ANNOUNCING THE SECOND INDUCTEE IN THE MOHAWK VALLEY BASEBALL HOF FOR 2019
The Mohawk Valley Baseball Hall of Fame is proud to announce that its second inductee to the Class of 2019 is James LaFountain, owner and operator of the All-American Fitness Center. The ceremony will take place at the Travel Lodge in Little Fall, NY on April 12, 2019. Former National League Most Valuable Player George Foster will be the keynote speaker.
LaFountain was an All-American for baseball and for academics at the University of Louisville and is a leading authority on health and fitness in Central New York. A graduate of John F. Kennedy High School in Utica in 1972 LaFountain excelled in football, basketball and baseball. After attending Mohawk Valley Community College, he went to the University of Louisville in 1974.
In 1975, LaFountain gave the Cardinal fan base a glimpse of what was to come. He led the team in batting average that season with a .326 clip and runs batted in with thirty-nine.
At Louisville, he had probably the greatest game ever at the collegiate level. On March 24, 1976, in a game against Western Kentucky, the Cardinal squad routed their opponent 24-6 in a five-inning game. In that contest, LaFountain went to bat four times and hit four home runs – three of which were grand slams, two in the same inning. He finished the game 4 for 4 with 4 runs scored and 14 runs batted in. He set all-time Louisville records for game production in that game with most grand slams in one inning, most home runs in a game (since tied), most runs batted in in a game, and most total bases amassed in a game with sixteen. In 1976 he was named a Second Team All-America, ABCA South Second Team, and a First Team Academic All-American. He finished that season with 22 home runs, 84 runs batted in, and forty-eight walks, all of which led the team and landed him in the top ten career-wise at the university. Additionally, his 84 runs batted in led all of the NCAA that season.
“Jim is forever cemented in Louisville lore as a result of that amazing performance,” said Travis Heiser, owner and general manager of the Mohawk Valley DiamondDawgs who administer the Mohawk Valley Baseball Hall of Fame. “For that alone, he should be an inductee, but when one looks at the whole profile of Jim LaFountain, his inclusion in the MVBBHOF is long overdue.”
Considered an outstanding prospect for the Major Leagues, LaFountain played professionally in the Minnesota Twins’ organization in 1976 and 1977. He slugged 18 home runs and had 61 runs batted in to go with a .274 batting average in 98 games across two seasons, one in the Appalachian League and one in the California League. A nagging injury prevented him from playing in the Majors.
LaFountain returned to the Utica area and opened the All-American Fitness Center in New Hartford in 1981. Since then, he has lectured on fitness and conditioning at hospitals and colleges in the Utica area and published articles in magazines devoted to the field. LaFountain, commissioned a “Kentucky Colonel” by the Commonwealth of Kentucky in 1984, is a member of both the Louisville Cardinal Athletic Hall of Fame wand the Greater Utica Sports Hall of Fame.
LaFountain joins Joe Milazzo as the second inductee into the 2019 Mohawk Valley Baseball Hall of Fame.
The event’s doors will open on April 12, at 5:30 P.M. for cocktails, autographs and silent auction with dinner and program following. Tickets cost $40 per person and a table of 8 can be purchased for $275.
To purchase a seat or table, please email Travis@mydiamonddawgs.com or contact team owner Travis Heiser at (315) 985-0692.
Stay tuned as we announce another inductee to the Mohawk Valley Baseball Hall of Fame next week by visiting our website www.mydiamonddawgs.com or by social media on Facebook and Twitter