This day in Mohawk Valley history: February 28, 2003

The Freeman’s Journal, February 28, 2003, Cooperstown, Otsego County, NY

Local Youth To Play Ball With the World in Japan

COOPERSTOWN – Molly Pearlman may seem a bit young for an ambassador, but by the time she turns 10 years old she will be just that, as the only female player representing the United States at The World Children’s Baseball Fair.

The nine-day event will take place this August in Yamaguchi, Japan. The fair was started in 1998 by Japanese and American baseball heroes Sadaharo Oh and Henry “Hank” Aaron as a means to promote the sport, and cross-cultural understanding.

According to WCBF documents, the goal of the event is to further the love of baseball, teach baseball skills, provide young people with the experiences in a multi-cultural setting, and to bring together young people from many different countries. A total of 20 nations are sending children to the fair for baseball clinics, cultural exchange and sightseeing trips throughout Japan.

Molly, who last year was the first female to play as a Cooperstown Youth Baseball all-star, said she is excited about the opportunity to visit another part of the world, especially with baseball as the theme.

“It’s going to be really fun and exciting,” she said, “because we get to play baseball for half the day, and spend the afternoon meeting people from other countries.”

According to her father, David, a precipitous meeting led to this unique chance for his daughter. He said Justine Segal, president of the Women’s Baseball League, Inc., has visited Cooperstown several times, and was impressed with Molly’s baseball ability. Segal secured a space on the five-member U.S. contingent for a female athlete, and recently offered Molly that spot.

In order to be considered, students must have demonstrated an ability for and love of the game, be of high moral character, and a good representative of their country. Molly was also required to fill out a questionnaire, and write a short essay about her goals.

Source: NYS Historic Papers

NOTE: Molly would go on to graduate Cooperstown Central School in 2011, graduate magna cum laude from Brandeis University in 2016, and receive the juris doctor degree from City University of New York Law School in May 2021.