One of the great side benefits of writing this Amsterdam NY Birthday Blog is what I learn about the history of my hometown and its people. Being a huge sports fan, I’ve especially enjoyed digging into the detailed exploits of some of Amsterdam’s great high school athletes and teams from previous generations. Knowing what I now know, I would pay whatever it took for a ticket to watch Jack Tracy’s AHS baseball teams from the mid 1940’s play Brian Mee’s AHS ball clubs from the mid seventies. I had the advantage of watching many of the players from Mee’s coaching era compete live. I only wish I could have watched those who played for Tracy, including today’s Amsterdam Birthday Celebrant. With the utmost respect to Mee’s boys, I believe they’d have a tough time getting past Billy Tuman and his teammates.
Tuman was a standout starting pitcher and rock-steady shortstop for AHS teams that lost just one game over a two-year span. His teammates included two future Major Leaguers, Roger Bowman and Mack Kuczek plus two more who signed minor league contracts, Jack Pileckas and Costa Lazarou.
Tuman was born on March 27, 1928. His parents owned an Amsterdam tavern strategically positioned across the street from the Mohawk Mills complex on Forest Avenue. The tavern’s bar and large rear dining room would fill up during the lunch breaks for the mill’s first and second shift and the workers would rush across the street and down boiler makers and Helen Tuman’s cooking. When young Billy wasn’t helping his parents in the tavern he was hanging out with his Rockton neighborhood buddies and watching Amsterdam Rugmaker baseball games up at Mohawk Mills Park.
After graduating from AHS in 1946, Tuman attended Clarkson College for a year but he really wanted to become a professional ballplayer. He had tryouts with the New York Giants, Detroit Tigers and Philadelphia Phillies but…
The rest of Bill Tuman’s birthday post will be published in the second editionof A Year’s Worth of Amsterdam NY Birthdays, which will be available for sale right after Thanksgiving. To make sure you get your hands on one of the first copies, join my mailing list here.
The first edition of A Year’s Worth of Amsterdam NY Birthdays, which features my birthday posts for 320 current or former Amsterdam residents, is currently being sold at Liberty Fresh Market, on Route 30 in Amsterdam. You can also purchase it online here.