For nearly 20 years, little leaguers in Oneida have heard their names as they came up to bat announced by the unmistakable voice of Bob Curtiss.
Earlier this year, Curtiss let the Oneida Area Little League know that he wouldn't be coming back this season, a decision that saddens both him and the little league board.
"Bob has been a fixture in the program for a lot of years," said Mike Sheridan, president of Oneida Area Little League. "When I started, my 17-year-old son was 7, Bob was there. He's been there the whole time--how do we find another one? I don't think we will."
Curtiss has been involved with the little league since retiring from his job at Upstate Medical Center in 1989.
"It's been a great way to retire and so far removed from what I used to do. I was always busy. Then I got this job--it can hardly be called a job--and it's been such a great thing."
When Curtiss started, most of the Oneida Area Little League's games were played at the Fireman's Field in Durhamville.
"He's seen the development and growth of the whole thing," Sheridan said. "It's the end of an era, a 20-year era. He's really seen the whole thing unfold."
Dugouts and then a press box were built at Maxwell Field on East Sands Street and about seven years ago, games were moved to Maxwell. Two years ago, a second field and press box were completed at Maxwell and now Oneida boasts one of the premier little league facilities in the area.
Oneida has also boasted one of the premier little league announcers.
"Once we established the field at Maxwell, Bob became the voice of little league," said Jim Kramer, father of five who was an active part of little league for many years.