Close markets for MLB opening day, say past stars

Baseball legends at the NYSE

As Major League Baseball players took to the field on Monday to begin the 2014 season, some of the league's past stars celebrated by ringing the opening bell at the New York Stock Exchange, but argued markets should be closed to mark opening day.

Former Major League Baseball players John Franco, Jack Morris, Bernie Williams and Jeff Nelson pose for a photo with CNBC's David Faber and Carl Quintanilla after ringing the opening bell at the New York Stock Exchange, March 31, 2014. The ballplayers advocated for making the MLB's Opening Day a national holiday in the United States.
Source: Manuel Fuentes | CNBC

"We're trying to get it a national holiday," said John Franco, a former relief pitcher with the New York Mets, on "Squawk on the Street." "Everybody plays hooky from work anyway, so we might as well come over and have a nice day at the ballpark."

Franco, along with former pro ballplayers Jack Morris, Bernie Williams and Jeff Nelson, spoke in support of a White House petition asking the first day of baseball season get the same recognition as Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Washington's Birthday or Thanksgiving. The petition recently surpassed the 100,000 signatures required for a response from the Obama administration.

Video: Baseball legends at the NYSE

Asked by CNBC's Carl Quintanilla whether it would mean the stock markets would be closed, the players paused for a moment, only to respond in unison, "Yes, sure!"

"It's a festive day, really. It's a great day for baseball. Opening day is always special," Morris said. "Why not make it a holiday?"

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