Philadelphia High School Baseball
A Look at Joe McDermott's 31-Year Coaching
Career at Father Judge High (1976-2006)
This page includes stories, special lists, record breakdown, recaps of wins in championship games
and (at the bottom) the names of all All-Catholic honorees during Coach McDermott's 31 seasons. . . .
To provide additions/corrections:firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Joe McDermott |
Joe McDermott coached baseball at Father Judge for 31 seasons (1976-2006), winning 319 league games and five Catholic League championships along with one City Title. In '82, the Crusaders completed a perfect league campaign (16-0, 2-0 in playoffs) by beating Carroll, 6-1, for the championship. Here is that story . . .
By Ted Silary
Catholic League Northern Division baseball coaches, voting at the close of
the regular season, determined that Pat Waninger, the productive pitcher and
first baseman from Father Judge, would be the obvious MVP choice.
League - 319-181
CATHOLIC LEAGUE TITLES
"My basic feeling was that
Coach McDermott was putting me out there so I could hang myself," Dennis
said, laughing. "I
had other ideas.
"I said as a freshman, 'I won't leave Father Judge without making All-Catholic and winning the championship. ' I reached
both goals, but it wasn't easy. I rode the bench last year and led cheers. I worked hard, especially on fielding. That would be
my ticket to a starting job. Every hit would be a bonus."
As it turned out, Minich hit .367 during the regular season and yesterday went 1-for-2, notching the Crusaders' lone RBI
with a two-out single to right in the sixth. The other five runs scored on errors.
DEFENSIVELY, Minich handled four chances in perfect fashion, just as he'd done against Egan.
"What's so great about Minich is that he wants every ground ball," said a rival coach. "Most kids stand there thinking, 'Hit it
to somebody else.' "
"I'm coming forward every time the bat hits the ball," Minich said. "Even on a line drive, I'll take a step forward before
catching it. When you come forward, you're in command.
The night before the Catholic League all-star game, Minich twisted his right ankle and fired a pair of bad throws.
"It did not shake my confidence. Not one bit," he said. "I waited for my nkle to heal so I could plant on the throw. There
was nothing wrong with my arm."
In retrospect, there was nothing wrong with Joe McDermott's decision to employ Pat Waninger's left arm for pitching
" But remember, I'm not a pitcher," Waninger said. " I just happened to do it for a while."
This story was written after Joe
guided the Crusaders to their third championship
over a six-year stretch . . .
By Ted Silary
The secret to Chris Gies's abundantly successful pitching for Father Judge in the Catholic League baseball playoffs can
be found in a glove.
Not Gies's glove, mind you. In fact, you could look all day in Gies's fielder's mitt and not find a thumbtack or a piece
of sandpaper, two of the items covertly used to doctor a baseball.
The glove we are talking about belongs to catcher Chris Walton. Look inside and, voila!, there's a sponge.
"Before, I didn't need any padding when Chris was pitching," Walton said. ''But when he started popping the ball
about halfway through the season, I went to a sponge.
"Even with one, my hand usually feels sore. I can feel it the most at the plate. It's tough to put my left index finger on
Funny. Throughout the playoffs, which culminated yesterday at Temple's Erny Field as Judge cruised to a 6-2
title-game victory over Monsignor Bonner, opponents often found it tough to put their bats on baseballs pitched by Gies
(rhymes with nice).
The senior righthander limited Bonner to four hits - two came with two out in the seventh inning - and one earned run
while walking one and striking out seven.
Gies, who was hindered by a back injury much earlier in the season, pitched 22 innings in four playoff appearances,
including complete-game victories over La Salle, Archbishop Wood and Bonner and one inning in relief (for a save)
against Bishop Kenrick. He allowed 8 hits, 2 runs, 1 earned run and 2 walks while striking out 22. His ERA: 0.32.
No wonder coach Joe McDermott, who has won four championships in 12 seasons (also 1976, '82 and '85), did not
hesitate when he noted that Gies must rank among the top three pitchers he has coached.
Then, he went further.
