Dale Till

Dale Till

Dale Till

Former SUNY Fredonia Hall of Fame baseball player and coach Dale Till passed away on January 3, 2017 in Florida. He was 79.

Till was a standout player from 1954-1958 and coached at Fredonia State for 27 years, 21 as the head coach. He began as an assistant under Bill Ludwig for six years and took over the program in 1980. In 1988, he was inducted into the Fredonia State Athletics Hall of Fame.

Till was credited with 428 coaching victories during the fall and spring seasons. In 1982, the Blue Devils won the regional ECAC Upstate Championship. In 1985, three of Till's players were selected in the Major League draft, with Jeff Shaver eventually reaching the Major Leagues. The school's lone conference championship came in 1990.

As a player, Till still owns the school record with three home runs in a single game. He also earned two varsity letters in basketball.

Till saw his share of tough times, too. He won his first battle with cancer in 1972, making a complete recovery.  He had a recurrence in 1988, and fought back more recurrences after that.

Till spent all of his years as a head coach alongside his trusted assistant Dave Criscione.

Criscione related how Till was always concerned with the well-being of the players.

"Dale was an all-around good guy," Criscione said, "and cared about all his players. The kids loved him. It was a pleasure to coach with him." Criscione took over the helm in 1999 when Till had his third go-round with cancer.

More than just a coach, Till left a lasting impact on his players.

"He coached and led in a caring constructive way," former player Steve Strauber said. "We knew that underneath he was one of the most kind-hearted people you could ever meet." Strauber signed with the Detroit Tigers organization following the 1985 season.

Keith Ryan, a member of Till's early teams, had similar thoughts. "The thing I most appreciated about Coach Till," Ryan said,  "is that while we worked hard as a team and had some success in the early '90s, he never took it too seriously and allowed a nice balance of hard work and fun … We learned many life lessons under Dale's and Dave Criscione's leadership, all while having a great time doing so. They say when it comes to leadership, it's a large part about valuing results and relationships. Looking back, that's an accurate way to describe Dale as a coach and person. He'll be missed.

Coach Till made quite an impression on a young Jim Honsburger, too. "In the 80's," Honsburger said, "there was not social media, cell phones or readily available ways to get in touch with home when young men were dorming and away for possibly the first time in their lives. Sure, Dale knew the game of baseball and coached the team, but his strength was being the father figure for so many young men throughout his many years of coaching."

In addition to the wins and relationships, Till was reported to have never been ejected from a game and during his coaching career at Fredonia. Since retiring, he spent his summers in Fredonia and winters in Port Charlotte, Fla., where he would catch an occasional Blue Devil game during their spring trip. Since 1999, equipment manager Mike Kozlowski has not passed out uniform number 26 in honor of Till.

(The above story appeared in the January 6, 2017 Dunkirk Observer.)

Till taught and coached in Brocton, Lockport and Cassadaga Valley schools for a total of 34 years. He is also an inductee of the Western New York Softball Hall of Fame (1992) and the Chautauqua Sports Hall of Fame (1996). He is survived by his wife of 51 years, Ann, and his children Michelle Pasyanos, Edward Till and Jay Till.

Join the Chautauqua Sports Hall of Fame

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Member Benefits

  • Members' picnic - August 14, 2017
    Download Invitation RSVP form

  • $5 off the 2018 induction banquet ticket
    (February 19, 2018)

  • Monthly newsletter
  • Acknowledgement of membership on the CSHOF website

  • Membership card with discounts at selected marketing partners

For persons who are interested in preserving the history of sports in Chautauqua County and honoring the outstanding individuals who have created our cherished sports memories, it's time to renew our memberships in the Chautauqua Sports Hall of Fame for July 1, 2017 through June 30, 2018.

The Board of Directors has voted to add a new benefit for members of the CSHOF - a members' only picnic on Monday, August 14, 2017, at 5 p.m. at the Lakewood Rod & Gun Club. Members and a guest may attend the picnic at no cost.

So in addition to helping the CSHOF carry out its twin objectives of maintaining a Hall of Honor and a museum, members will receive the value-added benefits listed here for their membership fee.

One year memberships are only $30 for individuals and $100 for family, business or athletic department. Family, business or athletic department members will receive 4 discount cards and corresponding benefits.

Please join us by purchasing a 2017-2018 membership in the only organization solely dedicated to preserving and honoring the wonderful history of athletics in Chautauqua County.

You can download a membership form here.

Home Plate Wedding

Walt Brown

CSHOF inductee Walt Brown (1915-1991), a Bemus Point native, achieved one of his dreams on May 16, 1947 when he made his major league debut as a pitcher for the St. Louis Browns. Another of Walt's dreams was realized eight years earlier while he was playing for the Kilgore Boomers of the East Texas League. On June 23, 1939, Walt married Frances Ruth Burroughs at home plate in Kilgore, TX.

Another home plate wedding occurred at Municipal Stadium (now Russell E. Diethrick Jr. Park) in Jamestown on July 10, 1945. That exchange of marriage vows created quite a stir in the pages of the Jamestown Post-Journal. Thanks to CSHOF inductee Greg Peterson for the clippings and photos.

Cowbells Ring as Ump
Takes Bride at Plate

History was made last night at Jamestown's Municipal Stadium when, for the first time in the annals of baseball, an umpire was married at home plate, while a throng of nearly 3,000 enthusiastic spectators, departing far from the customary wedding decorum, jangled cowbells, applauded, cheered and whistled from the grandstand and bleachers. Read more in the May Newsletter.

Hose Cart Racing

Hose Cart Racing

A look back at a now defunct sport and a world record set at Dunkirk in 1904

Hose cart racing has followed the bustle skirt, the cigar store Indian and the nickel hamburger into the dusty halls of history.

But there was a time when the sport of hose cart racing, spawned by volunteer fire departments, was BIG. More than 3,000 teams were registered with the New York State Volunteer Fireman's Association shortly after 1900.

Hose cart racing was a labor of love for men of brawn and daring who pitted their speed, muscle and teamwork against others in an exciting event that drew large crowds of spectators.

Hose cart racing, like rodeoing, grew from a job – a necessity. The working cowboy turned his skills as a bronc buster, steer wrestler and calf roper from the range to the arena. Read more in the April newsletter...

Class of 2017 Inducted

2017 inductees

The 36th annual Chautauqua Sports Hall of Fame Banquet was held February 20, 2017 at the Lakewood Rod & Gun Club. Above are members of the Class of 2017. Seated, from the left, are: Julie VanDeMar, daughter of the late Doc Malinoski; Sammy LaMancuso; Mike Sayers; Deb Palmer; and Paul Cooley. Standing, from the left, are: Dave Polechetti; Maceo Wofford; Charlie LaDuca; Jake Ensign; Sam Restivo and Bob Patterson.

P-J photo by Scott Kindberg

Read Post-Journal coverage of the 2017 awards banquet.
See photos from the 2017 awards banquet.

35th Anniversary

CSHOF Endowment Fund Preliminary Report #2

To celebrate the 35th Anniversary of the founding of the Chautauqua Sports Hall of Fame and to plan for the long-term sustainability of the organization, the Board of Directors created an Endowment Fund and launched a fundraising drive.

To date, the campaign has received over 100 pledges and contributions totaling nearly $75,000.

Read more about the Endowment Fund in the January newsletter...

Virtual Tour of the Hall of Fame Now Available

The Chautauqua Sports Hall of Fame is one of several attractions in downtown Jamestown that is well worth a visit. But don't take our word for it! Click on the image below to take a virtual tour.


4-panorama 360VR Tour

panoramic tour by Dave Mariotti

Viewing tips:

  • To advance through the tour, click/tap on the Hall of Fame icon. It will float into view as you tour each section of the hall.
  • Click and hold mouse button down, drag in any direction to move the view.
  • To zoom in, press the SHIFT key.
  • To zoom out, press the CTRL key.
  • If your mouse has a wheel on it, rolling it forward or back will also zoom in and out.


Contribute to CSHOF Endowment Campaign
Contribute to CSHOF
Endowment Campaign

Take a Virtual Tour of the Hall of Fame!

Hall of Fame

Jenn Suhr is still raising the bar at age 35
A Trophy Moment From Yesteryear
Heirloom Belonging To Jachym Found In SC, Donated To CSHOF
Post-Journal coverage of the 2017 awards banquet
Mel's House - Swanson Coaches Final Home Game At Sherman
Tara VanDerveer records 1000th career win
Mel Swanson records 600th career win
Huckno, Caulcrick, Bergan, Ward Among 16 Who Will Be Honored Dec. 9 In Elma
Dan Lunetta named Sheldon "Chief" Bender Award Winner
Palmer Bound For NYS Broadcasters HOF
Dick Barton inducted into FOAR Score Hall of Fame
CSHoF President Accepts Honor On Behalf Of Late Westfield Jockey .
2015 CSHoF inducteee Vincent Powers elected to National Museum of Racing's Hall of Fame.
The Monthly Newsletter is available here.
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