60-year-old soccer program handed out in Charleroi offers glance at many from past
Paid advertisements are the lifeline of souvenir program books for athletic events, banquets and commemorative celebrations.
They help defray the costs of staging these games, dinners and festivities and offer businesses and others an opportunity to target audiences at, in most cases, a rather economical investment.
That was the case with a book prepared for the Eastern Division semifinals of the National Amateur Cup soccer tournament game between the Dunlevy Redbirds and the Trenton (New Jersey) Abbotts on Sunday, March 22, 1953, at the Charleroi High School Stadium.
A copy of that program was sent to us by Kathleen (Kathy) Encrapera of Leesburg, Fla., who is the daughter of the late Ralph “Beef” Rossi, manager of the 1953 Redbirds.
Produced by Lydic Printing Co., a union shop in Washington, Pa., the book was distributed to some 1,800 fans who attended the game more than 60 years ago.
It offers a nostalgic look at names from Yesteryear.
Pittsburgh Steel Co., which had plants in Allenport and Monessen, was the primary sponsor of the book with a full-page ad on the outside back cover.
John D. Woodward of Charleroi, a candidate for re-election as recorder of deeds in Washington County, also offered his support with a full-page ad inside the book.
Half-page ads were purchased by the following:
Washington County Soccer League; White Barn Café, Dunlevy; Keystone Amoco Service, owned by Ronnie Rossi and Al Morgan, at the Charleroi-Mapleview borough line; Central Recreation, Pool and Billiards, Charleroi; Charleroi Supply Company; Peter Elish, Democratic candidate for Washington County controller; Harvey Stuart, candidate for sheriff of Washington County; Charleroi Automobile Dealers Association, and H.R. Zucconi, distributor of Pabst Blue Ribbon Beer, Belle Vernon;
Also, Hollow Inn, Route 88, Speers, Dancing Every Thursday Night with the Velveteers Orchestra; Tony Magruda of the Jones Brewing Company, Smithton; Charles L. Melenyzer and Shelby D. Ferguson, funeral directors and ambulance service, Belle Vernon; Monessen Sport Shop, Bud Roman, proprietor; David H. Weiner, Democrat candidate for Judge of the Court of Common Pleas, Washington County; George F. Roule, Democratic candidate for re-election as Washington County controller; Westmoreland Paving Co., and Judge Roy I. Carson, candidate for re-election to the Washington County Court of Common Pleas.
Calling attention to their businesses and services with smaller – but equally appreciated – ads were the following:
The Charleroi Mail; Harvey's Esso Service, Charleroi, which offered a free grease job or lubrication for any player scoring a goal; Guiseppe Garibaldi Beneficial Society, Dunlevy; Bethem's Machine Shop, Dunlevy; Noble J. Dick Bus Lines, Charleroi; Charleroi Lumber Company; Pennsy Barber Shop, Al Rossi and Al Mazzie, Charleroi; Charleroi Shoe Stores; Frank's Men's Shop, Prosper and Frank Gilli, Charleroi; Wee-Wonder Dairy Bar, Dunlevy; Vernon Refrigeration Company, E.P. Kurkowski, Belle Vernon; Robert (Bob) Jacobs, candidate for burgess of Dunlevy Borough; Checchi's confectionaries and novelties, Dunlevy; Leonard Heino, coal and general hauling, Dunlevy; Pig & Whistle Café, Charleroi, and Marsh Tire Service, Al Mollis and Joe Stankiewicz, Charleroi.
Also, W.F. Brandt, Produce, Thorofare, Charleroi; Palace Theatre, Charleroi; City Bakery, Al Nesti, proprietor, Charleroi; Roberts Restaurant, Charleroi; Jenkins Floral Shop, Charleroi; Al Landrin Flower Shoppe, Charleroi; Latchem Transfer, Charleroi; Carl Nichols, Florist, Belle Vernon; the new J.I.B. Restaurant, Jack and Lou Roth proprietors, Charleroi; Fabian Hardware, Charleroi; Ruth Eckert, funeral director, Roscoe; Eckert Chevrolet, Roscoe; Gray's Auto Body Shop, Dunlevy; Ramo Rossi, full line of groceries and meats, Dunlevy; Rathway Brothers, Contractors and Haulers, Perryopolis; Charleroi Druggists (Gezzer's, Easton's, Fogel's, Fellows and Charleroi pharmacies); B & G Beer Distributors, Dunlevy; Columbus Hotel, Charleroi; Myford Hotel, Charleroi; Zeidman Furniture Store, Charleroi, VFW Post 167, Charleroi; D & S Radio and Television, Dunlevy; H. & B. Chevrolet Company, Chevrolet and Cadillac, Charleroi; Charleroi Hotel; Rego's restaurant, Charleroi, and Seymour's jewelry shop, Charleroi.
A full page of Dunlevy Boosters, who also offered financial support, listed these names:
George Humphries, Ralph Pappalucco, Johnny Bunardzya, Bill Franchini, Jackie Urwin, John Bennett, Steve Molinari, John Smith, Donald R. Bello, John Kunselman, Dominick Gibino Jr., Tom Haywood, Phillip Gibino, Al Tonarelli, Vic Hladik, Roger Grandy, Jimmy George, Herbert Urwin, Michael Habura, John Uhrin, Ray Benoit, George Grandy, James Molinari, Bill Niccolai, Jay Bercini, Joseph Revetta, Tom Urwin, Ed McKita, Lou Molinari, “Jiggers” Grilli, Cliff Donaldson, Geno Grilli and Bruno Cheti.
The program book also carried the traditional rosters of the competing teams.
Dunlevy, which had won the Washington County League and West Penn Amateur Cup championships that season, was led by Manager Ralph “Beef” Rossi. Dave McVicar served as secretary of the club, and the players listed in the book were Roger Rossi, Adolph Conte, Dom DiBernardi, Tony Pascarella, Miller Savage, Jim Harrison, Alex Roman, Frank Pascarella, Alex DeRosa, Ronnie Rossi, Cliff Broggi, Lavern Mahon, Frank Clement, Bob Day, Joe Alvarez, Bernie Lodovici, Ray Dean, Ted Broggi and Donnie Clement, who was serving in the Armed Forces at the time.
Trenton, which came into the tournament fresh from winning the Philadelphia Soccer League championship, relied on the skills of George Conners, Joe Sokolowski, Frank Sokolowski, Stan Dombrowski, Mario Laurenti, Ed Smolinski, James Bloor, William McCann, John Pyle, George Malone, Otto Schutts, Joesph Hamran, Henry Tulezeski, Paul Baba and John Strycharz.
Sam Galin of New York City was listed as the referee for the game.
Dunlevy won the game, 2-1, in an overtime thriller on a goal by Tony “Dukey” Pascarella with only five minutes remaining in the extra period.
Pascarella's decisive goal came on a perfectly-placed corner kick by veteran Jim “Crackers” Harrison, and the Redbirds were ready to travel to Fall River, Mass., for the Eastern Regional championship game against Ponta Delgados Soccer Club on April 5.
But a controversial ruling by the United States Soccer Football Association cancelled those plans and ultimately wiped out Dunlevy's hopes for a shot at a national championship.
But that's another story for another day.
Ron Paglia is a contributing writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at email@example.com.