ALB Player of the Year honored at Cooperstown

After the pandemic forced the cancellation of the Hall of Fame Classic the past two years in Cooperstown, N.Y., the game was back on for its 12th edition over Memorial Day weekend.

Among those attending was Nate Rose, the 2021 George W. Rulon Player of the Year. The Idaho Falls, Idaho, Post 56 Bandits shortstop/pitcher earned the trip to Cooperstown after being named American Legion Baseball’s top player last season while helping the Bandits become the sixth team to win consecutive American Legion World Series.

The trip to Cooperstown was Rose’s first. “It’s every baseball player’s dream to go there,” he said. “… It’s just an incredible experience being around everybody that loves baseball.”

The Hall of Fame Classic is a seven-inning game featuring recently retired players from all 30 Major League Baseball teams. Saturday’s game saw a team managed by Hall of Fame shortstop Ozzie Smith defeat the team managed by Hall of Fame pitcher Fergie Jenkins, 10-7.

Rose said the chance to talk to the players was his favorite part of the weekend.

“They’ve been there and done that, so it was really cool to see how they felt about the game,” Rose said.

Rose and his Bandits teammates have a chance at history this season as no team has ever won three consecutive ALWS titles (the Bandits won in 2019 and 2021; the 2020 American Legion World Series was canceled due to the pandemic).

But he’s humble about his team’s prospects, recognizing that the two-time champions have a long road ahead.

“It will be fun to see how we play out the season,” Rose said.

Rose received a plaque for his achievement during the game, presented by National Americanism Chairman Richard Anderson and Hall of Famer and American Legion Baseball alumnus Lee Smith.

Lee Smith and fellow Hall of Famers Wade Boggs, Tim Raines, Ted Simmons and Alan Trammell — all of whom played American Legion Baseball — served as coaches for Jenkins and Ozzie Smith. Carlos Baerga, who played Legion Baseball for Guaynabo, P.R., was a player in the game.


American Legion Baseball

American Legion Baseball

American Legion Baseball enjoys a reputation as one of the most successful and tradition-rich amateur athletic leagues. Today, the program registers more than 5,400 teams in all 50 states, including Canada and Puerto Rico.

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