By RUSS CHARPENTIER
The Cape Cod Baseball League inducts its seventh Hall of Fame class tomorrow morning at Chatham Bars Inn, with the nine new members bringing the total in the prestigious Hall to 71.
The ceremony begins at 10 a.m., to be followed by lunch and an afternoon question-and-answer session with the new inductees. The festivities begin tonight with a reception at Chatham Bars Inn.
Most years the induction ceremony is tinged with emotion, but it will be hard to top last year's affair, in which a grateful Bobby Kielty gave a heartfelt, tear-filled acceptance speech.
Joining the Hall of Fame this year are current major leaguers Lance Niekro and Josh Paul, along with former Cape League stars Steve Balboni, Rick Currier, Steve Duda, Ross Jones, Greg Lotzar, Jim Hubbard and the late Allen ''Buzzy'' Wilcox, who played in parts of the 1940s, '50s and '60s with the Orleans town team. His daughters are expected to accept his plaque.
Hubbard, who is being presented by Hall of Famer Bob Butkus, did it all in the league, from playing in Yarmouth and Cotuit in the 1950s and '60s, to managing Cotuit to four championships, to umpiring and finally working as Wareham's general manager for six seasons in the '90s. Butkus was Hubbard's ace with the Kettleers.
''It's a great mix,'' Cape League commissioner Paul Galop said of the 2006 class. ''There's a variety of generations there.''
Hyannis Mets volunteer Tim Ellstrom, who has been with the organization for nearly 30 years, will receive the Fred Ebbett Lifetime Achievement Award. A new award, the Richard ''Dick'' Sullivan Executive of the Year Award, will also be presented.
All the living members of this year's class are expected to attend, with the exception of Niekro and Jones. Niekro's father, former major league hurler Joe Niekro, died unexpectedly last weekend.
Niekro's award will be presented to members of the Orleans Cardinals organization, and plans are for him to be formally inducted in 2007, said Galop.
Niekro, who plays for the San Francisco Giants, nearly won the Triple Crown in 1999, capturing league MVP as he led the league with 13 homers and 44 RBIs. His .360 batting average was second to Jamie Bubela's .370.
Channel 4's Scott Wahle will emcee tomorrow's ceremony while NESN's Tom Caron will moderate the afternoon Q&A.
Former league commissioner and current New York Mets scout Bob Stead will present Balboni. Ward Dunning will present Paul. Former Chatham manager and current University of San Diego head coach Rich Hill will present Duda, while current Chatham manager John Schiffner introduces Currier. Former Cotuit manager and Cape League Hall of Famer George Greer will present Lotzar. League publicist John Garner will accept for Jones.
(Published: November 3, 2006)