by Scott Kindberg
October 31, 2018
The Fredonia resident received his latest hardware last weekend in Phoenix where he was inducted into the Men’s Senior Baseball League World Series Hall of Fame.
The 66-year-old LaDuca, who is already a member of the Chautauqua Sports and the Cardinal O’Hara High School halls of fame, founded the Chautauqua MSBL in 1992 and remains the league president 26 years later.
The pitcher/first baseman not only plays for the 25-and- older Pro Bat Yankees, but he is also a major contributor to teams in the MSBL World Series every year in Arizona.
Oh, did we mention he was a member of the winning team last weekend in Phoenix, too? For those keeping score, that’s two World Series titles in a row for the married father of two and grandfather of three.
“It was a heck of a trip, oh my goodness,” LaDuca said Tuesday afternoon.
In addition to the Hall-of-Fame induction and the World Series title in the 65-and-older age group, LaDuca batted .364 and also pitched several innings, although he didn’t get a decision. He also played in the father-son tournament — his team lost in the quarterfinals — where he was credited with a victory on the hill.
“You play on great fields, in incredible weather with amazing athletes,” LaDuca said. “If you’re vertical, you’ve got to play. … It’s hard to give up. It’s a balancing act. You’re still trying to be a little competitive and not be the guy people feel sorry for.”
But LaDuca, who had a long and decorated baseball career as coach at Pine Valley Central School and now serves as an assistant coach at Fredonia High School, isn’t ready to hang up his spikes for 2018 just yet.
In fact, he’s been invited to play in the Roy Hobbs World Series in Fort Myers, Florida next month where he’ll suit up for the Long Island Yankees 60-and-older team.
“You play on all the (Major League) spring training sites, they give you a locker with your name on it, they wash your uniforms and they have trainers. It’s like I finally made it.”
Judging from his continued successes on the diamond, it’s clear that LaDuca is living out his own personal baseball dreams.
“I want to do it as long as I can,” he said.
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.