George Arcurio III will carry on a family tradition by serving as national president of the All American Amateur Baseball Association (AAABA) this year.
“It’s a great honor,” Arcurio said Tuesday night. “I’m going to do the best I can for the organization.”
Arcurio’s two-year term will coincide with the 70th anniversary of the AAABA Tournament, which has been a Johnstown mainstay each August for all but two years since the inaugural tournament in 1945. The AAABA, which held its annual meeting last weekend in Florida, also announced that all 18 active franchises will play in Johnstown this year in conjunction with the 70th anniversary, and there will be no regional play.
The lifelong Johnstown resident also made history by becoming the first member of the national board to serve two different terms as president. Arcurio’s first term in 2004-05 also included the 60th anniversary of the tournament in 2004.
His father, the late George Arcurio Jr. served as national president of the AAABA during the 50th anniversary of the tournament in 1994.
“I was president on the 60th anniversary and here I’m president of the 70th anniversary,” Arcurio III said. “My father was president on the 50th. How many organizations truthfully made it this long and survived? We try to cater to all the people and do the best we can. It really is amazing.”
The AAABA national board voted unanimously, 19-0, to name Arcurio president.
Arcurio also serves as president of the Johnstown Oldtimers organization, which hosts the tournament. His father was the Oldtimers president from 1981 through 2008. He died at age 83 in May.
“For anybody, it’s an honor to be voted president,” said Zanesville’s Bob Wolfe, who was reelected for his 20th year as AAABA executive director. “It used to be George Jr.’s tournament as president of the Oldtimers. I think it’s great that George III is president.
“We want to keep this tournament going. The last three years have been a struggle. The AAABA and Johnstown Oldtimers need to come up with a chunk of money. Committees have been appointed. We’re going to keep it steady and see what we can do. We’d like to find a corporate sponsor.”
Altoona’s John Austin was voted as first vice president of the AAABA national committee. New Brunswick’s Jay Elliot is second vice president, and Philadelphia’s Mike Gossner is third vice president. Milford’s Bill Fertitta was reelected as treasurer of the national board.
“I was very honored that they graced me with a vote like that. Everybody was very supportive,” Arcurio said. “We’re going to bring all the teams here and that’s important.
“My father probably would have been very happy about this as hard as he worked for the AAABA Tournament and the Johnstown Oldtimers,” Arcurio added.
Arcurio also confirmed that Tony Crisafulli will replace the late Denny Altimore as commissioner of the local AAABA League.
The local franchise owners and managers had voted for Crisafulli to move into the position after he had served as Altimore’s assistant. Johnstown City Manager Kristen Denne had to approve the vote, and Arcurio said a letter indicating such approval had been submitted.
Myron Markovitz, will continue to serve in his administrative role with the local league. A third position must be filled to complete the three-person committee.
Wolfe said the 18-team bracket will include two teams that must play doubleheaders on opening day. There once again will be two Johnstown representatives.
“On the opening day, all 18 teams will play,” Wolfe said. “There will be two teams that play a doubleheader. We’ll schedule a 10 a.m. game for someone. It will be luck of the draw. The winner then will play another team later in the day.
“Everybody looks forward to coming to Johnstown to play in the national tournament. It’s nice the AAABA can work with the Johnstown Oldtimers to bring in the two extra teams. The cost of going to the regional is more money than going to Johnstown, where everything is paid for.”
Mike Mastovich is a sports writer for The Tribune-Democrat. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/masty81.