Tradition Meets Tradition
There are few — if any — traditions in sports that match that of the New York
Yankees. But among all of the institutions in the American landscape, it would
be difficult to find any that have a more storied tradition than the United
States Military Academy at West Point.
On Feb. 9, those two traditions met, when Yankees brass brought the 2009 World
Series Trophy to the world’s premier leader development institution, which
began during the Revolutionary War and continues to stand as one of the
America’s most competitive academic programs and one of the military’s most
rigorous training facilities.
When we arrived on the 15,974-acre academy, we
were greeted by Lt. General Franklin L. Hagenbeck in his office.
“We have a lot of Yankees fans here, so this
means a lot to the core cadets, who will see the trophy for the first time at
lunch today and of course our baseball team” said Hagenbeck, who serves as West
Point’s superintendent. “This really connects us with the Yankees, and we are
proud of that.”
Following the private visit with Hagenbeck, General Brigadier General William
E. Rapp, escorted us to the Mess Hall, where approximately 4,500 cadets were
served lunch within a five-minute period at 12:00 noon.
When the cadets assembled in the dining room, West Point personnel announced
that the trophy was there, and I held the hardware high above my head, while
standing on the “Poop Deck,” a platform that sits 12 feet high and is centrally
located in the dining hall.
That announcement was greeted with a thunderous ovation.
After lunch, our posse traveled across campus to the baseball stadium, where
the West Point baseball team posed for photographs with the trophy.
Before the group traveled back to Yankee Stadium, the Yankees made the trophy
available for cadets, military personnel and faculty to get an up-close look at
it in the West Point library.