Affectionately known as “Coach T” in baseball circles, John Tillinghast owned and operated The Battery for 30 years. His dedication to young men and the game of baseball prompted him to open an indoor facility many years before it became fashionable. His adventure and dream became a reality as he operated the first indoor winter baseball facility within 200 miles of Rochester.
Coach T. had more than 30 years of coaching experience at the high school and collegiate level. He was Ed Nietopski’s (New York State’s all-time winningest baseball coach and Section V Hall of Famer) assistant baseball coach and helped guide Bishop Kearney to the sectional championship in 1997.
For more than 20 years Coach T. sponsored and coached his Battery team in the ABC League and New York State League. The ABC League is the best brand of amateur baseball played in Rochester during the summer. This was the first wood bat league in the area and it consists of college, post college and some ex-professional players.
A few years ago he won the Don Fischer Award which is presented annually by the Rochester Umpires Association to an individual who makes an outstanding contribution to the game of baseball in the greater Rochester area. Teaching fundamentals of baseball and incorporating life skills was very important to him. He worked with college coaches and professional scouts to help players reach their God given potential.
Coach T. helped hundreds of young men and women improve their skills and achieve their dream of playing at the collegiate level. He helped dozens of players attain baseball and softball scholarships, as well as a few others sign pro contracts with the Colorado Rockies, Baltimore Orioles, Pittsburgh Pirates, San Diego Padres, Minnesota Twins, Montreal Expos and Detroit Tigers. His staff of instructors always consisted of former college and professional players in order teach young people the fundamentals of the game the right way.
He passed away on September 13, 2012.The Tillinghast family thanks all relatives, friends, neighbors and members of the extended “Battery family” for their support. Be it the hundreds that paid their respects to Coach T at the funeral home, those who attended the funeral mass or those who went to Creekside Cemetery, we were truly moved by how much he meant to so many. We thank also the hundreds of people who sent sympathy cards and e-mail messages or posted in facebook; those who called from all over the US and several foreign countries and the many who have made a donation to Bishop Kearney High School in his memory
It is said that the beauty of a life well-lived never dies but continues to inspire us. We could not agree more.