Columbus' Father Of Modern Baseball, Harold Cooper, Dies

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Harold Cooper, who helped save minor-league baseball for Columbus, died Monday.  He was 87.

Cooper, a former Franklin County commissioner, helped bring the Columbus Clippers to the city beginning in 1977, seven years after the Columbus Jets left the city.

Cooper started working as a clubhouse boy when the Columbus team was known as the Red Birds.  When the St. Louis Cardinals moved the team from Columbus in 1954, Cooper purchased the Ottawa (Canada) International League franchise for $50,000.  Cooper and a group of local businessmen purchased the stadium located on Mound Street from the Cardinals where the team known as the Columbus Jets would play.

The Jets played in Columbus until 1971 after the city refused to help pay for repairs for the stadium.  Franklin County later purchased the ballpark, renovated it and reopened it in 1977.

Cooper later served as president of the International League.

The stadium where the Clippers used to play was renamed Cooper Stadium in his honor in 1984.

In 2009, when the Columbus Clippers moved out of Cooper Stadium and into the new Huntington Park in the Arena District, the team honored Cooper with a statue that greets visitors at the entrance.

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