Little Falls, NY–The Mohawk Valley DiamondDawgs are pleased to announce Kurt DeLuca from Dolgeville as the final inductee of the class of 2015’s Mohawk Valley Baseball Hall of Fame.
Kurt DeLuca became the first ballplayer born in Little Falls to step foot on the field of Veterans Memorial Park as a member of the Little Falls Mets as a 21-year-old kid in 1985. In the 30 years since, he remains the only local player to put on the blue and orange uniform that dominated summer baseball talk in the Mohawk Valley for decades.
DeLuca was a standout for Ithaca College. In a career that spanned 137 games, he hit an astounding .409. His offensive prowess included 27 homeruns, 170 runs batted in, 156 runs scored, and 50 stolen bases. When he graduated, he was the school’s all-time leader in runs batted in, and ranked 3rd in batting average, 4th in homeruns and runs scored, and 9th in total hits with 183. While at Ithaca, DeLuca was a two-time All-American, the ICAC Player of the Year (1985), a two-time All-Northeast ICAC, and was a member of the All-Northeast Playoff Team twice.
In the 36th round of the 1985 Major League Baseball June Amateur Draft, the New York Mets came calling. DeLuca’s first stop was the South Atlantic League and the Columbia Mets. With Columbia, he was surrounded by future Major Leaguers like Gregg Jefferies, Marcus Lawton and David West. After 11 games, though, the parent club felt DeLuca needed more seasoning, so they assigned him to his hometown Little Falls Mets. He flourished. He batted .270 the rest of the season, with 6 homeruns and 19 runs batted in to go along with 15 stolen bases and 32 runs scored. Hi performance set the stage for a return trip to Columbia in 1986.
In Columbia, DeLuca batted .294 with 18 doubles, 4 homeruns and 42 runs batted in. He also stole 33 bases proving he was an acute base runner. Promoted to the Lynchburg Mets of the Carolina League, a team where he would cross paths with the iconic Dwight Gooden, DeLuca batted .340 over 58 games and earned a promotion to Double-A with the Jackson Mets of the Texas League. He finished the 1987 season with Jackson, and an overall batting average of .303 with 109 hits, 27 doubles, 5 homeruns, 39 runs batted in, 51 runs scored and 13 stolen bases.
DeLuca’s last professional season had him split time between the Florida State League’s Port St. Lucie Mets and the Texas League’s Jackson team. With those two stops, DeLuca was surrounded by future Major Leaguers once again, like Tim Bogar, Todd Hundley, Rick Aguilera, Kip Gross, Kevin Tapani and Craig Shipley to name a few. While his career was winding down, he soaked in whatever he could from the coaches and teammates that surrounded him, and this has paid off for DeLuca in his second career as a private instructor for up-and-coming young ballplayers in the Central New York area.
Over 4 seasons of professional baseball, DeLuca amassed a respectable record of statistics. His career batting average of .260 was good, and in 1159 at bats, he had 301 hits, 63 doubles, 12 triples, 22 homeruns, 134 runs batted in with 69 stolen bases and 163 runs scored. Not too shabby for a 6’0″ 190lb kid from Dolgeville!
The Hall of Fame induction dinner will be held on April 18th at the Travel Lodge in Little Falls (formerly the Knights Inn). The event will include dinner and a Chinese auction and will feature keynote speaker and former Major League Manager Bobby Valentine who managed the NY Mets and the Boston Red Sox. The event’s doors will open on April 18th at 5:30 P.M. for cocktails and autographs with dinner and program following. Tickets cost $35 for adults and $20 for kids 12 and under. For a table of 8 people, the cost is $250.
To purchase a seat or table, please email Travis@mydiamonddawgs.com or contact team owner Travis Heiser at call (315) 985-0692.