Bob Berger Passes Away at Age 83

Bob Berger, who was involved in American Legion baseball in Rockville for over 50 years, passed away Feb. 15, 2014 at the age of 83.

Steve Krajewski, who was a player and coach under Berger, said that Berger loved baseball and took great pride in providing the youth of Vernon an opportunity to play summer baseball for the American Legion team.

“Bob was the mainstay of the American Legion program here in Rockville-Vernon,” said Krajewski. “To do this year and year out, it’s a genuine love of the game and to help give those kids an opportunity to play baseball.”

According to Krajeweski, Berger did everything for the team, including recruiting, the scheduling, the fields, the equipment, and fundraising.

“Every year – and I’ve been working for the Parks and Recreation for a long time – he would come up constantly to check on field dates and makeup dates and things like that – making sure that the field was available. He was always at the Rockville High School games, watching potential players. Bob did a great thing for the town of Vernon and its youth in baseball.”

In Zone 8, which contains many good teams, Rockville always held its own through the years, said Krajewski.

“Many of those players that played American Legion baseball went on to play for Frank McCoy’s Vernon Orioles,” he said. “So it was kind of almost like a feeder system to the Vernon Orioles. It also helped the players prepare for their following year of high school or their freshman year in college.”

Krajewski said Berger, who always had a story that inevitably led to another story, was well liked and that many people, including former players, would call him Uncle B – even if they weren’t related.

“I think that’s a sign of respect and that it’s almost like a family type of thing,” he said. “He was a wonderful man. He’s going to be sorely missed, that’s for sure.”

Former player Alan Putz echoed those sentiments.

“[He was] one of the finest guys I ever came across,” he said. “He gave all of us so much of his time, money, gas, and countless hours of practice and traveling to games, etc. He is a huge loss to the community.”

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