When you hear Bob Bellizzi's name, perhaps the first words that come to mind are compassionate, mentor, teacher, and, of course, baseball.
Perhaps you knew him as a teacher at Albany High School, or as founder and coach of St. Rose's baseball team, or as Bob Bellizzi of Bob Bellizzi's Grand Slam Baseball Camp. Located in Delmar, the baseball camp celebrates its 15th anniversary this summer.
It is part of the legacy that Bob Bellizzi, the camp's founder, left behind after he died from leukemia in May of 2006. In addition to starting and running his summer camp, he taught social sciences at Albany High School and founded, coached and managed St. Rose's baseball team until his death.
Throughout all of his endeavors, he consistently provided unwavering mentorship, support and a strong sense of community for his students, baseball players and colleagues.
Ask anyone who had the opportunity to work with Bellizzi, and they'll attest to this statement. Bellizzi's Grand Slam Baseball Camp stands as an example of the work he did and how he made his impact on thosewith whom he surrounded himself.
The staff of the camp consists of players from the St. Rose baseball team, Bellizzi's family, and campers-turned-baseball coaches (including two of Bellizzi's sons).
Alongside Kim Bellizzi, wife of the late Bob Bellizzi, are Rich Seebode and Aaron Haacker, both of whom are schoolteachers. Seebode and Haacker played for St. Rose while Bellizzi was coaching, and went on to coach for St. Rose before pursuing careers in education.
I've been working at the camp since a year after Bob started itsince 1994. I've played for Coach Bellizzi and I coached with him. I've been with the camp basically since the start," says Seebode.
Seebode isn't the only one who's been working with the camp since its inception. Bellizzi's son, Robbie Bellizzi, a student and baseball player at St. Rose, started attending the camp as a camper at age four. Now, at age 20, he works there as a counselor.