Joe “Base” Quirk, a name synonymous with local sports, will be inducted into the Saugerties Sports Hall of Fame this weekend. Quirk earned his way in not only because of his own playing days but also because of his dedication to Saugerties sports ever since.
Born in Cold Spring, Quirk came to Saugerties with his family a few years later and soon immersed himself in the time-honored community sports tradition. Quirk played in Saugerties Little League from 1974 to 1978, Biddy League basketball from 1976 to 1979, and Kingston Pop Warner football from 1978 to 1980. He was also involved in Saugerties Athletic Association junior league basketball from 1980 to 1984 while also competing in sports at Saugerties High.
Quirk earned his nickname in junior high school. It wasn’t related to baseball, but basketball. He was first called “Basic” by friend John Naccarato in junior high because of his basic jump shot. The monicker stuck, and was eventually shortened to “Base,” a name by which he’s still known.
In high school, Quirk continued playing sports, serving as the center of the varsity football team from 1981 until he graduated in 1985. From 1982 to 1985 he was a hurdler on the track and field team.
After high school, Quirk volunteered as a coach in the SAA biddy basketball league alongside Naccarato and Greg Vail, helping an expansion team become league champs in 1988. Quirk moved on to coach in junior league basketball in 1989, also becoming involved with Saugerties Babe Ruth as a coaching assistant, and then on the league’s board as equipment manager, a position created for him. Quirk later started the Babe Ruth 13-year-old prep league, helping young athletes make the transition between Little League and Babe Ruth. The prep league operated between 1994 and 2012.
Quirk continued rising through the ranks of local recreational sports, serving as Babe Ruth league vice-president from 1994 to 2002, also acting as Babe Ruth Eastern New York State assistant district commissioner from 1994 to 2011, moving up to commissioner in 2012, and then becoming the assistant state commissioner of the Eastern New York District. In 2016, he became the Saugerties Babe Ruth president. He’s also been a member of the town recreation board for over 20 years.
As a member of the staff of the Saugerties Stallions of the Perfect Game Collegiate League, Quirk recruits college baseball players to spend their summer playing on the same field he grew up himself. And the Quirks have served as a host family for a Stallions player since the team’s inception.
Quirk has also stayed connected to football, co-founding the Saugerties Youth Football League and serving as its vice-president in 2006 and 2007. He was also an assistant coach for the SHS varsity football team between 2006 and 2012.
Quirk and his wife Alice have two daughters, Lorna and McKena, both of whom are active in local sports, like the Saugerties Little League girls softball program, as well as gymnastics.
Even in his professional life as a steel worker in the New York City Local 580 Union Iron Workers, Quirk has tapped into sports. In addition to work on skyscrapers and subway stations, he’s done steelwork during the erection of Yankee Stadium and Citi Field, both of which opened in 2009. And he was also part of the recent refurbishment of Madison Square Garden.
Rob Elmendorf Jr. could not be reached by the Saugerties Times prior to the ceremony, but he is active in SAA softball, posting a 9-2 record and striking out 19 on the mound in the 2017 C Division season as a member of a team sponsored by Sue’s Restaurant and Rip’s Auto. He’s also active in Columbia Mixed League bowling, posting a 791 series at Saugerties Bowlers Club last December, building momentum with 246-266-279 games.