Dwight “Doc” Gooden Will Be The Special Guest Speaker

CLARK, NJ – The Union County Baseball Association will induct four new members into the Union County Baseball Hall of Fame at the organization’s 83rd annual Hot Stove League Dinner on Sunday, Feb. 10, beginning at 1:00 p.m., at The Gran Centurions in Clark.

Among the honorees will be Chris Roof, who grew up in Berkeley Heights and now lives in Scotch Plains. Roof was a standout player at Gov. Livingston High School and Montclair State University. He is entering his 19th season as skipper at Gov. Livingston, where he has compiled 369 career victories; won two state titles and a pair of Union County Tournament crowns in his tenure.

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"It definitely means a lot to me that I’m getting inducted. It’s nice to see that all the hard work and long days I put in as both a player and coach at GL is getting rewarded," Roof said in an interview with TAPinto. "As a coach, I wouldn’t be in this position if it wasn’t for the great assistant coaches and outstanding players that have been a part of the GL baseball program. For that, I’ll forever be grateful to them."

"Outside of my family and friends, baseball is my life," Roof added. "When I was a kid I loved both playing and watching and as a adult I love every aspect of it. The relationships I’ve made in this game will last a lifetime."

The other new inductees into the Union County Baseball Hall of Fame include:

  • Tom Urban of Elizabeth, a varsity infielder at Thomas Jefferson High School, baseball coach in Elizabeth and at Arthur L. Johnson High School in Clark, and director of the Union County Baseball Association Summer and Fall leagues.
  • Rich Biddulph of Roselle, an All-State catcher for Roselle Catholic High School and longtime coach of American Legion Baseball teams in Cranford and Roselle;
  • Walter Podgurski of Union, an All-State second baseman for the Farmers, who went on to play for the University of Pennsylvania and was drafted by the Minnesota Twins;

The special guest speaker at the annual event will be Dwight “Doc” Gooden, the former award-winning pitcher for the New York Mets and the Yankees. Gooden’s headline-grabbing 16-year Major League career – including Rookie of the Year and Cy Young awards with the Mets and his no-hitter while pitching for the Yankees – remains a hot topic of discussion nearly two decades after he threw his final pitch.

"Even though I’m a huge Yankee fan, I was big fan of the 86 Mets," Coach Roof said. "I really liked watching both Doc and Strawberry play. I’m looking forward to meeting him."

Scholastic athletes from throughout Union County also will be honored at the afternoon awards ceremonies on Feb. 10 for their accomplishments in high school, college and Union County Youth Baseball leagues. Among these honorees will be Luis Amaro of Roselle Park; Jamie Belfer and Danny Serretti, both of Berkeley Heights; and Ed Kushner of Linden.

Tickets for the 83rd annual Hot Stove League awards dinner may be purchased at www.UCBA-NJ.org or by writing to the Union County Baseball Association, PO Box 176, Fanwood, New Jersey 07023.

Sponsored by the Union County Baseball Association, in cooperation with the Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders and the Department of Parks and Recreation, the Hot Stove League awards dinner is the primary annual fund-raising effort for the Union County Youth Baseball Leagues. The summer and fall leagues have given more than 40,000 boys and girls an opportunity to participate in an organized baseball program for the past 70 years.