Hot Stovers to induct seven new members to SJ Baseball Hall of Fame – Cherry Hill Courier Post
Seven inductees will have their names inscribed in the South Jersey Baseball Hall of Fame housed at Campbellâs Field in Camden. This yearâs induction luncheon, the 56th annual, is set for Massoâs Crystal Manor, Route 47 (210 Delsea Drive South), Glassboro on Saturday, Nov. 28 at 2 p.m. Tickets, priced at $40, are on sale and may be purchased by contacting South Jersey Hot Stoversâ president Tom Hass (856) 728-0199 or banquet chair Rob Price at (734) 678-0747.
In addition, the Hot Stovers will be honoring its 2015 High School All-Star team, South Jersey Coach of the Year, American Legion Regional Champions Brooklawn and seven scholarship recipients including winners of the Tom Heinkel, Bill Carty and Robert Bobo Memorial Scholarship Awards. To date, more than $150,000 dollars in scholarships have been awarded.
This yearâs inductees are Dan Barbara, Washington Township outfielder/first baseman; Steve Cordner, Gloucester Catholic catcher/first baseman/outfielder; Bob Gaskill, Rancocas Valley first baseman; Nick Gruber, Haddon Township catcher; Scott Lodgek, Moorestown pitcher; Bob Minnick, Rutgers-Camden outfielder and Pennsauken High School coach, and Nate Schill, Audubon pitcher.
Dan Barbara, a 1987 WTHS graduate, went on to play at Old Dominion University where he was a four-year starter and played in the 1990 NCAA Regional playoffs. He was slowed by a fractured heel during his junior and senior seasons, but turned heads in his freshman and sophomore seasons batting over .300 as a switch hitter.
Playing for the Minutemen, Barbara was All-South Jersey, All-Group Four and All-Olympic Conference in â87. In â87, he served as Carpenter Cup team captain and in 1986 and 87 played in the Garden State Games. Following his college-playing days, he went on to serve as an assistant coach at Camden County College and played independent baseball in the Tri-County League (1988-2004) winning three triple crowns.
Barbara also played in the Atlantic Coast Baseball League (1990), Salem County League (1988-1991), Mid-Atlantic Senior Baseball League
(1999-2008) and in the New Jersey Independent Baseball League where his team won the 2014 title. His career includes playing on seven independent baseball championship teams.
Among his other accomplishments are coaching the Washington Township 14-year-olds to third-place in the 2006 Babe Ruth World Series. Overall, Barbara-coached 14 and under Babe Ruth all-star teams have won seven district and three state titles and a regional championship.
Steve Cordner, an eighth round Chicago Cubs pick in the 1982 major League Baseball Supplementary Draft, spent 1976-79 at Saint Josephâs-Camden before transferring to Gloucester Catholic after St. Joeâs closed and graduating in 1980.
His achievements earned him All-Parochial in 1978, 79 and 80,
All-Olympic in 1980 and All-South Jersey and All-State in 1980. In 1979 he was Second Team All-South Jersey and â78 Honorable Mention. A career highlight was serving as Hall of Fame coach Al Radanoâs catcher on Gloucester Catholicâs 1980 undefeated 24-0 state championship team.
One of his career highlights is considered unique: Cordnerâs St. Joeâs teammates voted him team Most Valuable Player and at Gloucester Catholic he was voted MVP in 1980. The â80 team was chosen by the Hot Stovers in 2000 as Team of the Century.
Among his individual accomplishments are batting over .500 and leading St. Joeâs in hitting in 1978 and 79 and batting .519 with five home runs, 22 doubles and 47 runs batted in at Gloucester Catholic in 1980. In 1979 and 80 he was starting right fielder for the Brooklawn American Legion team winning the state title in â79.
During his freshman year at Villanova, Cordner batted .368 with seven home runs and 34 RBI. He spent two years at Gloucester County College in â81 and â82 leading the team in the Triple Crown department with the most home runs, RBI and highest batting average being named team MVP,Â All-Region 19 and recipient of the Rawlings Big Stick Award as leading junior college hitter (.449) in the Mideast district.
He spent four years in the Chicago Cubsâ organization.
Bob Gaskill is a 1976 Rancocas Valley Regional High School graduate where he earned All-State, All-South Jersey and All-Group IV honors as a first baseman in 1975 and 76. He was All-Burlington County Conference in 1974, 75 and 76. His â75 and â76 batting averages were .348 and .466, respectively, and he compiled 51 RBI over his three-year high school career with 19 extra base hits, nine of them home runs.
He compiled strong high school pitching statistics, as well, with 16 wins against six losses and an ERA of just over 1.50.
Gaskill took his talents to the University of Pennsylvania playing for Hot Stovers corresponding secretary Bob Seddon from 1977 to 1980. He was the All-Ivy League third baseman in â80 â named to Pennâs Baseball Hall of Fame in 1999. His Quakerâs stats include 133 hits, 108 runs scored, 27 doubles, 19 home runs, 120 RBI and a career batting average of .326.
