Honoring some of baseball’s finest

The Oldtimers Bats and Balls Association last week presented the William “Pickles” Kennedy Memorial Award to Ed Wade, Don Flynn and Joseph “Goople” McCloskey.

Wade and Flynn received plaques. Charlie McCloskey accepted a plaque on behalf of his father, who died in 1990.

The Oldtimers also signed a “Welcome Back Ed Wade!” poster.

Wade served as general manager of the Phillies from 1998 to 2005. In that period, the Phillies hired manager Charlie Manuel and drafted players such as Pat Burrell, Brett Myers, Chase Utley, Ryan Howard and Cole Hamels, all of whom helped them win the World Series in 2008.

Wade was general manager of the Houston Astros from 2007 to ’11. He left when the team was bought, and has since been rehired by the Phillies as a scout.

A crowd of more than 150 packed Randi’s Restaurant & Bar, at 1619 Grant Ave. in Bustleton, for the Feb. 8 luncheon.

“The people in this room are why Philadelphia baseball is so strong,” Wade said.

Wade played baseball at Temple University. He thanked retired longtime coach James “Skip” Wilson and Flynn, his assistant, for teaching him to play baseball the right way. New Temple coach Ryan Wheeler was also in attendance.

Flynn is a Frankford native and North Catholic High School graduate. He was a pitcher at Temple and played six years in the minor league organizations of the New York Yankees, San Francisco Giants, Cincinnati Reds and the old Kansas City A’s.

Later, he coached baseball at Cheltenham and John F. Kennedy high schools, and was coach of Philadelphia Textile/Philadelphia University from 1991 to 2005.

McCloskey was a St. Leo Grammar School and North Catholic High School graduate who was beloved for his years directing a Tacony-based Police Athletic League program. He served in the Philadelphia Police Department from 1946-84. Before that, he was a boxer and fought on the undercard of the Max Baer/Pat Comiskey main event in Jersey City in 1940.

Many of the youths whom McCloskey worked with in his PAL years have formed the Joseph C. McCloskey Charitable Fund. They hope to build a sculpture at the new firehouse coming to Tacony and to provide assistance to Tacony youths in recognition of their athletic, educational and good citizenship accomplishments.

There will be a beef-and-beer benefit for the McCloskey fund this Saturday, Feb. 18, from 7 to 11 p.m., at Ancient Order of Hibernians Division 39, at 7229 Tulip St. Tickets cost $25. Call Dennis McClafferty at 267-671-7597 or John L. Sullivan 215-332-4873, or go to www.goople27thpal.com

The Oldtimers meet for lunch at Randi’s four times a year, at noon on the second Wednesday of the month. Former professional athletes in attendance last week included Bobby Shantz, Ernie Beck, Joe Scarpati and Doug Clemens.

The William “Pickles” Kennedy Memorial Award is named in memory of the former Abraham Lincoln High School and Temple University basketball star who died in a car accident in Florida in 2006.

The other 2012 meetings will be held on May 9, Aug. 8 and Nov. 14.

For more information, call Chuck Newns (215-612-0476), Ron Fritz (215-491-9380), Jack Purdy (215-968-0404) or Ron March (856-589-5223). ••