SAUGERTIES, N.Y. – The Saugerties Stallions have recently announced that Saugerties Sports and SUNY New Paltz Hall of Famer, Tom Whitaker, will take the reigns as the team’s head coach for the upcoming 2017 Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball League (PGCBL) season.
Whitaker, a life-long Saugerties resident, assumes the role as bench boss with a background filled with a variety of baseball experience. His coaching experience ranges from all levels of baseball in the local Saugerties community to a stint as pitching coach at SUNY Ulster.
A former Saugerties High School standout, Whitaker went on to piece together a Hall of Fame career at SUNY New Paltz in the 1970s, earning State University of New York Athletic Conference (SUNYAC) All-Conference honors in each of his four seasons. He was the team’s ace and etched his name in several school record books during his time with the Hawks. Additionally, he was one of the top bats in the lineup and started at first base when he wasn’t on the mound.
Following a tremendous collegiate career, Whitaker received an invite to Spring Training with the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1977, but was ultimately release at the conclusion of extended spring training due to injury. His playing career continued post-graduation in the Hudson Valley Rookie League and Mohawk-Hudson Baseball League. During his seven seasons with the Saugerties Dutchmen – who also made their home at Cantine Field – Whitaker was part of four championship teams and was twice crowned league MVP.
In 2007, Whitaker was honored for his outstanding collegiate career, when he became the 59th member of the SUNY New Paltz Athletic Hall of Fame. Two years later, he was inducted into the Saugerties Sports Hall of Fame, where he joined his grandfather, Herb, and father, Frank.
In his first season with the Stallions, Whitaker will be assisted by fellow area native Steven Freer, who was named the team’s pitching coach. A former state championship-winning baseball player at Saugerties High School, Freer played collegiately at Rockland Community College before transferring to Division I St. John’s University. He was a member of the Red Storm's 1988 Big East Championship team.
Freer joins the Stallions after serving as head coach at SUNY Ulster from 2013 to 2016. His Senators qualified for the Region XV tournament in each of the last two seasons. He coached three players to Region XV All-Star honors, including former Saugerties outfielder Micah Riddick. Freer also served as a pitching coach for the Senators from 1991 to 1994 and helped guide SUNY Ulster to its first-ever appearance in the NJCAA World Series.
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