Don Stanton pitched two no-hitters in what now is known as the Johnstown Collegiate Baseball League.
The 59-year-old Johnstown resident has been an umpire in the league and spent three years as an assistant to former JCBL commissioner Tony Crisafulli.
Stanton has broadcast 33 AAABA Tournaments, most of those as part of a radio team with John DeFazio.
On Monday night, Johnstown City Council acknowledged Stanton’s appointment to the role as commissioner of the JCBL. The league had selected Stanton as its next leader last month and awaited approval by council.
“I’ve played in the league, I’ve coached in the league, I’ve umpired in the league,” Stanton said. “The league supplies a team for the tournament and you know how much the tournament means to me. For the betterment of the league and for the tournament’s sake, I stepped up and accepted the position.
“When it comes to the baseball end of it, I’ll do that 24-7 if necessary. The administrative and paperwork end, I hope to fall back on the managers and Tony (Crisafulli) for advice. I want to keep steering the league in the direction it is going. We have five teams and we’re always looking for more.”
Crisafulli stepped down after the 2019 tournament. He had served as commissioner of the JCBL – which also had been known as the AAABA League and Johnstown Junior League – since the death of former commissioner Denny Altimore in 2014. Crisafulli previously had served as league vice president, beginning in 2010.
Stanton and Myron Markovitz served as Crisafulli’s assistants. Markovitz stepped aside with Crisafulli, and Stanton at that time said he was content to remain an assistant to the next commissioner.
Stanton, who works at the UPMC Cancer Center in patient transportation, eventually decided to take the top position in the league.
“I want to thank Tony Crisafulli and Myron Markovitz for their service,” Stanton said. “I appreciate everything they’ve done for the league.”
Stanton said Garrett Sidor has agreed to serve as an assistant to the commissioner, and another local baseball coach has been offered the second assistant spot.
“Garrett is a longtime high school coach who played at Richland,” Stanton said. “He started the Mount Aloysius baseball program that (Mounties coach) Kevin Kime has now. He was with his dad (former Rams coach John Sidor) at Richland. He has been at Ferndale and Westmont. He’s a good baseball guy.
“I’m waiting to hear from another good baseball guy to get back to me for the second assistant position,” Stanton said. “Hopefully, he’ll say yes. If not, I’ll find someone who loves baseball as much as I do.”
Crisafulli said Stanton will provide a familiar presence to the league, which has produced a AAABA Tournament finalist for four consecutive years, including the Martella’s Pharmacy team that won the city’s first AAABA Tournament crown in 2018.
Paul Carpenter Capital Advisors finished as AAABA Tournament runner-up in 2016 and 2017, and Martella’s was runner-up last summer during the 75th anniversary tournament.
“Donnie has been with us since I took over as commissioner. He knows what is going on so there is some stability there,” Crisafulli said. “The transition should be pretty seamless. Donnie will do a nice job. He knows baseball, he knows the game, he knows the league. He’s passionate about baseball, and I think he will do very well. I wish him all the luck and all the blessings moving forward.”
Johnstown Oldtimers President George Arcurio III has worked with Stanton for more than three decades because of Stanton’s role as a AAABA Tournament broadcaster.
“Donnie is a great baseball guy. His knowledge of baseball is excellent,” Arcurio said. “He’s been involved in baseball all of his life. He’s a former Point Stadium Award winner. I think Don will do a good job keeping the league together.
“As president of the Oldtimers, I know I can work with Don. Everything should be good and ready to go.”
Stanton pitched in the Johnstown Junior League and later the AAABA League in the late 1970s. At age 16, he played for Lower Cambria and tossed a no-hitter against the Hornerstown Youth Club. He later pitched for Wheeler Cadillac in the Johnstown Junior League.
When a second league formed to produce the annual AAABA Tournament representative, Stanton, a curveball specialist, played on the V.E. Erickson team and won the 1979 Point Stadium Award for throwing a no-hitter against Rose’s Market.
Despite his success, Stanton never had an opportunity to pitch in the AAABA Tournament. His lengthy tenure as a radio broadcaster has kept him in the tournament for more than 30 years though. He called the 2018 AAABA Tournament championship game.
“My goal is to keep the league thriving,” Stanton said. “You hate to lose teams. You want to add teams. We’re always looking to do that. We’re just looking to be a competitive league that college coaches send their kids.”