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Sports

Baseball, Politics, Community Defined His Contribution
ALBERT ‘SAM’ NADER • 1919-2021

Baseball, Politics, Community

Defined His Contribution

The Nader family chose this photo of their patriarch, Sam Nader, with Damaschke Field, home of his Oneonta Yankees, in the background.

Editor’s Note: Here is the obituary prepared by Sam Nader’s family.

Albert S. “Sam” Nader passed away on Tuesday, Feb. 9, 2021, at his home as he wished, surrounded by members of his family.

He was born on July 8, 1919, in Oneonta, the son of Elias Andrew Nader and Rose Rajah Nader (Nassar). He was one of six Nader children. Sam Nader spent nearly his entire life in Oneonta. He was a proud lifelong resident of the 6th Ward and became an integral member of the community.

He graduated from Oneonta High School in 1938, where he excelled as a lefthanded pitcher. Mr. Nader attended Bates College and later Hartwick College and played baseball at both institutions.

As World War II approached, Mr. Nader began working for the Scintilla Magneto division of the Bendix Corp. in Sidney.

TV-Only Induction ’21 Met With Acceptance

TV-Only Induction ’21

Met With Acceptance

COVID Ends Jeter-Fueled Expectations

By MICHAEL FORSTER ROTHBART • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com

Derek Jeter

Call it COVID fatigue.

Shocking as it may have been at another time, the Baseball Hall of Fame’s announcement last week that this year’s July 25 Induction Ceremony will be broadcast on TV by the MLB Network, that’s it, has been largely accepted in Baseball Town.

What was expected to be record-breaking crowds cheering superstar Derek Jeter on the Clark Sports Center fields into the Hall of Plaques has turned into a so-far unspecified number of people in an unspecified venue.

The word of the week is “disappointed,” sometimes followed by a “but.”

“While the village is disappointed,” said Mayor Ellen Tillapaugh Kuch, “I think the Hall of Fame made a wise – and probably the only – decision they could make.”

“To say it’s disappointing is an understatement,” added Jeff Katz, Friends of Doubleday president (and former mayor), “but not a surprise. I’d be surprised if anybody was shocked.”

We’ll Miss Roars For That Great American
EDITORIAL

We’ll Miss Roars For

That Great American

The great Hank Aaron, and wife Billye, about to round the corner at Mel’s in the 2019 Parade of Legends. (The Freeman’s Journal)

The passing of the great Hank Aaron last Friday, Jan. 22, at age 86, emphasized the death threats the future Hall of Famer received as he neared breaking Babe Ruth’s home run record on April 8, 1974.

Death threats? Contemptible. But there’s a better perspective on Aaron’s 715th home run that broke Babe’s mark at a Braves’ home game in Atlanta.

“A black man is getting a standing ovation in the Deep South for breaking a record of an all-time baseball idol,” Vin Scully, Los Angeles Dodgers’ announcer, declared that night.

“What a marvelous moment for baseball. What a marvelous moment for Atlanta and the State of Georgia. What a marvelous moment for the country and the world.”

And it was, and it is.

Even better, today, 46 years later, two generations have grown up since 1974, and there’s nothing exceptional today about a black athlete breaking a record – it’s more than routine.

WHAT IF? Hosting MLB Event In Plaque Gallery Gets Wheels Turning
EDITORIAL

WHAT IF? Hosting MLB Event In

Plaque Gallery Gets Wheels Turning

The idea was to bring fans to Cooperstown. What about taking Cooperstown to the fans?

In the Age of COVID, the second sentence is a more intriguing one.

And it played out this week with the Baseball Writers’ Association of America’s annual announcement of the Induction Class of 2021.

While it turned out there was no one to announce this year, the MLB Network spent the afternoon transmitting the Hall’s various exhibits and attractions to a national audience.

The last few years, Hall of Fame presidents, first Jeff Idelson and, lately, Tim Mead, have been announcing classes from a sterile studio in Secaucus, N.J.

How much more of an impact comes from staging the event in the cathedral-like Hall of Plaques, sanctum santorum of America’s Pastime?

Thank Heaven For Derek Jeter

Thank Heaven For Derek Jeter

No 2021 Inductees,

No Schilling, No Bond, No Clemens

By CHRYSTAL SAVAGE • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com

Hall of Fame President Tim Mead breaks the news.

