BY MIKE MASTOVICH
George Arcurio Jr. was a Johnstowner through and through, but Arcurio made an impact that stretched beyond the city limits to places such as Baltimore, New Orleans, Detroit, Washington, D.C., Altoona and Livonia, Mich.
Johnstown and the All American Amateur Baseball Association (AAABA) lost a friend and an icon on Thursday as Arcurio died at age 83 after a lengthy illness.
“I think he was the tournament to be quite honest with you,” said Joe Scheuermann, the former manager of the New Orleans team that annually travels to Johnstown for the August AAABA Tournament. “Without his influence and his political influence the tournament probably would be gone. He saved the national organization on numerous occasions. He saved the Johnstown Oldtimers on numerous occasions. He was the lifeline to the AAABA, no doubt.”
Better known as Junior, Arcurio served as president of the Johnstown Oldtimers Association for 28 years and served as president of the AAABA National Committee. The Oldtimers sponsor the AAABA Tournament, which has been played in Johnstown all but two years since 1945.
“What I remember about George is the reasons why that plaque was put up,” said Pirates TV analyst and former Bucs relief pitcher Kent Tekulve, who spoke at the 2009 AAABA Hall of Fame banquet and participated in a dedication ceremony when a plaque honoring Arcurio was placed at Point Stadium. “For so many years, he put so much dedication into the AAABA program and baseball in general in the Johnstown area.
“For somebody that has spent their whole life reaping the benefits of the game of baseball, you have to appreciate the people like George, not getting paid and doing it for the love of baseball,” Tekulve added. “I don’t know if you even can count over the years how many kids George allowed to play the game of baseball.”