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 Wednesday, September 2, 1987




Del Val Club Returns To Cooperstown

Of The Morning Call

People like to spend Labor Day weekend in many different ways.

For some, it's traditional to head to the shore for that final summer fling. Others plan family picnics; head to the lake for a last shot at the bass that got away or will spend the weekend munching on those funnel cakes and other goodies at the Allentown Fair.

Chuck Ciganick and several members of his Delaware Valley baseball team in the Tri-County League have developed a very different type of Labor Day weekend tradition, but something most appropriate for people deeply committed to something they love.

For the eighth straight year, Ciganick will be spending the holiday weekend in Cooperstown, N.Y., where his team will be participating in a five- game series against the Milford, N.Y., Macs Baseball Club.

Two games Saturday and a single contest on Monday afternoon will be played at Doubleday Field, the park named after Abner Doubleday, the inventor of baseball, and adjacent to the baseball's National Hall of Fame. Another doubleheader will be played Saturday at the Macs' Wilbur Park in Milford, a 15-mile trip from Cooperstown.

For a baseball lover like Ciganick, there's no better way to spend the final weekend of summer.

"It's just a great way to end the summer," said Ciganick. "Many families would probably go up there on a holiday weekend anyway, just to visit the Hall of Fame. We just add the baseball-playing part to the trip.

"We all go up there with our families, basically to enjoy ourselves. For a lot of the guys who work all summer, they look at this as a mini-vacation. And it's a real beautiful part of the country to be in. When you make that drive from where we stay at the Holiday Inn in Oneonta to Cooperstown, you just can't believe the scenery."

Ciganick heard about the Milford team from George Bonekemper, a long-time local baseball man involved now with the Quakertown Blazers. Bonekemper saw the team play while on vacation in the Cooperstown area.

Ciganick sent out a postcard, not knowing if he'd ever hear anything from the Milford squad. He was surprised to get a call a few weeks later from the Macs manager. The two talked about getting together for a few games and the only opening on the Macs' schedule was over Labor Day weekend.

Ciganick took the opening and he has been making the trip every Labor Day weekend since.

"When you think about the thousands of teams like ours in amateur baseball leagues from here to Califonia, I've got to think that so many of them would die just to play in Cooperstown and on Doubleday Field just once," said Ciganick, of the facility where two major league teams play the Hall of Fame game each summer.

"It's just such a great atmosphere in which to play baseball. We consider ourselves so lucky that we've been able to do this over the past eight years and we plan to continue doing it."

This will be Delaware Valley's sixth trip to Cooperstown. In two years, Ciganick couldn't round up enough players from his own team. So, Limeport, another Tri-Co club, took Delaware Valley's place. Ciganick, Limeport manager Ishky Fatzinger and Limeport player Jim Schaeffer have made every trip.

The Tri-County's reps have struggled at times against Milford, a team that plays in a similar amateur league to the Tri-Co. Milford owns a 17-10 edge in the series, including a five-game sweep a year ago.

"Part of our trouble is that our league is usually over for three weeks to a month when we make the trip and it takes some time to get back in the swing," said Ciganick. "Win or lose, though, it's always worth the trip."

The most memorable trip for the Tri-Co squad was in 1983 when the team took a 24-3 drubbing in the first game of the series and then came back to take the next four.

Joining Ciganick from his Delaware Valley club will be Gary Wright, George Piperato, Mike Thompson, Eric Tibak, Bill Krchnavy, Rich Harlow, Bruce Alpaugh and Don Rosenberger, Sr. Limeport will have three players in Fatzinger, his son Bill, and Schaffer.

Other players making the trip will be the Allentown Angels' Ray Ganser, Silver Creek's Tom Boice and Bill Wieder, a former Del Val player.


From The Morning Call -- September 2, 1987

Copyright 1987, The Morning Call