Kennett Old Timers Baseball Association plans 40th banquet
By Steven Hoffman
Corey Anderson, Curtis “Thumper” Glasco, Bob Gottschall, Todd Haines, Steve Hands, Scotty Hoffman, Steve Lam, and Mark Unruh have been selected as the new class of inductees of the Kennett Old Timers Baseball Association Hall of Fame. A banquet to honor the inductees will take place on Saturday, Jan. 18 at the Red Clay Room in Kennett Square.
This is the 40th banquet for the Kennett Old Timers Baseball Association. The organization was established in 1974 to preserve the baseball legacy in Kennett Square and the greater Southern Chester County by a group that included Howard Lynn, Bat Burton, Donald McKay, Donnie Davenport, Lou Manfredi, John Moynihan, Gordon Farquhar and Joe Husband. The organization has continued under the direction of president Bob Burton and volunteer organizer Prissy Roberts.
The Kennett Old Timers Baseball Association banquet has become a celebration of the achievements of local baseball players and a beloved tradition for fans of the sport who consider this mid-winter gathering as the gateway to a new baseball season. The Philadelphia Phillies have long been supportive of the banquet, and many members of the Phillies organization have served as speakers for the event. This year, Dickie Noles, a pitcher on the 1980 World Series team, is the guest speaker.
Noles grew up in North Carolina and was drafted out of high school by the Phillies in the fourth round of the 1975 draft. He made his Major League debut with the team on July 5, 1979. During the magical 1980 season, Noles made 45 relief appearances for the Phillies. In the postseason, he appeared in four games and pitched 11.1 innings total, helping the Phillies win the first World Series championship in the team’s history.
Phillies fans remember him best for his work during the 1980 postseason. In game four of the World Series against Kansas City, Noles came out of the bullpen to pitch in the first inning when the Phillies fell behind early, 4-0. Noles pitched the next 4.2 innings, surrendering just one run. One of the highlights of the game was a Noles’ fastball under George Brett’s chin that prompted the umpires to issue a warning to both teams. Brett only had one RBI the rest of the series, and the brushback incident was viewed as a turning point in a series that the Phillies went on to win in six games.
Noles would go on to pitch in the big leagues for 12 seasons, compiling 36 wins and 11 saves in his 277 career games.
In 1987, Noles became one of only four players in history to be “traded” for himself. He was dealt from the Chicago Cubs to the Detroit Tigers for a player to be named later. After 33 days with the Tigers, the teams were still unable to agree on what player Chicago would receive, so Noles was traded back to the Cubs, completing a deal in which Noles was traded for…Noles.
He is still active in baseball, working for the Phillies organization.
Another highlight of the banquet is the induction of the new members of the hall of fame. This year’s class is a very diverse and accomplished group of baseball players.
Gottschall played Little League baseball for the Chadds Ford and Concordville Little League from 1954 to 1955 and the Brandywine Youth Club from 1956 thru 1958. At the age of 16, he started coaching the Tigers in the Brandywine Youth Club (originally the Chadds Ford and Concordville Little League).
Gottschall went on to join the U.S. Army and spent three years serving the country. In 1966, he went back to coaching the Tigers and, eventually, the Co-Del American Legion team. He went on to play and coach for the Kelly’s Sports team in the West Chester Adult League.
Gottschall umpired in the league from 1978 thru 2011 and was eventually one of three umpires to be named to that organization’s Hall Of Fame, having umpired 440 games, representing the highest total in the history of that league.
In 1986, he was named by the Philadelphia Phillies Carpenter Cup Committee as the coach of the Chester County entry in the first Carpenter Cup Tournament held at Veterans Stadium in Philadelphia. He would coach the Chester County team in the Carpenter Cup for 25 years, compiling a record of 35 wins and 22 losses. His teams won the Carpenter Cup three times.
He also coached the Fugett Middle School eighth grade team for twelve years, from1991 to 2002, with the team compiling an 83 percent winning percentage. One of his proudest moments came when those players went on to win a PIAA state championship in the late 1990s.
Glasco was born in Kennett Square and played Little League for four years before going on to play in the Babe Ruth League and for the high school team. He primarily played shortstop.
