Half of new WNY Hall of Famers have Canisius ties - The Buffalo News

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Half of new WNY Hall of Famers have Canisius ties

Seven local baseball figures who played for or have connections to Canisius High and Canisius College baseball will be among a class of 14 who will be inducted into the Western New York Baseball Hall of Fame in September.

Pitcher John Buszka, infielders Chris Burns and Ron Raccuia, who played at Canisius High for coaches Jim Burke and the late Connie McGillicuddy, are in the 2014 class.

They will go in along with infielders Rick Foit, Jim Lumadue Jr., Pat Ruggiero Jr., Mark Terry and Raccuia, who all played for coach Don Colpoys at Canisius College while pitcher Ray Bielanin coached there.

Lumadue and Ruggiero are sons of previous inductees to the Hall, which honors players who stood out primarily in Western New York sandlot leagues including the Muny, Suburban, Cheektowaga Classic, AAABA and American Legion.

They will be honored at the 18th annual WNY Baseball Hall of Fame banquet on Sept. 17 at the Lake Erie Italian Club in Lackawanna.

The inductees:

Ray Bielanin: Muny League pitcher for Cheektowaga Travelers and Ken Hy in Muny AAA. Coaches modified team at Canisius High. Played two years of minor league ball in Los Angeles Dodgers organization.

John Buszka: Left-hand pitcher for Sloan Bruins, Southside AC, Manzellas and J.C. Stephens in Muny and AAABA and Dick Fishers in Cheektowaga Classic. Batted .571 for UB in 1976 with 40 RBIs in 41 games. When he wasn’t in lineup at first base or DH, he pitched and had an ERA under 3.00 his last two seasons playing for Bill Monkarsh.

He also played three years of minor league ball in the Indians organization.

Chris Burns: Second baseman for Voyageurs, who batted .378 as an 18-year-old when Voyageurs’ dynasty was just getting started. Twice recorded five hits in a game for Manager Art Ponto’s team. Call him “Your Honor;” Burns is a State Supreme Court judge.

Rick Foit: Shortstop for Lake View Sox of Suburban League, Orchard Park Sox in Muny AAA. Played at Frontier High, won Paschal Rubino Award as team MVP at ECC before moving on to Canisius College.

Don Goller: Played for East Aurora in Suburban League then umpired collegiate games after 12 seasons umpiring in minor leagues all the way up to Triple-A International League.

Jim Lumadue, Jr.: Clutch hitter as infielder for Maryvale High, Canisius College, AAABA North Forest and Cheektowaga Taxmen in Suburban League. His father was 1997 inductee. Shortstop for 1982 Youngers Agency team that won the final pennant before Cheektowaga Classic League folded.

Sam Manuele: Second baseman for Hutch-Tech, Buffalo State and Muny AAA Ramblers and Union Painters after starting out with Royal Printers of Muny AA.

John Mecca: Center fielder and middle of the order hitter with surprising power despite diminutive size. Played at Lafayette High (1951 graduate) and the early Royal Printers teams. Later managed in Kensington Boys League.

Marv Otto: Standout Suburban League catcher for Lockport Redman, Pendleton, Lockport Bus and Starpoint High. Played football and baseball at Ithaca College. One of top power hitters in the ‘80s and ‘90s in the Erie Niagara League.

Ron Raccuia: Played high school and college and MUNY AAA with Ken Hy before becoming a successful umpire and businessman as president of Ad Pro Sports, a corporate supporter of many local sports.

Bob Rudnick: Left-handed slugger for JFK High, Lamm Post and for many years with Travelers of Cheektowaga Classic League. Perhaps is better-known as the bowler who broke Allie Brandt’s long-standing WNY record of 886 for a three-game series when he shot 888 at Spare Time Bowling Center in 2006.

Pat Ruggerio Jr.: His father, brother Rick, and cousin, Joe Vizzi, are members of the Hall. Played for Paul Quagliana at Cardinal Dougherty and for AAABA Royal Printing. Played Muny AAA for Painters/Macaroni Company and with Cardinals under Encil “Porky” Palmer.

Tom Ryan: Played for many years with Franklinville of Buffalo News Suburban League before moving to Lockport where he established himself as player coach and manager for Lockport VFW/DMI.

Mark Terry: Rochester native played at UB and Canisius College. Batted over .400 in all 12 of his seasons as a shortstop in Muny AAA for Ed Taylor, Kodak and Ellicott Development and also played on national tournament teams, including four times with Leibs.

email mnorthrop@buffnews.com

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