News of Otsego County

Serving Otsego County, NY, through the combined reporting of Cooperstown's Freeman's Journal and the Hometown Oneonta newspapers.



‘Grassroots’ Clinics Lure Youngsters Back To Baseball


‘Grassroots’ Clinics

Lure Youngsters

Back To Baseball

By LIBBY CUDMORE • Special to

Jeff Idelson holds
up the promotional packet his partner,
photographer Jean Fruth, assembled. (Ian Austin/

COOPERSTOWN – During one of his clinics in Chicago, Grassroots Baseball co-founder Jeff Idelson got to see first-hand how baseball can change a life.

“We were at the Union League Boys & Girls Club in Chicago and Goose Gossage was playing catch with a young boy,” he said. “This kid had never put a glove on, and afterwards, his older brother came over and told Goose that his little brother was going to go out for the summer team. He found a connection, he built his self-esteem and he self-selected to continue to play baseball.”

Idelson, retired Baseball Hall of Fame president, teamed up with photographer Jean Fruth to document and spread the joy of amateur baseball with their Grassroots Baseball project.

Want To Revive Baseball? Make It Kid-Centric Again

Want To Revive Baseball?

Make It Kid-Centric Again

To the Editor (and baseball fans everywhere):

Kudos to former Baseball Hall of Fame president Jeff Idelson for co-founding Grassroots Baseball, an effort to connect young kids to what at one time was our National Pastime. When my generation was growing up, we would race home after school to catch the World Series at about the third inning, creating fond, lifelong memories.

My kids didn’t have that opportunity. For too long, all MLB playoff and World Series games start past Little Leaguer bedtimes. As usual in our country, the almighty dollar runs the show.

On another note, I read the other day of MLB’s plans to have the White Sox and the Yankees play A REGULAR SEASON GAME at the corn field in Iowa where “Field of Dreams” was filmed. I hope it’s a day game.

The Yankees and Red Sox played TWO REGULAR SEASON GAMES in London earlier this year and there are plans for games in Williamsport, Pa., and Omaha, Neb. I think it’s wonderful that MLB is taking the initiative to reconnect people to baseball.

Once upon a time for more than 50 years, two Major League teams played AN EXHIBITION GAME every year on Doubleday Field to celebrate the induction of baseball’s greatest players into the National Baseball Hall of Fame. Commissioner Manfred, would you care to comment about any of this?


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