A lot can be achieved behind the scenes.
For Dave Breth, more than 100 baseball players from the Alle-Kiski Valley and other parts of western Pennsylvania were tracked down and sent to colleges.
James D. (Dave) Breth, 80, of Cheswick died at his home on Tuesday.
It all began for Breth with his affiliation with Jack Heimbuecher and the Springdale American Legion baseball in 1970. In the mid-1970s, he helped found the Hall of Fame baseball camp in Springdale, where up to 250 aspiring players before college Coaches performed.
Soon Breth was helping build a pipeline to places like Indiana, Kent State, and Wooster, Ohio.
The players he sent to Indiana included Leechburg graduate Mickey Morandini, current pirate broadcaster John Wehner from Carrick and former major leaguers Kevin Orie from Upper St. Clair and Chris Peters from Peters Township.
“Dave was just a great baseball ambassador and a man with the greatest heart,” said Bob Morgan, retired Hoosiers baseball coach who had more than 1,000 wins in his career. “I attribute a lot to Dave for the success I have had. He’s done so much for the kids in the area. ”
Orie, who had a five-year career with the Cubs and Marlins, credits Breth for turning him into baseball after completing three preeminent sports in Upper St. Clair.
“Dave had these showcase camps in Springdale when it wasn’t busy. He’s been a tremendous bond for (Indiana) and helped put it on the map. It would never have happened without Dave, ”said Orie, a resident of O’Hara. “Dave was a tremendous force.”
While at Wooster, Morgan trained Springdale graduate Tim Basilone in 1976.
“There were at least a hundred kids who got into college because of Dave,” Basilone said. “There have been a lot of kids who might not have gone to college without the financial support Dave could get for them.”
Breth preferred to stand in the background, serving as the scorekeeper and statistician for Springdale’s 1972 State Legion Championship team and 1978 runners-up.
“He wanted the players to have a chance and a chance,” said Morgan. “Dave was a great friend of mine. I would get off the plane in Pittsburgh and he would tell me we have to go to this box to see this guy, another box to see this guy. ”
Tim Pettorini, who immediately followed Morgan at Wooster, was joined by Wooster sports journalist Ernie Infield.
“He had a column, ‘Rumbling Around the Infield,'” Pettorini recalled. “He met me and told me the first thing I had to do was get this Dave Breth from Pennsylvania. He sent many players to Bob Morgan. ”
Basilone said, “Dave was behind the scenes doing the organizational work. He had only one eye for talent, and the coaches recognized the talent we had in Apollo-Ridge, Freeport, West Deer, and across western Pennsylvania. ”
Breth did not accept any as compensation for his efforts. He was happy to pay for college trips and sightseeing out of pocket.
He also used the American Legion East-West’s annual All-Star Game as a means of getting players attention.
“Dave was a huge reason for our success,” added Pettorini. “He was a good friend and I will miss him very much.”
Pettorini is now retired and winter in Florida.
There was no visitor. The funeral preparations were taken care of by the Charles Jarvie Funeral Home in Springdale.
George Guido is a Tribune Review writer.
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