In advance of its upcoming induction ceremony, the New York-Penn League has unveiled its Hall of Fame Class of 2017.
The purpose of the New York‐Penn League Hall of Fame is to recognize individuals who have been a part of the league, for their overall accomplishments and contributions to the league on the field of play or in an administrative role, in addition to their overall career in baseball.
“As the oldest, continuously‐operated Class-A league in professional baseball, the list of players, coaches, field managers, general managers, and owners reads like a Who’s Who of Baseball,” said Ben Hayes, President of the New York‐Penn League. “This year’s inductees are incredibly worthy of this honor.”
The following individuals comprise the New York‐Penn League’s 2017 Hall of Fame Class;
Warner Fusselle- Warner was the original “Voice of the Cyclones,” serving as the play-by-play broadcaster for the Brooklyn Cyclones from the team’s Inaugural Season in 2001, through his passing in 2011. During his tenure with the Cyclones he also was behind the mic for the New York-Penn League’s Inaugural All-Star Game in Brooklyn during the 2005 season.
Prior to his passing, Warner did not miss a pitch of the first 11 seasons in Cyclones history. He even returned to “The Catbird Seat” – a name he borrowed from Red Barber – while still wearing a hospital bracelet so Cyclones fans wouldn’t miss a beat.
In addition to his work with the Cyclones, Warner was well known for his time as a member of This Week in Baseball starring Mel Allen. Fusselle, who began his time contributing TWIB Notes and TWIB Ticker, eventually took over as the host when Allen passed away in 1996. This Week in Baseball is often credited for the explosion of sports television programming, in no small part due to the work of Fusselle.
Warner also worked as the play-by-play announcer with the Spartanburg Phillies (Low A; Sally League), Richmond Braves (Class AAA; International League) and the Virginia Squires of the ABA. All told, Warner called 34 Opening Days in professional baseball.
William L. Gladstone‐ Gladstone has been a team owner in the New York-Penn League since 1992 when he purchased the Pittsfield Mets.
In 2002, he moved the team to Troy, N.Y. where it became highly successful both on and off the field winning league championships in 2010 and 2013.
He served 12 years on the Minor League Baseball Board of Trustees as the representative of the New York-Penn League and during that time helped guide the growth of Minor League Baseball. In 1991, Gladstone became a member of the Board of Directors of the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in Cooperstown, N.Y.
He was crowned The King of Baseball at the 2015 Baseball Winter Meetings.
Buck Showalter‐ Showalter began his managerial career, at the age of 29, with the New York-Penn League’s Oneonta Yankees in 1985. He led Oneonta to a record of 55-23 that season capturing the NYPL Championship. He returned in 1986 and managed the club to a short-season record 59 wins and just 18 losses for an overall winning percentage of .735.
From there, it was onward and upward for Showalter, who is now in his 19th season as a skipper in the major leagues. In 1995, he led the NY Yankees to their first post-season berth in 14 years and then guided the Arizona Diamondbacks to their first division title in just their second season of existence in 1999.
Since joining the Baltimore Orioles in 2010, Showalter has led an O’s resurgence, leading them to playoff berths in 2012, 2014 and 2016. He is a three-time American League Manager of the Year
The New York‐Penn League Hall of Fame was established in 2011. Inductees are nominated and voted on by New York-Penn League club officials.
Induction ceremonies are scheduled to take place on August 15, during pregame ceremonies at the 2017 New York‐Penn League All‐Star Game at Joseph L. Bruno Stadium in Troy, NY, home of the Tri-City ValleyCats.