"In terms of what lies ahead for Chris, meaning how much better he's going to get, he might be the best," McDermott
said. "Once he gets it in his mind that he should strictly be a pitcher, and he decides to spend more time on it, he should
become a lot better than anybody I've ever coached."
Little more than a week ago, despite his good size (6-2) and the fact that he was pitching creditably for a third
consecutive varsity season, Gies faced the prospect of having nowhere to take his impressive right arm. But Temple
coach Skip Wilson offered a scholarship last Friday and at least three schools - La Salle, Villanova, West Virginia -
yesterday gave McDermott the impression that they intend to do the same.
Don't mind Gies. He's only bewildered.
"I'm kind of surprised that all of this is happening at once, and that everybody waited so long," he said. "I guess maybe
they were waiting for me to prove something.
"For me to go somewhere else, these schools would have to match or top Temple's (scholarship package) offer. I think
I'd like to stay at home. But if I did go away, it would be to someplace far. I guess I'd consider a school in a
Bonner scored a fifth-inning run when shortstop Ed Pennock reached on an error, advanced to third on leftfielder
Chris Boyle's one-out single and raced home on a wild pitch. In the seventh, third baseman Pete Klein hammered a
two-out triple to dead center and Boyle followed with an RBI single to right.
"I was too excited," Gies admitted. "I wanted to get the last out on a strikeout, so I kept throwing fastballs. They knew
they were coming, I guess. They were just trying to get a piece of one."
"One more hit," McDermott said, smiling, "and I was ready to head out there and go into one of my (rant and rave)
A few words would have been blue, no doubt, and Chris Gies's ears would been singed bright red.
When it comes to speaking his mind, whether to his players, opposing coaches or even reporters, no Catholic League
baseball coach can hold a strained vocal chord to Joe McDermott, whose team, for the second time in three years, has
earned a championship after finishing in a third-place tie in the North.
Such an accomplishment necessitates a four-game sweep, by the way. This year, the Crusaders would have watched
the playoffs if they had dropped their final game to Archbishop Ryan.
"Once we get in the playoffs, I feel the pressure is on everybody else," McDermott said. "Being Judge helps. We've
been here so many years. Also, a lot of people don't particularly like me. They like to beat me so much that . . . "
They get distracted, perhaps? Or intimidated?
Whatever. The way Gies pitched during the nine-day playoff period, little else mattered.
"The more the pressure's on, the better he pitches," Walton said. "He throws his fastball harder and it has a lot more
movement. Today's fastball seemed like his best. And it was tailing inside (to righthanded batters). I don't remember
that happening before. "
Two years ago, when Judge defeated St. James in the finale, Gies received an early relief call and went on to pitch
6 2/3 innings of three-hit, shutout ball.
"There was a lot more pressure this year," Gies said. "When you're a sophomore, you're thinking, 'Ah, I've got two
years left. ' I didn't want to go off to college having lost a championship game. I was really ready to pitch this game.
Even if I hadn't felt that great physically, I would have put my mind to it and gotten the job done somehow."
Meanwhile, Judge's most productive workers on offense could be found at the top of the order.
Shortstop Mike Metzger (single), third baseman Steve Elinski (sacrifice), junior first baseman Carmen Caserta (RBI
double) and Walton (RBI single) posted a two-spot against righthander Joe Boyle in the first inning. Metzger (single)
nd Elinski (double) had RBI in a three-run fourth and Elinski's single plated a sixth-inning run.
"Every time a team wins a championship, the coach says, 'This one's the best,' " McDermott said. "I won't say that.
But I will say I feel very good for these guys. Talentwise, they're not the best team I've had. But they definitely
TITLE TIDBIT: Chris Gies's final league pitching stats: 8-3 record, 74 2/3 innings, 54 hits, 14 earned runs, 12
walks, 85 strikeouts, 1.31 ERA.
This story was written after Joe and
the Crusaders captured the City Title in
1976 by a score more common in football . . .
This story was written when Joe retired in 2006 . . .
By Ted Silary
The annual rumor has turned to fact: Joe McDermott is no longer the baseball coach at Father Judge High.
