It’s time for Beaver County memories, presented by St. Barnabas Beaver Meadows. As the warmer weather and sunny days return, many of our fond memories are rekindled around the baseball diamond. Beaver County has had its fair share of great baseball teams and players. WBVP and WMBA sportscaster Bob Barrickman wrote this stroll down memory lane on the baseball field.
Six baseball teams from Beaver County have won PIAA state championships. The 1986 Hopewell vikings of legendary coach Joe Colella were the first team from the county to capture a state baseball crown. Colella won 650 games at Hopewell, believably a W.P.I.A.L. record. The 1990 Center Trojans of coach Ossie Signore brought home state gold. The Riverside Panthers of another legend in coach Dan Oliastro won state baseball titles in 2005, 2006, 2012 and 2013. Oliastro is now in his 49th year with the panthers and is the only baseball coach to win four P.I.A.A. state championships. Other notable baseball teams from the county which reached the state final are the 1983 and 2013 Beaver Bobcats and the 1985 Monaca Indians of long time legendary baseball and basketball coach Dave Nichol. One of Nichol’s pitchers in Mark Grater reached the majors. The 1983 Bobcats of coach Ed Snitger featured two pitchers who pitched in the major leagues. One was Doug Piatt and the other was John Burkett, who won 165 games in 15 major league seasons and has the distinction of winning one more game than Sandy Koufax.
A father and son duo from New Brighton became famous as Tito and Terry Francona enjoyed lengthy major league careers. Tito Francona played 14 seasons in the majors and had his best years with the Cleveland Indians. Injuries cut short the playing career of Terry Francona but became one of the finest managers in the majors. He led the 2004 and 2007 Boston Red Sox to world series titles and took the Indians to the world series last season. Another New Brighton native who came up big was Jack Clark. Clark moved from New Brighton at an early age and hit 340 major league home runs and played in the 1985 and 1987 world series with the St. Louis Cardinals. Hal Woodeshick of Monaca pitched in relief for the cardinals in the 1967 world series as they edged the Red Sox in the fall classic, four games to three. George “Doc” Medich pitched under Colella at Hopewell before winning 124 games in the majors. He had 19 wins with the New York Yankees in 1974 and pitched for the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1976.
This has been Beaver County memories, presented by St. Barnabas Beaver Meadows. Tune in everyday at this time for more Beaver County memories, or visit Beaver County Radio dot com for a transcript of this program, as well as archived editions of other Beaver County memories.