Ed Short got the news of his pending induction into the Saugerties Sports Hall of Fame member of the Class of 2017 the way many learn about anything: He saw it on social media. “I found out when they posted it on Facebook that I was elected,” Short said. “It was a surprise, and it was a couple of days before my birthday so it was a good surprise.”
Short was announced with fellow inductees Rick Andreassen, Randy Dodig, Steve Freer and Derek Whittaker in mid-January. The ceremony is planned for Saturday, April 8.
Short, a member of the Saugerties High School Class of 1984, went to elementary school at both Cahill and Riccardi, and got his start in local sports as an eight-year old Little Leaguer. Short played football from junior high through his junior hear of high school, and he was on the varsity basketball team as a senior. He also played junior league and men’s half-court basketball in the Saugerties Athletic Association.
But baseball was always his game. Short played in little league, the majors, Babe Ruth, American Legion Post 72, and finally with the Saugerties Dutchmen, a men’s amateur travel team that was founded in 1980 that played its final game on July 31, 1999.
“Although I liked other sports and did pretty well in those, baseball was definitely my favorite,” Short said. “You know, I really don’t know why. I just liked the idea of getting outside and smacking a ball around and being around people and having fun with it.”
Short initially played third base as a kid, but as he got older he honed his skills as a pitcher, alternating between starting on the mound and roaming the outfield. Short recalled an early memory playing in a Little League championship game for the Cardinals. The team was sponsored by LoDolce Machinery and coached by Tom Wilsey.
“I remember we were in a deadlocked game, 4-4, and it was the sixth inning,” Short said. “[2016 Saugerties Sports Hall of Fame inductee] Mike Dodig got up and hit a home run and put us in the lead. I was standing in the dugout at eleven years old, and I started crying like a baby because I was so excited that just took place. I was pitching that game, and if I could go out and hold the lead we were going to be champs. That was an exciting moment. It was the first championship I was ever part of.”
Short always felt a sense of community pride when he played baseball, regardless of the level. “Whether it was high school, the Dutchmen, the [American] Legion or whoever, anytime you put on that uniform that says Saugerties, not only do you represent the team that you play for, you represent your teammates and also your community,” Short said. “You’re wearing your community’s name on there, so you want to do well.”
That sense of pride extended to the place Short enjoyed most of his fondest baseball memories, the Cantine Veterans Memorial Complex, more commonly known as Cantine Field.
“You have one of the finest complexes in Ulster County, Dutchess County area,” Short said. “Fortunately for me I’ve been around the world and around the country, and I’ve seen a lot of different locations and different amateur facilities, and I’m not saying this because I grew up there. Saugerties is probably the best facility I’ve even for amateur sports ever. I’ve been to Europe, South America, lots of different places, and what they do [in Saugerties] is right up there. It’s amazing.”
Much of Short’s world traveling came during his eight and a half years as an electrician in the United States Navy, which he joined in November 1986.
“I went in when I was 20,” Short said. “I graduated high school and worked a job in a shipping and receiving department and played for the Dutchmen for a couple of years. And after that I needed to do something with my life and make something of it. All I knew was sports, and I figured at 20 I wasn’t going pro any more. College wasn’t the answer, so I went military. I worked on ship’s generators, lighting, power distribution, you name it. Whatever electricians do out here I did on a ship. I stayed in there for eight and a half years, and it was a good experience. I’d never trade it in for the world. I’m glad I did it. I got to see a lot of countries I’d have never gotten the chance to see, and I met a lot of people from our country who’ve become good friends I still have today.”
Short is still an electrician today, living in West Deptford, New Jersey with his wife, Nancy Short (née Sauer), also a Class of 1984 SHS alum. Though they knew each other in high school, Short said they weren’t high school sweethearts.
“Actually we were high-school competitors,” he explained. “She played on the softball team, I played on the baseball team, and we used to bust each other’s chops on who won or who lost. We dated afterward.”
Ed and Nancy Short married in 1988. Their daughter, Brittany, 19, is in her freshman year of college.
For awhile, because of his commitment to the Navy, Short didn’t play much baseball. “After the Dutchmen I basically stopped playing for a long time,” he said. “And in the Navy you can’t commit to playing any sports because you’re in and out of port, one minute you’re here and the next you’re gone for a couple of months. Every once in a while I’d play a rec game, but no organized sports to speak of for quite some time. Probably eight years, I think, that I didn’t play.”
Later, still in Virginia, where he’d moved with the Navy, Short started to get the itch again.
“I played recreational softball down in Virginia, on a men’s travel softball team that played in a lot of tournaments,” Short said. “By the time a season was over we’d probably have played around 200 games a year. The season started in February and ended Thanksgiving weekend with what they called the Turkey Shoot-Out.”
Short also played co-ed softball with his wife in Virginia until he was around 38 years old. He took a couple of years off, and then wrapped up his time on the diamond with what he now calls one of the most important experiences of his baseball and softball life.
“I went back to Saugerties when I was 42 and played one more year in the SAA,” Short said. “We didn’t do so good, but I had an opportunity to play on my younger brother Brian’s softball team. To end my career with him was probably the highlight of my career, regardless of all the awards and team championships. I think that was the defining moment. There was such an age difference between us, and then my military service took me away. To finally have that opportunity, my last hurrah, even though we were 2-14, it was still good. I think it was more meaningful to me than it was for him. I’m not sure. But it was great to do that.”
The Short family wound up in New Jersey when Nancy’s job moved her there. “My philosophy was that I’m an electrician and we’re needed everywhere,” Short said. “Her company needed us to move, so we came to New Jersey. And that brought us closer to New York, which was beneficial in the long run for our drive time.”
It will also reduce the travel time for the Saugerties Sports Hall of Fame induction ceremony and dinner planned for April 8. The event will be held at Diamond Mills, with doors opening at 5 p.m., a cocktail and meet-and-greet hour from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m., and the ceremony beginning immediately after. Tickets, which include some drinks and dinner, are $30. They can be reserved by e-mailing Mike Hasenbalg (firstname.lastname@example.org).