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Chester County Press

Kennett Old Timers Baseball Association announces five new inductees for Hall of Fame

01/03/2023 01:16PM ● By Steven Hoffman

Five local players who shined on the baseball diamond will be inducted into the Kennett Old Timers Baseball Association Hall of Fame when the 2023 banquet takes place on Saturday, Jan. 21. Ben Davis, a former major leaguer and Phillies TV broadcast analyst, will serve as the guest speaker for the event, while Dick Vermeil, the NFL Hall of Fame coach, is the special guest.

The five inductees this year are Charles Crosson, Jr., Doug Compher, Matt Johnson, Evan Breisblatt, and Anthony Buckwash. 

The banquet takes place at 6 p.m. in the Red Clay Room of the Kennett Square Fire Company. Tickets for the banquet and dinner are $45, and can be purchased at Burton’s Barber Shop on State Street in Kennett Square.

Baseball fans will enjoy listening to Davis talk about the Philadelphia Phillies’ thrilling run to the 2022 World Series. Now that the calendar has flipped to 2023, Phillies fans are already dreaming about the possibility that Bryce Harper, Kyle Schwarber, Zack Wheeler, and new arrival Trea Turner will bring the World Series trophy to Philadelphia for a third time in franchise history.

Davis previously served as the guest speaker at this banquet in 2018, and everyone enjoyed his stories from his playing career. Davis was a highly touted catcher coming out of Malvern Prep, and he was selected second overall in the 1995 draft by the San Diego Padres. He played for the Padres, Seattle Mariners, and Chicago White Sox between 1998 and 2004. After returning to the Minor Leagues for several seasons, he made a bid to make it back to the majors as a pitcher before retiring from professional baseball in 2011.

Soon after his retirement, Davis began working for NBC Sports Philadelphia and has worked in several roles as a broadcaster and analyst for the Phillies ever since.

Vermeil is a legendary and beloved figure in Philadelphia sports, having coached the Philadelphia Eagles for seven seasons. He was a special guest at last year’s banquet as well.

Baseball has a long and rich history in Chester County, and the Kennett Old Timers Baseball Association has been shining a spotlight on the best players and coaches in the area.

Crosson was a talented athlete at Unionville High School.  On the baseball diamond, he was a standout pitcher. On the basketball court, he was a point guard. He was a part of the 1955 Unionville team that won the Southern Chester County League and the District 1, Class B PIAA Playoffs.

He played baseball for the U.S. Navy Base Team where he competed against Johnny Podres. Podres went on to have a long and accomplished career in the major leagues and then an even longer career as a pitching coach.

As an adult, Crosson was still quite the athlete. He ran 17 marathons and qualified for the Boston Marathon seven times, participating in that event five times. He still plays golf, currently shooting in the high 70s or low 80s.

Like Crosson, Compher was a standout baseball player for Unionville High School. He was a First Team All-League selection in the Southern Chester County League in 1983 and 1984. Under coach Rick Woodland, he helped lead Unionville to two league championships and two district semifinals. He played third base at Unionville. He also played Kennett American Legion ball and was an all-star selection.

Compher also played football and basketball. He went on to play first base and third base at Lafayette College and then played in the West Chester Adult League from 1986 to 1993.

Johnson’s abilities on the baseball field earned him a Minor League tryout with the Phillies organization.

He was a center fielder and pitcher. He played Kennett American Legion ball and was part of a team that won a championship in the Southern Chester County Babe Ruth League. He was an All-Catholic selection in the State of Delaware and was selected for the Blue and Gold All Star Game in Delaware in 1982.

He was a graduate of Salesianum High School and West Chester University. He now teaches at William Penn High School.

He went on to coach Little League baseball for 10 years, served as a Salesianum JV baseball coach, and was also a hitting instructor for youth leagues.

Breisblatt played for the Great Valley Little League from 1983 to 1990. He was a shortstop and pitcher on the 12-year-old Bob Jones Memorial Championship with KAU. He was also on the team that won the 15-year-old District and Regional Championship.

At Unionville High School, he earned nine varsity letters and was a three-time varsity captain. He was selected as the Male Athlete of the Year in 1992.

He was also a two-time All-Chester County selection as a defensive back and a two-time first team all-Del-Val football team.

On the basketball court, he scored 1031 career points and is third in scoring all-time at Unionville.

He was an All-League selection as a pitcher from 1990 to 1992. In 1992, he posted an earned run average of 1.31 and compiled a 4-0 record. He played with a number of other Kennett Old Timers Baseball Association hall of famers in the Kennett American Legion.

Buckwash played baseball in many different leagues during his lifetime, including URA, KAU, Babe Ruth, American Legion, West Chester Adult League. He was a standout baseball player for Unionville High School.

He is a retired educator who taught physics and was an assistant principal and principal in the Coatesville Area School District.

The Kennett Old Timers Baseball Association 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 longtime president Bob Burton.