A man of firsts, Baker played a significant role in the history of the New York-Penn League, and baseball in general, when he broke the managerial color barrier by becoming the first African-American manager in organized baseball when the Pittsburgh Pirates named him skipper of the Batavia club in 1961. In 1963 he became the second black coach in the Major Leagues, following Buck O'Neill by a half-season. He can also be credited with being the first black manager in Major League Baseball when he took over for ejected Pirates manager Danny Murtaugh on September 21, 1963. After his coaching days, Baker spent many years as a scout for the Pirates organization. He spent 8 seasons in the Majors with the Cubs and Pirates, and was the first African-American player to ever make the Chicago Cubs roster in 1953.
The purpose of the New York-Penn League Hall of Fame is to recognize individuals for their overall accomplishments or contributions to the league on the field of play or in an administrative role.
"As the oldest, continuously operated Class A league in professional baseball, the list of players, coaches, field managers, general managers, and owners reads like a Who's Who of Baseball," says, Ben Hayes, the President of the New York-Penn League.
Inductees are nominated and voted on by New York-Penn League club officials. Yearly Hall of Fame inductions occur at the site of the league's annual All-Star Game.
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As the first person hired by the Staten Island Yankees in 1999, Rogers has been with the club for it's entire history in New York City. Originally hired as the organization's office manager, Rogers progressed through various roles including that of General Manager and Senior Vice-President of Baseball Operations. Her tireless efforts leading the organization, and in particular the club's relationship with parent team NY Yankees, led to strong relationships with players and front office administrators alike. During the three months that followed the tragic events of September 11, 2001, Rogers was responsible for managing Richmond County Bank Ballpark's operations, which includes a 24/7 distribution center for NYFD, NYPD and other city agencies that used the ballpark as a staging area. For over two decades, Rogers led countless employees who have gone on to become executives throughout organized baseball, and has been an important contributor to the Staten Island community and the NYPL as a whole.
Viera captured the hearts of baseball fans around the country during his life, but it was in the NYPL, with the State College Spikes, that his impact was most directly felt. Viera was born with Hutchinson-Guilford Progeria, a rapid aging condition. His joyous spirit and enthusiasm was a source of inspiration for players, coaches, staff and fans. During his time as the Spikes' honorary bench coach, Viera helped propel the club to three Pinckney Division titles and New York-Penn League championships in 2014 and 2016. His presence created an unforgettable moment at the 2018 NYPL All-Star Game at his home field in State College. As he made the final pitching change of the game, he left the field to a standing ovation from both teams and every fan in attendance. Viera passed away in late 2018 at the age of 14, but his spirit remains a shining example of determination and perserverance in the game of baseball and the game of life.
Williams hit .344 as a member of the 1987 Oneonta Yankees playing in 25 games before a promotion to Fort Lauderdale. He made his MLB debut with the NY Yankees in 1991 and would go on to play his entire 16 year career in pinstripes. During his career he collected 2,336 hits, 447 doubles, 287 home runs and 1,257 RBI to go along with a lifetime batting average of .297. He is a four-time World Series Champion and the all-time leader in posteseason RBI with 80. Williams ranks second all-time in postseason HR (22), hits (128), doubles (29), total bases (223), and runs (83). A 5-time All-Star and 4-time Gold Glove Award winner, Williams won the 1996 ALCS MVP, 2002 Silver Slugger Award, and 1998 AL Batting Title. He joined the Yankees immortals by having his number 51 retired in 2015.
Fuller's voice was a constant in Batavia, NY, the birthplace of the New York-Penn League. For almost four decades, Fuller served verious roles for his hometown team including radio broadcaster, PA announcer, and official scorer, from his spot in the Batavia press box which was named the Wayne H. Fuller Press Box in 2009. He also served a variety of roles with Batavia High School sports leading to his selection to the Batavia High School Sports Hall of Fame and was a broadcaster for the Rochester Lancers soccer club of the NASL, where he is a member of their Wall of Fame. A man for all seasons, he at times was a PA announcer for the Rochester Flash (soccer), Rochester Red Wings (baseball) and the Rochester Americans (hockey).
