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