Saugerties Sports Hall of Fame: Beisel & baseball

George Beisel in 1977.

George Beisel, a lifelong Saugerties resident, a longtime village employee most recently in the Water Department, is now a member of the Saugerties Sports Hall of Fame Club’s Class of 2019. It’s fitting Beisel will be enshrined in the Hall of Fame this April, a time of year traditionally associated with America’s pastime. Beisel was a standout baseball player through high school, mostly eschewing other sports in favor of the game. 

“I love all sports, but if I had to pick only one, it would be baseball,” said Beisel. 

It’s not that Beisel hasn’t competed in other sports: He played biddy basketball on the Bucks, the Saugerties Atheltic Association’s (SAA) half court league, and was on the SAA Sawyer Basketball League’s Mt. Marion Market team from 1979 to 1984, during which the team was the reigning champion for six consecutive seasons. Beisel played Ulster touch football with the Browns, threw darts for the Mt. Marion Athletic Club, played SAA volleyball, and still plays pickup basketball at Donlon Hall. 

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Over the years, Beisel played basketball in numerous American Legion fundraisers at Saugerties High, joining fellow Hall of Famers Mark Becker, Holly Carnright, Rich Koegel, Jerry Malgieri, Mike Melville, Bill Murphy, Chuck Schirmer, John Speirs, and Tom Whitaker facing off against opponents like members of the New York Giants in the SHS gymnasium.

The baseball diamond has always held a special allure for Beisel, from his Little League years with the South Side Cardinals through freshman, junior varsity, and (from grades ten through twelve) varsity seasons with the Saugerties High School Sawyers. A 1977 graduate of Saugerties High, he fondly remembers playing pickup games with friends at Mount Marion Elementary School.

Beisel has carried his love of baseball and softball into his adult life, where he’s played SAA softball for Mt. Marion Inn, Anthony’s Auto, and currently Sawyer Motors. He counts among his fondest sports memories winning on the baseball field. 

In 1970, Beisel’s South Side Cardinals won the Saugerties Little League title, managed by Harold Wilsey, with coaches Tom Wilsey and Alan Roos. 

The following year, Beisel was on the Saugerties Little League All-Star team that won the District 15 title. So were fellow Hall of Famers Iggy Maines, Mark Becker, Steve Schaefer, Jay Harris and Jimmy Hackett. “I remember all the great food we ate at the Flamingo Restaurant during the award banquet afterwards,” said Beisel. 

Beisel and Becker were also on the All-Star team that retained the District 15 Little League title in 1972. 

The camaraderie and friendships on all the teams he was on have stayed with him over the years. 

In addition to playing, Beisel also coached his son, George Beisel, Jr., through t-ball (Tigers, Cubs, Rockies and Orioles), Little League (Cardinals) and Babe Ruth (Red Sox and Mets). “It was rewarding to watch the players progress over the years not only in baseball skills, but also in confidence and maturity,” Beisel said. 

Beisel and his wife Rita have been married for 30 years this June, a milestone to look forward to after the Hall of Fame celebrations have faded into memory. 

Beisel joins Robert Dodig, Jr., John Gambino, Gregg Jones and John Parker in the Saugerties Sports Hall of Fame Club’s 2019 class. The induction banquet is scheduled to take place on Saturday, April 13 at Diamond Mills in Saugerties. At $30, tickets can be secured by contacting Mike Hasenbalg at mikehasenbalg@yahoo.com or 914-388-2348.