855 Baseball Centennial Stamps - First Day Covers
In the spring of 1937, the Cooperstown Chamber of Commerce formally requested the issue of a commemorative stamp celebrating the Centennial of Baseball in Cooperstown. The Leatherstocking Stamp Club lobbied for support of this effort on behalf of the Philatelic Society. The United States Congress approved the request, and for the first time a sport was depicted on a stamp. William Roach, an artist for the Bureau of Engraving depicted a village scene with boys playing baseball. Farley claimed the village was his hometown of Grassy Point, New York. However, as Roach explained much later, the village depicted a site in Milford, Delaware.
With a third term for President Roosevelt in question, Farley had his eye on the White House. As such, the Postmaster General never missed an opportunity to promote his candidacy or his love of baseball. Farley dispatched cancellation equipment and nearly 50 additional personnel to insure the success of the postal effort. More than 398,000 stamps were cancelled in Cooperstown that day. Farley teamed with Hannagan to issue a national press release ensuring that every child would have an opportunity to receive a "first day" cancellation of the Centennial Baseball stamp. However, it was village Postmaster Mr. Melvin Bundy, who insisted on paying the necessary postage out of his own pocket, for any child that forgot to include the three pennies for the stamp.
The importance of the stamp cannot be understated as the national attention that resulted insured the success of baseball's 100th birthday and a celebration of the Centennial of Baseball across the globe.
Postal Service work started just after 7 am on June 12th and the crowds of hundreds waited hours to get their First Day Covers cancelled.
Dedication of the Museum and Hall of Fame started at noon and just before that, dignitaries came to the post office to share in the festivities. The Postmaster General presented his guests, who crowded the tiny post office, with personally signed sheets of stamps and specially made Centennial Caps.