On the evening of April 29, the Greater Binghamton Sports Hall of Fame held its fifth-annual induction ceremony. Hosted by the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel in Downtown Binghamton, the event honored 12 athletes who have ties to the Binghamton area. Former Major League Baseball catcher and manager Joe Girardi headlined the event, speaking at a press conference during cocktail hour.
Among the inductees were two figures associated with Binghamton University: Mickey Greenberg, ’63 and former BU men’s soccer coach Tim Schum.
Greenberg played men’s basketball for Harpur College from 1959 to 1963, scoring 1,013 career points and registering a career high of 45 points in one game. Playing for the Washington Generals after graduating, Greenberg eventually returned to the Binghamton area, coaching boys’ basketball at Vestal High School. He amassed a 246-146 record coaching Vestal, winning two NYS Section IV Titles during his tenure.
Schum coached Binghamton men’s soccer for 29 years, with his time at the helm spanning from 1963 to 1992, making eight NCAA Division III Tournament appearances and capturing six SUNY Athletic Conference (SUNYAC) championships. BU men’s soccer was named New York state’s top Division-III team twice under Schum, and he was named SUNYAC Coach of the Year in 1974.
Girardi’s most notable seasons as both a player and manager were spent with the New York Yankees. After catching for the Chicago Cubs and Colorado Rockies for the first seven years of his career, Girardi was traded to New York in the 1995 offseason. He went on to win three World Series in four years before returning to the Cubs as a free agent. Girardi’s lone All-Star season came with the Cubs in 2000.
“I have two [favorite memories],” Girardi said. “Opening day when I was a rookie with the Chicago Cubs, because I dreamed about playing with the Chicago Cubs from the time I was a little boy … and then I [thought] about winning that first World Series. It was really special for me, because those are things you dream about as a little kid.”
Following his retirement from playing in 2004, Girardi began managing the Miami Marlins in 2006. He coached them for one season and won National League Manager of the Year. Girardi returned to the Bronx as a manager in 2008. He coached the team for 10 seasons, winning the Yankees’ most recent championship in 2009, but he was unexpectedly fired after the Yankees came within one game of the World Series in 2017, falling 4-3 to the eventual champion, the Houston Astros. Girardi currently works as an analyst for MLB Network and Fox, but is still searching for another chance as a manager.
“I don’t consider [my managing days] over,” Girardi said. “I consider myself on a sabbatical … I really like TV, but I like managing more. TV is really something that I thought that I would like to do when I was completely done. I’ve done it between jobs. I did it between 2006 and 2008 — I’m doing it now, and I will continue to do it until I find a new job.”
During the press conference, Girardi was asked to give some words of advice to Binghamton High School’s baseball team. Known as a player-friendly manager, Girardi told team members to follow their dreams.
“Use your brain and follow your passions,” Girardi said. “Your passions may [differ] from what other kids do, or even what your parents are accustomed to, but you need to follow your passion, because if you don’t follow your passion, you won’t love what you do, and you won’t have the energy for what you do.”