February 22 – Happy Birthday Bob Cetnar

The Hagaman Blue with Coach Bob Cetnar standing on the far right.

Every community is fortunate to have them. High energy individuals who feel an obligation to make where they live a better place to be, not just for themselves but everyone else as well. Bob Cetnar was one of those individuals and the folks who live in the village of Hagaman, NY know exactly what I mean.

Bob was born in Amsterdam on February 22, 1946. He graduated from Wilbur Lynch High School in Amsterdam, NY and then served his country proudly as a member of the US Air Force. After his enlistment was up, he was able to land a job with General Electric where he graduated from that company’s prestigious apprentice program and went from working nights in Building 52 to becoming one of GE’s top turbine trouble-shooters. His daughter Tammy told me her Dad once got a crippled oil rig located off the coast of Oman back on line. He retired from GE in 2008 but his professional and workplace relationships remained an important part of his retirement years.

As good as he was at his work, Bob’s family was his reason for living. He married his beloved Mary Lou in 1965 and together they raised five cherished kids who were all excellent athletes. Bob believed strongly that sports could play a constructive role in the lives of every child and he took on the role of Hagaman Youth Commissioner for many years to make sure Village kids had every opportunity to be a part of a team, compete and learn good sportsmanship.

The tradition of excellence in Hagaman baseball has been around forever, from back in the days when the Pileckas brothers dominated local diamonds. Bob Cetnar knew how to play the game as well. He was a slugger in his younger days, one time banging three home runs in a game against suburban league arch-rival Ft. Johnson. He made sure the village’s baseball tradition continued. His career as a coach started with his daughter’s softball team and grew from there..

I’ve already started work on the second volume of “A Year’s Worth of Amsterdam Birthdays” and Bob Cetnar’s complete story will be featured in it. I will be sharing the complete posts of some of the Volume II birthday celebrants in future issues of the Amsterdam Birthday Blog Newsletter. If you are not yet a newsletter subscriber, you can sign up for free here.

The greatest AHS football player I ever saw also celebrates his birthday today.

2 thoughts on “February 22 – Happy Birthday Bob Cetnar

    1. My dad got his start with coaching with the Adirondack Girls league, when I was 8 I started playing softball there were so many girls on the team the following year it was split into 2 teams Dad & Glen Nixon took one team and Charlie Brown coached the other…still seems like yesterday. as time went on there was only enough of us still interested in playing ball as we turned into teenagers, dad was still there, coming home from work, long enough to quickly change and say to me “is the equipment in the car? Lets go” Dad was a member of the Hagaman youth commission and later was in charge with others working with him, since there was really no place to keep any of the paperwork for all of this including the rosters and ALL team schedules for the Hagaman teams it became part of our household. The weekends when of the sign ups then the making of the teams, the barrel drives for uniforms and equipment, dad NEVER missed any of it! When we “graduated” to the Senior Girl team as teenagers we wanted team jackets so we bought them ourselves. Dad worked at GE all his life, He would PROUDLY wear his Hagaman Senior Girls team jacket. One day he was getting gas in Schenectady when he was approached by a gentleman from the Jimmy Fund, they talked for a while and we were invited to play softball on a little island near the Virgin Islands, we did a lot of fundraising, and dad of course did alot of research, well that trip fell thru BUT dad didn’t he planned a trip to Hershey park for us AND lined up Softball games for us while we were there a double header! We spent a week in PA played ball met new friends, went yo Gettysburg and Hershey Park, even got dad on a roller coaster! (you HAD to be there for that one!)BUT the best memory I think was at the end of the season, we had nobody to play ball against at our picnic, BUT dads mind was going! OH WAS IT GOING! He told us that he found a womans team from Texas that was going to be in the area and would come play us, we were like great…LITTLE DID WE KNOW…..The name of the team was the Yellow Rose of Texas….well, they were NOT from Texas, they were all from the Hagaman area, THEY WERE OUR DADS dressed up as women!!! They all raided closets, second hand stores everywhere! they threw and hit opposite their normal and we had so much fun that year..they Yellow Rose of Texas team came back the following year! I could go on & on about the memories but I think the Yellow Rose of Texas and his devoted dedication to everything he did…and it all started with a softball team of little girls who wanted to play softball but there were to many girls on the team to actually get on the field and play, dad stepped in…


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