(Reading, Pa.)---Berks County Interscholastic Athletic Association (BCIAA) Executive Director Dr. Richard Flannery will be crowned the 2013 King of Baseballtown by the Reading Fightin Phils and Baseballtown Charities at the Phillies Winter Banquet on Tuesday, Jan. 22 at the Crowne Plaza Reading Hotel.
Flannery, 77, has been an instrumental figure in the Berks County scholastic scene over the past seven decades. Since 1998, "Doc" has served as the executive director of the BCIAA where he works closely with the organization's 18-member school districts.
In addition to his work with the BCIAA, Flannery has served as the president of the Berks Chapter of the Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame for 25 years. Over its 36-year history, the Berks Chapter has inducted 32 members that have played professional baseball, both in the majors in the minors. Overall, the chapter has inducted 324 members, 29 of which are inductees in the state hall of fame.
On the baseball side, Flannery was instrumental in making FirstEnergy Stadium the home of Berks County high school playoffs since 2002. He also instituted the BCIAA-PAC-10 All-Star Game at the stadium in 2004.
"Doc Flannery's contributions to Reading and Berks County have put area high school baseball on the major league level," said President of Baseballtown Charities Chuck Domino. "As an educator and administrator, he has given student-athletes the tools to succeed for a lifetime."
A graduate of Oklahoma State, Kutztown University, Temple University, and the University of Florida, Flannery was a decorated athlete at Central Catholic High School where he played both track and basketball. After winning the Berks County mile champion in 1950, he ran a 4:28.7 mile at Harrisburg's Fager Field to finish as runner-up in the state championships. Flannery later coached track and cross country at Boyertown High School where his teams finished with a 132-22 overall record. He also was the Venzke Relays meet director for 10 years.
The 1971 Valley Forge Freedom's Foundation Teacher of the Year also has proved to be quite the basketball star. Through his 27-year amateur basketball career in Berks and Montgomery County, Flannery won 17 scoring titles and once scored 92 points in a single game for the Mt. Penn Pagodas in the Berks Recreation League.
Professionally, Flannery was an educator for 39 years including time with Boyertown High School as a teacher and principal for 14 years, principal at Reading High School for 14 years, and Dean of Students at Alvernia University. At Alvernia, he also was the first full-time athletic director at the educational institution.
Outside of sports and education, Flannery served in the U.S. Navy during the Korean War for four years as a first-class petty officer.
Flannery will be crowned the eleventh King of Baseballtown, and will join Reading native and Boston Red Sox icon, the late "Broadway" Charlie Wagner (2003); former Reading Indian and long-time Reading High coach Paul "Cooter" Jones (2004); former major leaguer, front office executive and scout Dick Gernert (2005); fast-pitch softball manager Rocky Santilli, who owns 2,000+ wins in local, national and international competition (2006); Francis "Ducky" Turner, longtime stadium improvement activist (2007); former All-American Girls Professional Baseball League player Ruth Hartman (crowned "Queen" in 2008), Reading native and Albright College professor emeritus, Dr. David Q. Voigt (2009); Bechtelsville native and 1957 Eastern League Champion Carl Mathias (2010), Boyertown native Dick Ludy , who guided the Boyertown Legion baseball team to the 1982 Legion World Series championship (2011), and longtime Alvernia baseball head coach Yogi Lutz (2012).
Tickets for the Phillies Winter Banquet cost $65 each or $600 for a 10-person table and can currently be purchased in-person at the Fightins Ticket Office, online at Fightins.com, or by phone at 610-370-BALL. Proceeds from the event benefit Baseballtown Charities, a 501 (c)(3) non-profit organization founded to keep baseball alive in Reading so the youth can benefit from the many life lessons the game teaches.
The banquet will begin with a cocktail hour at 5:30 p.m. followed by a 6:30 p.m. dinner. The event will feature prizes, auction items, highlight videos, dinner, and more. Among the announced guests for the banquet are 2012 Eastern League MVP Darin Ruf, Philadelphia Phillies reliever Justin De Fratus, Phillies General Manager Ruben Amaro, Jr., and other members of the Phillies organization.
The Reading Fightin Phils trademarked the name Baseballtown in 2002 and began programs in its name with goals to honor Reading's rich baseball history and secure its future by giving more kids the opportunity to play and learn from the game's life lessons.
In 2006 Baseballtown Charities realized a dream that accomplished both of its goals when Gordon Hoodak Stadium at Lauer's Park opened in Reading. The ballpark is located behind Lauer's Park Elementary School, which was named for the former stadium that housed several professional teams and hosted barnstorming tours from 1907-1941. Both Babe Ruth and "Shoeless" Joe Jackson played there. Gordon Hoodak Stadium is the home field of the Olivet Boys and Girls Club's RBI leagues (Revitalizing Baseball in the Inner City) and has rekindled interest in baseball among inner-city youth. Gordon Hoodak is the principal of Lauer's Park Elementary School.
The Fightin Phils will kick off its home schedule on Friday, April 12 at FirstEnergy Stadium when the team takes on the Erie SeaWolves. Season tickets, mini-plans, and group tickets for 2013 can be purchased online at Fightins.com, by phone at 610-370-BALL, and in-person by visiting the Fightins Ticket Office at FirstEnergy Stadium.