Nanticoke Historical Society

Nanticoke Historical Society

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Our Future History

The Nanticoke Historical Society is as much about our present day community as it is of our past.  In my limited capacity, when opportunities present themselves, I try to look around myself for new and interesting activities around me.  It's important to keep an open mind that others who may not  necessarily share our  opinions or beliefs still have much to contribute.  We are a nation, a state and a city of many all as a whole, whom make up who we are, to all our greater good. Whomever we are, we still are one a community each, with our own stories and history that I welcome and invite you to share your stories and history with us. If they be different, that is even better.

The Christian Music experience was a little outside my realm which was the reason for my prelude such as it was. My interests in music and electronics lead me, by invitation I must admit, to a quite enjoyable and most unexpectedly pleasant evening. The room was softly lit. The people were warm friendly and inviting. The church offered free coffee and confections.  It was an evening of music, of song and pleasant melody.  The lyrics often told stories of retrospect, self examination, of experiences that give life purpose and meaning and perhaps of mistakes made, that if could, would be make right.  If you are a person who believes completely in yourself, that all decisions and choices you made were in good conscience and were true and correct and ultimately produced the possible outcome for yourself at least, with lack of need of any kind of reflection, if your song is: Me, Me,Me, then this evening probably wouldn't be for you.  I would like to think that there may be some out there like that, but most of us to some degree have some true moral conscience, humility,  decency and respect for those maybe a little different.

Now in my more advancing years, my favorite genres of music generally fall into several categories. I tend to listen to old 1940's (I love the era),  public broadcasting: homespun, music, classical.  The old wooden music
like Arlo Guthrie, (and who remembers The Christy Minstrels).  I'll watch American Idol and The Voice, but do not recognise most of the music unless it is retro 60's, 70's 80's.  So, my outlook on Christian Music was: "Well it's out there", neither like or dislike.  It did however have an element to which I could relate to. Even if you are just somewhat spiritual, it deserves a listen.

The featured artist was Dave Griffen (Dave I hope I got that right - I was limited by my slight hearing impairment).

This evening the coffee house was broadcast live from Nanticoke's own low power station WVHO FM 94.5.  Limited to about under 300 watts, it's coverage is pretty much limited to the surrounding area. The featured  event host was Stephen Perillo and was operations were conducted by on duty staff station operator Warren Storosko. The show was produced by St.John's Lutheran Church Nanticoke.

Warren gave me a quick 5 minute tour of the broadcast facility which was quite modest but more more than adequate.  The station also does some music production. Warren explained some of the equipment and it's capability. Look for more photos on our Pintrest site Facebook and Nanticoke History

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Steve Bilko Still Inspires Today and is Subject of New Book.  – By Judy Minsavage

Steve Bilko Still Inspires Today and is Subject of New Book.  – By Judy Minsavage

Baseball is in full swing, and fans are diligently following their favorite team and player. Player stats and win/losses aside the road to the big leagues is not an easy one. In 1945, from the standpoint of Bennie Borgman a scout for the St. Louis Cardinal organization the road to success looked like a sure thing for Nanticoke's Steve Bilko. Borgman witnessed the powerhouse hitting of the seventeen year old Bilko as he played an exhibition game in Artillery Park in Wilkes-Barre. Later that summer Borgman traveled to Honey Pot and watched as Bilko slammed three home run balls in a coalfield lot game, Borgman recounted in an interview about the right handed hitter “One, homer would have been out of Yankee Stadium, Yankee Stadium, hell it would have been out of the Grand Canyon.” Borgman resolved to sign Bilko, and in 1945, Bilko joined the Cardinal farm system. He made his big league debut in 1946. His time in the minors garnered much attention but after his switch to the big leagues he batted .249. Bilko's time in the majors was spent “backing up players such as first baseman Stan Musial. In 1952 Musial batting .331 was moved to center field, leaving an opening for Bilko. The misfortune of breaking an arm and enduring a recovery period led him back to Triple A Rochester.  Returning to the Cards in 1953, Bilko won the starting job and batted .251 with 21 home runs and 84 RBI's. He led the National League in put outs and assists. The next year did not prove as well and his contract was purchased in 1955 by the Pacific League's Los Angeles Angels, a team with no major league affiliation. There Bilko thrived, slamming 148 home runs from 1955 to 1957 and was only the ninth player in the 100 year history of the Pacific League to be named MVP three consecutive years. His time with the Angels heaped star status on the man from humble beginnings, and in 1958, because of the attention, the Los Angeles Dodgers pursued and signed Bilko. Although, back with the majors, was again assigned a backup position for first baseman Gil Hodges. Bilko was sent to Triple A in Spokane and was acquired by Detroit in 1960. In 1961 the Angels joined the American League and brought Bilko back. While there, he batted, .279 with 20 homers and 81 runs batted in. By the end of 1962, he was named starting first basement and hit 8 home runs  in at the beginning of the season. However once again bad luck intervened and Bilko suffered a broken leg, which ultimately ended his career. Bilko returned to Nanticoke, where he resided with his wife Mary and three children Steve Jr., Tom and Sharon. Bilko's grace with which he handled the ups and downs of his career and his tremendous talent is admired to this day. His record states he played in 600 Major League games between 1949 and 1962 with the St. Louis Cardinals, Chicago Cubs, Cincinnati Reds, Los Angeles Dodgers, Detroit Tigers and Los Angeles Angels. Bilko, who passed away on March 7, 1978. was formally recognized in 2003 with his induction into the Pacific Coast Baseball League Hall of Fame and Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame in Philadelphia.
In a March 10, 1978 article written by columnist John Hall of the Los Angeles Times, Hall wrote, “It is impossible for anybody who wasn't around Los Angeles prior to the arrival of major league baseball in the form of the Dodgers in 1958 to understand the hold Steve Bilko had on the sport public and press. His home run heroics of the mid-50's for the Angels made him a special sort of local legend.
With men on base and a rally brewing, the late Bob Kelley, voice of the Angels, frequently used a favorite phrase to stir the audience, ' and here comes Bilko!' Kelley would scream.”
To read more about Bilko check out “The Bilko Athletic Club: The Story of the 1956 Los Angeles Angels by Gaylon H. White, available at bookstores and  The description of the book reads as follows: “During the 1956 baseball season in the city of Los Angeles, Mickey Mantle’s pursuit of Babe Ruth’s single-season home run record was matched only by the day-to-day drama of Steve Bilko’s exploits in the Pacific Coast League. While Mantle was winning the Triple Crown in the American League, Bilko was doing the same in the highest of all the minor leagues with the Los Angeles Angels. He led the league hitters in eight categories, and the Angels romped to the pennant. Bilko hit one mighty home run after another to earn Minor League Player of the Year honors and inspire the team’s nickname, “The Bilko Athletic Club.”

Judy Minsavage, as co-editor, actually primary, editor of our Blog is doing an outstanding job. Judy has dedicated her valuable time in a volunteer capacity to help further grow our exposure to our organization and our community. we consider her a valuable asset in our endeavors in enlightening and educating our community of our rich heritage. Judy is also a columnist for the Sunday Dispatch were you can read her articles about other events in our surrounding communities.

Thank you Judy Sunday Dispatch
Please thank Judy for her wonderful work at: