Lineup full of sports stars with York County, Pa., links
York County’s Hinkey Haines and Babe Ruth teamed up in 1923.
Major League Baseball Hall-of-Famer Brooks Robinson and former lefty Ken Raffensberger appeared in a York Daily Record roundup of athletes who touched York County in some way.
The 2006 story provides an impressive list of links between the world of sports and the county of York:
Some of the York County athletes who have won individual state high school championships:
|• Brian Polashuk, Spring Grove, wrestling, 2006: He earned the first state championship for the Rockets’ program, winning the PIAA Class AAA 125-pound crown to cap off his senior season with a 42-1 record.
|• Michele King, Spring Grove, girls’ swimming, 2005: The Rocket was just that in the water at Bucknell University, winning gold medals in the 50- and 100-yard freestyles. She set state records in both events with times of 22.80 and 49.54 seconds, respectively. Since then, she has qualified for four events at the 2008 U.S. Olympic Swimming Trials.
|• Knowledge Timmons, William Penn, boys’ track and field, 2004: As a junior, the blazing Bearcat won the 100-meter dash in 10.56 seconds and captured his second straight gold in the 200 (in 21.87). Timmons is now a member of Penn State’s football team.
|• Gary Mayfield, Hanover, wrestling, 2003 and 2004: The Nighthawk won four state medals during his career, the last two gold in the 112-pound class at Hershey’s Giant Center.
|• Tyler Rees, Northern York, wrestling, 2003: The senior Polar Bear finished off his final high school season by winning gold in the 275-pound class at Giant Center.
|• Cimmie Shahan, Spring Grove, girls’ golf, 1995, 1996, 1998: The Rocket standout came up big with three gold-medal performances on Penn State University’s White Course. |• Brad Bush, Red Land, wrestling, 1995: The Patriot capped his senior season by winning the title in the 152-pound class at Hersheypark Arena.
|• Joey Wildasin, South Western, wrestling, 1988, 1989, 1990: The Mustang dynamo won three consecutive gold medals at Hersheypark Arena in three different weight classes — as a sophomore (119), junior (125) and senior (130).
|• Rod Crumbling, Eastern York, golf, 1984: The Golden Knights’ senior carded a two-round total of 153 to capture the boys’ championship on Penn State University’s Blue Course.
|• Linda Mescan, William Penn, girls’ golf, 1978: A two-round total of 151 gave the Bearcat a championship at Carlisle Country Club.
We are the champions
|A sampling of York County high school teams that have won state titles:
|• York Catholic, girls’ basketball, 2006: In a memorable and improbable comeback, Andy Bria’s squad rallied from a 19-point deficit and stunned Westmont Hilltop, 48-43, in the PIAA Class AA championship game at Hershey’s Giant Center.
|• Northeastern, baseball, 2004: Coach Don Kauffman’s Bobcats went 22-4 and beat Huntingdon, 6-3, to claim the Class AA title on Harrisburg’s City Island.
|• Susquehannock, girls’ volleyball, 1999: The Warriors beat Mount Lebanon, 16-14, 12-15, 15-12, at Shippensburg University to capture the Class AAA title.
|• Northeastern, boys’ volleyball, 1992 and 1993: Tom Beakler’s Bobcats repeated as state champs by beating North Allegheny, 5-15, 15-9, 15-12, at Penn State’s Rec Hall. |
• Red Land, baseball, 1990: The Patriots pounded Indian Valley, 9-3, to win the Class AAA crown in Shippensburg.
|• York Catholic, boys’ basketball, 1987 and 1990: Mike Keesey’s Fighting Irish won a pair of Class AAA titles in a three-year span. Catholic beat Aliquippa, 63-54, in 1987. Three years later, the Irish topped Perry Traditional Academy, 63-52.
|• York Catholic, boys’ cross country, 1983 and 1985: The Irish won two Class AA titles during a three-year stretch on Lehigh University’s course.
|• Susquehannock, girls’ volleyball, 1974: The Warriors won a Class AAA crown by beating Norwin, 12-15, 15-8, 15-10, in Shippensburg.
|• York Suburban, girls’ volleyball, 1975: The Trojans clinched Pennsylvania’s first contested Class AAA championship by downing Norwin, 15-12, 7-15, 15-9, at Shippensburg.
| The men in charge
|Some prominent coaches and administrators with ties to York County, with their birthplace in parentheses:
|• Jim Tarman, former Penn State athletic director (York): The William Penn High graduate worked his way up from sports information director to athletic director, eventually guiding the Nittany Lions from an Eastern independent into the Big Ten Conference during a 35-year stay at the school.
|• Ron Wolf, former general manager, Green Bay Packers (New Freedom): Wolf was in charge in Green Bay for a decade and helped return some glory to Titletown. The Packers went to consecutive Super Bowls, beating New England in 1997 before falling to Denver in 1998.
|• Bruce Arians, receivers coach, Pittsburgh Steelers (Patterson, N.J.): Arians grew up in York, starred at quarterback for York Catholic High and graduated from William Penn High. He attended Virginia Tech and began his football coaching career as a graduate assistant there. He was head coach at Temple from 1983-1988 and also served as an assistant at Alabama, Mississippi and Mississippi State as well as with the NFL’s Kansas City Chiefs, Indianapolis Colts, New Orleans Saints and Cleveland Browns. He received a great deal of kudos for his work with the passing game of the reigning Super Bowl champion Pittsburgh Steelers.
