Roy Hobbs Hall of Fame Class of 2013
By TOM GIFFEN and GLENN MILLER
Roy Hobbs Baseball
The Roy Hobbs Hall of Fame has selected its Charter Class of Inductees and will honor 17 individuals during 2 Induction ceremonies during the 2013 Roy Hobbs World Series.
The Trustees of the Roy Hobbs Hall of Fame announced the inaugural class of the Roy Hobbs Hall of Fame in August, and the Induction Ceremonies will be held on Sunday evenings – November 3 and 17 – in the Terry Park Stadium Plaza.
The Class of 2013 includes 17 players, coaches, managers, administrators, organizers and umpires whom the Trustees cited for outstanding contributions to the Game of Baseball, their teammates and baseball colleagues.
“While there were tough decisions to be made, we believe that these 17 men embody the principles upon which the Roy Hobbs Hall of Fame was created, and they exemplify the Hall of Fame Mission Statement,” the Trustees said in a statement.
“We are pleased to present the Class of 2013, a class that sets a high standard for all future Roy Hobbs Hall of Fame consideration,” the statement said. “We believe these men have had a significant impact on amateur baseball, both in their individual communities and in their participation in and representation of Roy Hobbs Baseball and the Roy Hobbs World Series.”
“I am looking forward to the Induction Ceremonies where I can personally congratulate each of these individuals and thank them for their Baseball passion and their contributions to the game we know and love,” Roy Hobbs President Tom Giffen said.
“We were very pleased with the number of folks who took the time to nominate the 34 individuals considered,” he said. “And breadth of experiences, accomplishments and contributions to the game of Baseball were tremendous. This Class embodies the idea of giving back, of making it possible for others to succeed, and plain and simple success.”
Charter Members – Class of 2013
Alfred Ayala of Dorado, Puerto Rico
Troy Cox of Palm Bay, Florida
Ronnie Craig of Swannanoa, N.C.
Jack DeHeer of Valparaiso, Indiana
Lane Green of Tallahassee
Bob Hawkins of West Chester, Ohio
Bart Leathers of Nashville
Joe Maiden of San Diego
Kevin McBurney* of Providence
Tim McGoldrick of Brunswick, Ohio
Fran Podraza of Fort Myers
Bill Pollak of Livingston, N.J.
Henry St. Clair* of Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin
Bob Wagner* of Fort Myers
Todd Windhorst* of Youngstown, Ohio
Gary Wright of Virginia Beach
Harry Young of Toledo
* – notes posthumous honoree
Henry St. Clair
The Roy Hobbs Hall of Fame, an offshoot of the Roy Hobbs Foundation (a 501c3 organization), was established by Roy Hobbs owner and President Tom Giffen during the summer of 2012, with an eye toward the first Class of Honorees coinciding with the 25th Anniversary of Roy Hobbs Baseball.
Giffen solicited a core of volunteers to comprise the Trustees, whom he entrusted to create the Hall of Fame, its mission, its guidelines and oversee the selection of the first class of honorees. Each of the Trustees agreed to the project and agreed that no Trustees should be candidates for the Hall of Fame while serving.
The Trustees crafted the following Mission Statement:
“The Roy Hobbs Baseball Hall of Fame is established to recognize and honor individuals who have made outstanding contributions to the game of baseball through their involvement with Roy Hobbs Baseball, the Roy Hobbs World Series and their local leagues and teams. Individuals shall have made contributions as players, coaches, managers, sponsors, umpires and administrators. Those contributions have been made both on and off the field of play; however, a prime consideration for recognition is the individual’s contributions to the game, their teammates and their baseball colleagues.”
The 2012-2013 Trustees of the Roy Hobbs Hall of Fame are: Co-Chairs Denny Brown and Joel Weinstein (both from California) and members Joe Caligaris (Ohio), Kevin Marden (Massachusetts), Carl Rakich (Ohio), Vito Ruscio (Illinois) and Tom Giffen of Roy Hobbs.
(Complete biographies will be included in the Roy Hobbs Hall of Fame Induction program and on the Roy Hobbs website during the World Series.)
Here is a brief look at the Class of 2013, as compiled by Glenn Miller:
Alfred Ayala – Alfred started 4 baseball leagues in Puerto Rico and was a key figure in the growth of Roy Hobbs on the island. He handled league logistics and also organized and managed Roy Hobbs teams. His team won the 2011-12 RHWS AAAA Masters championships.
Troy Cox – He has brought Americans Baseball teams from Florida’s east coast to the Roy Hobbs World Series for 25 years, winning 8 titles in 3 age groups. He has made Roy Hobbs possible in Brevard County. From spacecoastdaily.com: “… if someone is playing baseball on the Space Coast, they have Troy Cox to thank.”
