Western MA Baseball Hall of Fame to Induct Seven on Wednesday
SPRINGFIELD — The Western MA Baseball Hall of Fame committee will induct seven new members at a banquet on Wednesday, Jan. 28 at 6 p.m. at La Quinta Inn & Suites in Springfield, in the 12th-floor ballroom. Red Sox radio broadcaster Joe Castiglione — who called his first-ever game at Mackenzie Stadium in Holyoke — will give the keynote address.
“We’re really proud of this class and feel that their inclusion is a precise representation of what we want this to be,” said Valley Blue Sox President and Hall of Fame committee member Clark Eckhoff. “There’s a tremendous amount of diversity in this class and a wonderful blend of professional, amateur, collegiate, and high school representation.”
The banquet will be presented in a joint effort by La Quinta Hotel & Suites, MassLive/the Republican, and the Valley Blue Sox. Tickets cost $45 or $425 for a table of 10. Tickets can be purchased by calling the Blue Sox front office at (413) 533-1100 or via e-mail at [email protected]. The night will include sports-memorabilia auctions, a cocktail hour at 6 p.m., and a buffet dinner at 7 p.m. Local TV personality Scott Coen will serve as master of ceremonies.
The 2015 inductees were chosen by a committee of local baseball executives, media members, and former players. They are:
• Joe Castiglione has called more than 5,000 regular-season games and 112 post-season games in 33 years for the Red Sox, including four World Series.
• Joseph McCarthy was baseball coach of Holyoke High School from 1981 to 1989, where he posted a 143-46 record during his tenure. His run included four Valley League titles, two co-championships, and a Division I state championship in 1985.
• Art Ditmar was a pitcher who won 72 games during his Major League career, including starts in Games 1 and 5 of the 1960 World Series. He played for two teams during his nine-year career.
• The 1934 Post 21 American Legion Team has a special place in local baseball lore. The team of 15 boys agreed together to withdraw from an eastern sectional tournament in Gastonia, N.C. when they learned that officials would not allow their team’s only African-American player — Ernest “Bunny” Taliaferro — to play. The team’s willingness to forfeit a shot at a national championship to stand by their friend and teammate came 13 years before Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier in baseball.
• Vic Raschi, one of West Springfield’s most significant contributions to baseball history, was a member of the ‘big three’ from the New York Yankees pitching staff from the late 1940s and early 1950s. He won six World Series championships with the Bronx Bombers and was named to the American League All-Star team four times.
• Richard Bedard played for Springfield Technical High School and Amherst College before being drafted by the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1971. Later, as a coach, he built American International College into a regional baseball power before taking the reins of the college’s athletic department.
• Stan Ziomek presided over Amherst Junior Baseball for more than 60 years. In 2011, he was elected to the Babe Ruth League Hall of Fame and is a winner of the Ed Hickox Award for meritorious service in youth baseball. He served all his years in the game as a volunteer.