COOPERSTOWN — The Patrick C. Fetterman Award is given every year to a person who demonstrates outstanding sportsmanship, inspired leadership and caring service, in particular in serving local youth in the field of athletics, but the recipients often serve the community in more ways than coaching. That is the case with the 2019 winner, Pete Henrici.
Although Henrici was a longtime baseball coach for Cooperstown Central School and in youth baseball, he is also known to a generation of Cooperstown area kids as a scoutmaster for the local Boy Scouts of America troop. In addition, he taught Latin at CCS, and has owned a store, Baseball Nostalgia, for decades.
“The letters we received to nominate Pete, were strong, articulate and painted the perfect picture of a perfect nominee for this award,” said Jane Forbes Clark.
Clark, the chair of the Clark Foundation, presented the award to Henrici during a ceremony Monday, Oct. 21, at The Otesaga Resort Hotel.
Henrici thanked the people who inspired him to start working with kids, including former Fetterman winners Ted Kantorowski and Mark Rathbun.
“When I came to Cooperstown in 1975, teaching, coaching and scouting were not on my agenda at that time,” he said.
He thanked his son, Michael, for getting him involved in Scouts, and his wife of 41 years, Judi.
“Her name means patience, and boy have I tested that over the years,” he said.
Henrici, who has also won the Silver Beaver Award for outstanding service to the Boy Scouts, said he is proud Cooperstown’s troop will honor six or seven Eagle Scouts this year, a local record.
His family and colleagues said the award was well deserved, for his teaching, coaching and Scouting leadership.
“As much as Pete does for the community, he does so much for his family, too,” his daughter-in-law, Danielle Henrici, said. “I know my husband is the man he is because of his father.”
“He has always been part of the fabric of baseball and downtown (Cooperstown),” former player Scott Curtis said. “He is revered among the group of us from the 1970s and ‘80s.”
More than 10 people spoke about Henrici’s contributions to the community, at times speaking more about his teaching and work with the BSA than his coaching. His work as a trustee at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Cooperstown was also noted.
“Pete embodies what is best about Cooperstown,” fellow scoutmaster Hank Nicols said.
Henrici’s success in coaching was noted, too.
“I still use some of the things that he did in coaching way back when,” said CCS softball coach Dave Bliss, a former Fetterman winner, who was coached by Henrici in the 1970s.
“You exemplify the greatness of our human race,” Kantorowski said. “I can’t thank you enough for all you did for Cooperstown Central School.”
The award is named for former Clark Gym associate director Patrick Fetterman, and is presented each year by the Clark Sports Center and the Clark Foundation.
Fetterman was one of Henrici’s mentors, and Henrici said he is honored to follow in Fetterman’s footsteps.
“It all comes down to what Pat Fetterman stood for, and that’s teaching,” Henrici said.
Greg Klein can be reached at email@example.com.