How good of an athlete was Chautauqua Sports Hall of Fame inductee Phil Young growing up?
Well, when he was just 15 years old, Phil was asked by the Westfield Moose Club-sponsored baseball team to join it as a backup catcher at the semi-pro championships.
So Phil’s brother, Bob, took pen to paper and left a note for their parents. The essence of the note was simple: “We’re on our way to Wichita, Kansas. See you in two weeks.”
It was just the start of Phil’s sports odyssey.
At Mayville Central School, Phil held the basketball record for career points with 1,104, spearheading the program’s 36-game winning streak, and was named an all-star on the hardwood, on the gridiron and on the diamond.
It was in baseball where he truly made his mark, earning a four-year scholarship at Syracuse University, highlighted by him being named the team’s Most Valuable Player his senior year. During his stay at the central New York campus — he was the No. 1 catcher from 1951 to 1955 — he met Jim Brown, the NFL Hall-of-Famer, who lived on the same floor in the athletic dormitory. Phil signed a professional baseball contract with the Philadelphia Phillies and played in the minor leagues from 1956-59.
But, ultimately, Phil’s greatest contributions came during a teaching and coaching career that spanned more than three decades. At Westfield Academy and Central School, Phil coached basketball, football, baseball, tennis and golf. His influence was so great, in fact, that one of his former players wrote about Phil in a book about the influence one person can have on another’s life. In 1991, he was named the district’s Teacher of the Year.
Joining Young in the Chautauqua Sports Hall of Fame 2018 induction class are Dick Cole, Curt Fischer, Lori Franchina, Sheilah (Lingenfelter) Gulas, the late Jim Riggs, Fran Sirianni and Clem Worosz. They will be formally honored at the CSHOF’s 37th annual banquet on Feb. 19 at the Lakewood Rod & Gun Club.
Jamestown Cycle Shop, 10 Harrison Street, Jamestown; Matt’s News, 93 E. Third Street, Dunkirk; Tony’s Shoe Repair, 12 N. Portage Street, Westfield; and the Chautauqua Sports Hall of Fame, 15 W. Third Street in Jamestown, are the official ticket distribution sites. Tickets can also be ordered by phoning Chip Johnson at 485-6991. The price per ticket is $50. CSHOF members receive a $5 discount.