When Homer Wanamaker heard that he was inducted into the Rockland County Sports Hall of Fame, he was surprised.
The former four-sport athlete for Nyack never considered himself to be the best on his team in any of the sports in which he played. But his all-around excellence and consistency saw him be a key part of whatever team he was on, as he helped the Indians to four sectional titles in his time.
“I was lucky to have so many good players around me,” he said. “I don’t want to take all of the credit because of all the great players I got to play with.”
His humbleness might be partly born out of his family, one that is well-known in Nyack for both civil service to the community and sports. His uncle, Web, his brother, Steve and his cousin, Ed, were all inducted in previous years.
Growing up in Castle Heights in Upper Nyack, Wanamaker was always active, playing with Steve, his cousins, and his neighborhood friends.
“I would re-live my childhood over the same way, it was great,” Wanamaker said. “We were always doing something, playing stickball, pick-up football, climbing trees. You name it, everything was a physical activity.”
By the time he got to Nyack High School, he was versatile in everything. In his career, he was a placekicker for the football team, a two-time All County selection in soccer, an All-County catcher in baseball, and he won a sectional title in swimming in the 100-meter butterfly.
His senior year, the 1970-71 school year, was his most memorable. The soccer team went undefeated that season, and he helped the baseball team win a sectional title.
“Each one had a special memory because it was different athletes I was playing with,” he said. “I was a consistent athlete, a consistent player.”
After high school, he attended Bridgeport, where he set two records as a kicker for the football team. Afterward, he followed in his father’s footsteps and got into law enforcement. He worked for the New Jersey State Police for 26 years, and he is currently an undersheriff in Sussex County.
“I like to be able to help people,” he said. “Just the camaraderie that develops when you work with other people, it’s just like sports.”