Oldtimers club gives two awards

Big hon­or: Pic­tured are (from left) Old­timers of­fi­cial Ron March, Bobby Shantz and Tom McGuckin. MARIA POUCH­NIKOVA / TIMES PHOTO

The Old-timers Bats and Balls As-so-ci-ation last week honored Tom McGuckin and the Russo fam­ily with the Wil-li-am “Pickles” Kennedy Award. The group con-sists of former ath-letes and of-fi-cials. Mem-bers meet four times a year at Randi’s Res-taur-ant & Bar, at 1619 Grant Ave. in Grant Plaza II in Bustleton.

McGuckin, a lifelong Holmes­burg res­id­ent, was one of 10 chil­dren in his fam­ily who grew up on the 4700 block of Vista St. He at­ten­ded St. Bern­ard Gram­mar School and gradu­ated from North Cath­ol­ic High School in 1954 and soon after joined the U.S. Army, serving in Ger­many. He played base­ball and of­fi­ci­ated bas­ket­ball and foot­ball while in the mil­it­ary. Back home, he played base­ball for the Holmes­burg Ram­blers in the Pen-Del League and also played adult soft­ball. His po­s­i­tion was catch­er. Long­time friend Bobby Shantz, a former Amer­ic­an League Most Valu­able Play­er, presen­ted McGuckin with a plaque.

Broth­ers Frank and Louis Russo rep­res­en­ted their fam­ily, whose Holmes­burg-based busi­ness sponsored a highly com­pet­it­ive men’s bas­ket­ball team. DeRuss, a com­pany that de­signed and built equip­ment for gov­ern­ment air­planes, fea­tured star play­ers such as Jay Nor­man and Pickles Kennedy, both former Temple Uni­versity greats who helped the Owls reach the NCAA Fi­nal Four.

The award that McGuckin and the Russo fam­ily re­ceived is named in memory Kennedy, who starred in bas­ket­ball at Ab-ra-ham Lin-coln High School. After his play­ing days at Temple, he spent a year with the NBA’s Phil-ad­elphia War-ri-ors, then played minor league base­ball for sev-er-al years in the Pitt-s-burgh Pir-ates or-gan-iz-a-tion.

Among those at-tend-ing the Feb. 12 lunch-eon, be­sides Bobby Shantz, were Sean Landeta, who punted for the Phil-ad­elphia Eagles and Stars; Joe Scarp-ati, a former pro foot-ball play-er best known as the hold-er for Tom De-mp-sey’s NFL-re-cord 63-yard field goal in 1970; Doug Clem-ens, a former Phil-lies out-field-er; and Skip Wilson, the re­tired long­time base­ball coach at Temple.

For in-form-a-tion on the group, call 215-612-0476 or vis-it www.bat­sand­balls.org ••

You can reach at twaring@bsmphilly.com.

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