The word “veteran” is often used in sports to describe players with a long and storied career. But in the case of the former players honored by the name of the USS Cooperstown, another meaning for the word in question comes to mind. On May 6, 2023, the United States Navy commissioned a littoral combat ship with a name that nods to the location of the Baseball Hall of Fame — and in doing so honors the 70 Hall of Famers who spent time in the military.
There aren’t many events at which you might find both the Secretary of the Navy and onetime Yankees manager Joe Torre at the same event — but the commissioning of this ship brought two distinct worlds together.
Carlos Del Toro, the aforementioned Secretary of the Navy, spoke of the importance of the ship’s name. “LCS 23 honors the baseball greats, who in service of our Nation, sacrificed their baseball careers for us. I have full confidence that the officers and crew of this great ship will continue to honor their legacy,” he said.
As an article in Task & Purpose about the ceremony points out, the future of the littoral combat ship program is uncertain, with some of the ships set to be decommissioned and sold.
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Torre wasn’t the only former baseball player on hand for the ceremony. As per the Navy’s official announcement, Cincinnati Reds great and Baseball Hall of Famer Johnny Bench was on hand to present the long glass as part of the ceremony.