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Bonekemper Returns to Coaching
Written by Bradley Schlegel Correspondent
2015-06-24

        Last fall, George Bonekemper ended a long tenure with the Quakertown Blazers. For 31 years, since helping the franchise relocate from Allentown in 1983, he served on the board of directors for the Atlantic Collegiate Baseball League team.

        Though he was listed as the team's director of media relations, Bonekemper took responsibility for ordering the uniforms, arranging travel, recruiting players and promoting the team. 

        "I had my hands in everything," Bonekemper said.

        He cited the health of his wife, L. Anne Bonekemper, who passed away in November, and concerns about his own health and a desire to spend more time with two grandchildren living in Douglassville as reasons for retiring from the Blazers.

        "I don't get around as well as I used to," the 72-year-old said in March.

        However, the retired superintendent from the Upper Perkiomen School District couldn't stay away from organized baseball. Bonekemper has returned to the dugout, this time as an assistant coach with Perkiomen's American Legion baseball team.  "The game is in my blood," he said. "I enjoy every pitch."

        Post 184 plays its home game at Upper Perkiomen High School, on a field named for Bonekemper, just five minutes from his home.

        "That's a whole lot closer than a road trip to Staten Island," said Bonekemper, referring to one of the most remote road trips in the ACBL.

        A former manager of the Upper Perk and Green Lane franchises in the adult Tri-County League, Bonekemper, who has donned a uniform for the first time in more than 50 years, when he played in the Perkiomen Valley Twilight League, advises Indians manager Mike Fitzgerald on strategy and helps the players focus on fundamentals.

        "This is a great group of kids," Bonekemper said.  "I'm impressed how eager they are to improve. And they have excellent character."

        Fitzgerald said the entire team has benefited from having Bonekemper on the coaching staff.  "George has probably forgotten more about baseball than I'll ever know," the manager said.

        Bonekemper sees his main job as helping players work on flaws in their game. He says critiques are always given in a one-on-one scenario, never in from of the entire team.

        "I'm just an assistant coach trying to help out," Bonekemper said.

        According to Fitzgerald, Bonekemper has no problem relating to the players. He said the assistant coach helps hitters recognize pitching patterns and often discusses defensive situations.  "We're very fortunate to have George around," the manager said.

        Bonekemper credits Perkiomen's strong start, which includes an 8-2 Bux-Mont League record through June 22, to a solid work ethic.

        "We play well because we practice well," Bonekemper said. "We practice as much as we play, and these players make those practices meaningful.

        "This team is performing under the radar. This game is about trying to minimize mistakes and maximizing opportunities, and we're beating teams with more talent."


 

 

 

 

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