Northeast Times

Local legends honored at Oldtimers luncheon

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At a re­cent Old­timers Bats and Balls As­so­ci­ation lunch­eon, Ron Fritz and Bill McGuckin were honored with the Wil­li­am “Pickles” Kennedy Me­mori­al Award.

Fritz was se­lec­ted for be­ing a star foot­ball play­er and for his years as a youth foot­ball and base­ball coach.

McGuckin grew up on the 4700 block of Vista St. in Holmes­burg and was an out­stand­ing base­ball and foot­ball play­er. He at­ten­ded St. Bern­ard Gram­mar School and North Cath­ol­ic High School be­fore en­list­ing in the U.S. Army.

After his ser­vice, he played minor league base­ball in the New York Yan­kees, Chica­go Cubs and Phil­lies or­gan­iz­a­tions from 1955-60. He was an all-star, hit­ting .345 in 1957 play­ing for Bakersfield in the Cali­for­nia League. An­oth­er year, he knocked in 72 runs from the leadoff spot.

A cen­ter field­er, his path to the ma­jor leagues in the Yan­kees or­gan­iz­a­tion was blocked by a guy named Mickey Mantle.

Among those he played with were Johnny Cal­lis­on and Bobby Wine. One of his man­agers was “Pope” Paul Owens, who would go on to be­come man­ager and gen­er­al man­ager of the Phil­lies.

McGuckin suffered in­jur­ies to both knees and re­tired in 1960 after in­jur­ing his arm. Today, he lives in In­verness, Fla., and en­joys golf.

Fritz and McGuckin won awards named in memory of Pickles Kennedy, a former Ab­ra­ham Lin­coln High School and Temple Uni­versity bas­ket­ball star who died in 2006.

The Old­timers is a group of former ath­letes and of­fi­cials that meets four times a year at Randi’s Res­taur­ant & Bar, at 1619 Grant Ave. in Bustleton.

Bobby Shantz was re­cog­nized on the 60th an­niversary of his in­cred­ible 1952 sea­son with the Phil­adelphia Ath­let­ics. Shantz won 24 games that sea­son and was named Amer­ic­an League Most Valu­able Play­er. In the all-star game that year, he struck out Jack­ie Robin­son and Stan Mu­si­al in con­sec­ut­ive at-bats.

The Old­timers presen­ted an award of ap­pre­ci­ation to Ron­ald March, chief of Rich­land Town­ship Fire & Res­cue.

The group will present a cer­ti­fic­ate to the wid­ow of Joe Osiecki, a Frank­ford High School gradu­ate and former minor league first base­man in the Phil­lies or­gan­iz­a­tion who died in May.

The lunch­eon at­trac­ted, among oth­ers, Sean Landeta, who punted for the Phil­adelphia Eagles and Stars; Joe Scarp­ati, a former pro foot­ball play­er best known as the hold­er for Tom De­mp­sey when he kicked an NFL-re­cord 63-yard field goal for the New Or­leans Saints in 1970; former Phil­lies out­field­er Doug Clem­ens; and Ruth Richard, a catch­er with the Rock­ford Peaches wo­men’s base­ball team, which was fea­tured in the 1992 film A League of their Own.

The next Old­timers lunch­eon will be on Wed­nes­day, Nov. 14 at noon at Randi’s. The honoree will be Dick Richards, a Hall of Fame foot­ball and base­ball play­er at West Chester who would go on to be­come the drum­mer for Bill Haley & His Comets.

For more in­form­a­tion on the group, call Chuck Newns (215-612-0476), Ron Fritz (215-327-9086), Jack Purdy (215-968-0404) or Ron March (609-209-0849), or go to www.bat­sand­balls.org ••End­Frag­ment 

You can reach at twaring@bsmphilly.com.

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