Art Bernecker

Elected : USSSA New York Hall Of Fame in 2006
Inducted : 2007, Rochester, NY

Frank & Al Ciaccia Lifetime Achievement Award Winner

Art was born and raised on Long Island and moved to the Rochester area in 1959 where he met his wife Mary. Settling in the Town of York, they opened a local grocery store/deli and added their first born, Art III to the mix in 1959. In 1961, he finally got back to swinging the bat. After a couple of years of playing on a Sunday afternoon and with the addition of his daughter, Michelle, he decided to form the York Softball League playing under the lights at York Central School.

His team, Art's Market dominated our Fast Pitch league playing 3 nights a week with season ending records like 21-0. Tournament play at Kodak Park to Elkland Pa. was also successful. By '73 the league changed to Medium Pitch, but, they also traveled all over upstate New York to play in Slow Pitch tournaments finishing 1st in seven consecutive tourneys'Softball was pretty much a way of life for Art and his family.

Playing and managing a team for so many years was like having a huge extended family'It was the best of times and left Art with great memories that led him and wife to purchase 20 acres of land in 1977. With much help from their kids, this wheat field became Softball Unlimited. They started play with three fields but within two years added two more due to the increase in teams. In 1979 along came Al Ciaccia with the USSSA and Art became an area director for the USSSA. Along with USSSA and help from Al came many State, Divisional and N.I.T. tournaments for Softball Unlimited, all of which brought many new faces and much talent to their complex. Their most recent USSSA sanctioned event was this past fall when we hosted a benefit tournament for a six year old girl with Downs Syndrome. One of Bernecker family's finest moments was presenting the family with $2,500 for her medical care.

The Bernecker's have seen many changes over the years. Ballplayers that have played with them for years are now seasoned ball players and their kids now join them on the field. Some Art's former players on the Art's Market team have been his umpires for years. With a rake in hand his grandchildren now join him on the field. As Art and family approach their 30th season he remain grateful to the family, friends, players and umpires that have stuck with us for so many years' A special thanks to Al Ciaccia for all his help over the years and to Gary Godden for his continued support!