JOHNSTOWN – Paul Carpenter, the baseball team, has captivated thousands of people at Sargent’s Stadium at the Point during the AAABA Tournament.

Paul Carpenter, the man who sponsors the team, purchases the players’ uniforms, meals, bats and other gear.

He said it’s a significant financial commitment for his small business, Paul Carpenter Capital Advisors, at 400 Luray Ave. in Johnstown’s Geistown Borough.

But he said he’s inspired to sponsor the team because of his father-in-law, Mike Hammers, who drove delivery trucks for the Penn News Company newsstand on Franklin Street.

Hammers was a man of modest means who scheduled his vacation so that he could go to games in the All American Amateur Baseball Association national tournament each August, Carpenter said.

Carpenter read a newspaper article about eight years ago that the Johnstown Collegiate League was losing business sponsors and teams. Having fewer than five teams in the league would disqualify any entry to the AAABA tournament, so he stepped up to the plate.

“I don’t want to let this die,” Carpenter said. “There are still a lot of Mike Hammers in Johnstown who love baseball, love to come to the Point Stadium and are enamored with it.”

Hammers would go to games at Roxbury Park in the afternoon and at the Point Stadium in the evening, Carpenter said.

“He did it all week,” Carpenter said, “and if the Pittsburgh Pirates were playing, he did it with a transistor radio in his ear listening to the Pirates.”

A framed photo of Hammers is displayed during games in the team’s dugout.

Hammers used to deliver magazines early in the morning to Carpenter’s Food Store, owned by his grandparents, on Railroad Street in Conemaugh Borough. Carpenter worked at the store while attending high school. There he met his father-in-law – even before he met his future wife, Kathy.

“When I met Kathy, she said, ‘I want you to meet my dad,’ and so I met him and said, ‘I know him,’ ” he said.

In 1980, Carpenter joined the accounting business started in 1953 by his father, Sam Carpenter. Paul’s brothers, Sam and Joe, also joined their father around the same time. Subsequently, Carpenter & Carpenter CPAs evolved into two businesses – Paul Carpenter Capital Advisors and Carpenter Financial Services.

‘Have to give back’

From his childhood, Carpenter saw that his father was an ardent supporter of Johnstown’s community service organizations. His father’s example also influenced his decision to take up sponsorship of a baseball team.

“We’ve always been community-minded,” Carpenter said. “That goes back to my father. He said, ‘You have to give back. You do business in a community, you have to support the community.’ ”

George Arcurio, president of the Johnstown Oldtimers Baseball Association, which runs the AAABA tournament, praised business sponsors of all five teams in the Johnstown Collegiate Baseball League. The league sends a champion and runner-up to the AAABA tournament each year.

“These guys spend a minimum of $10,000 to $15,000 a year,” Arcurio said. “These sponsors have made a commitment to baseball in this area that gets tougher as the years go on. These sponsors have given their all.”

The Johnstown Collegiate Baseball League comprises Laurel Auto Group, Paul Carpenter Capital Advisors (the 2021 league champion), Martella’s Pharmacy (the 2021 league runner-up), Smith Transport, and O – a team sponsored by Dr. Sam Glass.

‘Our family tradition’

The Martella’s company was started in 1964 by Joe Martella. Today, his children run the business.

Jackie Martella said her father always believed he was investing in Johnstown’s future by sponsoring youth organizations. About 15 years ago, she and her brother Joe Martella Jr. began sponsoring a Johnstown Collegiate Baseball League team.

Martella’s won Johnstown’s first AAABA championship in 2018.

“It’s become part of our family tradition,” she said. “We can’t imagine not sponsoring a baseball team.”

Carpenter reflected on how a business call with someone from a company in Boston turned into a discussion about the AAABA.

“The man I was speaking to said, ‘Where are you located? Is that where the Point Stadium is?’ I said, ‘Yes,’ and he said, ‘I played in the opening game there when I was a kid, and I’ll never forget it,’ ” Carpenter said.

The tournament has been around for 76 years, and Carpenter said he is happy to continue sponsoring his team.

“It shines the light of Johnstown all over the country,” he said.

Russ O'Reilly is a reporter for The Tribune-Democrat. Follow him on Twitter @RussellOReilly.

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