If there was a Hall of Fame for Amsterdam Recreation Softball, Jorge Rivera would be one of my choices to be inducted as a charter member. It didn’t matter if he was pitching against me, managing the opposing team or calling balls and strikes, he gave it his best effort and was always one of the classiest and fairest guys on the field. I used to love playing against his spirited and very good SAC teams. They always battled till the final out. Ditto for those great Skiba’s teams he played for. But softball was only a part of this guy’s legacy in Amsterdam.
Born in Puerto Rico on September 24, 1937, he moved north in the late fifties and settled in Brooklyn before coming to Amsterdam in 1970 and marrying his wife Daisy. Like newcomers who’d been making their homes in this community since the nineteenth century, Jorge joined a church; St. Michael’s, got a good job; General Electric, and raised his family; two sons and a daughter. He played Softball for fun but doing so helped make it easier to assimilate to his new home and then he used his strong connections to the game to help other new members of Amsterdam’s Latino community do the same. He truly was a mentor among Amsterdam’s Hispanic population. A great father to his own kids and a loving spouse he never refused to help a relative, friend or neighbor who needed a favor or assistance dealing with a situation.
I’m trying to remember where it was the last time I saw him but I can’t. I do remember the conversation clearly though…
My complete birthday post for Jorge will appear in the new second edition of A Year’s Worth of Amsterdam, NY Birthdays, which will be available before the 2016 Holiday season. I also distribute an Amsterdam, NY Birthday Blog Monthly Newsletter that includes the full birthday posts for three of the twenty-to-thirty people whose birthdays I recognize each month. Each newsletter also includes an Amsterdam Birthday Quiz that will test your knowledge and memory of people and events in your hometown.
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