Hagerty: How Bernie Sanders brought professional baseball to Vermont

From SABR member Tim Hagerty at The Sporting News on November 17, 2015:

Ken Griffey Jr., Barry Larkin and Omar Vizquel all played for Double-A Vermont. The team wouldn’t have been there without Bernie Sanders.

Thirty-four years before his current presidential bid, Sanders was trying to become Burlington, Vermont’s mayor and baseball “was a campaign plank when he was first running in 1981,” said Richard Sugarman, Sanders’ former roommate who convinced him to run for mayor.

“He thought, correctly, that it would serve as a constructive form of recreation for the greater Burlington community,” Sugarman said.

Sanders won the mayoral election by 10 votes and the city’s baseball bid began. He assembled a Mayor’s Baseball Task Force to show the Double-A Eastern League that Vermont was a viable market.

“He was very involved and very supportive, very much engaged in the process of trying to get a Double-A team to Burlington,” said Huck Gutman, a member of the task force who later became Senator Sanders’ chief of staff.

Read the full article here: http://www.sportingnews.com/mlb-news/4660687-bernie-sanders-baseball-centennial-field-vermont-reds-mariners-double-a

Originally published: November 17, 2015. Last Updated: November 17, 2015.