After winning five Catholic League championships (1976, '82, '85, '87, 2000) and compiling a league-play mark
of 349-199, counting playoffs and the City Title game in '76, in which Judge topped Central, McDermott yesterday
announced his retirement.
The reason is threefold: health, family and that general, it's-just-time feeling.
McDermott has a lingering leg problem, and for most of last season he was immobile while coaching.
"I can't coach from the dugout. That's not me," he said. "I don't like it. At all. My doctor said I couldn't go back
to the third-base coach's box. Any sudden movement, I could further damage my leg.
"Plus, I'll be 60 in the spring. Time for a change. Time to enjoy our shore house and give more time to my wife
[Marylou] and two daughters [Lauren, Carla]. Lauren's ready to give us our first grandchild, so that's exciting, too."
McDermott grew up in Hunting Park and was schooled at St. Stephen, Roman Catholic (class of 1965) and what
was then St. Joseph's College. A lefty, he was an outstanding pitcher at Roman. Aside from tossing no-hitters, he
went all 15 innings in a 3-2 loss to St. James.
McDermott coached for 36 consecutive years at Judge, counting five as an assistant to Henry King. A running gag
for maybe the last 10 was his end-of-the-season statement, "This could be it for me. If I retire, I'll let you know."
"Hey, how many years can you push it back?" he said, laughing. "I've gotta get out. Let someone else do it.
Now's the time.
"I'd like to thank the faculty and administration and, of course, all the players. We had some great ones. No one
wins without talent."
Recaps of victories in
Catholic League championship games . . .
At Temple's Erny Field
Judge 7, O'Hara 0
Shawn O'Neill pitched a two-hitter and ended the game with a flourish, notching his seventh strikeout after O'Hara loaded the bases. O'Hara committed seven errors, so Judge collected just three RBI -- two by Lou Nicastro, one by Tom Ullmer (three hits).
At Temple's Erny Field
Judge 6, Carroll 1
The Crusaders got plenty of help while concluding an 18-0 league campaign; five of their six runs scored on errors. No. 9 hitter Dennis Minich, a slick-fielding shortstop, had the lone RBI on a sixth inning single. Pat Waninger pitched a four-hitter with six strikeouts and was given an MVP trophy. During the bus ride back to Judge, heavy celebrating caused the trophy to break. Numerous players got pieces and waved them out the windows. Carroll's Dave Lafferty went 2-for-4.
At Temple's Erny Field
Judge 11, St. James 5
Walking none and striking out none, sophomore reliever Chris Gies pitched 6 2/3 innings of three-hit shutout ball and received huge support from Ron Brunner (3-for-4, double, five RBI) and Mike Hagan (three-run homer). Bob Christy had two RBI in St. James' five-run first.
At Temple's Erny Field
Judge 6, Bonner 2
Chris Gies allowed four hits and one walk and fanned seven as the Crusaders triumphed. Steve Elinski went 2-for-3 with two RBI, Mike Metzger went 2-for-2 and scored three runs and Carmen Caserta had an RBI double. Bonner's Chris Boyle went 2-for-3 with an RBI.
At La Salle University
Judge 6, La Salle 4
Eric Ruhland allowed three first-inning runs, but finished with a nine-strikeout four-hitter as the Crusaders gave 25-year coach Joe McDermott his fifth championship. Mark Dickson (RBI double) and Matt McKenna (two-run single) created a 3-3 tie in the third, Bill Reilly got home a run in the third on a fielder's choice, Kirk Bucholski lashed an RBI double in the fourth and Dennis Klinger homered in the fifth. Losing pitcher Bryan Harvey had an RBI double.
Recap of victory in
City Title . . .
At Temple's Erny Field
Judge 14, Central 13
Ten of the game's 28 hits went for extra bases, Judge overcame a 7-0 deficit after 2 1/2 innings and Central created a 13-13 tie with seven in the visiting fifth. Jim Hockel tripled and scored in the bottom half to win it. George Turano won with 1 1/3 innings of scoreless relief. Mike Goida went 5-for-5 and scored twice. For Central, Matt Melone homered and Bob Santore went 3-for-5 with two triples and three RBI.
