BY MICHELLE MILLER
The National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum has been hosting activities to salute the character and courage of hall of famers for four years.
This year, the nonprofit organization expanded on the concept by honoring young community members who exemplify those qualities.
Among those recognized for their good deeds were Meghan Vann of Fly Creek, Alicia Sebeck of Gilbertsville and Katelyn Evans of Liverpool.
The girls were honored during a meet-and-greet reception with Hall of Famer Rod Carew Saturday as part of the museum’s Character and Courage in Action. The event was held during the Hall of Fame’s annual Character and Courage Weekend.
Each student received a certificate in recognition of supporting causes in their community, that varied from flood relief and refugee support to green initiatives and clothes drives.
Brad Horn, senior director of communications and education at the Hall of Fame, said Character and Courage in Action afforded the organization the opportunity to shine a light on tomorrow’s leaders who are making a difference in the local and regional community.
“The Hall of Fame’s weekend celebration of Character and Courage has provided a platform for museum visitors to learn more about these intangible qualities from Hall of Fame members. Through this new essay contest, we were able to recognize three students who are displayingcharacter and courage daily in our community by helping others, in times of need. Both Otsego County recipients aided in flood relief efforts, making the timing of the recognition even more meaningful,” Horn wrote in an email.
Nominations were solicited from regional community members to recognize the extraordinary efforts of young community members in Central New York, whose efforts in benefiting others represents outstanding character and exemplary courage, in the spirit of three Hall of Fame legends: Roberto Clemente, Lou Gehrig and Jackie Robinson. The recipients were chosen from nominations received at the Hall of Fame’s website during September and October.
Horn said staff members have been looking to implore more around character and courage at some level through schools and local communities somehow, but the local flooding prompted the desire to reach out to those in the organization’s back yard. He said because there was so much devastation and so many people displaced, it put more emphasis to get the ball rolling.
With the recent flooding that has affected New York state, thousands of dedicated young men and women have stepped up to the plateto assist in cleanup and rebuilding efforts, according to Horn. Before announcing that the Hall of Fame would somehow recognize youth for their good behaviors, Horn said, “It is great to see young people helping others.”
“We see these traits and qualities unfold every day, whether it is someone helping others, someone overcoming adversity or someone who performs selfless acts,” Horn continued.
Nominations were open to those 18 and younger who are current fulltime students from one of the following 14 counties: Otsego, Albany, Broome, Chenango, Delaware, Fulton, Greene, Herkimer, Madison, Montgomery, Oneida, Onondaga, Saratoga, Schenectady and Schoharie.
A 150-word essay statement featuring a detailed description of the community service and examples of the young person’ssense of character, courage, leadership, organization and service was needed for consideration.
“We’ll continue to evaluate this initiative, as well as others that build on sharing the qualities of character, sportsmanship and integrity, particularly with students, in our area and across the country,” Horn said.
Horn said many hall of famers are defined by their character and courage, but selection of who to feature during the Columbus Day Weekend event is based on each individuals own stories.
“We look for stories that have different perspectives to very broad themes to try and diversify the event each year,” Horn said.
This year’s Character and Courage Weekend celebration was dedicated to baseball and its contributions to the military, and as part of programming, Carew who participated in the Hall’s Voices of the Game event.
Before the event, the 1991 Hall of Fame inductee who makes annual pilgrimages to Cooperstown for Hall of Fame Weekend, said in a Hall of Fame media release that it is always a thrill to come back to Cooperstown, but especially so for an event like Character and Courage Weekend.
“I am honored to represent all the men and women from baseball’s family, who have served in the military,” he said in the release.
Carew’s military obligation cost him more than two dozen games in several seasons as he served his commitment to the Marine Corps Reserve. He spent six years in the Marines in the late 1960s as a combat engineer.
But when he returned to the diamond, Carew made up for lost time with an uncanny ability to hit the baseball. He crafted a .328 career batting average en route to seven American League batting titles in a 10-year stretch from 1969-78.
Over his 19-year big league career with the Twins and Angels, Carew amassed 18 All-Star Game selections and 3,053 hits.
He was the American League Rookie of the Year in 1967, and 10 years later won the AL Most Valuable Player Award after hitting .388 while leading the league with 239 hits