|• Randy Edsall, head football coach, University of Connecticut (Glen Rock): The Susquehannock High graduate was a three-year letterman in football, basketball and baseball before heading to Syracuse, where he played quarterback. He was also an assistant coach at Georgia Tech, Boston College and Syracuse as well as with the NFL’s Jacksonville Jaguars. Buckle your chinstrap
|Some former NFL players born in York County, with their birthplace in parentheses:
|• Omar Brown (York): The former William Penn High star played cornerback at North Carolina before joining the Atlanta Falcons as a fourth-round draft pick in 1998. He spent two seasons in Atlanta and gave the XFL a shot with the Orlando Rage in 2001.
|• Chris Doleman (York): An all-state selection in football, basketball and volleyball at William Penn High School, Doleman went on to become an All-American at the University of Pittsburgh. A defensive lineman, Doleman was drafted fourth overall in 1985 by the Minnesota Vikings. He spent 15 seasons in the NFL, was a six-time Pro Bowler and retired as one of four players with more than 150 sacks.
|• Scott Fitzkee (Red Lion): A football and track standout at Red Lion High, Fitzkee started at receiver for Joe Paterno at Penn State from 1976-1978. He caught 65 passes for 1,263 yards and 11 touchdowns during his State College stay. Fitzkee was drafted in the fifth round by Philadelphia and spent two seasons with the Eagles and two more with the San Diego Chargers. He won two USFL titles with the Philadelphia/Baltimore Stars before retiring.
|• Lincoln Kennedy (York): Kennedy was born and raised in York, but moved to San Diego at age 12. An offensive lineman at the University of Washington, Kennedy was a first-round pick of the Atlanta Falcons in 1993. He spent three seasons there before a trade to Oakland in 1996. He retired after the 2003 season, having played in a Super Bowl and three Pro Bowls.
|• Jon Witman (Wrightsville): A former star at Eastern York High, Witman played fullback at Penn State. He was a valuable contributor as a blocker and pass-catching threat out of the backfield on the Nittany Lions’ undefeated 1994 Rose Bowl squad. Pittsburgh’s third-round pick in 1996, Witman started 43 games for the Steelers during a six-year NFL career.
| Batter up
|Some former Major League Baseball players born in York County, with their birthplace in parentheses:
|• Ken Raffensberger (York): A left-handed pitcher who played 15 major-league seasons with the St. Louis Cardinals, Chicago Cubs, Philadelphia Phillies and Cincinnati Reds between 1939 and 1954. Raffensberger, who died in 2002, twice led the National League in shutouts, pitched four one-hitters and was the winning pitcher in the 1944 All-Star Game.
|• Henry “Hinkey” Haines (Red Lion): Haines was 24 years old when he played his only season of Major League Baseball in 1923. He appeared in 24 games and batted .160 as an outfielder for the New York Yankees, who won the World Series that season. Haines’ path to more playing time was blocked by a guy named Babe Ruth, who batted .393 with 41 home runs and 131 RBIs. After his one season in the majors, Haines, a Penn State grad, went on to a successful pro football career with the New York Giants and won a championship in that sport in 1927.
|• Jim Spencer (Hanover): Played first base and outfield for 15 seasons with the California Angels, Texas Rangers, Chicago White Sox, New York Yankees and Oakland Athletics between 1968 and 1982.
|• Vic Wertz (York): Played outfield and first base for 17 seasons with the Detroit Tigers, St. Louis Browns, Baltimore Orioles, Cleveland Indians, Boston Red Sox and Minnesota Twins between 1947 and 1963.
|• Butch Wynegar (York): Played 12 seasons as a catcher for the Minnesota Twins, New York Yankees and California Angels between 1976 and 1988.
|• Greg Gross (Goldsboro): Played outfield and first base for 17 seasons with the Houston Astros, Chicago Cubs and Philadelphia Phillies between 1973 and 1989.
|• Cliff Heathcote (Glen Rock): Played outfield and first base for 15 seasons with the St. Louis Cardinals, Chicago Cubs, Cincinnati Reds and Philadelphia Phillies between 1918 and 1932. |
Did you know?
|• Baseball: Hall-of-Famer Brooks Robinson began his pro career as a member of the minor-league York White Roses in 1955.
|• Baseball: Pitcher Mark Phillips, a Hanover High grad, was a first-round pick of the San Diego Padres in 2000.
|• Basketball: William Penn High grad Chantel Tremitiere played professionally in the WNBA for four seasons.
|• Boxing: York fighters Carney “Beeper” Bowman and Eric Nemo competed in the 2004 Olympic Trials before turning pro.
|• Canoe: Dover’s Scott Strausbaugh won Olympic gold in the two-man slalom at the 1992 Barcelona Games. |
• Fencing: York instructor Roark Mitzell teaches classes, not only in fencing, but also in medieval swordplay. Another local instructor, Jack Hespenheide, is 99 and has been fencing for 79 years.
|• Field hockey: South Western High graduate Krista Meckley went on to win a national championship at the University of Michigan in 2001.
|• Soccer: Dover resident John Souza was a member of the 1950 U.S. World Cup soccer team that shocked England, 1-0. With the English chasing him, Souza personally dribbled the final minutes off the clock to preserve the win. |• Softball: The Greek Olympic softball team played an exhibition game against area all-stars in York prior to last summer’s Athens Games.
|• Swimming: The North Baltimore Aquatic Club, which boasts Olympic star Michael Phelps as a member, has a branch at Crispus Attucks in York.
|• Swimming: Whitney Metzler of Dallastown swam the 400-meter individual medley for the U.S. Olympic team at the 1996 Atlanta Games.
|• Weightlifting: Bob Hoffman, the founder of the York Barbell Co., was a four-time Olympic team coach and a major catalyst in York’s rise as a world weightlifting capital in the 1930s, ’40s, ’50s and ’60s. In all, 41 lifters, coaches or trainers from York (or with ties to York Barbell) have gone to the Olympics, bringing home 11 gold medals.