A crowd of 542 gathered at the Pasquerilla Conference Center on Saturday, Aug. 3 for the 26th annual AAABA Hall of Fame banquet.
Featured speaker Roberto Clemente Jr. talked about the legacy of his father, Hall of Famer Roberto Clemente of the Pittsburgh Pirates. Clemente Jr. stressed togetherness and how baseball can unite us.
The Class of 2019 included four former major leaguers.
Buck Showalter, who managed in the majors for 20 years and was three-time AL Manager of the Year talked about a 20-hour drive made by a caravan of vehicles traveling from Birmingham, Alabama, to Johnstown for the 1975 tournament.
Former major league pitcher Roger McDowell, who won Game 7 of the 1986 World Series with the New York Mets, reminisced about his time with Cincinnati in the 1980 AAABA Tournament.
Former major league pitcher Nelson Figueroa recalled the great Brooklyn Youth Service League team that won the 1994 AAABA Tournament and eventually had nine players drafted to play professional baseball.
Kurt Ainsworth, a former first-round draft pick and major league pitcher, could not attend but provided a video thanking the AAABA. Ainsworth played on the 1998 New Orleans Boosters and his former manager Joe Scheuermann accepted on his behalf as Ainsworth traveled on business in China.
The late Ron Fiochetta was inducted based on his leading the Altoona L.S. Fiore franchise to prominence from 1984 to 1997. His wife Joy and son Matt accepted for Fiochetta, who died in 1997.
Fiochetta led Altoona to the championship game in 1994, falling to Figueroa’s Brooklyn team.