Pros bring baseball tutelage to Pathfinder Village residents

ContributedClint Hurdle, a former Major League Baseball player and manager, poses with Pathfinder Village athletes Grant Stubbs and Andrew Hyman during an afternoon baseball clinic held recently at Cooperstown’s Doubleday Field.

More than 50 residents of Pathfinder Village recently practiced their throwing, fielding, and hitting with former Major League Baseball players and the staff of a nonprofit organization, Baseball Miracles, during a special skills camp at Doubleday Field in Cooperstown.

Former players, coaches, and managers Clint Hurdle, David Palmer, Tom Carroll, Jason Phillips, Dickie Noles and Gary Holle led a team of volunteers and staff from Baseball Miracles in hosting the skills camp, according to a media release from Pathfinder.

Baseball Miracles, based in Marlboro, brings baseball to underserved communities and people with disabilities through camps and similar events.

After a round of instruction, the players went through rotations at six stations as the pros and volunteers advised how athletes could improve, the release said.

Coaches reminded players to focus on the fundamentals as they hit balls off tees.

“I’m a diehard baseball fan,” Pathfinder resident Grant Stubbs said in the release. “First, I went to the batting, then pitching, infield and outfield, and batting again. Everyone liked it and everyone is talking about it.”

Tom Carroll, who worked with players on the infield, called the day “perfect.”

Others attending included Cooperstown Deputy Mayor Cindy Falk, Pathfinder Village Chief Executive Officer Paul Landers, Vice President of Communications and Education Jon Shestakofsky from the National Baseball Hall of Fame, orthopedic surgeon Dr. Joseph Dutkowsky of Cooperstown and Bishop Edward Scharfenberger of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Albany. The event was facilitated through an introduction by the Hall of Fame of Pathfinder Village and Kyle Bamberger, a field ambassador for Baseball Miracles, the release said.

“The goodwill and generosity of the Baseball Miracles team and volunteers is overwhelming ... they traveled from around the U.S. to share their love of baseball with Pathfinder Village. It is a remarkable act of kindness,” Landers said. “We appreciate the National Baseball Hall of Fame for introducing these two wonderful organizations to one another and offer a special thank you to Dr. Joe (Dutkowsky) for coordinating today’s event. He’s a longtime friend of Pathfinder.”

Hurdle, an adviser for Baseball Miracles, is a former Boston Red Sox player and manager of the Colorado Rockies and Pittsburgh Pirates. He was named the National League’s Manager of the Year in 2013.

Former Montreal Expos pitcher David Palmer, who grew up playing on the same high school team as St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Dave LaPoint, is best known for pitching five perfect innings against the Cardinals in 1984.

Dickie Noles and Tom Carroll were pitchers for World Series-winning teams, the Phillies and Reds, respectively.

Gary Holle, a former member of the Texas Rangers, is also known as a former general manager of the Albany Patroons of the Continental Basketball Association.

Jason Phillips pitched for the Pittsburg Pirates and the Cleveland Indians.

Baseball Miracles provided Pathfinder’s athletes with baseball caps, and gloves. Each participant will also receive their own baseball card. Each player was provided a personalized jersey, courtesy of the Baseball Fantasy Camp for Kids organization, the release said.

Pathfinder Village is a nonprofit, planned community devoted to supporting people who have Down syndrome and other intellectual or developmental disabilities.

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