Doug Smith never played the game, unless you count the Media League and Church League softball, but he will be honored along with 13 others with a place in the Western New York Baseball Hall of Fame at the Lake Erie Italian Club in September.
Smith, who recently moved from Grand Island to Cortland, will be honored for his passion and devotion to baseball on all levels as a columnist, scorekeeper and public-address announcer. He is a former Buffalo News, Courier-Express and Channel 4 reporter who in recent years contributed a weekly baseball column to the Niagara Gazette and local weekly papers. He started as a sports writer 65 years ago for the Jamestown Post-Journal. More recently, Smith also served as reporter and public address announcer for Niagara Falls team in the New York State Collegiate Baseball League.
Others to be honored include:
• John Ballow: Akron Central and Canisius College grad who had long career as umpire locally and as an alternate in Triple-A minor leagues and Division I college. He’s an attorney.
• Craig Bishop: First baseman and hard-throwing left-handed pitcher who played at East Aurora High and Brockport State. For two seasons he played in the Dodgers’ system, and two more in the Italian League and independent Northern League. Bishop also played for West Falls in the Central League, Kettles of the Lake Shore League and Leibs and Voyageurs in Muny AAA.
• Jim Galbo: Hutch-Tech graduate who played AAABA and various Muny leagues from 1965 to 2005. Truly dedicated to baseball, he was still active as player-coach in Senior League in 2011.
• Ray Hennessy Sr.: Pitcher and third baseman for the Hank Nowaks, Sloan Bruins and Royal Printers in Muny AAA, then had a long career as a coach, including five years as head coach at St. Francis High and 13 as assistant to Don Colpoys at Canisius College. He died in May.
• Edmund Jablonski: Skilled defensive catcher who played on two Bishop Timon Georgetown Cup championship teams, then at Niagara University. Played 17 years in Suburban and Muny. A perennial All-Star for West Seneca Kandefers and West Herrs.
• Paul Kellner: Started out as shortstop but played virtually every position in his career. Three-sport athlete at Frontier Central and played at UB and Cortland State. Power hitter who batted over .400 for seven seasons in a row for West Herrs, perennial power in the Lake Shore Suburban League. Played and managed champion West Herr teams in Muny AAA after Lake Shore league folded.
• Bob Kowal: Long time coach and manager in high school, Legion, Empire State Games and amateur ball. Was head varsity coach at Lake Shore 2007-15, managed in CEBA,
• Teddy Majewski: Shortstop at West Seneca East and Canisius College (.290 career average) who played 19 years in Muny League with 57 career home runs, 654 hits and a .370 career batting average.
• Joe Merlo: First 1,000-point scorer in Buffalo State basketball history but was outstanding baseball shortstop and outfielder at Lafayette High and later in Muny and Cheektowaga Classic leagues. Member of Lafayette, Buffalo State and Greater Buffalo Sports Halls of Fame. Once homered over left-field screen at Offermann Stadium playing for Buffalo against Detroit in Sandlot All-Star Game.
• Mark Notaro: Started for three seasons at Williamsville East and made All-MAAC as first baseman at Canisius College where he had a .284 career batting average. Later was Griffs’ head coach for three seasons. Played for Amherst Rooties, City Mattress and All Sports in Suburban League and played Muny AAA and AA ball.
• Eugene O’Byrne: Pitched at Lockport High (1963-65), Hiram Scott College (1965-68) and for 15 seasons in the Suburban League for Krull Park, Lockport Bus, Dana Realty and Lockport Redmen. Just out of high school, he pitched a no-hitter with 15 strikeouts and then threw a perfect game two weeks later for Dana in the Lockport Union-Sun League.
• Greg Rodems: Pitcher-outfielder played at Canisius High, University of Notre Dame (1978-80) and 10 seasons with Orchard Park in the Suburban League.
• Chris Sheehan: Former All-WNY pitcher at Timon High who went on to play at Cornell (1983-86). Muny player who hit a grand slam for Delsassers in upset of champion Voyageurs, two nights after losing to the perennial Muny powerhouse team, 28-5. Also played for Mustangs and Voyageurs in top Muny league.