MOUNT MORRIS — It was legends like Ross Barnes who taught us that we all have a little magic left inside of us, and if we are persistent we can still reach up and grab glory.
Mount Morris resident and Baseball legend Ross Barnes fan, Gary Passamonte, is still fighting the good fight to get Baseball Hall of Fame to recognize one of it’s pioneers.
In an effort to keep Ross Barne’s legacy alive Passamonte with some help of friends is putting together a memorial in his honor on Aug. 19 at 11 a.m. at pocket park on the corner of Main and East State Streets near the fountain. Afterwards there will be a vintage baseball game at Bellamy Park.
Genesee Country Express first told you about Ross Barnes in the article entitled “The legend the Baseball Hall of Fame forgot” and ever since there has been more of a pull to get him where he belongs.
Barnes was born Roscoe Conkling “Ross” Barnes in Mount Morris , and was a national phenomenon of his day in the mid to late 1800s. Passamonte feels he has a rather impressive resume, and a story earning him the honor of joining the other great sports heroes of his day in the Baseball Hall of Fame.
Barnes began his career in Rockford, Ill, on a youth team called the Pioneers. His teammate was Albert Spalding, who died in 1915 and was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1939. He was a second baseman and a shortstop, but best known for his sporting goods company which outfitted Major League baseball and Spalding was the official baseball until 1976, according to the Hall of Fame.
Barnes was only a teen through most of his first season playing with adults, since he was born May 8, 1850 and spearheaded his fame in 1866. He played in Chicago for the Forest City, Boston for the Red Stockings, and was largely responsible for why we even have a National League in the first place.
The Society of American Baseball calls Barnes an “overlooked nineteenth-century legend” and are pushing to put him in the Baseball Hall of Fame by 2018.
David Stalker of Watertown, Wisconsin has worked closely with Passamonte getting this stone ready for the ceremony. Stalker plans on being at the event himself.
Passamonte said the memorial will have an engraving of Ross Barnes on the front and back, and some information about the local legend.
“We wanted to keep it local as far as donations go,” he said. “The Mount Morris community came forward with money.”
Some baseball players from the Genesee Country Museum will be taking part in the vintage baseball game. They have the uniforms from the late 1800s, and know the rules of the game.
“This will be the same weekend as the Italian Festival, so I hope we get a lot of people,” Passamonte said. “There are about four teams that play the vintage baseball at the Genesee Country Museum. We hope a few of them come down.”
Passamonte has been at conferences in Cooperstown and keeps bringing up Ross Barnes.
“We always talk about him,” he said. “The Society of American Baseball Research has been very helpful, because they are all historians. They know everything about the game.”
Remaining optimistic about the local legend has been important to Passamonte.
“We had to do something for him here,” he said. “I wanted some recognition here of Barnes.”
Rochester Baseball Society helped to inspire the idea about the vintage baseball game.
Passamonte said he is glad that after waiting so long for this to happen Ross Barnes will be honored by the place he called home.
“I am just glad that after waiting for so long there will be some recognition and a memorial set up here,” he said. “This will be here for years to come, and it will be seen every time someone walks through Mount Morris. It will never disappear. I get some satisfaction from that.”
The diehard baseball fans know that there is a personal Baseball Hall of Fame in their minds where the legends they believe in live on forever.
For more information on the legend the Baseball Hall of Fame forgot visit the Facebook page. https://www.facebook.com/GetBarnesInTheHOF/?hc_ref=PAGES_TIMELINE&fref=nf