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 ••