SOUTH PLAINFIELD, NJ – Certain things can be worth the wait, and the Opening Day Ceremony on April 14th was one of those things. After postponing the season by a week, due to March and April snow storms, the South Plainfield Junior Baseball Club (SPJBC) had a beautifully warm and sunny day opening day.
SPJBC Board member Bill Tankiewicz, and Commissioner Joe Scrudato shared duties subbing for Mr. Baseball Phil Aiello, Sr. for the baseball club’s 65nd annual opening day ceremony. Players, coaches, parents, grandparents and members of the Borough’s Governing Body and emergency services marched from Roosevelt School to SPJBC Field #3.
South Plainfield resident SPJBC Lifetime member Dave Eichler was the Parade Grand Marshall, and he threw out the celebratory 1st pitch. “We’ve spent a lot of years down here and made a lot of good friends,” said Eichler. “We could not have asked for a better opening day to play, so everybody enjoy your season, be safe, we’ll see you out on the field, Play Ball!”
In addition to the Grand Marshall award, the SPJBC handed out two “Lifetime Member Awards. Those awards were given to Greg Lind and James Olano. Lind was a member of the SPJBC Executive Board and an active member of the baseball club. He ran the concession stand for many years and was known for his exotic evening and weekend snack stand specialties. Olano another member of the Executive Board spent many years as the player agent. Olano revamped the tryout process and helped coach regular season as well as travel all-star teams throughout his entire time at the SPJBC.
In a poignant moment to the day’s celebration Commissioner Scrudato honored the late commissioners Frank Smith and Dan Wasnick by presenting flowers to Barbara and Frank Smith Jr. and April Wasnick.
Below are all the former members that were in attendance.
1971 – 1973 - Owen Kelly
1997 – 1999 – Dennis Kazimir
2002 - 2007 – Lee Flanagan
2013 – 2015 – Wendell Born
Board Honored Past Commissioners who passed away in last year
1979 – 1980 - Frank Smith – Wife Barb and Son Frank Jr attended
1985 – 1987 – Dan Wasnick – Wife April attended
Past SPJBC Women Auxiliary Presidents
1998 – 2000 – Cindy Eichler
Past Board Members & Lifetime members
PBM & Lifetime member Charlie Decker Jr
PBM & Lifetime member Jack Brady
PBM & Lifetime member Bob Bors
PBM & Lifetime member Tom Walsh
PBM & Lifetime member Glenn Cullen
Lifetime member Bill Dinitzio
PBM Tom Scalera
PBM Al Fuschetti
PBM Andrew Ullrich
Ralph Errico - Cal Ripken/Babe Ruth NJ State Commissioner
Newest Lifetime members - Jim Olano and Greg Lind
Scrudato also presented appreciation plaques to former Board members Al Fuschetti and Mike Pellegrino who were unable to attend.