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