SOUTH PLAINFIELD, NJ – The South Plainfield Junior Baseball Club (SPJBC) opened its 64th season under cool temperatures, but heartfelt speeches during the opening day program left much of the capacity crowd warm and teary eyed as Max Rohrer, the son of the late Gary Rohrer, paid tribute to his father’s contributions over the past 10 years while on the Board of the South Plainfield Junior Baseball Club.
“I want to thank every person here today,” said Max Rohrer. “I played baseball for 11 years. My dad was here every year with me. I have made great friends at the baseball club, and you have all touched my dad’s life, my life and my brothers’ life. This place has been a second home to me and my family. South Plainfield is one big wonderful community and I just want to say thank you.”
South Plainfield Junior baseball Commissioner Joe Scrudato was the master of ceremonies for the day, as former SPJBC Commissioner Phil Aiello, Sr., otherwise known as South Plainfield’s Mr. Baseball, was unable to attend.
South Plainfield’s William DeNitzio was the Parade Grand Marshall and threw the ceremonial first pitch to SPJBC player Al Fuschetti to open the 64th season on Field #2.
DeNitzio has actively been involved with the South Plainfield Junior Baseball Club for the past 30 years. He has been a manager, chief umpire, executive board member and a liaison to the Commissioner. DeNitzio is a current member of the Recreation Commission and is a member of the Board for COACHES CARE.
“This place has always been very special to me,” said DeNitzio. “I started playing here in 1971. I got into umpiring, I coached my son when he was old enough, my wife was the snack stand captain, and we’ve made lifelong friends. South Plainfield always has that feeling of community and I’m honored and humbled to receive this today.”
Glenn Cullen and Glenn Graves were both honored with Lifetime Membership Awards. Cullen began his involvement with the SPJBC coaching his sons Brian and Sean. Cullen took roles of manager and coach of both recreation teams and allstar teams. He was Assistant Commissioner of Communications on the SPJBC Executive Board.
“Forty years ago I was playing on these exact fields with my father, Tom McCreesh Sr, and Mr. Klukososki as my coaches,” said Cullen. “Twenty-five years later I had the opportunity to coach my own sons. It’s a great opportunity. For all of you coaches and dads out there remember when you’re doing soft-toss before a big game with your son, just know that you’ve already won. Have a great season everyone.”
Glenn Graves started his involvement with the SPJBC coaching his son’s Nick and Chris. He was Assistant Commissioner of Baseball Operations when he joined the Executive Board in 2007. In addition to his role on the Board, Graves spent many years organizing league drafts to start the baseball season. He was one of the founders of the SPJBC Father’s Day Classic Tournament which is still an annual event today.
“I want to thank the Board and baseball club, this is a great honor” said Graves. “I want to thank my wife who is here today and my sons for allowing me the time to do this for the Club, I’ve made a lot of great friends here and had a lot of good times it’s special, I want to encourage everyone to enjoy things and have a fun every game because it goes by very fast.”
Commissioner Scrudato also recognized retiring SPJBC Woman’s Auxiliary Members Lori Esposito and Pam Dudek, and gave past SPJBC Board Member Awards to retiring Board member Andy Ullrich who was unable to attend and to the late Gary Rohrer.