Galarraga played for the Jamestown Expos in 1981, hitting .260 with six home runs and 26 RBI in 47 games. He went on to have a 19-year Major League career, playing for seven different teams including Montreal, St. Louis, Colorado, Atlanta, Texas, San Francisco, and Anaheim. Nicknamed "The Big Cat" for his impressively quick reflexes as a first baseman in spite of his large physical size, Galarraga was a five-time All-Star, won two National League Gold Glove awards and two NL Silver Slugger awards, while being named the MLB Comeback Player of the Year on two occasions. He finished his career with 399 Major League home runs and a .280 career batting average.
Goldklang serves as the Chairman of the Goldklang Group who has owned and operated the Hudson Valley Renegades since 1994. The group also owns the Charleston RiverDogs (Class A - South Atlantic League), St. Paul Saints (Independent - American Association) and Pittsfield Suns (Futures Collegiate Baseball League). Goldklang has been a member of the Minor League Baseball Board of Trustees since 2014. He is a 2004 inductee into the South Atlantic League Hall of Fame, a 2010 inductee into the Florida State League Hall of Fame, and has served as Chairman of the Executive Committee for the South Atlantic League, and member of the New York-Penn League Executive Committee. Additionally, he has been a limited partner of the New York Yankees for over thirty years.
Fusselle was the original "Voice of the Cyclones", serving as the play-by-play broadcaster for the Brooklyn Cyclones from the team's inaugural season in 2001 through his passing in 2011. During his tenure with the Cyclones, he was also behind the mic for the New York-Penn League's inaugural All-Star Game in Brooklyn during the 2005 season. Prior to his passing, Warner did not miss a pitch of the first 11 seasons in Cyclones history. He even returned to "The Catbird Seat" - a name he borrowed from the Red Barber - while still wearing a hospital bracelet so Cyclones fans wouldn't miss a beat. In addition to his work with the Cyclones, Fusselle was well known for his time as a member of This Week in Baseball starring Mel Allen. Fusselle, who contributed his time to TWIB Notes and TWIB Ticker, eventually took over as host when Allen passed away in 1996. This Week in Baseball is often credited for the explosion of sports television programming. Fusselle also worked as the play-by-play announcer with the Spartanburg Phillies (South Atlantic League), Richmond Braves (International League), and the Virignia Squires of the ABA. Fusselle called 34 Opening Days in professional baseball.
Gladstone had been a team owner in the NYPL beginning in 1992 when he purchased the Pittsfield Mets. In 2002, he moved the team to Troy, NY where it became highly successful both on and off the field winning League Championships in 2010 and 2013. He served 12 years on the Minor League Baseball Board of Trustees as the representative of the New York-Penn League and during that time helped guide the growth of Minor League Baseball. In 1991, Gladstone became a member of the Board of Directors of the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in Cooperstown, NY. He was crowned "King of Baseball" at the 2015 Baseball Winter Meetings.
Showalter began his managerial career, at the age of 29, with the New York-Penn League's Oneonta Yankees in 1985. He led Oneonta to a record of 55-23 that season, capturing the NYPL Championship. He returned in 1986 and managed the club to a short-season record 59 wins and just 18 losses, for an overall winning percentage of .735. From there, it was onward and upward for Showalter, who has been a long time Manager in the Major Leagues. He is a three-time American League Manager of the Year.
Allen began his professional career with the NYPL's Elmira Pioneers in 1960, hitting .281 with 8 home runs and 42 RBI. In his 15-year MLB career, Allen hit .292 with 351 home runs and 1,119 RBI. He was the NL Rookie of the Year in 1964 with the Philadelphia Phillies and the AL MVP in 1972 with the Chicago White Sox. Famed baseball historian Bill James ranks Allen with Jimmie Foxx and Mickey Mantle, and just a notch below Babe Ruth, as the four top long-distance sluggers to ever weild a baseball bat.
Posada was drafted by the New York Yankees in the 24th round of the 1990 amateur draft. In 1991, he appeared in 71 games for the Oneonta Yankees playing the majority of his time at second base (64 games), but it was in Oneonta that Posada began his transformation into a catcher. Posada made his MLB debut for the Yankees in 1995 and would go on to play 17 seasons in New York, serving as the primary catcher for the team from 1998 through 2010. For his career, he hit .273 with 275 home runs and 1,065 RBI. In 125 postseason games, he added 103 hits, 11 home runs and 42 RBI. He was a five-time All-Star and part of 5 World Series Championship teams.
