Broadcasters and Baseball teamed up to celebrate the induction of the 2010 class of the National Polish American Sports Hall of Fame.  The Detroit Sports Broadcasters Association monthly luncheon meeting hosted the event at the Hockeytown Café.  It was the Chicago White Sox connection that highlighted the presentations.



The luncheon focused on the achievements of the inductees.  All in attendance were enthusiastic about celebrating the excellence put forth by the 2010 NPASHF class, Danny Ozark, Kristy Kowal and Jane ‘Peaches’ Bartkowicz. 



(L-R)  Baseball ambassadors, Greg Luzinski, Raymond Rolak and Tom Paciorek celebrate the 'Baseball and Broadcasters’ luncheon event to honor the 2010 inductees into the National Polish-American Sports Hall of Fame.   Danny Ozark, Kristy Kowal and Peaches Bartkowicz were inducted.


 Kowal, of Reading, Pennsylvania was both an NCAA Champion and Olympic Medal winner.  Besides her athletic success, Kowal graduated with academic honors from the University of Georgia, School of Education and currently is an elementary teacher in her hometown.  The multiple All-America was NCAA Women of the Year in 2000.

 Ozark was celebrated not only for leading the Phillies to three straight NL East titles in the 70’s, but also for his famous fractured English.  Ozark, who passed away at 85 last year, had been retired and living with his wife Ginny, in Vero Beach, Florida.  He had a very long career in professional baseball, starting with the Dodgers.

 Junior tennis sensation, ‘Peaches’ Bartkowicz,  was noted for all her International Championships including the 1964 Women’s Jr. Wimbledon title.  She won three medals at the 1968 Mexico City Olympics, (demonstration sport).  She also was one of the pioneers to elevate the women’s professional tour.  She won the Florida Orange Bowl title four years in a row in the 60’s.

 Kowal regaled the audience with the retelling of just missing gold at the 2004 Olympics in Sydney by only a touch.  She kept everyone smiling as she highlighted her mothers efforts (Donna) on making the best stuffed cabbage east of Philadelphia.  She reminisced how teammate Amanda Atkins helped her excel by pushing her harder in practice.

 Former White Sox broadcaster Tom Paciorek kept the audience lively with baseball tales and stories of dugout snacks, both prudent and clandestine.  Paciorek exclaimed boldly, “I am 1,000 % Polish and proud of it.”  He told stories of the Vero Beach American- Polish Social Club and the Polka concerts by the Jimmy Sturr Orchestra.

 “I learned how to play first base from Danny Ozark when I just came up to the Los Angeles Dodgers in 1973,” said Paciorek.

 Greg ‘Bull’ Luzinski shared his best ‘Wimpy’ Paciorek stories with voracious hamburger eating anecdotes.  Luzinski gave a running account of where the best burgers could be found in Chicago near old Comiskey Park and in Polish-Town on Milwaukee Avenue.

 Paciorek amused the group with Tiger Stadium stories also.  He started the narrative of how former DSBA member and Detroit Tiger broadcaster Larry Osterman got knocked out.  While announcing the game on television, Osterman got flattened after being struck in the forehead with a foul ball.  Bill Freehan was his broadcast partner and it was his first game.  Freehan was overcome with so much air time to fill with the accident, he never did another broadcast.  Paciorek added with a smile, “Ernie Harwell always thought that the booth behind home plate without a screen should come with combat pay.  You could get shell shocked in there from all the serious foul balls.”

 Past DSBA Presidents, Ken Kal, and Raymond Rolak kept the roundtable luncheon spirited with hockey stories and baseball memories of old Tiger Stadium. 

 Kal, the radio voice of the Detroit Red Wings, told of the saga of George Eichorn being the producer for the unique radio presentations of Detroit sports announcer Ron Cameron.  “I only did it for a year,” said Eichorn with a wink.  “I got to talk to Howard Cosell though, that was an issue,” he added.  Cameron was also known for his Florida restaurants with Dick Vitale.

 At the back table, Rolak spoke on how Stan Musial could keep a crowd entertained and awed with his harmonica concerts.  “People forget that Stan was the General Manager for the 1967 World Series winning St. Louis Cardinals.  Of course, he had a lot of input for the 1968 Cardinals, which impacted Detroit,” said Rolak.   Musial was the first inductee into the NPASHF in 1973.

 First time visitors marveled at the sports museum qualities of the luncheon location.  Paciorek’s brother, a Los Angeles based actor, Si Paciorek said, “This is a great Detroit attraction.  You could spend hours in here looking at the displays and sports history.  I am coming back.”


Submitted by

Jeff Weiser

Rolco Sports Network