Coop Resident Interviewed by NBC

Photo by Joseph Membrino

Coop Resident Interviewed by NBC

NEW YORK CITY—The Commissioning Ceremony of the USS Cooperstown in New York City on Saturday, May 6 brought together many people. It was estimated that about 1,000 attended the ceremony, with roughly 300 in the VIP seating at the front of the stage. Attendees ranged from the Secretary of the Navy and the New York State governor to the ship’s crew and their families.

One of those attending the commissioning was Bill Waller, husband to former Cooperstown Mayor Carol Waller. Bill attended as a guest of one of the members of the Cooperstown Board of Trustees. Board of Trustee members received invitations to the breakfast, ceremony and luncheon.

Just prior to the ceremony, Bill met and struck up a conversation with one of the television cameramen there to film the event. This particular cameraman was from NBC TV Channel 4 in New York City. As a result, Bill was invited to do an on-camera interview. The photo above captures this moment as Bill spoke. It is his understanding that a portion aired that evening in New York City.

Bill spoke about the pride that the residents of Cooperstown had in seeing this new ship with the name of their village emblazoned on its stern. He noted that the ship was named in honor of the 70 veterans who left successful baseball careers to join the military. Most notable were Bob Feller, rising to the rank of Boatswain’s Mate, and Yogi Berra, recipient of two Purple Heart medals.

Bill mentioned that this was probably the smallest municipality to have its name on a Navy ship. With only about 1,600 residents and one traffic light, he recalled how years ago the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum approached then Navy Secretary Raymond Mabus about the concept and it was accepted. Honoring veterans was a theme the NBHoF accentuated and it was an outgrowth of that effort, Bill said.

People came from all over the nation and even from outside of the country as they attended to see their sons and daughters crew this new vessel. During the reception, people mingled and spoke of the ship and the name, Cooperstown.

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