Nicknamed "Charlie Hustle" for his style of play, Rose began his professional career in the NYPL with the 1960 Geneva Redlegs, hitting .277 on a team that also included National Baseball Hall of Fame member Tony Perez. Rose made his MLB debut with the Cincinnatti Reds in 1963 when he was named the NL Rookie of the Year. In 24 MLB seasons, he hit .303 with 160 home runs and 1,314 RBI. Rose is the holder of numerous MLB career records including; hits (4,256), games (3,562), at-bats (14,053), and singles (3,215). He won 3 NL batting crowns, was named to 17 NL All-Star teams at 5 different positions and was part of 3 World Series Championship teams (1975, 1976, 1980).
As a member of the 1965 Jamestown Tigers, Leyland hit .237 in 82 games as a catcher and third baseman. It was as a manager in the Major Leagues the Leyland found his greatest success on the diamond, leading the Florida Marlins to a World Series championship in 1997, and the Pittsburgh Pirates to three straight division titles (1990, 1991, 1992). Guiding the Detroit Tigers to the 2006 American League Championship, Leyland became the seventh Manager in history to win pennants twice in the National League (1990, 1992), and once in the American League (2006).
Playing first base and outfield for the Oneonta Yankees in 1979, "Donnie Baseball" hit .349 with 31 RBI in 53 games. In his 14-year Major League playing career, he amassed 2,153 hits, 442 doubles, 222 HR and 1,099 RBI and posted a lifetime batting average of .307. Mattingly won the 1984 American League batting title, and was selected as the American League MVP in 1985. He was a six time All-Star and nine time Gold Glove winner at first base. His number 23 was retired by the Yankees in 1996.
Velte began his 39-year association with the New York-Penn League in 1976 when he was appointed to Geneva Community Baseball's (Geneva Cubs) Board of Directors, later serving as Vice-President and then President of the team. He purchased the Geneva Cubs in 1988, eventually moving to team to Williamsport prior to the 1994 season. He remained Owner/President of the Williamsport franchise through the 2014 season. Velte served as a member of various League committees and was a valuable and longtime member of the League's Executive Committee.
After an accomplished college football career, John Elway was drafted by the New York Yankees in the 2nd round of the 1981 MLB Draft. Elway spent the summer of 1982 playing for the Oneonta Yankees of the New York-Penn League. He would hit .318 with 4 home runs and 25 RBI in 45 games. Elway would go on to have a Hall of Fame career as quarterback for the Denver Broncos in the NFL, leading his team to six AFC Championship games and five Super Bowls, winning his last two. In 2004 he was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Nicknamed "The Big Unit", Johnson was one of the most feared pitchers in baseball history. The 6-foot-10-inch left hander was celebrated for having one of the most dominant fastballs in the game. He began his professional career with the Jamestown Expos of the New York-Penn League during the 1985 season, starting 8 games and striking out 21 batters. In 22 MLB seasons, Johnson would amass 303 victories. His 4,875 strikeouts are the most all-time by a left-handed pitcher and second overall behind only Nolan Ryan. He was named to 10 All-Star teams and won 5 Cy Young Awards. In 2001, he became a World Series champion with the Arizona Diamondbacks and was named World Series MVP.
Wride had been involved with the Auburn Baseball Club since 1964 in various capacities. Over the years he served as Director (1964-1974), Vice President (1975-1995), Public Address Announcer (1995-2005), and Administrative Assistant (2005-2010). In addition, he served as Auburn Baseball Historian beginning in 1990 and as the New York-Penn League Historian beginning 1998. In this role, he assisted in revising New York-Penn League statistics for annual media guides and compiled the master list of former players who appeared in Major League Baseball. His research has also been invaluable in helping to "fill on the blanks" for many records, statistics, rosters, and players in League history.
