It's always good to see current and former baseball players taking the initiative to give back to the community around them. Recently, I was reading an article in the local paper about Billy Connors, a former player of the who briefly pitched for the Chicago Cubs and New York Mets. While he is currently known for his work as a Vice President and player personnel of the New York Yankees, Connors also holds ties to the community in which I have grown up in for my entire life.
A Schenectady native, Connors is notably remembered in this area for his contribution as a player in the 1954 Little League World Series in which he defeated the Colton Lions of Colton, California and led Schenectady to the World Series title.
In 2004, Connors and his fellow teammates were honored for their work on the field, an accomplishment that seems hard for some to believe happened 50 years ago. He had stated that, "It’s a wonderful thing being honored by Little League. Little League has been a big part of my life and it’s a great thrill receiving an award that honors Bill Shea because I played for New York Mets and I know how important Mr. Shea was to Little League Baseball and Major League Baseball.”
While Connors currently resides in Tampa, Florida, he still finds time to give back to the community that served him when he was a child growing up. He has recently announced the formation of the Billy Connors Scholar-Athlete Award Fund which was created to benefit students within the Schenectady city schools. A baseball coach in the Schenectady area stated that, “The scholarship is aimed at academics first, then leadership qualities and athletic skills. That’s the way Billy wanted it.”
As an individual working in the teaching field in this area, it is great to see individual step up and donate money that will directly help students financially be able to attend college so that their can fulfill their dreams. I hope that more athletes will follow the example that Connors and so many others have so graciously taken the time to do. In the end, it is the children that are the future and we are in a time right now where schools are unfortunately getting hit hard with the economic times and it is the children that are paying the price.
To raise money and honor Connors, a dinner has been planned for Friday, April 3rd, at the River Stone Manor in Glenville, New York. The proceeds from this event to go toward the scholarship that has been setup by Connors. Hopefully he will be able to see the impact that he will have on the lives of individuals within the community of Schenectady. We are all proud of his continuous accomplishments both within the field of baseball and also off the field as an individual.