George Doonan’s wife doesn’t like the Pearl River Little League boys majors schedule.
“She gets upset because we have no games on Monday,” he said.
That’s because it means Doonan is home. But during baseball season, Doonon will be out and at Anderson Field Tuesdays through Saturdays announcing games for the boys majors division of Pearl River Little League.
Doonan’s wife is joking, of course, when she tells him that she’s glad he’s out of the house during the week and disappointed when he is home Monday nights. But she has certainly had quite a while to get used to the time alone0.
When the season kicked off last week, it marked Doonan’s 54th as a volunteer for little league. He started in the Bronx as an umpire.
“I saw them playing down there, I said, ‘Oh, this might be nice to try’ and I enjoyed it,” Doonan said.
In 1971, he started umpiring for Pearl River Little League. That was the first year he also umped the Eastern Regional tournament that leads to the Little League World Series. Previously, he attended umpiring school in Williamsport, Pa., where the Little League World Series is held each year. Doonan also umpired the Eastern Regional in 1995, his second to last as an umpire.
An injury led to Doonan giving up umping after the 1996 season, but the next year he was back with Pearl River Little League as an announcer, a job he still holds today.
Doonan has two daughters, but neither played much baseball or softball growing up, and Doonan himself didn’t really play baseball much in leagues when he was younger either. Still, he found that he really loved umpiring and being a part of the game.
“The fun thing about umping for kids this age is you just never know what they’re going to do,” Doonan said.
He was around baseball a bit while working as a police officer for the NYPD, however. During his 30-year career with the NYPD, Doonan said he used to get summer assignments to work at Yankee Stadium.
He currently works part-time In Sparkill at the Dominican Convent driving retired nuns to and from doctors appointments and more.
Pearl River Little League President Joan Bourke said that Doonan makes up cards with pronunciations on them so he can practice on his own.
During the games he calls, Doonan also keeps score. He says it is so he has something to look back on during the game to keep him on top of what is going on. He also keeps track of pitch count, which managers on both sides often ask him for.
He also started a tradition at the field that has caught on. Before each majors game, Doonan asks the crowd for a moment of silence to honor the troops overseas and then plays the national anthem. While he does that, action stops on whatever of the seven fields at the Anderson Field complex are being used so everyone can join in.
“It gives me goosebumps every time it happens,” Bourke said. “It’s really a nice moment that everyone on all the fields stops.”
Bourke said the moment of silence and national anthem take on further meaning because Anderson Field is located on the grounds for the James Anderson American Legion Post 1199, which allows Pearl River Little League to use the fields. She said the league is always looking to show how grateful they are to the American Legion for use of the fields.
She also said the league appreciates Doonan and how much time he’s given to the Little League over the years.
“He’s just the nicest and kindest man you’ll ever meet,” Bourke said. “He’s got a great demeanor. He also helps us announce postseason tournaments over the summer. We really do just love having him around. We think he’s giving [late New York Yankees announcer of 56 years] Bob Sheppard a run for his money.”