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Scholastic Roundup: Billy Blitzer gets a spot in the Hall of Fame

December 4, 2021 Andy Furman
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Billy Blitzer grew up in Brighton Beach, attended Abraham Lincoln High School and in 2022 will become a member of the New York State Baseball Hall of Fame.

While a student at Lincoln, he was a teammate with future New York Mets outfielder, Lee Mazzilli. He played varsity baseball at Manhattan’s Hunter College and was named a coaching staff assistant while still an undergraduate.

After graduation he coached baseball in Brooklyn, and in 1975 was contacted by Ralph DiLullo from the Major League Scouting Bureau.

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In 1982 he was offered a full-time scouting position with the Chicago Cubs, covering the Northeast – and has never left the Cubs’ organization.

As a professional scout he was responsible for evaluating other teams’ minor league talent. Among his most recent finds are: Shawon Dunston, who was the top overall pick in the 1982 amateur draft from Thomas Jefferson High School, Jamie Moyer, pitcher, and has signed such notables as third baseman Gary Scott, infielder Alex Arias, first-round pick and outfielder, Derrick May and pitcher Greg Smith.

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Baseball has always been an integral part of Blitzer’s life since playing Little League at Coney Island’s Kaiser Park. He is one of only a few scouts honored with his own baseball trading card. During his years as an amateur scout, he enjoyed, “the thrill of finding a player as a high school or college player and one day turning on the TV, seeing him, and saying, ‘Hey, I signed this guy.’”

Blitzer said, “Out of every 100 signed, only five get to be big league players.”

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The Terriers of St. Francis College battled St. John’s Tuesday evening at their Carnesecca Arena in Queens, which led to the question – when was the last time St. Francis defeated the Johnnies?

The year was 2004 and Ron Ganulin was the head coach – today he serves as Terriers’ assistant to head coach, Glenn Braica. The final, 53-52.
Ganulin, an LIU alum, was an assistant at UNLV during the Larry Johnson-era and has a national championship ring from the 1990 victory over Duke.

When he was a player, according to an excerpt from a New York Daily news article, holding a seat on the LIU bench, his Blackbirds were playing in the NCAA small-college tournament against Winston-Salem. They were on the bus, and the coach, Roy Rubin was reading scouting reports on the Winston-Salem star – Earl Monroe. The Pearl.

The first line of the report: “Don’t show up.” Rubin sat with his point-guard, Barry Leibowitz, the player who would have to guard Monroe.

“Roy was nervous,” Ganulin remembers. “He said to Barry, ‘We got to be careful with this guy. Play him straight up. Don’t go for any fakes.’”

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Patrick Emilien proved to be a bright spot in the Terriers’ 74-59 loss at Penn State. The 6-7, 210-pounder from Toronto, Ontario hit for 16 points and had six rebounds – and pulled St. Francis to 10 points at the 11:34 and 5:51 marks in the second-half.

Emilien is a graduate student and transfer from Western Michigan University.

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Ed Krinsky played basketball for the legendary Jammy Moskowitz at James Madison High School. In 1954, he was captain of Harvard’s team, and later served as coach at Westbury, Long Island from 1959 to 1979 posting a 274-126 won-loss record with a Nassau County Championship and several league titles.

Krinsky passed last month at the age of 88 after a short illness.

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Anthony Furia played CYO baseball growing up—and made the switch to cross-country and track at Xaverian High School.
He studied psychology at St. Francis College and earned a Master’s Degree at Columbia University.

Now, the sports fan has a dream job – he works as an Event Presentation staff member with five local professional sports teams – the Knicks, Rangers, Mets, Giants and Jets.

Prior to working with the pros, Furia spent 10 years with the Brooklyn Cyclones, where one of his responsibilities included entertaining the crowd as Cyclones’ mascot Sandy the Seagull.

Through his current work at Madison Square Garden, he was able to join the New York City Marathon “Dream Team” in which runners raise a minimum of $3,000 for the Garden of Dreams Foundation to run the race.

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Howard Kellman, the Sheepshead Bay High grad who has called Indianapolis Indians baseball on WNDE (1260-AM) – he’s been at it for close to 50 seasons – remembers stickball at Brooklyn’s P.S. 206.
“We had two kinds of games,” he says. “Running stickball in which, the ball was hit on a bounce and you ran the bases. And inlet stickball in the Courtyard where you hit the ball off the school building and each flight up gave you a single, double, triple or home run.”

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Ronnie Williams, the all-time leading scorer in University of Florida basketball history with 2,090 points, passed last week following a two-year battle with brain cancer – he was 59 years old.

He was a four-year starter (1980-84), the SEC Freshman of the Year, a four-time All-SEC selection, and a senior team captain. He led the Gators in scoring for four consecutive seasons, converted 58.5 percent of his field goal attempts, pulled down 954 rebounds and hit 546 free throws.

For the last two-plus decades, Williams worked at a juvenile detention center in Brooklyn. He is a member of the UF Athletic Hall of Fame, was selected 47th overall (last pick of the second round) by the Boston Celtics in the 1984 NBA draft, but never played in the league.

Andy Furman is a Fox Sports Radio national talk show host. Previously, he was a scholastic sports columnist for the Brooklyn Eagle. He may be reached at: [email protected] Twitter: @AndyFurmanFSR.

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