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Power Take: Bennett grad Msgr. Zeitler made his mark as an athlete

Milt Northrop

News Sports Reporter

Growing up near Bennett High, Larry Felser, the late former sports editor of The News, was an avid follower of Tigers athletes. Two of his favorites were pitcher Earle Hannel and second baseman John Zeitler, and they became friends in adult life.

Hannel went on to pitch at Duke and became a journalist. Zeitler, who also made All-High in football and played basketball at Bennett, became Monsignor John Zeitler. That was after he spent four years at Michigan State, where he was captain and left fielder of the 1954 team that won the school’s first Big Ten championship, finishing third in the College World Series.

Father Zeitler, who was coach, athletic director and principal at Notre Dame High in Batavia and served several Buffalo area parishes, died Jan. 11. He was 83.

A member of the Western New York Baseball Hall of Fame, he was a regular each year at the annual induction dinner, enjoying the camaraderie with fellow ballplayers from his younger years. Father Zeitler will be missed when this year’s Hall of Fame gathering rolls around in September.

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Power Takes are opinion blasts from Bucky, Sully & members of The News’ sports staff -- three will appear in Wednesday’s and Friday’s sports sections.

Today’s Power Takes

* Milt Northrop’s Power Take: Bennett grad Msgr. Zeitler made his mark as an athlete

* Tyler Dunne’s Power Take: Draft is a prime mining area for Bills to get quarterbacks

* Jerry Sullivan’s Power Take: Give Gilmore an extension, but be reasonable about it