USS Cooperstown Mast-Stepping Ceremony

Part of the BASEBALL HISTORY series

The National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum participated in a mast stepping ceremony for the USS Cooperstown, a Freedom-variant littoral combat ship (LCS) on Sept. 30 in Marinette, Wis.

As the USS Cooperstown’s Honorary Sponsor, the Chairman of the Board of the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum, Jane Forbes Clark, was represented at the ceremony by Museum President Josh Rawitch.

“We are truly honored to represent the 70 members of the National Baseball Hall of Fame who served in the United States Armed Forces during times of conflict,” Rawitch said. “Preserving the legacies of these men is critical, and they are the perfect namesake for this ship. We could not be more proud to be associated with the USS Cooperstown.”

Mast Stepping is a ceremonial event where the ship’s mast is raised and set into position. At the same time, mementos are placed into the base of the ship’s mast as a symbolic moment meant to lay the foundational character of the ship and promote good luck. Many historians believe Mast Stepping dates back to ancient Roman times, where coins were often placed under the ship’s mast as tribute to Charon, the mythical ferryman who would transport the souls of the crew across the river Styx to the afterlife.

Announced in 2015 by United States Navy Secretary Ray Mabus, the Navy’s 23rd Littoral Combat Ship was named the USS Cooperstown to honor the military veterans who are members of the National Baseball Hall of Fame.

Seventy Hall of Fame veterans interrupted their careers for service in the United States Military. Their memories are preserved forever at the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in Cooperstown, N.Y., with medallions indicating their service branch adjacent to each of their Hall of Fame plaques.

The Hall of Fame has been asked, and intends, to maintain a strong relationship with not only the ship, but also the officers and sailors assigned to the USS Cooperstown. Information and photos highlighting many of the Hall of Famers who served proudly in the U.S. Navy will adorn the crew areas of the USS Cooperstown.

As an LCS, the USS Cooperstown is designed for operation in near-shore environments, but is also capable of open-ocean operation.

It is engineered to defeat asymmetric “anti-access” threats, such as mines, quiet diesel submarines and fast surface craft.

The Freedom variant ships feature a steel monohull design and are designed and built by a Lockheed Martin-led team.

The ship is capable of traveling at speeds upwards of 40 knots and its modular design will incorporate mission packages that can be changed out quickly as combat needs change in a region.

These mission packages are supported by detachments that deploy both manned and unmanned vehicles, and sensors in support of mine, undersea and surface warfare missions.

Secretary Mabus first announced this honor during the Awards Presentation at Doubleday Field on July 25, 2015.

Hall of Fame members who have defended America during times of war:

The American Civil War
Morgan Bulkeley - U.S. Army

World War I
Grover Alexander - Army
Happy Chandler - Army
Oscar Charleston - Army
Ty Cobb - Army
Eddie Collins - Marines
Jocko Conlan - Navy
Red Faber - Navy
Warren Giles - Army
Burleigh Grimes - Navy
Harry Heilmann - Navy
Waite Hoyt - Army
George Kelly - Army
Larry MacPhail - Army
Rabbit Maranville - Navy
Rube Marquard - Navy
Christy Mathewson - Army
Herb Pennock - Navy
Sam Rice - Army
Branch Rickey - Army
Eppa Rixey - Army
Bullet Rogan - Army
Louis Santop - Navy
Joe Sewell - Army
George Sisler - Army
Tris Speaker - Navy
Casey Stengel – Navy
Jud Wilson – Army

World War II
Luke Appling - Army
Al Barlick - Coast Guard
Yogi Berra – Navy
Willard Brown - Army
Nestor Chylak - Army
Mickey Cochrane - Navy
Leon Day - Army
Bill Dickey - Navy
Joe DiMaggio - Army
Larry Doby - Navy
Bobby Doerr - Army
Bob Feller - Navy
Charlie Gehringer – Navy
Joe Gordon - Army
Hank Greenberg - Army
Billy Herman – Navy
Gil Hodges – Marines
Monte Irvin - Army
Ralph Kiner - Navy
Bob Lemon - Navy
Ted Lyons - Marines
Larry MacPhail - Army
Lee MacPhail - Navy
Johnny Mize - Navy
Stan Musial – Navy
Buck O’Neil – Navy
Pee Wee Reese - Navy
Phil Rizzuto - Navy
Robin Roberts - Army
Jackie Robinson - Army
Red Ruffing - Army
Red Schoendienst - Army
Enos Slaughter - Army
Duke Snider - Navy
Warren Spahn - Army
Bill Veeck - Marines
Ted Williams - Marines
Early Wynn - Army

Korean War
Ernie Banks - Army
Whitey Ford - Army
Whitey Herzog - Army
Eddie Mathews - Navy
Willie Mays - Army
Ted Williams - Marines

Part of the BASEBALL HISTORY series