Two former Northeast athletes received the William “Pickles” Kennedy Award.
The Oldtimers Bats and Balls Association last week honored two people during its meeting at Randi’s Restaurant & Bar, 1619 Grant Ave. in Grant Plaza II in Bustleton.
Receiving the William “Pickles” Kennedy Award were Joe Rapczynski and Jimmy Ambrosius.
Rapczynski attended St. Anne Grammar School and played basketball at North Catholic High School, class of 1970. Larry Conti, a North assistant coach when Rapczynski played there, introduced him at the May 9 meeting. Rapczynski, who was joined at the meeting by his wife Mary Jo, played college basketball for coach Paul Westhead at La Salle. He coached North Catholic from 1982–88, leading the Falcons to a stunning upset of Roman Catholic in the 1987 Catholic League championship game. He went on to coach at Brandywine High School in Delaware, winning a state title in 1998. Today, he is an assistant coach at Wildwood Catholic.
Ambrosius is a Tacony native who played baseball at Father Judge. He is a member of the Judge Baseball Hall of Fame. He later played college baseball at La Salle. He was a rough-touch football player and spent 20 years in the Pen-Del baseball league, mostly as a player and manager for Magnolia-Bridesburg. His father-in-law was former Phillies infielder Granny Hamner.
The Pickles Kennedy Award is named in memory of a former star basketball player at Abraham Lincoln and Temple. Kennedy spent a year with the NBA’s Philadelphia Warriors, then played minor league baseball for several years in the Pirates organization.
Among those attending last week’s luncheon were Bobby Shantz, a former American League Most Valuable Player; Joe Scarpati, a former pro football player best known as the holder for Tom Dempsey’s then-NFL-record 63-yard field goal in 1970; and former Phillies outfielder Doug Clemens.
In related news, the Delaware Valley Veterans Nursing Home, 2701 Southampton Road, will host an Armed Forces Day celebration on Saturday, May 19, from 1 to 5 p.m. The outdoor show will feature musical performances by Charlie Gracie and others. Admission is free.
The Oldtimers group consists of former athletes and officials. Members meet four times a year at Randi’s. Lunch costs $11.
For information on the group, call Jack Purdy (215–968–0404) or Ron March (609–209–0849), or visit batsandballs.org ••