Meet the 2019 Hall of Fame Inductees
1947 Lock Haven All-Star team
Members of the team Carmine Grieco and Carl Russell accepted the award for the team.
Grieco said Russell hit the longest home run in the first world series.
He said the group of kids from Lock Haven… “it was our first year playing baseball and the final game in the series was a double header against Maynard Street of Williamsport, an absolutely outstanding team. We lost. We came in second. But we played a Maynard team that was super,” Grieco said.
Russell said he remembers well that game 72 years ago. “We had a great time. This is a real honor for me to be here.”
Grieco presented Justin Kline with two items for his Hall of Fame– a baseball from the Little League World Series in 1947 enscribed, “Thank you Justin. Boys of 47,” and also a team jersey with 1947 on the front.
Curt Caruso spoke on behalf of his son, Joe Caruso, who could not be in attendance. Curt read down through some statistics of his son’s days on the baseball field — Little League record 24 home runs in 18 games; four-time all-star; all-star most valuable player three times, best hitter, best pitcher, best catcher.
At Lock Haven High School, where Joe was a three-sport star athlete — baseball, football and basketball –Joe hit nine home runs and earned a full scholarship to the University of Alabama where he was a starter for four years, made the SEC First Team and was named SEC Tournament MVP. Caruso was drafted by the Kansas City Royals and played several seasons of professional baseball.
Wearing a Superman shirt, Curt said he always wore a Superman shirt to his son’s baseball games, and thought it fitting that he wore one to this event, despite his wife’s suggestion he wear a dress shirt.
Curt said he is most proud of his son for the time he took with fans and children to sign autographs during his career… and that he found Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior.
Shawn Weaver was introduced by his father, Rod, who also went down a lengthy list of accomplishments his son compiled during his baseball career — Five years of youth league, four of five years all stars, three years junior baseball at Sugar Valley, three years American Legion ball at Penns Valley, made the American Legion all stars, played at Three Rivers Stadium in Pittsburgh and in Harrisburg where the Senators played. He played three years at Sugar Valley High School and his senior year at Bald Eagle Nittany High School, he made the Baseball America’s team, was named Sun-Gazette Player of the Year and WNEP pitcher of the year.
Shawn was drafted by the Boston Red Sox in 1997, but chose to accept a full scholarship to Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Va., where he was a pitcher on the college baseball team. In college he compiled a 21-16 record and was named a Cape Cod Summer League All-Star in 2000 and a Valley League All-Star in 1999. He suffered a shoulder injury that ended his baseball career. He now is a coach for his two daughters in the Clinton Softball League and is a physical education teacher at Jersey Shore High School.
Shawn said his dad instilled him with the love of sports and doing things the right way. “I am incredibly grateful to be here today.”
Tom Randecker was introduced by his son, Greg, who said he didn’t have the pleasure of seeing his father play but has read alot about those days.
“I understand he threw a pretty mean fast ball back in the day,” Greg said, calling his father very humble and rarely speaking about his baseball career.
“He coached many years in Little League and Junior League and taught us what it meant to say ‘for the love of the game,'” Greg continued.
Tom, a 1965 graduate of Lock Haven High School, said the high school didn’t have a baseball team back then and he played Junior League and American Legion ball in the area and made the PA All-Star team. He said his name got around and there were Major League scouts at the PA All-Star games. After graduation he was drafted by the Milwaukee Braves in the fifth round. He went to Florida and played in the minor leagues for four years.
Tom said he has lots of memories of the good ole days… when baseball was unorganized. “We picked sides and played baseball. It was a lot of fun.We’d play every day until dark or we were too tired. We didn’t have a lot of equipment — a ball with no cover wrapped with electric tape. It was hard to hit far and made a crazy bounce. And, a bat… we’d count how many screws and nails were holding it together.We’d wrap electric tape around the handle.”
He said his dad, Bill, worked with him and taught him to pitch.
“He bought a book and read the book and told me what to do. I guess you could say I learned how to pitch by the book, and it worked.” He also mentioned a neighbor, Dick “Dynamite” Condo, who he said taught him a lot.
“This is quite an honor. I never expected it,” Tom said.
Jim Gardner Sr.
Jimmy Gardner Jr. introduced his dad, Jim Gardner Sr., who played baseball in Beech Creek under coach Butch Shady.
“They played ball every day, all summer,” he said of his dad’s friends. They didn’t have a baseball team at BEN, so his dad played in the Beech Creek County League. At 21 he moved to the Blanchard League and that’s when he emerged as a really good hitter, Jim Jr. said.
In 1967 he hit .500 and earned the league title and in 1968 he hit .466.
Jim Sr. said he played baseball until 1972 and then began coaching Little League.
“I guess I batted pretty good,” he said, thanking everybody who had any part of the event.
He said he still loves the game and enjoys watching baseball as much as he can.
Last but certainly not least is Gerald Kistner, who was introduced by good friend Curt Heverly.
“This story started in 1950,” Heverly said. “I kept hearing about this guy. I was just a little kid and heard that a Kistner guy was hitting balls almost to the railroad tracks. He was an awesome athlete, he also played football. Gerald was a guy who made Howard known for great baseball.”
Gerald, who now lives in Louisiana, said he wouldn’t have missed this day for anything.
He played for the Howard Little League, Bald Eagle Area High School and Centre County League. He was a catcher and said he loved playing that position.
“This is quite an honor. I never expected it. When Curt called, I couldn’t believe it. When he called back and asked for my ring size, I knew it was true. And here I am,” Gerald said, adding that his daughter from Florida surprised him by flying up for this special event.