John Parker grew up in Saugerties, but hasn’t lived here since just after high school. But his time in the town, especially athletically, resonates across the decades. He’s set to join the Saugerties Sports Hall of Fame Club’s Class of 2019.
Parker, a 1981 graduate of Saugerties High School, was a three-sport man for the Sawyers, with four years of varsity football, and two years’ each of varsity basketball and baseball on his resume.
Parker attended Cahill Elementary School. Growing up, baseball was his favorite sport, and he played from Little League through Babe Ruth and American Legion, devoting his springs and summers to the diamond. His parents, Ed and Louise, were supportive throughout.
In the winter, there was basketball, in Biddy and Moose leagues, the latter in Kingston where Parker was a team captain. He also played half-court basketball and softball in Saugerties Athletic Association adult leagues.
After graduating from Saugerties High, Parker went on to Dickinson College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, where he was a four-year starter on the Red Devils’ baseball and football teams, and a captain and MVP of both as well.
Parker would eventually become a golfer, the lone athletic endeavor he still partakes in from his home in Upper Makefield, Pennsylvania, not far from Trenton, New Jersey across the Delaware River.
Parker has also seen sports from a coaches’ point of view. He and his wife of 33 years, Christina, have three sons, Benn, Cal and Jackson. “My boys were all all-league football and baseball,” said Parker. “I coached baseball for ten years in Pennsylvania for various teams that my three boys played on.”
Parker retired from coaching altogether when his youngest son reached high school.
While he’s honored to be inducted into the Saugerties Sports Hall of Fame, Parker said he doesn’t have any particular memories of playing sports in Saugerties that stand out in his mind. Instead, it’s the whole thing, the little moments that made up the big ones.
“From my involvement, [there are] too many to single out a game or play,” Parker said. “Being part of so many teams, I’d say my memories are steeped in the day-to-day grind of a season, from preparing to the practices to putting on the game jerseys. It’s that time with your teammates and coaches that are the most memorable and missed.”
He has plenty of memories of sports played by his sons. “As a parent, [it’s] watching my sons compete over thousands of games and excel while being great teammates,” Parker said.
Parker, a graduate of the Villanova University School of Law’s Class of 1992, spent his first five post-school years working in commercial banking with a predecessor of Wells Fargo, where he eventually became a vice president. Later, he practiced corporate law with an international firm, attaining partnership. From 2000 to 2008, he was a founding member and president of a software company, after which he returned to private practice as an attorney. Parker is now co-manager and a founding partner of Philadelphia-based GenCounsel, a business services platform, which job he does while simultaneously running a second tech firm.
Parker joins Robert Dodig, Jr., John Gambino, George Beisel and Gregg Jones 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. Tickets are $30 and can be secured by contacting Mike Hasenbalg at firstname.lastname@example.org or 914-388-2348.