If not for Derek Jeter and his Classmates of 2020, this would have been another sparse summer for baseball in Cooperstown.

For the first time since 2013, the Baseball Writers’ Association of America elected none of the 25 Hall of Fame candidates above 75 percent, leaving the class of 2021 at zero.

Hall of Fame President Tim Mead announced results pf BBWAA balloting Tuesday, Jan. 26 – for the first time, broadcast from the Hall of Plaques at 22 Main St.

He said he’s confident that the ceremony will take place on July 25, saying that there is a lot of “diligent” work happening “behind the scenes.”

Mead’s presentation, which was broadcast live by the MLB Network, also marks the first time an Induction Class has been announced at the Hall of Plaques.

For years, it was done at the Waldorf Astoria in New York City. Lately, HoF presidents, Jeff Idelson and last year Mead, announced the class at MLB Network headquarters in Secaucus, N.J.

For First Time, Induction Class Revealed Locally

For First Time,

Induction Class

Revealed Locally

MLB Network Will Broadcast

From Revered Hall Of Plaques

COOPERSTOWN – Live from the Hall of Plaques for the first time, the Hall of Fame Class of 2121 will be revealed on an MLB Network Broadcast at 6 p.m. tomorrow, the Hall announced a few minutes ago.

MLB Network will air extensive coverage, interviews and analysis beginning at 3 p.m. ET, then televise Hall of Fame President Tim Mead’s announcement of the results. The announcement will be simulcast on MLB.com and at facebook.com/baseballhall.

HoF Takes Fresh Look

HoF Takes Fresh Look

Idealism, Injustice Balanced

By LIBBY CUDMORE • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com

Hall of Fame spokesman Jon Shestakovsky discusses adjustments to exhibits at 25 Main. (Jim Kevlin/AllOTSEGO.com)

The Baseball Hall of Fame is striving to balance the sport’s sometimes troubled racial history with athletic prowess on the diamond.

“The conversation began this summer,” said Jon Shestakofsky, the Hall’s vice president/communications.

“We wanted to shine a light on these conflicted stories. And when the Board of Directors met this summer, its members unanimously decided to make these important changes”

So now, the “Pride and Passion” exhibit has been renamed “Ideals and Injustices: A Chronicle of Black Baseball.”

It focuses not just on the formation of the Negro Leagues and Jackie Robinson’s breaking of the color barrier, but addressing the history of racism within the game, even by those honored in
the Hall of Plaques downstairs.

“Cap Anson, for example, was an early superstar of baseball, but his actions helped lead the league towards segregation,” said Shestakofsky.

A first baseman for the Chicago Cubs, Anson was reported to have said he “would never step on a field that also had a Black man on it.”

He was inducted into the Hall with the first class, in 1939.

Though Anson and others, including Commissioner Kenesaw Mountain Landis, had previously been mentioned in “Pride and Passion,” Shestakofsky said the updated panels “clarifies” their opposition to integrating the league.

“These upgraded panels delve more deeply into the complicated history,” he said. “They’re in the Hall of Fame for a reason, they did a lot to sustain the game, but there’s more to be said about their lasting impacts.”

Nonetheless, the Hall does not plan to alter the plaques in the gallery.

“I don’t feel in any context that one should expunge history, that one should erase history,” said Jane Forbes Clark, Hall of Fame chairman, in an interview with the New York Times that appeared over the weekend.

“Part of our mission is not only to honor excellence and connect generations, but it’s to preserve the history of the game, and that’s what we’re doing,” she said. “We’re reacting to the evolution of society and society wanting a deeper understanding of underlying racism — its causes, its history, and how it continues to affect the game.”

Instead, a sign has been placed at the entrance to the Hall of Plaques, which reads: “Enshrinement into the National Baseball Hall of Fame reflects the perspective of voters at the time of election. The plaques on these walls recognize Members for their accomplishments in the game.”

It also directs visitors to continue their own exploration of the history in the museum exhibits, library archives, and educational resources.

“When people request educational materials, Jackie Robinson and Civil Rights are requested the most often,” said Shestakofsky. “Education is one of the pillars of our work as an institution.”

But the changes have also allowed the Hall to tell more stories to their visitors.

“Someone like Effa Manley, the only woman enshrined in the Hall, deserves a more full look,” he said. “As an owner, she did a lot to enhance the status of black baseball.”

