Vic Veltidi was a natural all-around athlete while growing up in rural Nanuet in the early wartime 1940s. By the time you got to the eighth grade a Nanuet student had an important decision to make – where to go to high school. Nanuet didn’t have its own high school until the 1960s so one had to decide among Nyack, Spring Valley or Pearl River. For those who lived in the south end of Nanuet, the choice was easy, Pearl River. It was a short trip down Middletown Road to Central Avenue and only a couple miles home if you missed your ride.
If you were any kind of athlete at all while attending Pearl River High School, Coach Ira Shuttleworth would discover you in physical education class and he, in his own way, would persuade you to go out for the school team. If you were a natural athlete like Vic, Coach Shuttleworth would keep you with him for all three seasons. Vic was a three-sport athlete, football, basketball, and baseball, and he excelled at all three. With teammates like fellow Hall of Famers Bruno Ablondi, class of ’46, and Harry Babcock, class of ’49, Pearl River was a force to be reckoned with in the late 1940s. It was hard to figure out at which sport Vic was best. In basketball he was a two-year starter and captain of the team in his senior year. On the foot- ball team Vic was not only a two-year starter, but also a two-time All-County selection, earning unanimous acclaim in his senior year, when he was Rockland County’s second-leading scorer. But baseball was Vic’s first love. At Pearl River he was a three-year varsity starter, pitching and playing the infield. Vic was the captain of the 1948 baseball team and made first-team All-County as the starting pitcher. As a result of his success in sports Vic was voted “Most Athletic” in Pearl River High School’s senior class of 1948.
After graduating high school, Vic had to choose between an athletic scholarship to Cortland Normal School and a profes- sional baseball contract with the Brooklyn Dodgers. He chose the Dodgers. Vic was a pitcher and an outfielder whose bat was too valuable to sit idle on non-pitching days. When he didn’t pitch, Vic played the outfield or pinch hit. Vic played for the Dodgers minor league team in the Virginia league for two years but in 1951 was drafted into military service, effectively ending his professional career.
After his stint in the army, Vic married his high school sweet- heart, Jean Madar, settled down and went to work as a machinist at Rossi Tool and Die. But that didn’t stop Vic from being active in Rockland County athletics. Vic played basketball for the Pederson Sparklers and Rockland State Hospital team. On the baseball diamond he pitched for the Nanuet A.C. and the Spring Valley Foresters.
Softball was, and still is, one of the most popular sports in Rockland County. Vic played on some of the most well-known teams to take the field in the county, including the Nanuet Hotel team and the Rockland Mapleways team, which was the predecessor of the renowned Modern Auto Body team. Vic was chosen to play for the Rockland County All-Stars against “The King and His Court,” a team led by softball pitching legend Eddie Feigner, and Vic was the only one to get a hit off Feigner that day.
Vic eventually bought Rossi Tool and Die and he and Jean settled in New City, where they raised their three children, Jim, Cathy, and Gary. While the children were growing up Vic took an active part in their lives. He coached the C.Y.O. basketball team at St. Augustine’s to a championship, coached and managed a New City Babe Ruth League baseball team for 10 years, and was a member of that league’s board of directors. He also coached and helped out with the New City Midget Football program and was a member of its board of directors for 10 years.
Vic is retired now but still calls New City home. He winters in Florida and gets to play golf regularly. When in Rockland County and not playing golf with his buddies, Vic can usually be found cheering for his grandchildren at their basketball, baseball or softball games.