Julian served as President of the NYPL from 1992 until 2001. He presided over numerous franchise shifts to larger markets during his presidency that saw league attendance almost triple from 684,000 fans in 1992 to 1.6 million fans in 2001. The League's yearly individual award for Community and Baseball Service is named in his honor.
McNamara was named President of the New York-Penn League in 1948 and served as head of the league for 37 years. At the time he took over the Presidency, the league, like many other small leagues around the country, was beset with a host of problems. His leadership helped increase attendance and stabilize the League as a whole. In 1972, the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues paid tribute to McNamara for his years of service by saluting him as the "King of Baseball". One of the League's 3 divisions is named in his honor, as is the award for the Outstanding Club in the NYPL.
Nader served the city of Oneonta, NY as a member of the common council, and later as Mayor. Nader helped to bring baseball back to Oneonta with the Oneonta Red Sox. He purchased the newly named Oneonta Yankees in 1967. Nader served in many roles and held titles as an owner and executive with the team until selling the franchise in 2008. He was an integral part of the League in his over 40 years as an owner.
Pinckney served as a sportswriter for the Auburn Citizen for 37 years. In 1958, he spearheaded a successful fundraising campaign to get Auburn's city team into the New York-Penn League. Buoyed by the community's enthusiastic response, he convinced the New York Yankees to sign on as the fledgling club's Major League affiliate. Pinckney served as the Auburn Yankees' first president and was later named the President of the New York-Penn League, a position he held from 1984 until 1992. The 1998 recipient of Minor League Baseball's prestigious "King of Baseball" award, Pinckney was a tireless advocate for the sport he loved. One of the league's 3 divisions is named in his honor.
Stedler is considered a "founder" of the New York-Penn League. While a sports editor at the Buffalo Evening News, it was mainly through his efforts that the then PONY League was formed with teams of Pennsylvania, Ontario, and New York. He served as League President for 10 years. One of the League's 3 divisions is named in his honor.
Boggs hit .263 for the Elmira Pioneers in 1976. He would not hit below .300 again until 1992, his final season with the Red Sox. With the Red Sox, Boggs won five American League batting titles, including four consecutive titles from 1985-88. He remains the only baseball player in Major League history to collect 200 hits and score 100 runs in seven consecutive seasons. He was elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 2005. He was elected to the NY-P League's All-Time Team in 2010.
Fox hit .304 for the Jamestown Falcons 1944. Fox was a 12-time All-Star during his 19 year Major League career. He spent 14 of those years with the Chicago White Sox. The highlight of Fox's career came in 1959 when he helped lead the White Sox to their first pennant in 40 years and he was named the American League Most Valuable Player. He was elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1997.
Niekro was 2-1 with a 7.76 ERA for the Wellsville Braves in 1959. Nicknamed "Knucksie" because of his usage and skill level with the knuckleball, Niekro went on to win 318 games in the majors and was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1997.
Perez played two full seasons for the Geneva Redlegs, hitting .279 in 1960 and .348 with 27 home runs in 1961. Perez was one of the premier RBI men of his generation, driving in 100 or more runs seven times in his 23 year Major League career. He was a 7-time All-Star and played on 3 World Series Champion teams with the Cincinnati Reds. He was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 2000 and was named a member of the NY-P All-Time Team in 2010.
Rice hit .256 for the Williamsport Red Sox in 1971. One of the most feared right-handed hitters of his era, Rice clubbed at least 20 homers in 11 of his first 12 Major League seasons and led the American League in total bases four times, homers three times and RBI & slugging percentage twice each. Rice was an 8-time All-Star and was named the AL MVP in 1978. He was elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 2009 and was named a member of the NY-P All-Time Team in 2010.
Spahn was 5-4 with a 2.73 ERA for the Bradford Bees in 1940. He would go on to become the 5th winningest pitcher of all time (363 wins) over parts of 21 years in the Majors from 1942 to 1965. He was elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1973.
Yount hit .285 for the Newark Co-Pilots in 1973, his only season in the minor leagues. Playing his entire 20 year Major League career with the Milwaukee Brewers, he collected more hits in the 1980's than any other player and finished with an impressive career total of 3,142. Yount earned MVP Awards at two positions. He was elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1999 and was named a member of the NY-P All-Time Team in 2010.