KENNETT SQUARE >> Southern Chester County has no lack of outstanding baseball players, as witnessed by the great numbers who have been inducted into the Old Timers Hall of Fame through the years. Along with those great hitters, pitchers and catchers, however, are the memorable coaches who have nurtured the abilities of those fine players in their youth and led them to glory.
In this, the 38th year of the coming Old Timers Banquet, the celebration organizers, Bob Burton and Prissy Roberts, are continuing a tradition they began two years ago by bestowing hall of fame honors on a coach. In 2016 it was Little League Coach Michael Robinson. In 2017 it was George Starr.
This year it is beloved hometown hero Tom Ogurcak, who coached the Kennett High School Baseball Team to a league championship in 1971.
Ogurcak, 79, coached Kennett’s JVs from 1962 to 1969 and its varsity from 1970 to 1979.
Baseball is still in his blood, as he watches as many Phillies games as he can and keeps in contact with other coaches he knew in the past.
“I can still remember when Bobby Dickens hit that home run give us the championship in 1971,” he said.
Ogurcak was referring to the game that was played for the Southern Chester County League championship on the Unionville High School field against Sonny Skiles’ Octorara Braves.
“It wasn’t even over a fence, but it was so far that the fielder didn’t get to it until Bobby was rounding third,” he said.
As an aside, it is heartening to know that many of the players on those southern Chester County teams have themselves been inducted into the prestigious group and are memorialized in Burton’s Barbershop on State Street in Kennett Square.
The Old Timers Hall of Fame is a group of local residents who excelled in baseball beyond the high school level. Each year the honor is bestowed on eight or nine new members. Their names are then enshrined on the ever-growing plaque at the barbershop on West State Street in Kennett Square — the home of a virtual shrine to baseball and the Phillies. This year nine new members will be announced and asked to share their baseball memories.
This year’s banquet will honor Andy Burtner, Jim Freeman, Steve Jewett, Darin Johnson, Bill MacPherson, Bob Nask, Chris Rosfelder, Joe Williamson and Jeff Zona in addition to Ogurcak.
The event will be held at the Kennett Fire Company Red Clay Room and begins at 6 p.m. on Jan. 20. The guest speaker will be Phillies TV commentator Ben Davis. In the past, guest speakers have included many announcers, coaches and players going back as far as Richie Ashburn, Dick Allen and Stan Lopata. In recent years Phillies Manager Charlie Manuel, Curt Schilling, and unassisted triple play executor Mickey Morandini have had their places at the podium.
Tickets are available for the event. They are $40 each and may be obtained by sending a check to Prissy Roberts, 233 N. Union St., Kennett Square, PA 19348.