Kevin Graber, Head Coach of Andover Baseball and Associate Dean of Admission, was inducted into the Amsterdam Mohawks Baseball Hall of Fame last Saturday. Graber was a three-time league All-Star in the Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball League (PGCBL) for the Amsterdam Mohawks, formerly known as the Schenectady Mohawks.
The PGCBL is a ten-team Major League Baseball-sanctioned college summer league in upstate New York. Graber played for the Mohawks for three consecutive seasons in 1988, 1989 and 1990. While on the team, Graber contributed to PGCBL league championship titles in 1988 and 1990. In 1990, Graber batted .389 and finished fourth in the league in hitting before representing the Mohawks at the College Summer All-Star Game held at the Stade Olympique in Montreal, Canada.
With thousands of people in attendance, Graber, along with former Mohawk Brendan Harris, was inducted into the Hall of Fame during a ceremony held in Amsterdam, N.Y., this past weekend.
Graber said, “When I got the email from the General Manager, I was a little surprised because [playing for the Mohawks] was a long time ago, but I was also really honored and really flattered that people there still remember me.”
Almost three decades have passed since Graber played for the Mohawks, but receiving the award allowed him to reflect upon his time with the team.
“When something like this happens and you’re recognized for something you did long ago,” he said, “it makes you remember some stuff that you haven’t thought about in a while and that’s kind of fun.”
“I was 19, 20-years old, and a lot of time has gone by since,” he continued. “I don’t always sit around thinking about those summers I had with that group of friends and the people I met, all the bus rides, the trips to McDonald’s, the games, the fans in the stands and the coaches that I had.”
Graber will always remember the unique small-town atmosphere of Amsterdam and his intimate relationship with the Mohawks fans. “It’s one of those little towns in upstate New York that’s frozen in time, like nothing ever changes and there’s not much else that happens in that town. This team and this league are the [big] thing there; they’ll get 3,000 people going to the games and all those people are still there and they all remember you,” Graber said.
Each year, the Mohawks play a 50-game schedule from June through August against teams around upstate New York. Playing their home games at Shuttleworth Park in Amsterdam, N.Y., the Mohawks tend to draw crowds of about 2,500 to 3,000 fans per game.
Graber said, “The Mohawks have grown into one of the top places to play summer baseball in America. The players will note that the game atmosphere at Shuttleworth Park is one of the best in the country, with large, enthusiastic crowds and highly-involved kids.”
After his career with the Mohawks, Graber played and managed professional baseball, played in Australia, coached at various colleges, including Amherst College and then joined the coaching staff and Admissions team at Andover in 2008. When he first arrived, Graber served as coach for the team, and was appointed to the Head Coach role during his second year at Andover.
Graber has helped the Andover Baseball team clinch seven consecutive Central New England Prep Final Four appearances, including back-to-back championships in 2012 and 2013.
Although Graber’s baseball career has evolved far past his time in Amsterdam, N.Y., he continues to treasure his experiences there. “It’s comforting to know that people remember and appreciate something you invested so much time in, like it was worth something. [Playing for the Mohawks] was the whole sum of my investment of time and energy during that [time], so the fact that it still lives on is reaffirming,” he said.