November 10, 2006:
Nine Standouts to be Inducted into Cape Cod Baseball League Hall of Fame
Ceremony Set for November 4 at Chatham Bars Inn
CAPE COD, Mass. — Hall of Fame Committee Chair Phil Edwards announced that nine former players and coaches have been selected for induction into the Seventh Annual Cape Cod Baseball League’s Hall of Fame Class on Saturday, November 4, with a ceremony at the Chatham Bars Inn in Chatham, Mass. The announcement was made earlier today (June 11) at the Cape League’s First Pitch Brunch, held at the 99 Restaurant in West Yarmouth, Mass.
The 2006 CCBL Hall of Fame class includes current major leaguers Lance Niekro of the San Francisco Giants and Josh Paul of the Tampa Bay Devil Rays, former major leaguers Steve Balboni and Ross Jones, and CCBL legends Rick Currier, Steve Duda, Jim Hubbard, Greg Lotzar and Allen (Buzzy) Wilcox.
Steve Balboni, Falmouth/Y-D infielder
The Eckerd College slugger played two seasons in the Cape League and was named MVP in the 1977 All-Star Game at Fenway Park when he clouted two home runs over the Green Monster at Fenway Park. Owning one of the best nicknames in baseball history, “Bye-Bye” Balboni hit .261 with six homers and 22 RBIs in 1976 for the Falmouth Commodores. He came back in ’77 with the Yarmouth-Dennis Red Sox to hit .271 with a league-leading 13 homers and 38 RBIs and was named league MVP . He hit six homers and drove in 16 runs during playoff competition. He signed with the New York Yankees and enjoyed a successful major league career, hitting 181 career home runs in 11 seasons, mostly with the Kansas City Royals.
Rick Currier, Chatham pitcher
The USC hurler enjoyed two All-Star seasons for the Chatham A’s, going 5-2 with a 2.37 ERA in 1998 and posting a perfect 7-0 mark in ’99 with a sparkling 1.34 ERA. He was named Co-Outstanding Pitcher of the Year in ’99. He was also selected to mid-season and final All-Star teams during his banner season in ’99. The hard-throwing Currier signed with the New York Yankees.
Steve Duda, Chatham pitcher
A product of Pepperdine, Duda compiled back-to-back All-Star seasons in the Cape League in the early 1990’s. Hurling for the Chatham A’s, Duda went 4-4 with a 2.89 ERA while posting a no-hitter vs. Y-D in 1991. He came back in ’92 with a 6-1 record and a microscopic 0.90 ERA. He was selected playoff MVP in ’92 with a 2-0 record and a 0.90 ERA.
Jim Hubbard, Yarmouth/Cotuit outfielder; Cotuit manager; Wareham GM
The Bridgewater State graduate served the Cape League in various capacities over five decades as a player, field manager, umpire and general manager. He began as a player for Yarmouth in 1958 and spent the next three years performing for Cotuit from 1958-61. He took over as field manager for the Kettleers from 1961-69, posting a 196-116 record (.628) and winning four CCBL championships from 1961-64. After serving as a league umpire from 1970-74, Hubbard returned to the league as Wareham GM from 1990-96.
Ross Jones, Hyannis outfielder
The hard-hitting outfielder from Miami led the Hyannis Mets to the 1979 CCBL title and a record 33 wins by hitting .413 with three homers, 35 RBIs and 12 doubles. In addition to winning the league batting title, Jones was named to both the mid-season and final All-Star teams, was MVP of the All-Star Game and was named Outstanding Pro Prospect. Jones set a league record with 10 consecutive hits in two five-hit games. He also put together a 22-game hitting streak. He was signed by the Los Angeles Dodgers and played for the New York Mets, Seattle Mariners and Kansas City Royals.
Greg Lotzar, Cotuit outfielder
The fleet Central Michigan outfielder led the Kettleers in 1983 by winning the league batting title at .414 with a then-record 33 stolen bases and an impressive .516 on-base percentage. He also totaled 63 hits and 46 runs scored in 40 games during the season. In addition to making the All-Star team, Lotzar was named league and playoff MVP. He was signed by the Boston Red Sox.
Lance Niekro, Orleans infielder
Hailing from Florida Southern, Niekro enjoyed a CCBL MVP season for the Cardinals in 1999, winning the league’s Triple Crown with a .360 batting average, 13 homers and 44 RBIs. He also finished first in hits (62), slugging percentage (.640) and total bases (110). He was selected to both the mid-season and final All-Star teams. Niekro returned to the Cape to play nine games in 2000, batting .297. A nephew of Hall of Famer Phil Niekro and son of former MLB pitcher Joe Niekro , Lance was drafted by the San Francisco Giantsin the second round of the 2000 amateur draft. Last season with the Giants, he played in 113 games, finishing with a .252 batting average, 12 home runs and 46 RBIs.
Josh Paul, Cotuit catcher-outfielder
The Vanderbilt product enjoyed a league MVP season in 1995 for the Cotuit Kettleers. Playing catcher and in the outfield, he won the CCBL batting championship at .364 with six home runs, 26 RBI, 16 stolen bases and an impressive .652 slugging pct. He was named to both the mid-season and final All-Star Team. Paul was the first player in league history to capture the batting title, MVP and Outstanding Pro Prospect Award. Signing with the Chicago White Sox in 1996, Paul has a career batting average of .251 in seven-plus major league seasons with both Chicago teams, the Los Angeles Angels and currently with Tampa Bay.
Allen (Buzzy) Wilcox, Orleans infielder
The Cardinals outfielder played for an amazing 17 years in the CCBL in parts of three decades in the 1940’s, ’50’s and ’60’s. He banged out three hits and drove in four runs to lead Orleans to a 7-6 win over Chatham for the Lower Cape League Championship. Wilcox was synonymous with the Cape League’s town team concept during the middle of the 20 th century.
The Cape Cod Baseball League is the premier collegiate summer league and currently lists 198 former players competing in Major League Baseball and 1,004 in professional baseball overall.
A record 175 Cape League players were selected last week in the 2006 Major League Baseball Draft, including the top six overall, 12 in the first round and four more in the supplemental round.
Last season, 169 Cape League players were selected in the draft, including 13 in the first and supplemental rounds. The Cape League Hall of Fame is housed at the Heritage Museum & Gardens in Sandwich, Mass. For more information on the Cape Cod Baseball League, visit www.capecodbaseball.org .