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George “Doc” Leitner, a renowned physician and a founder of Nyack Hospital, became the first Rocklander to play major league baseball when he pitched for the Indianapolis Hoosiers of the National League during the 1887 season. Leitner, a 5-foot-11, 185-lb. right-hander, compiled a record of 2 wins and 6 losses with a 5.68 earned run average and eight complete games.

Born and raised in Piermont, Leitner played college baseball at Fordham University, played for the Nyack BBC (Base Ball Club) in 1886 and 1887, and in the early 1900s sponsored a team that played on a field adjacent to Nyack Hospital on the west side of Midland Avenue. The team used a nearby barn as a clubhouse, and members paid for their own uniforms, equipment and travel.

Leitner attended St. John’s College, a preparatory school, Fordham University, and Bellevue Hospital Medical College, graduating in 1888 with a degree in medicine. He had been drafted by Indianapolis, under manager Horace Fogel, in 1887, and played the one year to finance his education. He turned down a professional baseball career and went on to become one of the first physicians of Nyack Hospital, playing an instrumental role in its founding in 1895.

Dr. Leitner performed his internship at St. Francis Hospital in Manhattan in 1888-1889. Running on the Democratic ticket, he was elected Coroner of Piermont in 1891. In addition to his role as a surgeon and attending physician at Nyack Hospital, he was also attending physician at St. Agnes in Sparkill and St. Joseph’s in Blauvelt. Dr. Leitner served as president of the Rockland County Medical Association. He was a delegate to the New York State Democratic Convention in 1900 and the New York State Constitutional Convention in 1915. Locally, he served as a trustee in the Village of Piermont and as a member of the school board. He was also manager of the New York State Orthopedic Hospital for Children.

Among his other affiliations, Dr. Leitner served on the board of directors for the Nyack National Bank and Closter (N.J.) National Bank, and as a member of the Golf Club of Rockland, Knights of Columbus, Elks, Royal Arearum, and the Foresters of America.

Dr. Leitner’s parents emigrated from Bavaria in Germany and eventually settled in Rockland County, where they raised four children to adulthood. Their two oldest daughters had died in childhood before George was born, in 1865. George’s father opened a boot and shoe store in Piermont in 1866.

George Aloysius “Doc” Leitner died in 1937 at age 71. He is buried in Rockland Cemetery in Sparkill.