Howard: Christmas, and Jeter, comes early to Hamilton College

From John Howard at The Clinton (New York) Courier on December 10, 2014, with mention of SABR member Richard Hunt:

For baseball fans, Christmas comes early this week. For many, it is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Derek Jeter, a Yankee — the Yankee — will grace the 13323 zip code.

This Wednesday, the baseball history-maker will come to Clinton as part of Hamilton College’s 2014 Sacerdote Great Names Series. The event will be moderated by sports broadcaster Harold Reynolds and more than 5,000 people are expected to attend with others watching the conversation unfold in two separate on-campus venues via webcast.

To say that this wasn’t one of the most anticipated Great Names Series — and even that has attracted the likes of Hillary Clinton, Jon Stewart, and Margaret Thatcher — would be the biggest understatement in the program’s 18-year history.

“How can you not like Derek Jeter?” said John Parks. “You’ve got to have respect for him.”

“It’s a great thing [to have him come to Clinton.] I’ve been waiting for it forever,” added Matt Foppes. “He’s a role model for the whole entire league.”

Parks and Foppes are what you might call sports fanatics. They were introduced to major league baseball by their families at age 5 and in high school, and were members of the baseball research club, the Society for American Baseball Research (SABR).


Richard Hunt, an adjunct professor at Hamilton College, MVCC and Utica College, is a former Clinton High School principal. He was also the advisor to SABR when Parks and Foppes were members.

A devoted Mets fan, Hunt considers himself “the biggest anti-Yankees fan” in town, if not the world. Still, he was one of the first to secure tickets to the event.

“[Jeter] was one of the best. It’s just too bad it helped the Yankees win,” Hunt said with a chuckle. “How could he play long and so well with an unsullied reputation? It just seemed that he loved his occupation.”

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Originally published: December 11, 2014. Last Updated: December 11, 2014.