The Hot Stovers Baseball Club of South Jersey inducted its largest class into the South Jersey Baseball Hall of Fame on Nov. 27, including two umpires.
“There have been a couple [of umpires] over the years, but it’s the first time that two have been inducted at once,” said Larry Litwin, a Hot Stovers club member. “There are fewer than a dozen umpires in the Hall of Fame.”
Umpires and journalists have long been recognized as contributors to the game. There are about 250 Hall of Famers, according to Litwin. While the club has been around for 62 years, it started inductions in 1985. Potential inductees have to be nominated and out of baseball for at least five years.
This year’s inductees are:
- Anthony (Tony) Burley, Pennsauken resident and 1978 graduate of St. Joseph’s High School in Camden. Infielder on the Brooklawn American Legion state championship team.
- Joe Gorski is a graduate of then-Glassboro State College. He was named All-Parochial in his senior year of high school and later became the starting pitcher in the Garden State League.
- Bob Mitchell, a graduate of St. Joseph’s High School in Camden and Rowan University, spent 53 years as an umpire. In 2018, he was New Jersey Baseball Official of the Year, according to the National Federation of High Schools.
- Joseph (Joe) Cipolloni Jr., a graduate of Washington Township High School and the University of Arizona, was named All-Olympic Conference in baseball, football and wrestling.
- Nick Favatella, Washington Township High School and Rutgers University alum who began his career in high school and carried his success throughout college, where he became the Knights’ second baseman and a “dangerous hitter.”
- Cherry Hill’s Barry Fennel, a Holy Cross High School grad, played for a number of organizations. He was named All-State in 1994 and All-South Jersey and All-Parochial A in 1993 and 1994.
- Scott Young of Turnersville was a right-handed pitcher and Washington Township High School and University of Delaware grad. He earned All-State, All-South Jersey, All-Group 4 and All-Olympic Conference honors, and was named All-East Coast Conference.
- A.J. Jackson, 85, is a Burlington City High School graduate who played in the Rancocas Valley League and coached in the 1950s. He played in the Negro Baseball Leagues and with baseball great Satchel Paige.
- Donald J. Pisker Jr., Pennsylvania resident and graduate of Gloucester Catholic High School and Rider College, was named to the All-State Baseball team in ‘71, All-South Jersey in ‘70 and ‘71.
- Marc Sauer is a Florida resident and 1998 graduate of Bishop Eustace Preparatory School in Pennsauken, NJ. During his time in baseball, he served as a pitcher with the Florida Marlins.
- Paul Reagle, Magnolia resident and Triton Regional High School graduate, has been an umpire for 40 years, beginning in 1983 with the New Jersey Baseball Umpire Association.
In addition to the induction, the club also recognized Eastern Regional, Glassboro and Gloucester Catholic high schools for its championships. It awarded six scholarships, including the Billy Carty and the Robert Bobo Memorial Scholarship Awards to student athletes. South Jersey’s most valuable player is Scott Shaw of Cherry Hill West.
The Hot Stovers also bestowed on Phillies announcer Dan Baker its humanitarian award for his funding of the Daniel E. Baker ‘68 College of Communication Broadcasting scholarship for Rowan communication students. Baker spent nearly 50 years in broadcasting, and covered important games including five World Series and two Major League Baseball All-Star games. He is a graduate of Audubon High School and then-Glassboro State College.
Hot Stovers also revealed and recognized Bishop Eustace Head Coach Sam Tropiano as the Coach of the Year.
To learn about the South Jersey Baseball Hall of Fame, visit https://hotstovers.com/.