ONEONTA, N.Y. (WKTV) - Playing their first game ever under owners not named Sam Nader and Sid Levine on Friday, the Oneonta Tigers shut out Tri-City 2-0 in their season opener at Damaschke Field.
Nader and Levine had owned the New York-Penn League franchise since its inception in 1966 before selling their ownership shares over the winter. The pair were honored for their service prior to the game with plaques, and Nader received Minor League Baseball's Gold Pass from president Pat O'Connor, allowing him free access to any minor league game in the country, and was told the New York-Penn League's Executive of the Year award will now be named after him.
"It seems like a flash now," said Nader of his career with the franchise, which started as a New York Yankees affiliate then switched to the Detroit Tigers. "When I was doing it, it seemed like a long time. Couldn't wait for the season to open, then after about four days you couldn't wait for it to end. But it's been a great, great ride."
Afterwards, Oneonta starting pitcher Jeff Gerbe escaped a bases-loaded, one-out jam in the top of the first inning and cruised from there, throwing six shutout innings and allowing just four hits. The Tigers' runs both came in the third inning on a two-out RBI single by Jim Gulliver and an RBI double by Wade Gaynor, and Mike LaLuna backed up Gerbe with three innings of one-hit ball and striking out six for the save.
Oneonta and Tri-City continue their series at Tri-City Saturday then return to Oneonta for the finale Sunday at 6:00.
During the game, letters from well-wishers involved with Nader over the years were read, including one from former Oneonta and Yankees player Don Mattingly and former Syracuse/current Braves manager Bobby Cox.