The Post-Journal

Schmitt To Be Honored For Softball Prowess

WNY HOF Induction Ceremony Is Oct. 15


1984 Jock Shop softball team wins national title.
Bob Schmitt holds up the trophy after the Jock Shop won the 1984 ASA modified National Softball Championship. Schmitt will join teammates Joe Mistretta and John Woodfield in the Western New York Softball Hall of Fame in October. Photo courtesy of the Chautauqua Sports Hall of Fame.

The Southern Tier will be represented by another member of the Western New York Softball Hall of Fame this fall.

Bob Schmitt will join 17 other inductees during ceremonies at the Lake Erie Italian Club in Lackawanna on Oct. 15.

The Jamestown resident is certainly deserving of the honor.

As the unofficial coach for the Jock Shop modified softball team more than 40 years ago, Schmitt, who began working at the store in 1977, organized trips to tournaments and ordered equipment. By the 1980s, the Jock Shop was one of the country’s best teams, capturing national titles in 1984 and 1985. Schmitt was an integral part of those squads, one of which posted a 55-5 record.

“He’d come in the dugout and he’d say, ‘Go for the kill because these guys are ready to roll over,'” said Rich Pinciaro, who was a teammate of Schmitt’s on that team. “He’d see something in a game that nobody else saw. Nobody else was smart enough to do that. Nobody else had the get-up-and-go like he did.”

1984 Jock Shop softball team
The Jock Shop team won the 1984 ASA National Softball Championship. In the front row, from the left, are Bob Schmitt (holding his son, Corey), Bob Burns, Joe Mistretta, Dan Harnish and John Mancari. In the back row are Bruce Sprankle, Rich Pinciaro, Pete Caprino, John Woodfield, Jim Brooks, Terry Woodfield, Steve Bowman and Dave Boughton. Photo courtesy of the Chautauqua Sports Hall of Fame.

Along the way, Schmitt also played hundreds of games in Jamestown, most notably for See-Zurh House in the Social League and, later, for the Jock Shop in the Tim Brown League. He also played for United Church Homes in the city Church League.One of his most memorable performances came against the “King and his Court” when he went 3-for-3 and knocked in four runs in a 4-1 win over the legendary Eddie Feigner.

An all-around athlete, Schmitt continued to play recreational basketball and flag football, where he was a member of championship teams and the recipient of individual MVP honors, too.

Schmitt continued to work at the Jock Shop until 1987 when he decided to change careers, exchanging his glove for a textbook and began teaching 10th-grade English at Frewsburg Central School. The trade turned out to be one of Schmitt’s best moves.

During his 13 years as the Bears’ baseball coach, Schmitt won state titles in 1991, 1995 and 1996, and compiled a 239-83 record, including 35-10 in the postseason.

Noted Pinciaro, whose son played baseball for Schmitt at Frewsburg: “He’s a master.”

The WNY Softball Hall of Fame apparently agrees.

Schmitt’s latest honor will bring the number of inductees from the Southern Tier to nine. The others are his former Jock Shop teammates Joe Mistretta and John Woodfield; Jim Adamczak, Dale Till, Luella Kye, Betty Bartkowiak, Leda Peterson, and Sheilah Gulas.

The rest of the Class of 2022 are Tony Alessi, Randy Bartholomew, Andrew Bielanin, Krystyna Bondarenko, Rich Borowski, Michele L. Brown, Don Doctor, David Garbacz (deceased), Ellie Chan, Mike Haskell, John J. Kuryak, Laurence D. Lash, James Majka, Darcy Piatek, Bob Rosenhahn, Jody Tassone and Don Wutz.

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.