January 12 – Happy Birthday John Shuler

shuler2Here’s an excerpt from my story about one of Amsterdam’s greatest all-time baseball fans, which appears in my new book “A Year’s Worth of Amsterdam Birthdays.” To order a copy, click here.

It was a sad time for baseball fans in Amsterdam, NY when in 1951 the New York Yankees ended their affiliation with the Amsterdam Rugmakers. There’s no doubt that the decade’s worth of Class C minor league play that had taken place at Mohawk Mills Park between 1938 and 1951 was of the best quality Rug City residents had ever had the pleasure of watching. When a town the size of Amsterdam loses a professional baseball team the resulting void could easily sour the community’s support and appreciation for the game. Fortunately today’s Birthday Celebrant was around to make sure that didn’t happen.

John Shuler was as big a fan of Rugmaker baseball as anybody but he was an even bigger fan of the game of baseball than just about anyone else in this community. He was a native of the Rug City, born on January 12, 1920. His family owned the Shuler Spring Works factory, which made springs for horse drawn wagons and carriages and was located across from Amsterdam’s current City Hall. Amsterdam’s Shuler Street was named after his family. He attended public schools and graduated from Wilbur Lynch in 1939. He served with the Seabees during WWII where he was trained as an electrician. After discharge from the service, Shuler began a 23-year career as an electrician at the GE main plant, a position he left in 1969 to care for his ailing mom. His professional experience would help him get the lights back on at the Mohawk Mills diamond long after the system up there became antiquated.

Shuler’s answer to losing a professional Rugmaker team made up of talented players from all over the northeast was to replace them with semi professional teams made up of the superb baseball talent that grew up right here in the Rug City. Outstanding local players like…

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