The Union County Baseball Association will honor local student athletes for their achievements in 2015 and induct five new members into the Union County Baseball Hall of Fame during award ceremonies on Sunday afternoon, February 21, in Clark.
The 80th annual Hot Stove League Baseball Dinner on Feb. 21st begins at 1:00 p.m. at the Gran Centurions banquet hall, 440 Madison Hill Road, Clark NJ 07066. 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.
Among the honorees at this year’s “Hot Stove” event will be student athletes from local high schools, including: P.J. Walker and Jahad Thomas, graduates of Elizabeth High School who are now teammates at Temple University; Jackie Lima, a graduate of Linden High School who led the Ramapo College Roadrunners to their first NJAC Tournament Championship; Kathleen Walsh, another Linden graduate, who was named to the All Union County First Team and now plays for Walsh University in Ohio; Gianna Randazza, a junior at Arthur L. Johnson Regional High School in Clark, who was named Union County Player of the Year with the Crusaders; and Zack Lipshitz, named Union County Hitter of the Year with the Scotch Plains-Fanwood High School Raiders, who now plays for Drew University.
During the afternoon awards ceremonies, the UCBA will induct five new members into the Union County Baseball Hall of Fame: Joe Alvarez of Elizabeth, Ray Crepeau of Linden, Wally “Sam” Engelhardt of Elizabeth, Bruce Henderson of Rahway, and Damien Kane of Roselle.
Sparky Lyle, the 1977 Cy Young Award winner and a two-time World Series champion relief pitcher for the New York Yankees, will be the special guest speaker. The celebrated southpaw will always be remembered for his clutch pitching for the Yankees and his book about those days in pinstripes, “The Bronx Zoo.” Sparky Lyle also was the original manager par excellence of the Somerset Patriots during the ballclub’s first 15 years in Bridgewater (1998-2012).
Tickets for the dinner are $50 each. Proceeds will help fund the Union County Summer Youth Baseball League for youngsters 8 to 15 years, and the Fall Wood Bat League for teens.
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 80th Annual Union County Baseball Association Hot Stove League Dinner on Feb. 21st are available from the UCBA by visiting www.UCBA-NJ.org or by mailing a check to the Union County Baseball Association, PO Box 176, Fanwood NJ 07023. For more information, please call Jim Iozzi at 908-917-2523.