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Spetar has another ‘Day’ as Hall of Fame inductee


George Spetar, once the toast of Farragut as proclaimed by Mayor Eddy Ford, recently earned another honor recognizing his baseball skills and service to youth sports.

Spetar, 55, a native of Western Pennsylvania who started summer baseball for teenagers 15-to-18 in Farragut a few years after moving here in the late 1980s, was inducted into the Mercer County (Pa.) Hall of Fame Jan. 24.

The honor recognized Spetar’s on-the-field baseball talents in high school and college and his service to youth.

“This was a very special honor for me … my hometown, the county I grew up in,” said Spetar, also inducted into the Slippery Rock University Hall of Fame in 2001 after setting six school batting records (1972-75) and being named an Academic All-American. “Being recognized in front of my friends and family and the area that I grew up in. … It was very special to have them part of all of this.”


Expressing his love of baseball, “It was one of the sports that I was good at because I’m short, I’m like 5-[foot]-8,” Spetar said.

The latest honor comes more than 12 years after Ford declared June 28, 1996, “George Spetar Day” in Farragut for his local service.

“Which was really cool, he had a nice, little ceremony — it kinda surprised me,” Spetar said.

With his son, George A., having failed earn a spot on the Farragut High School team in the mid-1990s, Spetar quickly realized there was no recreational baseball league alternative in Farragut for his son or other teenagers 15 to 18.

“That’s when I decided that we could do either one of two things: just do nothing or start our own league,” Spetar said. “It was a total family effort.” That includes wife, Phyllis.

As a result, Farragut Senior Pro Baseball League was formed in 1995.

“We started basically from nothing and worked with the town of Farragut to secure the field,” Spetar said. “And we did a lot of fund-raising to make that happen. We made a lot of contributions to the Watt Road field with the bleachers. … We had a very good turnout.”

Saying he’s been asked about his accomplishments, Spetar said, “That league was my greatest accomplishment in life … as far as helping others. I got so much satisfaction for providing something that wasn’t there.”

In 1994, Spetar, a coach in the Sandy Koufax League (ages 13-14), took 19 players from that league and formed a team that took a 13-day road trip featuring about 15 games in Ohio and Western Pennsylvania. They were called the Vall-Stars.

“I just knew for a lot of these guys, this would be the end of it, they wouldn’t be playing baseball anymore,” Spetar said. “I picked people out of the Sandy [Koufax] League and invited them to go on this excursion, I called it the Goodwill Games. … We raised $10,000 [for expenses] doing various projects.”

Spetar’s first encounter with East Tennessee was at The University of Tennessee in the mid-1970, where he earned a Master’s degree in mathematics in 1977.

“At the time I was getting my degree I had no inkling that I would end up coming back and living here,” Spetar said.

A job opportunity as a computer analyst at ALCOA in Blount County brought Spetar and family to Farragut in the late 1980s.

Daughter, Dani, a former FHS and East Tennessee State University standout center fielder, is a first-grade teacher at Farragut Primary School.

 

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