“She was exceptional,” Clark told the Times. “I just find it a wonderful balance, because it’s not just that we’re looking at racists and Anson and Landis, we’re also looking at somebody who did something so positive.”

Manley was among 17 figures — all deceased — from the Negro leagues elected to the Hall in 2006, following a study by the Major League Baseball. However, that same vote excluded Buck O’Neil, former players and the MLB’s first black coach.

In 2006, O’Neil spoke at the induction ceremony, and a lifetime achievement award at the Hall was named in his honor. But he was never voted into the museum.

Shestakofsky said the exhibit and new signage have received “a very positive response,” so far, and that the curators will continue to look at ways to improve exhibits throughout the museum.

“We are a history museum,” he said. “Our job is to preserve the game’s history.”

William J. Ubner, 90; Played On ‘Red’ Bursey’s Unbeaten ’47 Team
IN MEMORIAM

William J. Ubner, 90; Played On

‘Red’ Bursey’s Unbeaten ’47 Team

FLY CREEK – William J. Ubner, who played on legendary Cooperstown football coach Lester G. “Red” Bursey’s 1947 undefeated team, passed away in his sleep Monday evening, Nov. 23, 2020, at his home in Fly Creek Valley. He was 90.

A true outdoorsman, animal lover and almost 30-year employee of the Otsego County Highway Department, he was born on Dec. 16, 1929, at home on the family farm in Fly Creek Valley.  Bill was a son of Stanley and Jenny E. (Bice) Ubner. After attending school in Fly Creek, he attended Cooperstown High School and graduated with the Class of 1949.

Race Day Goes Virtual, But Skies Remain Clear

27th Annual Pit Run On Through Oct. 31

Race Day Goes Virtual,

As Skies Remain Clear

Since the first race in 1994, it has never once rained on the day of the annual Pit Run, and that track record continued today as Mike Rubino, Bob Scanlon, Eric Michelitsch, and Nancy Scanlon joined Deb and Sid Parisian this morning in Neahwa Park to honor fallen Trooper Ricky J. Parisian at the traditional finish line for the annual PIT Run, which is being held virtually throughout October. A few racers did come down to the park to run the 5 and 10K courses, including family friend Don Guinta, who was “first” to cross the finish line with a time of 36:29. New this year is the 100K challenge, where runners and walkers can add up their daily totals to try and reach a 62 mile goal. Registrations are open through Oct. 15.  (Ian Austin/AllOTSEGO.com)

27th PIT Run, Underway – Virtually!

27th Annual PIT Run,

Underway – Virtually!

Deb and Sid Parisian stand next to the banner for the 27th annual PIT Run, which has gone virtual for the entire month of October. The race officially kicked off yesterday, but racers can still sign up individually or with a team to pool their totals and hit the 100K challenge. While Race Day – locally known as “The Best Day in Oneonta” – will not be taking place this year, the Parisians have already heard that there will people in Neahwa Park on Sunday, walking and running the course. “Runners can see their cumulative results daily online.” said Sid. “While there are no prizes, awards will still be given and mailed out at the end of the month to the participants.” (Ian Austin/AllOTSEGO.com)
Recovery Run Virtual This Year, But Family Still Gathers To Reflect

Recovery Run Virtual This Year,

But Family Gathers To Reflect

Cathy Rothenberger, left, runs with granddaughters Addison, front, and Piper, left, in Neahwa Park marking the start of the 2020 Rothenberger Road to Recovery Run, in memory of her son Lucas. The race, organized by Friends of Recovery of Delaware-Otsego has gone virtual this year, allowing people from across the country to compete for the highest cumulative distance now through September 30. Friends and family gathered for a small ceremony this morning in solidarity to share memories and show support for community members struggling with addiction. “If people have the opportunity to open up, it helps relieve some of the pain.” said Cathy Rothenberger, as she stood with husband Dale. “There are resources and committed members of this community who can help you. We are a society of helping people and I hop that people can take advantage of that.”(Ian Austin/AllOTSEGO.com)

Teams Enjoy The Green At Chamber Golf Classic

Chamber Golfers Hit Links

Tom Thetford, Wayne Carrington and Joe Harmer, look on as Patti Canner takes lines up the shot on the green during this afternoon’s 34th Annual Golf Classic at the Oneonta Country Club, sponsored by the Otsego County Chamber of Commerce. Teams kept socially distant as their made their way though the golf course and tried their luck at trying to win a car by making a hole-in-one. (Ian Austin/AllOSEGO.com)

