June 8, 2011
CHS grad Cole joins SUNY Delhi Hall of Fame
DELHI — A few days after the fact, Barry Cole was still amazed he was even considered for this special athletic honor.
The 64-year-old Cortland High graduate now residing in Ohio felt humbled to be inducted into the SUNY Delhi Athletic Hall of Fame this past Saturday in the Clark Field House on the school’s campus.
“The coolest thing about this induction is that this is only the fourth year they’ve had it, so they’ve honored some pretty talented athletes,” said Cole, tickled about being included in an elite group of 16 former Broncos lauded by the two-year school over that time span.
Having former Cortland High teammate John ‘Humma’ Gee on hand for an introductory speech at the ceremony was also a nice touch to the proceedings, too.
While at Delhi, Cole was a first team NJCAA Region III all-star selection in baseball in 1966 and 1967. He captained the baseball team during the 1967 season, leading the Broncos to a 7-1 record in conference play and a tie with Monroe Community College for the conference championship. He batted .593 in conference play and .479 overall that season, earning the team most valuable player honor.
The previous year, Delhi was 5-1 in conference play, finished 9-7 overall and placed third in regionals. He hit .566 against conference pitching that year, with a .365 overall batting average.
A Detroit Tigers scout named Spy Williams saw potential in the fleet-footed Cole and helped arrange a scholarship to Kent State in Ohio, where he could be developed as an infield prospect at either second or third base. The Kent State program Cole joined had two future major leaguers on its roster — the late Thurman Munson who went on to be the captain and catcher for the New York Yankees and pitcher Steve Stone, a Cy Young Award winner with the Baltimore Orioles.
A severe ankle injury during a fall game hindered Cole’s progress at Kent State, however, and he saw limited playing time there.
He stayed in Ohio after college and lives in Middlebury Heights with his wife, where he has a daughter and two grandchildren. Retired from his job at American Greeting Cards, he happily puts in part-time duty as a highway toll collector, still plays Huff & Puff League softball and makes it to the Kent State alumni baseball game every September.
His mother Marie still resides in Cortland, too.
At Cortland High, Cole was a varsity performer as a freshman. In 1964, the Purple Tigers were 13-4 and won the Central New York City League title. Cole and Gee made up a top pitching combo for that squad. Cole was 7-1 as a pitcher and batted .419, just ahead of teammate Bob Meldrim’s .407 average.
He also played for an American Legion team that reached the New York State semifinals, Cole batting .500 in that tournament and earning team MVP honors. He graduated from Cortland High in 1965 and headed off to Delhi.
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