Young Athletes from Cranford, Linden & Westfield Also Will Be Honored
MOUNTAINSIDE, NJ – Four local baseball legends – Jorge Comas of Elizabeth, Barry Kaverick of Kenilworth, Richard McCormack of Elizabeth, and Jack Shaw of Roselle Park – will be inducted into the Union County Baseball Hall of Fame during awards ceremonies at the 79th Annual Hot Stove League Baseball Dinner on Sunday, Feb. 8. The awards dinner begins at 1:00 p.m. at the L’Affaire Banquet Center, 1099 Route 22 East, in Mountainside.
The dinner is sponsored by the Union County Baseball Association, in cooperation with the Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders and the Union County Department of Parks and Recreation. Tickets for the dinner are $45 each. Proceeds will help fund the Union County Summer Youth Baseball League for youngsters 8 to 15 years, and the Fall Teen League.
The special guest speaker at the dinner will be Roy White, the former New York Yankees All-Star outfielder and two-time World Series champion.
Jorge Comas played four years of varsity baseball at St. Mary’s High School in Elizabeth. His outstanding performance earned him All-Union County and Parochial All-State honors. At Ramapo College, he played for the 1984 NCAA Division III National Champions and he holds the all time Ramapo College school record for home runs.
Barry Kaverick made a name for himself as one of the best players in Roselle Catholic High School history. His talent as a pitcher, shortstop and hitter earned him First Team All-State honors. Barry passed up signing with the Yankees to attend the U.S. Naval Academy. Later, he volunteered 17 years as a coach for the Kenilworth Little League.
Richard McCormack showed his versatility and passion for baseball from an early age. After graduating from the varsity at St. Mary’s in Elizabeth, he had a ten-year career in the Union County Baseball League and the Union County Industrial League, eventually becoming a player-manager. After his playing days, he coached in the Kenilworth Little League for a decade.
Jack Shaw grew up in Chatham and played in Morris and Essex leagues until the age of 30 – except for four years at Moravian College in Pennsylvania. Jack began coaching baseball at Roselle Park High School in 1976, retiring in 1999 with a 279-191 varsity record. He also coached at American Legion Post 60 for 13 seasons and was inducted into the NJ Scholastic Coaches Hall of Fame in 2001.
Young athletes from Union County also will be honored for their achievements in 2014 at the 79th Annual Hot Stove League Baseball Dinner. Among the local athletes to be honored are:
- Nick Christiani of Linden, the Gatorade New Jersey High School Player of the Year as a senior at Seton Hall Prep, who was drafted by the Cincinnati Reds in 2009 out of Vanderbilt and has pitched for the Reds in parts of the 2013 and 2014 seasons, will receive the Chris Zusi Award for outstanding male athlete.
- Chrissy Ferraro of Westfield, who led the Blue Devils to a second consecutive Union County Tournament Championship in 2014 with a .505 batting average and was named Union County Player of the Year, will receive the Banyasz Brothers Award for most valuable scholastic softball player.
- Rebecca Rotola of Linden, whose pitching helped Kean University win the 2014 NCAA Division III Softball Union Regional Championship over number one seed Lebanon Valley College, and who finished the season with a 12-3 record, will receive the Joseph Lombardi Award for outstanding female athlete.
- Tommy Trotter of Cranford, who led the Cougars to their third straight sectional title in 2014 with his .462 batting average out of the leadoff spot and his strong outfield defense, and was named Union County Player of the Year, will receive the Edward Cooper Award for most valuable scholastic baseball player.
“We’re delighted to honor so many deserving athletes from throughout Union County at this year’s Hot Stove Awards Dinner,” said Freeholder Chairman Mohamed S. Jalloh. “I hope that family members, teammates and friends of all the honorees will enjoy the Sunday afternoon ceremonies and support youth baseball in Union County.”
Since 1937, the Hot Stove League Dinner has been the primary fund-raising effort for the Union County Baseball Association’s summer and fall programs. Over the years, the awards dinner has honored many local and national baseball luminaries – including Phil Rizzuto of Hillside, Don Newcombe of Elizabeth, Joe Collins of Union, Jeff Torborg of Mountainside, Willie Wilson of Summit, and Elliott Maddox of Union.
Tickets for the 79th Annual Union County Baseball Association Hot Stove League Dinner on Feb. 8th are available from the Union County Baseball Association by visiting www.UCBA-NJ.org. For more information, please call Jim Iozzi at 908-917-2523.