Local businessman and lifelong Saugerties resident Kevin Hinchey is hoping a love for baseball, a feel for the community and a little business savvy will help him bring success to Saugerties’ collegiate-level baseball team.
“We’re going to make this a major entertainment here in Saugerties,” Hinchey said. “What separates us from the previous owner is that we know this market. My staff and I are from here, we know the people and that will help us make this team a success.”
Kevin Hinchey, nephew of former U.S. Rep. Maurice Hinchey, announced the purchase at a press conference Oct. 8. Hinchey purchased the team from Marty Radford of South Carolina for an unspecified price.
The Stallions inaugural 2015 season was a disappointment, with a last-place finish and low attendance. By the end, League Commissioner Jeff Kunion was openly speaking about the need for new ownership.
Hinchey fits the bill. The release announcing the purchase includes the subheading “New Owner, New Team, New Attitude.”
Like the previous owner, he said Saugerties is an ideal community for a baseball team. “Saugerties is a baseball community from the time the Dutchmen played here, to the high school’s team, and the Babe Ruth and American Legion teams. Saugerties has been about baseball.”
The difference, he says, is he knows how to appeal to the local community and isn’t afraid to invest in the team.
The team will be paying the town of Saugerties $15,000 per year for use of Cantine Field, according to Greg Chorvas, superintendent of Parks and Buildings. Of that, $5,000 is to rent the facility and $10,000 is for improvements to the park and the use of parks department workers to maintain the field.
Over the course of the next seven months, Hinchey said, he will be rolling out more about the team including new players and what types of promotions are planned.
One of the first things Hinchey is doing is adding a new entranceway into the stands, which have remained pretty much the same since they were built in the 1930s as part of a WPA program. The new entranceway will have wrought iron gates and turnstiles as well as brick columns and an archway.
There will also be 113 seats added just behind home plate. These seats will be sold as part of a five-tier program with the most expensive seats going for $500 per season (25 home games).
A marketing campaign on the radio, TV and local newspapers is planned.
“This will be huge,” said Mayor William Murphy, a friend of Hinchey’s. “We have a skill level of ownership here that will make this a success. He has a good strong core group of local people that will make this work.”
“We’re going to have top collegiate players here, a local person running the team and some pretty good guys advising him,” Murphy added.
One of the first people Hinchey has spoken with is Dennis Sheehan, Saugerties graduate and successful coach of the Saugerties Post 72 American Legion team, the Dutchmen (the beloved adult amateur baseball club that played from 1980-99), and the Ulster County Community College team. For the last 22 years he has been a scout for Major League baseball teams including the Braves, Tigers and Royals.
“I’ve been helping put the team together,” Sheehan said. So far the team is about 90 percent complete.
One of the players they hope to have signed soon is hard-throwing pitcher Nick Teitter, who helped lead the Saugerties High School team to a MHAL title this year and the American Legion to a successful season. Teitter’s fast ball has been clocked at 90 miles per hour.
Town Supervisor Greg Helsmoortel, who played for the Dutchmen, said Saugerties residents who have missed that team will be pleased. “We have a Saugerties guy bringing baseball back.”
County Executive Mike Hein, who also played for the Dutchmen, echoed that sentiment. “High quality baseball is coming back to Saugerties.”