The Post-Journal

Plenty of Speeches, Laughs at Induction Dinner

Dave Andreychuk, the Buffalo Sabres left-winger, is known for scoring points in the national Hockey league, but he earned a few of a different sort Monday night at the Jamestown Holiday Inn.Speaking before a packed house at the ninth annual Chautauqua Sports Hall of Fame banquet, the Hamilton, Ont. native stepped to the podium and offered the following observation:

“You Americans take your sports seriously,” he said. “I think I’m going to take this back to Hamilton. This is a great idea… I’m glad to be here.”

Given Andreyohuk’s impressions, one can only imagine how the inductees felt.

The dinner, honoring the late Oscar Carlson, Joe Nalbone, Ted Wyberanec and Komo Tane, included fond memories, speeches – short and long – and plenty of laughs.

Carlson was honored posthumously for his 54-0 record as a heavyweight boxer from 1920-1932. Incredibly enough, 53 of his 54 victories were via knockout.

Tim Johnson of WKSN News Center, introduced Wally Carlson, who accepted a plaque and ring for his father.

“I’d like to thank everybody,” Wally Carlson said. “It’s a great honor to represent my dad.”

Carlson’s speech was easily the shortest of the evening.

Jim Roselle, radio personality for WJTN Radio, knew what was coming.

“I’ll lay odds that Joe (Nalbone) won’t give a speech as short as Wally Carlson’s,” said Roselle, who introduced Nalbone.

Nalbone, a baseball umpire for more than 50 years, didn’t disappoint.

“I’m going to try and keep this short because I have a few baseball stories I know you’re going to enjoy,”said the 81-year-old Nalbone.

He succeeded at least on one count.

In stories that ranged from him umpiring in Olean to being a witness at a wedding at College Stadium, Nalbone had the crowd in stitches in two different trips to the podium as he talked about his passion for the game he loves.

Nalbone began umpiring in 1930, and called balls and strikes from the local to the professional levels, including at Abner Doubleday Field in Cooperstown and in the old PONY League, now known as the New York Pennsylvania League. For his efforts, Nalbone received a commendation in 1980 from President Jimmy Carter for 50 years of continuous service as an umpire.

Ted Wyberanec, a former Jamestown resident now living in Oregon, was represented by his son, Ted Jr. who talked about his father’s devotion to young athletes.

Wyberancec, made his mark in the sports world early in life, especially in baseball, where he was a pitcher at several professional levels including Jamestown of the PONY League, the Buffalo Bisons of the International League, Williamsport of the Eastern League and Temple of the Big State League.

Wyberanee, who was unable to attend the banquet because of poor health, also played for the House of David baseball team. That squad played the Harlem Globetrotters and Satchel Paige.

The younger Wyberanec wasn’t around for his dad’s professional successes in baseball, but he did experience first-hand, his father’s commitment to the youngsters.

“He’s a winner in my book,” Ted Jr. said. “In my opinion, he’s the best man I’ve ever known.”

The final inductee was Komo Tane, a former coach and school administrator in the Jamestown Public School System, who was introduced by Dave Rowley of WKSN Radio.

“This award means a lot to me because it comes at a time when I’ve completed 30 years of education,” Tane said. “I’ll consider this as getting my professional report card on my 30 year results.”

Tane, credited local men like Roy Wagner, Leo Squinn, Shirt Hardenburg, Joe Nagle, Al Ayers, Rollie Taft and Jim Sharp for shaping his early years.

Tane ended his speech with a quotation he learned during his college days at the University of Illinois. “Do the best that you can, but remember, no matter what goals you’ve attained, there’s no indispensable man.”

Murray Cook, former general manager of the Pittsburgh Pirates, New York Yankees, Montreal Expos and Cincinnati Reds, was the first of the guest speakers and he talked about athletes today.

“Once the game begins, the players have no idea how much money the other is making,” said Cook, who is now an account executive with The Equitable Financial Companies in Cincinnati. “They give you 100 percent.”

As for the possibility of a lockout in spring training, Cook said, “I have a great deal of confidence that cooler heads will prevail. Most of the players don’t know what the issues are. At some point in time, they’ll say that’s enough. Let’s get it done.”

Buffalo Bills linebacker Scott Radecic talked about playing for Penn State coach Joe Paterno and light-heartedly about college and pro teammate Shane Conlan, who was in attendance.

When he’s asked what it was like to play with Conlan, a Frewsburg native, in college, Radecic, with tongue planted firmly in cheek, said, “I lie and say it was great.”

John Gurtler, the public relations director of the Buffalo Sabres, was the master of ceremonies and he kept the crowd roaring with his stories and one liners.

Chautauqua Sports Hall of Fame president Chuck Ludwig announced that quarterback Jim Kelly will have his name inscribed on a plaque in the Hall of Fame recognizing him as the Buffalo Bills Man of the Year.

The award is in conjunction with The Travelers NFL Man of the Year, which recognizes NFL players who demonstrate a balance of civic and professional responsibilities.

Paul Holt, account manager of The Travelers Jamestown office, accepted the award for Kelly who did not attend the banquet.

Ludwig also presented checks of $500 a piece to Judy Burgett of the Jamestown Skating Club Inc. and Bob Moore, president of the Jamestown Area Youth Soccer League. Both donations were from the Chautauqua Sports Hall of Fame.

Ludwig and banquet chairman Chip Johnson passed out the rings and plaques to the inductees, and Gary Kindberg sang the national anthem, accompanied by Gladys Peterson. The Rev. Dayle Keefer, pastor of the Fluvanna Community Church, gave the invocation and benediction.

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.