Ronnie Craig – He has been involved in Roy Hobbs Baseball in North Carolina since 1991. He managed the Asheville Sox, who won have won 5 Roy Hobbs titles spread over different age divisions. He became president of a local adult league in 1990 and helps maintains fields to this day.
Jack DeHeer – Jack may need a truck to carry around all his Roy Hobbs awards. He’s been part of 8 RHWS champions and has 18 Roy Hobbs medals. He has played Roy Hobbs since its 1989 inception, served as Midwest Commissioner in the early days and has been a tireless ambassador for the Roy Hobbs brand.
Lane Green – From Ken Silvestri’s nomination letter for Lane: “Every time I walk on a baseball field in Tallahassee and play an adult league game I have Lane Green to thank for it.” The league Lane helped found 20 years ago is still going strong. He also coached and played on the 1992 Tallahassee Classics, which went 8-0 and won a RHWS championship.
Bob ‘Hawk’ Hawkins – Not even a steel rod in one leg can keep Bob off baseball fields. A long-time organizer and player for the Cincinnati Colts, he’s a big reason the Roy Hobbs World Series is a success. The Colts send teams in age divisions to the series. And Hawk is instrumental in making adult leagues in the Cincinnati and Dayton areas viable on several age groups.
Bart Leathers Jr. – Name it and Bart Leathers has probably done it to make Roy Hobbs Baseball a success in Middle Tennessee. Player, manager, league president, administrator, umpire and more. Since the mid-1990s, Bart has helped make adult baseball a reality throughout Middle Tennessee through hard work, enthusiasm and love of the game.
Joe Maiden – A player, manager and organizer in San Diego, Joe, a Naval Academy graduate, has helped start and run leagues in his community. He founded a Veterans baseball league in San Diego. He returned to baseball in 1994 and has managed the Western Silver Foxes in the 60s, 65s & 70s age divisions, and this year will manage one of the Forever Young 75+ teams.
Kevin McBurney – Hall of Fame nominations for Kevin, who died in May of this year, include comments such as “… a great ballplayer, and real nice guy, who coached and played for the love of the game.” McBurney introduced Roy Hobbs Baseball to Rhode Island, where he helped organize leagues, teams and made it possible for many men to play until his untimely death.
Tim McGoldrick – ‘Goldy’ has done it all in Roy Hobbs Baseball – player, coach, manager and umpire. He has been an umpire-in-chief at recent World Series. He was a go-to pitcher & hitter in 18+ leagues in Ohio, well into his 30s, is still active in youth baseball and in umpire recruitment and training.
Fran Podraza – Fran is a one-man band when it comes to the Amateur Baseball Association of SW Florida, handling the league, managing teams, arranging for fields, lights, umpires and making it possible for many to play. He was one of two Fort Myers ball players instrumental in bringing the RHWS to Lee County … and he and Roy Hobbs celebrate 25 years of Roy Hobbs Baseball this year.
Bill ‘Doc’ Pollak – Doc is a Roy Hobbs World Series pioneer and legend. He was a member of the New Jersey All-Stars that won the 40s title in the inaugural World Series in 1989. Having won more than 1,000 games in his amateur career, Doc has organized teams, managed, pitched and hit baseballs at the RHWS for 23 years.
Henry St. Clair – Hank, who died in 2011, was a man in blue who garnered respect from all – fellow umpires, players and managers. He was umpire-in-chief for the Roy Hobbs World Series for 7 years, having umpired in the World Series for 12 years where his recommendations and leadership are an Integral part of the RHWS umpiring philosophy and guidelines today.
Bob Wagner – Bob, who died in 2001, was more than a mover and shaker in the Fort Myers baseball community. He loved the game. After his death, the Fort Myers News-Press referred to him on the front page of the sports section as ‘Mr. Baseball.’ Among ‘Mr. Baseball’s’ legacy are his efforts to help bring Roy Hobbs World Series to Lee County and his love of Challenger Baseball, where youngsters remember him fondly even today.
Todd Windhorst – Director of operations for the Roy Hobbs World Series and Roy Hobbs Baseball in Akron, Todd, who died in 2012, did everything in baseball … from being an outstanding scholastic player in Pittsburgh, to playing as an adult, organizing and managing teams and becoming a top-notch umpire in baseball and softball.
Gary Wright – Gary is a driving force behind amateur baseball on all levels in the Tidewater region of Virginia, where his Drillers teams are ever-present. Gary organizes, manages and plays and has been bringing teams in as many as 3 age divisions to the World Series for 20 years. Hall of Fame nominator Travis Blake said Gary “is Mr. Baseball in Hampton Roads.”
Harry Young – Harry did not play baseball after high school. But he became a mover and shaker in NW Ohio, sponsoring his Harry Young Builders teams, coaching the kids, managing the adults and organizing teams and leagues to provide opportunities for ball players to learn, grow and become not just quality players but also great citizens.