From the minor leagues to Army engineering to the Hall of Fame
December 2, 2010
- High school recalls Army engineer, but it is all good.
- High school honors former athelete after more than 30 years.
- Army engineer with Benet Labs receives rare sports honor from local high school.
WATERVLIET ARSENAL, NY -- For many people, reliving their days in high school is not something they want to do. Thinking back to the "good old days" of high school can tend to conjure up memories that maybe, the old days weren't so good.
Nevertheless, there is one brave sole on the arsenal who not only has fond memories of high school, he recently went back to his high school after more than 30 years to relive some of his days. Not that he didn't get enough out of high school, but more that his high school didn't give him enough.
Jim Bendick, a division chief at BenAfAt Labs, was inducted into the Shenendehowa High School Athletic Hall of Fame on Oct. 7.
Jim graduated from Shenendehowa High School during a tumultuous time in America. The year was 1973.
The peace accords were just signed to end our combat operations in Vietnam. The Arab oil embargo increased the price of gas by nearly 200 percent. And, the Watergate Hearings began and President Richard Nixon claimed, "I am not a crook."
Despite these troubled times, there remained an innocence in America that favorite pastimes, such as high school sports, still played out on countless baseball diamonds and football fields across our nation.
Jim played several sports in high school, from football to basketball to indoor track. But baseball was his passion, Jim said.
According to CNWeekly.com announcing Jim's selection into the Hall of Fame, Jim:
-Played varsity baseball for four years.
-Held the school record for total hits in a season.
-Selected to the All-Suburban Council in 1972 and 1973.
-Was 1973 Knickerbocker News Baseball Offensive Player of the Year.
- Drafted by the Milwaukee Brewers in the 13th Round of the 1973 June Amateur Draft.
For the next three years after high school, Jim lived a storied life of travel, visiting small towns that most people have never heard of. He was caught in a minor leaguers' life somewhere between "The Field of Dreams" and "Bull Durham," but he said he loved it.
Jim said he made a lot of great friends in the minor leagues and one friend is Baseball Hall of Fame shortstop, Robin Yount, who played with Jim in the minor leagues.
After three years of minor league travel that had Jim play for the Brewers and Yankees farm clubs, Jim said he needed to move on. After a short stint playing football for Wilfrid Laurier University in Kitchner/Waterloo, Ontario, Canada , in the fall of 1977, Jim began his mechanical engineering training at Hudson Valley Community College. From there, he attended Union College and eventually received his masters degree from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Science and Aeronautical Engineering.
Jim said his ability to play sports today is diminished due to injuries sustained when he was younger. So, the things that still give Jim the thrill of his high school days are teaching folks how to fly, love of God and love for his family.
Simply well said by a Hall of Famer.