Fame Commemorative Coin Act unites every fan of the game in celebrating the timelessness of America's pastime," said Jeff Idelson, President, National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum. "As the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum celebrates its 75th anniversary in 2014, the Coin Act will connect every generation in commemorating the impact Cooperstown has had on the national landscape, honoring our baseball heroes while educating future generations on the historical significance of the game and its lore.

"We are thankful to the House for acknowledging the impact of our institutional mission across generations. Thank you to Rep. Hanna for introducing a bill that will allow every fan to join the milestone anniversary and help support future educational outreach for an American shrine."

Congressman Hanna noted, "Baseball is the quintessential American pastime with roots in Upstate New York. As a past 10-year resident of Cooperstown, it is a privilege for me to facilitate this long-overdue honor for the baseball community throughout the world. This cost-free legislation with overwhelmingly bipartisan support proves that the love of baseball – our national pastime – is a common bond."

The bill is co-sponsored by Congressmen Joe Barton of Texas and Michael Doyle of Pennsylvania, managers of the Republican and Democrat Congressional Baseball Teams, respectively. Showing bi-partisan support for America's National Pastime, more than 290 members of Congress signed on to the National Baseball Hall of Fame Commemorative Coin Act. The bill is expected to be considered by the House of Representatives before the August recess.

Congressman Barton observed, "I grew up playing baseball and dreaming of playing in the Major Leagues – maybe even making it to the Hall of Fame. But instead of being elected to the Hall, I was elected to Congress. Instead of striking out big leaguers, I struck out my colleagues as a pitcher in the Congressional Baseball Game.

"Baseball has a special place in America and I am happy to be an original co-sponsor of the Hall of Fame Coin. I support the Hall's mission to preserve the special moments of our national pastime and can't think of a better way to commemorate the Hall of Fame's 75th Anniversary,"

Congressman Doyle stated, "Baseball is a great part of America's history and tradition. It's a sport that millions of Americans enjoy both watching and playing.

"The Baseball Hall of Fame does a fantastic job of preserving the sport's history, recognizing the best Major League players of all time, and educating and inspiring new generations about the game.

"As manager of the Democratic Congressional Baseball Team and a life-long fan of baseball, I'm honored to be one of the cosponsors of this bill to recognize and raise public awareness about the Baseball Hall of Fame."

Congress may enact only two Commemorative Coin Acts per year, authorizing the production of coins that celebrate and honor American people, places, events and institutions. As well as commemorating important aspects of American history and culture, these coins help raise money for important causes. Part of the price of these coins is a surcharge that goes to organizations and projects that benefit the community.

Since the modern commemorative coin program began in 1982, the United States Mint has raised over $418,000,000 in surcharges to help build new museums, maintain national monuments like the Vietnam War Memorial, preserve historical sites like George Washington's home, support various Olympic programs, and much more.

"Baseball remains the lifeblood of our great nation, with the game regenerating legends with every passing year," said Hall of Famer Phil Niekro, who will throw out the ceremonial first pitch at Thursday night's Congressional Baseball Game at Nationals Stadium in Washington, D.C. "It is an honor to be associated with this important legislation, and both parties should be commended for honoring Cooperstown and the preservation of baseball history for 75 years."

The National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum is an independent not-for-profit educational institution, dedicated to fostering an appreciation of the historical development of baseball and its impact on our culture by collecting, preserving, exhibiting and interpreting its collections for a global audience as well as honoring those who have made outstanding contributions to our National Pastime.

The Museum's collections contain more than 38,000 three-dimensional artifacts representing all facets of the game, from its inception in the mid-19th century to present. Three-dimensional artifacts include bats, baseballs, uniforms, player equipment, ballpark artifacts, awards, artwork, textiles, tickets, collectibles and assorted memorabilia. In addition, the Institution's archives contain in excess of 135,000 baseball cards and three million Library items, including photographs, books, magazines, newspaper clippings, films, video and audio tapes.

Located on Main Street in the heart of picturesque Cooperstown, New York, the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum is one of the country's major tourist destinations and is surely the best-known sports shrine in the world. Opening its doors for the first time on June 12, 1939, the Hall of Fame has stood as the definitive repository of the game's treasures and as a symbol of the most profound individual honor bestowed on an athlete. It is every fan's "Field of Dreams," with its stories, legends and magic to be passed on from generation to generation.

The National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum is open seven days a week year round, with the exception of Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's Day. The Museum observes summer hours of 9 a.m. until 9 p.m. from Memorial Day Weekend until the day before Labor Day. From Labor Day until Memorial Day Weekend, the Museum observes daily regular hours of 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. Ticket prices are $19.50 for adults (13 and over), $12 for seniors (65 and over) and for those holding current memberships in the VFW, Disabled American Veterans, American Legion and AMVets organizations, and $7 for juniors (ages 7-12). Members are always admitted free of charge and there is no charge for children 6 years of age or younger. For more information, visit our Web site at baseballhall.org or call 888-HALL-OF-FAME (888-425-5633) or 607-547-7200.