Anderson, a resident of Oxford, grew up playing Little League ball in Avon Grove. He went on to play for the Avon Grove Senior League and for Avon Grove High School. He played many different positions, and his favorite was shortstop.
A few of the highlights during his time playing baseball include an invitation to try out with the Pittsburgh Pirates Minor Leagues, playing against players like Mike Piazza and Delino DeShields, playing in the Carpenter’s Cup, and being named MVP of the North vs. South American Legion All-Star Game. He was also a member of the Mason Dixon Modified Softball League Class “A” State Championship team.
As an adult, he played in the Kennett Square Men’s Over 30 Baseball League, the Sam Tavoni Slow Pitch Softball League, and the Mason Dixon Modified Softball League.
Unruh was a catcher, shortstop, outfielder, and pitcher on the KA.U. Farm League team starting when he was nine years old. He later played on the Kennett Babe Ruth League team and participated in the Ted Williams Baseball Camp in Lakeville, Mass. for four straight summers. In high school, he played under coach Tim Skiles. He was a pitcher, first baseman, and outfielder. He played on the district-winning 1979 Kennett Blue Demons team.
He later played in the Adult Baseball League out of Coatesville. He also coached the Kennett High School junior varsity team for two seasons.
Unruh said that his most memorable experiences as a baseball player came when he attended the Ted Williams Baseball Camp in the 1970s. He was coached there by some of the most accomplished college and high school coaches in the country.
Hoffman, a resident of Landenberg, was an all-star selection as a player in Little League and the Babe Ruth League. He once competed in the Home Run Derby, participating in the division for nine- and ten-year-olds. He won the local and regional Home Run Derby competition, and placed second when the Home Run Derby competition was held at Veterans Stadium in Philadelphia.
He played three years on the varsity squad at Kennett High School. During his junior year, he batted .432 and was a First Team All-Southern Chester County League selection. As a senior, he batted .494 and compiled a 9-0 record on the mound. He was once again a First Team All-Southern Chester County League selection. He was also named the MVP of the Southern Chester County League. He would go on to play softball locally and nationally for 30 years.
Hands, a resident of Kennett Square, played Kennett Little League, Babe Ruth League, and American Legion baseball. He played third base and was a pitcher during his time playing for Kennett High School.
Haines, a resident of Birdsboro, Pa., played KAU Little League for five years, Babe Ruth League ball for three years, and American Legion ball for four years while growing up in the Kennett area. He played baseball for Kennett High School for four years, and also competed in soccer and basketball.
He later played on the West Chester Adult Baseball League for six years. He also coached junior varsity baseball and soccer at Stetson Middle School.
Lam, a resident of Oxford, is a sales manager at Country Chrysler Dodge Jeep and Ram. He started playing baseball in the KAU Little League. When he reached high school, he was a catcher on the high school baseball team and he also played varsity soccer.
The Special Recognition Award is being presented to Prissy Roberts for her 22 years of involvement with the administration of the Kennett Old Timers Baseball Association banquet. She started working with Bob Burton to plan the banquet in 1999, not long after walking into Burton’s Barber Shop on State Street and being enthralled with all the baseball history on display.
Each year, she works closely with all inductees to gather their personal information for the booklets and videos. She is involved with various aspects of the banquet, including booking the venue, selecting the menu for the event, gathering raffle donations, marketing the event, and developing a seating plan.
As a 52-year resident of Kennett Square, she has dedicated her life to enhancing the Kennett Square community. Her activities include being a long-time member of the Kennett Area Park Authority Board, the Union Hill Cemetery Board, and a Co-Chair of the Kennett Square Sesquicentennial Committee celebrating Kennett Square’s 150th anniversary. She is a member of the Four Season’s Garden Club and a long-time volunteer at Longwood Gardens. Prissy was also co-founder of the Kennett Area Park and Recreation Board Girls’ Softball League in the 1970s.
She has greatly enjoyed working with Bob Burton, Steve Potter, Keith Craig, Doug Stirling, Bob Laffey, Bob Curran, and Lynne Ingram these past 22 years to make each of the banquets a success.
The banquet begins at 6 p.m. Tickets can be purchased at Burton’s Barber Shop at 105 W. State St. in Kennett Square, or by calling 610-444-9964.