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June 8, 2013

Oneonta's Mr. Baseball

Sam Nader's influence on America's pastime unrivaled locally

(Continued)

The NY-P League then offered Oneonta the chance to buy the franchise. Nader got on the phone and asked 10 potential investors if they wanted to buy the team, at $1,000 per person, forming the Oneonta Athletic Corp. Nader cautioned each investor, “It was accepting a right to lose money.” Nader didn’t have to do much arm twisting. Among those 10 initial investors was a longtime friend, Sidney Levine.

The Yankee affiliation lasted 32 seasons with many NY-P championships brought to Oneonta. Although the departure was difficult, even for Yankee owner George Steinbrenner, Nader said the exodus was professional and amicable. Along came the Detroit Tiger affiliation for another 11 seasons. Sam Nader and Sidney Levine, both looking to retire, sold the team in 2008, and the new owners decided to relocate the Tigers to Norwich, Conn., in 2010.

While the NY-P era was over in Oneonta, Mayor Richard P. Miller was determined to bring quality baseball to Oneonta, and succeeded in securing a franchise from Saratoga Springs in the New York Collegiate Baseball League. This development league, funded by Major League Baseball, gives college players who haven’t signed a professional contract an opportunity to develop their skills at a higher level of play, gain experience with wood bats, and be evaluated by baseball scouts looking for new talent. The new team was named the Oneonta Outlaws.

In 2012 the team switched to the Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball League.

While Oneonta had a strong, positive relationship with the new owners, Keith Rogers and Dan Scaring, local investors had the opportunity after the 2012 season to purchase the franchise. It was announced in December that lifetime Oneonta resident and businessman Gary Laing became the new owner. Steve Pindar, a native Oneontan, remained the franchise president of operations/general manager, and another lifetime Oneonta resident, Joe Hughes, became the new head coach. Rounding out the team partnership is Michael Getman, a lawyer. The new nonprofit organization was formed, the Oneonta Outlaws Baseball Club, Inc.

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