January 25 – Happy Birthday Oren Baker

orenbaker2Here is an excerpt from my story about this former Rugmaker hurler. His entire story appears in my new book “A Year’s Worth of Amsterdam Birthdays.” To order a copy, click here.

Amsterdam sports fans were all abuzz in April of 1938 because Minor League baseball was coming to the Rug City. A gentleman named Lou Gorski was moving his Canadian American League franchise to Amsterdam from Gloversville and to put icing on the cake, he had signed an agreement with the New York Yankees that made the team an affiliate of the Bronx Bombers. Legendary Amsterdam Recorder sports editor Jack Minnoch may have been the most excited guy in the city when this news broke. He made sure he was at the Barnes Hotel along with Gorski and the team’s first-year manager, Admiral Martin to welcome the players as they arrived in the city on buses from all over the Northeast for the first-ever Rugmaker spring training camp. Minnoch did mini-interviews with each player as they showed up at the Barnes, which was located on Amsterdam’s Market Street. He would use their remarks as fodder for his popular “Dressing Room Chatter” Recorder sports page column.

Today’s birthday celebrant did not exactly make a great first impression on Minnoch. Oren Baker’s bus ride from Erie, PA must have been a long and rough one because the first and only thing he asked Minnoch when he checked into the Barnes that day was how soft the beds were. He then went directly to his room to take a nap.

That may have been the only time during his six-month stay in Amsterdam that Baker showed up anywhere tired for anything…

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