His independent summer baseball includes playing in the Cape Cod Collegiate League (1979), Rancocas Valley League (1976-93), United States over 30 League (1994-99) and Menâs Senior League 35 and over (2000). Gaskill was a 10-time RVL All-Star and six-time U.S. 30-plus All-Star. He played for Bridgeton Invitational championship teams and two U.S. 30-plus New Jersey State Champions.
Nick Gruber graduated from Haddon Township High School in 1995 and entered its Athletic Hall of Fame in 2012. According to its website,Â Gruber is remembered as a constant presence in the weight room, working quietly and conscientiously toward self-improvement. Others know more about his team leadership as the starting catcher for all four of his high school years. Observers say he knew his opponents and pitchers so well he reliably called every pitch.
In his senior year, Haddon Township won a share of the Colonial Conference title for the first time in 15 years, and no one doubted his role in that accomplishment at the end of a 20-5 season. He represented his school in the Carpenter Cup, batting .586 as a senior with three home runs, five triples, 10 doubles and 36 RBI. He served as Hawksâ captain in his junior and senior years.
Gruber caught the eye of the Boston Red Sox and was drafted in the 35th round after high school and assigned to Fort Myers in the Gulf Coast League.
He was All-Conference and All-Group II from 1993-1995, All-State in 1995 and chosen South Jersey Baseball Player of the Year in 1995.
Gruber is a Voorhees Township police officer and volunteer fire fighter in Voorhees Township. He remains active in baseball coaching for his sonâs Little League team.
Scott Lodgek is a 1986 Moorestown High School graduate who went on to star at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill â a team that went to the 1989 College World Series.
Lodgek had two successful minor league seasons after being drafted in the seventh round (pick 169) of the 1989 draft by the Seattle Mariners. Following two successful seasons in the Northwest and Carolina Leagues, he suffered a career-ending injury.
At Moorestown, Lodgek was a member of the 1986 All-South Jersey squad and in 1985 and 86 was chosen All-Group II and All-Burlington County Freedom Conference. In â86, he pitched in the Carpenter Cup.
As a Moorestown senior, Lodgek recorded an 8-2 record with a 1.52 ERA striking out 109 and walking 28 in 69 innings pitched. He allowed only 41 base hits that year.
Bob Minnick enters the Hot Stovers Hall of Fame as both a player and coach. His head coaching began in 1959 with the opening of Pennsauken High School while he was still starring on independent summer teams in Camden County and City Leagues. But he first drew professional scoutsâ attention playing at Merchantville High School for the legendary Martin Pocius in 1944 and 45.
In 1945, Minnick entered the Marines and played with service baseball at the Washington D.C. Marine Corps Headquarters in 1945, 46 and 47 again catching the eye of area scouts. After his 1947 discharge, he entered The College of South Jersey (now Rutgers-Camden) in 1948. In 1950, he joined future Hall of Famers Joe Hartmann (HOF â92) and Doug Frambes (HOF â00) and eight other prominent South Jersey baseball players in petitioning the administration to form a baseball team. Hartmann and Minnick were elected co-captains â and the baseball program was launched with Camden County Hall of Famer Al Carino as their coach.
In that inaugural season, Minnick batted .315. After the 1952 season, Minnick and two other South Jersey players were invited to try out for the St. Louis Browns. His went well and with his reputation he was offered a minor league contract to play in Texas in the Brownsâ farm system. However, marriage with a young daughter prevented him from fulfilling that dream. Minnick says the offer was not nearly enough to support a family so he turned to teaching and supplemented that doing construction work.
After graduating in 1952, he took his baseball talents to South Jersey leagues â playing mostly in the Camden City, Camden County and Burlington County Leagues. He played with three teams in the AARON Twilight League including the East Camden Hurricanes and Cramer Hill, which won the league title. He played with two teams in the Camden County League: Haddon Township, and Maple Shade. He batted over .300 on every team for which he played in the AARON and Burlington County Leagues.
Nate Schill, New Jerseyâs 2002 âPlayer of the Year,â is a 2002 Audubon High School graduate. He took his talents to James Madison University (JMU) starring in the Colonial Athletic Association. His playing resumeâ includes playing third base and pitching for the 2001 Brooklawn American Legion World Series champions.
At Audubon, Schill batted .638 in 2002 with 11 home runs and 53 Runs Batted In. In in his junior year, he batted .488 with four home runs and 29 RBI. From the mound, he notched nine wins against four losses with a 1.84 earned run average in his senior year with 62 strike outs. In â01, his 6-1 win-loss record was accompanied by 39 strikes outs and a 2.66 ERA
During his high school career, Schill was All-State, All-South Jersey, All-Group II, All-Colonial Conference and helped his 2001 squad win the state title.
At JMU, Schill racked up senior year-stats â mostly as a third baseman â that included a .419 batting average (eighth in the nation) and recognition as a third-team All-American. His four-year batting average was .361 with 27 home runs and 178 RBI.
Joe McDyre is being recognized for his âlong time service, long time ability and contributions as a baseball official for more than three decades.âÂ McDyre served many years as president of the South Jersey Umpire Association and its assignor.
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