Dr. Fauci’s ‘First Pitch’ Mask Donated To Hall of Fame

Fauci’s ‘First Pitch’ Mask

Donated To Baseball Hall

Dr. Anthony Fauci’s Washington Nationals mask was donated to the Baseball Hall of Fame. (Milo Stewart Jr./National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum)

COOPERSTOWN –  Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, is now part of baseball history

The Washington Nationals-themed mask that Fauci wore to throw out the ceremonial first pitch of the 2020 Major League Baseball season, ahead of the game the Nationals and the Yankees on Thursday, July 23, has been donated to the Baseball Hall of Fame.

The Hill City Rollers Skate Against Hate

The Hill City Rollers

Skate Against Hate

Baby Lace, Mrs. Boutfire and Bizzy Cheap Skate lead a a group around Neahwa Park this morning at the Hill City Roller Derby team took a stand against hate. The demonstration was part of the Worldwide Roll Out Day: Roll To Erase Hate movement started by skating coach Skate Fan Tazee out of Atlanta. “We wanted to get people from the rolling community to promote positivity and safe spaces in our community.” explained Mrs. Boutfire (aka Robin Williams, Oneonta) “We want to be open to all people. Derby is about anyone being able to do it regardless of color, body type, gender, or how much you have skated. This is an all-inclusive sport!” The group met at the skatepark and rolled their way around the park with their signs. “Anything we can do to make a statement.” said Jim Ruffo, Oneonta, “We will not stand for hate.”(Ian Austin/AllOTSEGO.com)
NO JETER INDUCTION UNTIL 2021

NO DEREK JETER

INDUCTION UNTIL 2021

By LIBBY CUDMORE & JIM KEVLIN • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com

COOPERSTOWN – As many as 90,000 fans were anticipated in Cooperstown for this year’s July 26 Induction of Yankees’ superstar Derek Jeter.

But instead of a potential record-breaking crowd, USA Today revealed this week, the Clark Sports Center field may be empty.

“With the COVID-19 pandemic raging across the country – with 292,000 cases in New York – there is little choice but to push it back a year and combine the two Hall of Fame classes,” baseball columnist Bob Nightengale posted Tuesday, April 28, on usatoday.com.

“If that is the case, postponing is probably the best-case scenario,” said Mayor Ellen Tillapaugh Kuch. “I had a hard time envisioning that there would be any mass gathering prior to antibody testing or a vaccine.”

Though Jon Shestakofsky, Hall vice president/communications & education, said Nightengale’s piece is “not entirely accurate,” he did say the Hall of Fame board of directors will be meeting this week, and “at some point this week we should have a decision to share.”

County board Chairman, Dave Bliss, R-Cooperstown/Town of Middlefield, said despite challenges to the column’s accuracy, “we’re curious to see what they actually come out with. Obviously, it would be a disappointment for everyone if it doesn’t happen, but it’s not surprising given the current circumstances.”

“I’m not surprised,” said Vinnie Russo, owner of Mickey’s Place and dean of the Main Street merchants. “At a minimum I thought it would be delayed until the fall.”

With 600 hotel rooms in Greater Cooperstown and another 1,000 rooms in Oneonta getting a four-day premium of perhaps $1,000 each, he estimated that lost revenue alone as heading toward $2 million.

Mickey’s Place, which sells premium baseball caps, is open year ’round, but “if your business opens your door on Memorial Day and closes Labor Day, it’s substantially greater than that.”

County Rep. Andrew Marietta, Cooperstown/Town of Otsego, the senior Democrat on the county board, said he wasn’t surprised either and, with the COVID-19 budget crunch, the county board was otherwise occupied.

“From the county’s perspective,” he added, “I didn’t hear any talk about there not being an Induction. I don’t even think it’s been on the table. The county is focused on preparing for (reductions) in funding.”
According to Nightengale, the Hall dismissed the idea of a “virtual” ceremony early on.

“Half of the feeling of Induction is just being there,” said Tillapaugh. Still, perhaps merchants could use the summer without baseball to “re-imagine” their businesses.

“Many businesses have an online component that may tide them over,” she said. “We can use this as a regrouping year, and have a safe induction
next year.”

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