Below are the players who
earned first pr second team Coaches' All-Catholic honors during Joe
31 seasons . . . *-MVP.
|FIRST TEAM||Pos.||Year||SECOND TEAM||Pos.||Year|
|Shawn O'Neill||P||1976||Walt Kosiek||1B||1976|
|*Lou Nicastro||SS||1977||John Orminski||2B||1976|
|Jim Hockel||C||1977||Mike Goida||3B||1976|
|Dennis Foglia||P||1977||Nick DeLaurentis||OF||1977|
|Dave Gallo||3B||1978||Neil Madden||2B||1978|
|Jim Hockel||C||1978||Chuck Bushbeck||SS||1978|
|Marc Fleming||OF||1978||Tom Ullmer||OF||1978|
|Mario Buonanoce||P||1978||Vince Pelligrini||P||1978|
|Brian Oliver||1B||1979||Ed McArdle||1B||1979|
|Dave Gallo||3B||1979||Mike Stankiewicz||SS||1979|
|Jack Yost||OF||1979||Tom Fallon||OF||1979|
|Joe Healy||P||1979||Harry Murray||OF||1981|
|Mike Stankiewicz||SS||1980||Pat Waninger||OF||1981|
|Cosmo Losco||OF||1980||Tim Myers||OF||1982|
|Mark Singer||P||1980||John Higgins||OF||1982|
|Kevin Conroy||2B||1981||Steve Nejman||C||1983|
|Craig Canning||P||1981||Paul Weeks||2B||1985|
|Dennis Minich||SS||1982||Tom Robinson||OF||1985|
|Harry Murray||OF||1982||Mike Wieczorek||P||1985|
|Pat Waninger||P||1982||Brian Hill||C||1986|
|Paul Mazurek||P||1982||Joe Morgan||P||1987|
|Mark Iacovelli||SS||1983||Kevin Hines||OF||1988|
|Mark Iacovelli||SS||1984||Ed Tomaselli||P||1988|
|Brian Golderer||OF||1984||Jim Benner||1B||1989|
|Kerry Cahill||3B||1985||Brian Machinski||3B||1989|
|Mark Iacovelli||SS||1985||Doug Briggs||OF||1989|
|Andy Sotherling||2B||1986||George Beisel||DH||1989|
|Kerry Cahill||SS||1986||Tony Luca||C||1990|
|Mike Wieczorek||P||1986||Tony Luca||C||1991|
|Chris Gies||P||1987||Greg Viscusi||IF||1992|
|Ron Filippo||OF||1988||Pat O'Donnell||P||1992|
|Joe Morgan||P||1988||Bob File||IF||1993|
|Jeff Jordan||P||1989||Bob Hassel||IF||1993|
|George Beisel||IF||1990||Jason Berghaier||C||1993|
|Brian Peacher||OF||1990||Jack Smith||OF||1993|
|Ken Vogt||P||1990||Chuck Hiller||P||1993|
|Joe Affet||OF||1991||Joe Shenko||P||1993|
|*Bob File||IF||1994||Tom Kelly||OF||1994|
|Sean McGettigan||OF||1994||Pete Gabriele||OF||1998|
|Tom Hellwarth||P||1994||Dan Rash||P||1998|
|Mike DeVincentis||C||1995||Brian Kearney||P||1999|
|Kevin McGerry||P||1996||Kirk Bucholski||P||2000|
|Kris Dufner||IF||1997||Jim Hasher||IF||2001|
|Tom Walsh||OF||1997||Paul Koenig||P||2001|
|Kevin McGerry||P||1997||Dan Graf||OF||2002|
|Anthony Nelson||1B||1998||Dale Curry||C||2002|
|Kris Dufner||IF||1998||Dale Curry||C||2003|
|Mike Gies||IF||1998||Joe Cione||P||2003|
|Brian Kearney||C||1998||*Matt Compton||P||2005|
|Josh Riordan||P||1998||Matt Compton||INF||2006|
|Bob Greenfield||1B||1999||Justin DeCristofaro||OF||2006|