Greater Akron Baseball Hall of Fame
The Greater Akron Baseball Hall of Fame was originally the vision of Rudy Piekarski, a former player at St. Mary’s Grade and High School and also Akron University; player and manager of several AA teams and coach at Revere High and Kenmore High, and has served as commissioner of the Greater Akron AA Baseball League 1981-1992.
The Greater Akron Baseball Hall of Fame was founded in 1981 to recognize former players, coaches, managers, sponsors and umpires who had displayed their talents or generosity in an outstanding manner over the many years of amateur baseball in Akron.
The GABHoF was the vision of Rudy Piekarski, whose dream came to pass on May 8, 1982, when 98 individuals attended a banquet at Anthe’s restaurant on West Market Street to honor a charter group of eight inductees. Members of that Charter Class of Inductees were Jack Bisesi, Garrett Coey, Frank Garcia, Ray Glinsky, Dick Lombardi, Bobby Nash, Joe Winkler and Dave Young.
The organization was called The Greater Akron Class A-AA Baseball League Hall of Fame, and the goal was to honor participants involved in the A, AA and old Industrial leagues in Akron.
In the fall of 1982, Piekarski secured the services of Eldon Dice, William ‘Tiny’ DiMenna, Mox Engler, Don Lombardi, Dick Lombardi, George Popp, Dom Saccone, Harold ‘Bus’ Simpson and Dave Young as charter trustee members of the Organization. In August of 1984, the then presiding committee voted to change the name of the organization to ‘Greater Akron Baseball Hall of Fame.’ This move was made to recognize all levels of baseball in the Akron area.
In 1985, the organization was incorporated as a non-profit as ‘The Greater Akron Baseball Hall of Fame, Inc.’ It was 10 years later that the GABHOF was granted 501(c)3 tax status, retroactive to December 12, 1985 when the GABHoF was incorporated.
In 1996, the City of Akron agreed to provide the GABHoF with space at Akron’s new Canal Park Stadium, home of the Akron Aeros, as a place to honor its inductees and display Akron baseball memorabilia. Akron City Council members Bruce Bolden, Dave Bryant, John Conti, John Frank, Renee Green, Bruce Kilby, Don Mittiga, Bob Otterman, John Otterman, Dave Portis, Marco Sommerville, John Valle, and Mike Williams passed the resolution unanimously and Mayor Don Plusquellic signed it into law.
Entrance to the GABHoF Canal Park facility is on South Main Street at the north end of the stadium. The facility is open in conjunction the Akron Aeros games, but currently is undergoing a renovation and is closed for that process.
In 2004, the Board of Trustees voted to change the name of the organization to ‘The Greater Akron Baseball Hall of Fame of Ohio’ to encompass baseball throughout the State of Ohio.
The GABHOF celebrated its 24th anniversary in 2007 and has 332 inductees from its annual banquets that ran from 1982 through 2004 and again in 2007. There was no inductee activity by the GABHoF from 2008-2011 as founder and president Rudy Piekarski battled health issues that eventually took his life in May of 2011.
Piekarski, 69 and known as ‘Rudy Pie’, played and managed several AA teams and and served as commissioner of the Greater Akron AA Baseball League 1981-1994. He was also the voice of Akron high school sports on radio for six decades and a member of the Radio/Television Hall of Fame. He was inducted into the GABHoF in 1995.
The GABHoF was reconstituted in December of 2011 behind the work of a new Board of Directors was elected and work began on 2012 and renewing the GABHoF’s commitment to baseball.
In 2012, the name was returned to the longtime moniker – Greater Akron Baseball Hall of Fame – and a new Constitution and By-Laws were established to bring the organization up to date and broaden its horizons. The new Board of Directors has begun a program to recruit new generations into the Hall and set a goal of resuming the annual induction and banquet in 2013.