The Capital District Baseball Hall of Fame held its inaugural induction ceremony on Nov. 6, 2011 at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Albany, N.Y. Overall, 41 inductees made up the very first Hall of Fame class. Those inductees included former Schenectady (now Amsterdam) Mohawks Glen Barker (1993) and Brendan Harris (1999) and former Mohawks president Bob Bellizzi.
Glen Barker was a member of the Northeast Collegiate Baseball League’s Schenectady Mohawks in 1993. He played for current Mohawks team president Brian Spagnola. Barker starred collegiately at the College of Saint Rose in Albany where he was a two-time American Baseball Coaches Association (ABCA) All-Region selection. The Albany, N.Y., native graduated from Saint Rose as the school’s all-time leader in runs scored (209) and stolen bases (153).
Barker was an 11th-round selection of the Detroit Tigers in the 1993 Major League Baseball draft. The former Mohawk spent seven years in the Detroit Tigers organization before being acquired by the Houston Astros in the 1998 Rule V draft. The Saint Rose graduate made his Major League debut in 1999 with the Astros. He appeared in 84 games as a rookie and posted a .288 batting average. Barker played in Houston for three seasons and accumulated 235 Major League games. He was also part of two National League Central Division championships. Overall, Barker enjoyed an 11-year professional playing career.
The 1989 Albany High School graduate is currently the Director of Pacific Rim Scouting for the Houston Astros.
Brendan Harris suited up for the Northeast Collegiate Baseball League’s Schenectady Mohawks in 1999. Harris was part of a 28-12 regular season and a division championship. Collegiately, Harris played for the College of William & Mary. He was a 2001 Colonial Athletic Association all-league selection and a third team All-American. He set school single-season records for home runs (18), RBI (69) and slugging percentage (.757). The Chicago Cubs chose Harris in the 5th round (138th overall) of the 2001 Major League draft.
The Queensbury, N.Y., native made his Major League debut with the Cubs in 2004. He was shipped to Montreal that same season and clubbed his first MLB home run in the same game that former Mohawk Val Pascucci (1997) socked his first MLB clout. Harris played seven-straight seasons in the Major Leagues with six different teams from 2004 through 2010. The former Mohawk was a member of the Chicago Cubs (2004), Montreal Expos (2004), Washington Nationals (2005-2006), Cincinnati Reds (2006), Tampa Bay Rays (2007) and Minnesota Twins (2008-2010). Harris was part of back-to-back American League Central flags with the Twins in 2009 and 2010.
The Queensbury High School graduate spent the 2011 season with the Triple-A International League’s Norfolk Tides.
The late Bob Bellizzi served as Mohawks team president, owner and general manager at one time or another. Bellizzi helmed the Northeast Collegiate Baseball League’s Schenectady Mohawks from 1988 through 1990. The Mohawks won the NCBL championship in 1988 with an overall record of 34-8 and a .810 winning percentage, a mark that is still a franchise record. Away from the Mohawks, Bellizzi was the head baseball coach at the College of Saint Rose from 1978 through 2006. His Golden Knights made six combined regional playoff appearances between NCAA Division II and NAIA. Saint Rose advanced to the NAIA World Series in 1990 and the Division II World Series in 2000.
Bellizzi amassed a record at Saint Rose of 720-367-2 over nearly 30 years. The current home field of the Saint Rose baseball team, Bob Bellizzi Field, is named in his honor. It is also the home of the Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball League’s Albany Dutchmen.
According to the Hall of Fame web site (CDbaseball.com), the Capital District Hall of Fame is “designed to honor and recognize baseball players from upstate New York and their achievements in baseball. Other inductees last month included but were not limited to 1955 World Series Most Valuable Player Johnny Podres, current Major Leaguers Tim Stafuffer and Casper Wells and former Major Leaguer Johnny Evers. For more information, please visit CDbaseball.com.