Larry McCabe still has the wrist watch he received as winner of the 1973 Point Stadium Award for baseball.
“It’s engraved,” said McCabe, the long-time Portage High School baseball coach and manager of the defending AAABA League champion Berkley Hills Renegades. “I went to City Hall to receive the award. They didn’t have a banquet for the award back then. They presented me the watch and someone from The Tribune took my picture with my watch on my wrist.”
McCabe has come full circle from his days as one of the best pitchers in the Johnstown Junior League during the 1970s with Kline’s Amusements to his role as the featured speaker for the Point Stadium Award banquet on Dec. 28 at the Ace’s Lounge.
“It’s an honor for the the people on the committee to choose me to speak,” said McCabe, who was honored in ’73 along with Johnstown High’s Jack Buchan, who won the football award. “As a former player and now a coach, I recognize the significance of this award. I’m just honored to have the opportunity to speak.”
A group of 11 monthly Point Stadium Award nominees will vie for the annual award and $1,000 scholarship sponsored by the family of the late Harry Helsel, who championed the award for many years.
There also are 11 athletes in the running for Point Stadium Play of the Year honors.
McCabe led the Renegades to the AAABA Tournament in his first season as manager. The Johnstown representative finished 0-2 in the tournament, but still had a milestone season.
“Nate Spohn is up for the award,” McCabe said of his ace left-handed pitcher. “He pitched a gem. (Shortstop) Matt Kastelic is up for play of the year.”
Monthly nominees for the Point Stadium Award are:
* February: Drew Westover, Pitt-Johnstown baseball
* March: Drew Ebersole, Pitt-Johnstown baseball
* April: Jesse Cooper, Bishop McCort baseball
* May: Justin Vardian, Bishop McCort baseball
* June: Mike Nowicki, Laurel Auto Group baseball
* July: Nate Spohn, Berkley Hills Renegades baseball
* August: Josh Staniscia, Martella’s Pharmacy baseball
* September: Gap Barbin, Bishop McCort football
* October: Colby Warshel, Richland football; and Jordan Spangler, Bishop McCort football
* November: Luke DiFrancesco, Bishop McCort football
McCabe won the award for his seven-inning outing against perennial Johnstown Junior League power Monte Carlo on July 27, 1973. He scattered six hits while striking out eight and walking two in a 9-0 victory which snapped Monte Carlo’s nine-game winning streak and clinched the league regular-season title. At that point, it was McCabe’s ninth victory in 10 decisions.
McCabe will enter his 34th season as head coach at Portage High next spring. He never has had a losing season with the Mustangs, who have won two District 6 titles and advanced to the state semifinals once during McCabe’s tenure.
For banquet tickets call 255-3758, or Ace’s Lounge at 536-4176.