Once again, following a tradition of Albert “Sam” Nader, the Oneonta Outlaws are completely owned and operated by local people.
As coach of the Oneonta High School Yellowjackets, Joe Hughes and team brought home a New York state high school championship trophy in 2012. At a ceremony at Damaschke Field in July, Hughes was named “Mr. Baseball.”
“I haven’t accepted that position,” Hughes said, “because in my mind there is only one ‘Mr. Baseball’ and that is Mr. Nader. It’s nice recognition, but to me when I think of baseball in Oneonta, I think of Sam Nader.”
As far as what Nader has meant to baseball in Oneonta, Hughes said, “more than 40 years of family entertainment, watching America’s game in a beautiful, historic park, and seeing many players move on to Major League careers. It’s an immeasurable contribution to the community.”
Hughes said he is thrilled to be a part of the Outlaws club.
“Part of my desire to be here is to keep the legacy of summer baseball alive in Oneonta,” he added.
Laing, new Outlaws owner, said he is also excited with what’s ahead for this season and also considers Sam Nader to be a modern-day icon of baseball in Oneonta.
“When I was a kid I used to shag baseballs at Damaschke Field,” Laing recalled. “A few of us would make a little money or get hot dogs and soda each summer, thanks to Sam Nader. It was a great thing to just be there.”
“Sam kept baseball in Oneonta,” Laing said, “and I now know from experience that it is not cheap. It’s a huge investment of not only money, but time. I’m glad I was given the opportunity, and being from Oneonta it makes me feel better than you can possibly imagine of continuing what Sam Nader started,” Laing concluded of baseball in the modern era.