The Amenia Braves - Don Herring, Sr., standing behind team
Left to right back row: ? , Mike Duell, Jerry MacDonald, Wayne Van Benschoten, Dennis Rooney, Don Herring, Jr., Greg Hosier
Front row on bench: David Gangloff, ? , Westy Cole, ? , Larry Hardisty, Mike O'connell
Sitting on grass: Jimmy Herring
Don and Jimmy Herring: Amenia honored Father and Son
By Ann Linden
Herring Field at Beekman Park in Amenia was named in remembrance of Don Herring, youth baseball advocate, and his son Jimmy. Today, many residents and baseball fans in Amenia remember moments of fun and inspiration with Don and Jimmy.
When Joe McEnroe and Don Herring were at Amenia High, they played baseball.
And as the years went on, the two friends not only continued to play ball, but they also gave back to their town through public service, hard work and kindness
Once he arrived at Hiddenhurst, Paul, a blacksmith by trade, saw the
opportunity to be the blacksmith for the farm. He left milking cows and working in the
fields for shoeing the workhorses and making repairs to the equipment as needed. It became
a full time job. Of the $30.00 per month income, he kept $5.00 for "incidentals"
and sent the rest to his mother and father in Germany to help feed and clothe the
remaining family of nine.
Joe remembers, “We really had good times in High School…Donnie loved to clown it up, he was always good for a laugh.” Doc Bartlett was quoted in 1990 as saying, “Don had tremendous spirit and he was always ready to play ball…He liked to have a good time, but he played by the rules…. He wanted to win and he always had his mind on the game.”
Don grew up in Wassaic, graduated from the Amenia High School (now AES), and worked at a local garage before joining the Air Force. Don played ball for the Amenia Monarchs of the Tri-State League while he was in high school and afterwards while in the Air Force. He and Joan were married in 1960. Joan said of Don, “his whole life was sports and Amenia”. He spent a great deal of time coaching a team in the farm league before taking over as coach for the Amenia Babe Ruth team. Don later played in the Interstate League and the old Timer’s League.
According to his wife Joan and those who knew him, Don spent a great deal of time working with a recreation committee which originally conceived the idea of constructing an athletic park in Amenia. He wanted a sports facility for the young people.
Don’s younger son, Jimmy, died from cancer at the age of seven in 1973. He played farm league with his dad as coach and was always in attendance at games. The day the ball field was dedicated in Don and Jimmy’s honor was the same day- July 28- Jimmy died in 1973. That same year the sports budget at Webutuck was defeated at Webutuck. Don channeled his grief into Booster Club activities to raise money for student sports activities.
“Little Donnie”, Don’s older son, played ball for Amenia teams until he moved out of the area. He has not forgotten the sport and hometown that his father loved so much. Donnie attended the dedication ceremonies and was quoted as saying, “Obviously the whole family is very honored…I keep hearing how much my father did for the town. The flip side of that is that the town and surrounding area have done so much for the Herring family.”
For more information about local baseball check out Baseball in Dutchess County, a paperback by Joseph Pallucci – published in 2000.