Salute to hard work
By Samantha Carr
Larry Cooper has been a volunteer baseball coach at Martinsburg, West Virginia, High School for 20 years. During that time, he has developed the motto: “Kids don’t care what you know until they know that you care.”
It is this kind of effort in his volunteer work and professional life that earned Cooper a very special honor upon his retirement from government work after 32 years.
“When I received my retirement, my coworker told me that there would be a flag flown at the Baseball Hall of Fame for me – and it really blew my mind,” he said.
On Dec. 11, 2009, Cooper’s flag was flown at the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in Cooperstown in honor of his hard work, the compassionate way he went about his life and the effort he put into each person who entered it. On Friday, his wife Anita accompanied him to the Hall of Fame to receive a certificate for the honor.
“I think knowing that I’ve spent my years playing sports and working with kids that this is the perfect place to fly it,” he said. “Plus – my name is Cooper.”
Cooper is the son of a minister and has worked with kids his whole life. His coworkers felt that the Hall of Fame’s values of integrity and character matched well with Cooper’s work.
“I believe if you plant a seed and work with the seed, you’ll get the tree you want,” Cooper said. “Years from now I want to be the person the kids cross the street to see, not the one they cross the street to avoid.
Cooper has a collection of over 200 minor league ball caps in a museum-like room at his home, acquired over the years during his work with kids. His Martinsburg team, who won the state championship last year, is playing on Doubleday Field in Cooperstown Friday and Saturday and Cooper will be in uniform, coaching them along.
When the team arrives home in West Virginia, Cooper will have something new to add to his baseball room.
Samantha Carr is the manager of web and digital media at the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum.