The Post-Journal

Sports Hall of Fame Has Four New Inductees and Two New Categories

The Chautauqua Sports hall of Fame increased its population by four inductees Thursday night and in the process added two new sports to the museum’s Hall of Honor.The four new inductees honored at the organization’s sixth annual induction dinner at the Holiday Inn were George Hale, Jack Lawrence, Harry Martenson and the late Morris Mistretta.

George Hale, a long time participant in horseshoes and a member of the New York State Horseshoe Pitchers Hall of Fame, represents a new sport for a Hall of Fame inductee.

“I’m happy the committee recognized horseshoes as a sport worthy of being in the Hall of Fame,” Hale said.

Another sport to have its first inductee is auto racing with Jack Lawrence taking the honor. Lawrence has been a Sports Car Club of America Northeast Division Champion three times from 1982-84 and was the national champion in 1983.

“I also represent a sport that is new to the Hall of Fame,” Lawrence said. He mentioned he has been honored by the Sports Car Club of America, but “Being presented this award at home is very special to me.”

Harry Martenson, a founder of the Jamestown and Area Oldtimers baseball team, was inducted for his many years of service to youth baseball. The Oldtimers raise money every season to buy equipment for baseball players ages 8-13.

“We play for them only,” Martenson said. “That’s the rule of the Oldtimers.”

Josephine Mistretta accepted the plaque and Hall of Fame ring for her late husband who starred in amateur football, baseball and bowling for more than 50 years in the Jamestown area. One of Mistretta’s sons, Joe, said, “He lived for sports. He would show his opponent what he was doing wrong.” He added that his father’s induction into the Chautauqua Sports Hall of Fame had added significance because it happened on Jan. 15 – his late father’s birthday.

The main speaker for the event was New York Yankees broadcaster Bill White who displayed his objectivity with numerous statements about the Yankees.

White said he did not think the Yankees should have given up two young pitchers to obtain 33 year old pitcher Rick Rhoden. Rhoden had a winning record with a very poor Pittsburgh team, but White doesn’t think coming to a better Yankee club will bring the same results. “A 500 pitcher is a 500 pitcher no matter where he pitches.”

White also put in a plug for his broadcasting partner, Phil Rizzuto. “Rizzuto should be in the Baseball Hall of Fame.”

When asked if he would be interested in managing the seven-time Gold Glove winner answered, “Managing, I got gray hair broadcasting.”

On the issue of drugs in sports, White thought NBA Commissioner David Stern was correct with his recent banning of Lewis Lloyd and Mitchell Wiggins for failing drug tests. "In sports we’re too used to slapping wrists,” White said. "Baseball’s got to say it won’t condone drugs and football has got to say it."

Buffalo Bills running back Robb Riddick told of his football career which had very humble beginnings. He didn’t play high school football when he was a sophomore, saw limited action as a junior and finally became a starter when he was a senior. Riddick went on to Millersville State where he was a defensive back his first two seasons instead of a running back. That is when he discovered, “It’s so much less painful to give out hits than to get them”.

Riddick had two more good years at Millersville and was drafted by the Bills. His career with Buffalo had more downs than ups and many thought he should have retired before this past season. But he was happy that former Buffalo Coach Hank Bullough was not one who agreed. Riddick finished as the team’s leading rusher.

Also from the Buffalo Bills was Public Relations Director Denny Lynch who commented about the upcoming National Football League Draft.

“We are committed to going for someone on defense,” he said. “The quickest way to help a quarterback is to give him good field position.”

The Bills have the third pick in the first round. When asked about the possibility of the Bills selecting Frewsburg’s Shane Conlan, an All-American linebacker at Penn State. Lynch neatly dodged the question by saying, “I’m in public relations, not personnel.”

Tom Probaska, General Manager of the Jamestown Expos, also spoke. Master of ceremonies Russ Diethrick, the Hall of Fame’s third vice-president, introduced Jamestown High School graduate Ken Johnson who was the only repeater on the All-Ivy League Football Team last season. He was a lineman for Cornell University.

Gordy Norris introduced the inductees, Rev. James A. Spielman of SS, Peter and Paul gave the invocation and benediction and Lucille Miller played the piano. George Barone was the dinner chairman.

The additional financial assistance of the community is critical to the success of the Chautauqua Sports Hall of Fame.
We gratefully acknowledge these individuals and organizations for their generous support.