Randy Dodig, Sr. joins his relatives in the Saugerties Sports Hall of Fame

 

Randy Dodig, Sr. now and then.

You’ll see familiar surnames emerge when you scroll through a list of the members of the Saugerties Sports Hall of Fame. For the third straight year and the fourth year out of the last five, a member of the Dodig family will make the cut. Randy Dodig, Sr. will be inducted as part of the hall’s Class of 2017.

“I was pretty excited and humbled,” Dodig said. The honor will take the pressure off at family gatherings, he joked. “My father, my mother and my brother are in it, and a couple of my cousins are in it, so it was kind of a relief in a way. You never want to be the one that breaks the streak.”

Dodig, who attended Grant D. Morse Elementary and graduated from Saugerties High in 1984, was a classic three-sport athlete. “As far back as I can remember we were always involved in sports, whether it was baseball, football or basketball,” Randy Dodig continued. “As soon as we were old enough, my brother and I were playing Little League, Pop Warner football and biddy league [basketball]. It was seasonal. Whatever season it was, that was the sport I was interested in. During baseball season I loved baseball. I loved playing football. And during the winter it was basketball. I really played all three.”

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Dodig started his sophomore baseball season on the Saugerties High School baseball team as a third baseman, his first time on the hot corner.

“When I was younger, in Little League and Babe Ruth, and later in American Legion and Dutchmen I played short,” he said. “When I was a sophomore, my cousin Jeff [HOF Class of 2015] was playing short so I was moved over to third and I just kind of stuck there. In my senior year, Richie Hines was a really solid infielder, so I stayed at third.”

During his senior year, the Sawyers made the state’s high school baseball tournament. “We ended up losing in the semis, but that was an unbelievable memory,” Dodig remembered. “And then they won it in ‘85. It was great to see them finish off what we’d started.”

Dodig was called up to varsity football during his sophomore year, where he played both quarterback on offense and safety on defense. “I loved playing quarterback,” he said. “I loved throwing a football. Of all the athletic endeavors that I’ve done, probably throwing a football and playing quarterback was my most favorite.”

By his junior year, Dodig was also playing at the varsity level in basketball.

“I played what is now called the three,” he said. “I was a bit of a swingman, with a little bit of shooting guard. And this was before the three-point line [was used in high school].”

After high school, Dodig went to Winthrop College (renamed Winthrop University in 1992) in Rock Hill, South Carolina, following his cousin Jeff southward. But after a year Dodig transferred to the College of Saint Rose in Albany, from which he graduated in 1989 with a degree in sociology, playing baseball for the Golden Knights.

He lived in Albany until the mid-1990s when he and his wife Lisa Dodig, née Gunn, bought a house in Saugerties, the town where they both had grown up. After nearly two decades on the road as a manufacturers’ rep for ski-equipment companies, Dodig became a sales representative for BSN Sports, where he’s worked for the past decade selling sports apparel and equipment to high schools.

While he’s made a career out of his love for sports, Dodig is also involved in Saugerties-based sports for kids. He and Lisa have a 14-year-old son, Randy, Jr., and an eleven-year-old daughter, Madalyn. Both kids are athletes.

“Since Randy has been five I’ve been involved in [Saugerties] Little League,” Dodig said. “I’m active and on the board. And my daughter is still involved.”

He helped found the Saugerties Dutchmen travel team for 11-13-year-old kids while his son was still in that age range. The team folded last year, morphing into the Junior Legion program, which serves kids age 13 through 17. “Hopefully that catches on and sticks around and provides another avenue for kids to play,” Dodig said.

When Randy Dodig was a kid, Saugerties was a big baseball town. It still is.

“It’s a huge sense of pride for me to be part of the community and part of Saugerties baseball past and present,” Dodig said. “I don’t think our kids get enough credit. We had some unbelievable baseball players in our school. During the three years that I was on varsity we had some really, really good baseball players. You go outside of the community and people know Saugerties as a baseball town. To be part of that, there’s a huge sense of pride.”

With that in mind, Dodig said he was especially pleased to be joining the Hall of Fame alongside Ed Short, a fellow member of the SHS Class of 1984. “If I played 1000 baseball games, I probably played 900 of them with Eddie [Short] as my teammate,” he said.

Dodig isn’t playing baseball any more. Even his recreational softball days are long in the past. “Between being involved with my kids, coaching them and running them around to the things they do, I don’t really have time,”

But that doesn’t mean he’s given up on sports altogether. “I still try to get out and ride my dirt bike,” he said. “I race motocross every now and then, and that’s my release.”

After attending many Hall of Fame dinners as a supporter, Dodig is looking forward to going again this year as an inductee. “The thing that’s been great for me since my cousin John started the [family] streak, if you will, is you get to go there and listen to the speeches,” he said. “It just brings back so many memories. I don’t really think about my playing days that much. So when you go to these things you see a lot of people you don’t normally run into.”

The annual Saugerties Sports Hall of Fame induction ceremony and dinner on Saturday, April 8 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 and can be reserved by e-mailing Mike Hasenbalg (mikehasenbalg@yahoo.com).