The Lake Shore West Herr team that established a Buffalo News Suburban League dynasty in the 1970s and 13 individuals make up the 2015 class of inductees for the Western New York Baseball Hall of Fame.
Managed by the late Sam Gallineau, Lake Shore West Herr won eight straight American Division titles, five Twilight League titles and was Suburban League All-Around champion five times between 1972 and 1978. They had an overall record of 232-46.
Team members to be honored on Sept. 16 at the Lake Erie Italian Club in Lackawanna include:
Jim Covino, Rob Cooper, Dave Acanfora, Pat Pokigo, Ed Lewis, Bucky Dietz, Jim Barbati, Dave Balbierz, Ed Sliwinski, Gary Andreef, Pat Cappara, Rick Schaper, Dave Grucello, Mike Morlock, Billy Kenyon, Steve Stamer, Luke Owens, Leo Granger, Bob Scheelar, Joe Hesketh, Phil Ganci, Joe Ball, Dennis Gleason, coach Skip Larson and sponsor Brad Hafner.
Gallineau, player Jack Hummel and general managers Red Kramer and Fran Doherty will be honored posthumously.
Individual honorees in this year’s class are:
Ray Caso: Long-time coach started managing St. Paul’s (Kenmore) parochial league team in 1978. Went on to guide teams in AAABA, Muny, American Legion and at Cardinal O’Hara High. Credited with reviving interest in local American Legion league when it was struggling in 1990s.
Kevin Glover: Center fielder played at Bishop Turner High, Monroe Community College, Canisius. Once batted .667 for Leibs team in AAABA national tournament in Johnstown, Pa.
Jeff Grabowski: Power-hitting catcher and first baseman who stayed in game and became one of the top local umpires at all levels.
Bob “Hap” Holway: Succeeded the great Clint Small as baseball coach at Tonawanda High where his teams won 277 games, three Niagara Frontier League championships and one sectional title. Also coached Eldredge Club in the Tonawanda News League and AAABA and directed Western Scholastic teams to two Empire State Games titles and one silver medal finish.
Tom Housler: First baseman for Canisius High, Troop I Legion, AAABA and Cardinals of Cheektowaga Classic and Muny leagues. Joined Sloan Bruins for their 1970 NABF Championship run.
Jason Kline: Hitting standout who was three-sport athlete at Holland Central, especially baseball. Played Suburban, AAABA, Muny AAA and at College of Charleston (S.C.) and Canisius and independent league pro ball. Helped Leibs teams to NABF nationals.
Warren Lease: Handled variety of positions for teams in CEBA, Legion, Suburban, Frontier High, AAABA, Baldwin-Wallace University, Twilight and Lake Shore Suburban League. Active as successful Little League coach and assistant at Frontier High.
Paul Lisacchi: Standout umpire who often worked with legendary Jerry Stockman, forming a Mutt and Jeff combination that was considered the best in WNY for college, sandlot and even some minor league pro.
Matt Novo: Power hitter who stole many bases, mostly for Leibs teams he captained for 15 years. Played at Kenmore West, Canisius College, AAABA and Muny. Batted .500 for Leibs in 2001 NABF nationals.
Peter Odrobina: Deceased long-time coach at JFK High who also coached at Maryvale and East Aurora. In playing days, performed for JFK and teams in Cheektowaga Classic and at ECC and University at Buffalo. His 1988 JFK team advanced to state final four.
Jim Puleo: Starting catcher for Frontier, Hilbert and West Herr’s in Lake Shore, Suburban and Muny leagues. Played in four decades, retiring in 2003 at 40.
Steve Robida: Standout third baseman who played at St. Joe’s and was three-year starter at University of Kentucky. Locally played Legion, AAABA and for famed Sloan Bruins in Cheektowaga Classic League. Played two seasons in Baltimore Orioles organization and was player-manager for championship Marine Corps team in Western Pacific before returning home to play again for Bruins.
Jerry Scarcella: Long Island native who came here after career in San Francisco Giants organization to be pitching coach at UB. Resumed playing with teams in Cheektowaga Classic, Muny AAA. Now head coach at Williamsville North.
Tickets can be reserved for the inductee dinner by calling Bob Miske (834-1048).