by Dena Hirliman
August 17, 2020
Dear sports editor:
To everyone in our community that has had the opportunity of George Barone coaching their kids or themselves, he is hopefully on his way to becoming inducted into the Chautauqua Sports Hall of Fame.
George has coached baseball for years in our area, leading teams to championships and winning them, teaching skills at baseball clinics, and showing up to just watch school and club baseball games. He coached my husband 30 years ago, and my son two years ago. Everyone around here that knows baseball knows George. He is a legend in baseball.
In 2018, George had a dream: to bring a baseball team to Disney again — his third time — and play in an international tournament at Disney World. He did just that in September 2018 for the Labor Day Classic Tournament at ESPN Wide World of Sports.
George acted on his dream, and put together a team of players from schools all over Chautauqua County. He named them the Chautauqua County Travelers, and after a few months of batting, fielding and scrimmages with all the teams he could find that would play against them, off the Travelers went to Florida.
George always believed in his players. We still have one of his hand-written manuals he gave the boys on how to play with a positive attitude. He stressed practice and teamwork, and always encouraged them, never doubting that they would come out on top.
Although the Travelers didn’t win the final championship at ESPN in 2018, they won games against teams from other countries that at first were intimidating. The boys made great memories and George loved spending all that time with his players. He was in his element.
If anyone would like to talk to George, or just share some memories and photos, he would love to hear from you.
— Dena Hirliman
Chautauqua County Travelers team manager