Frank Dezelan never hit a home run in the major leagues.
The Bon Air native didn’t toss a no-hitter.
But Dezelan made a major league impact during his six seasons as a National League umpire.
Dezelan, who died on March 7, 2011, at age 81, was a National League umpire for three full seasons and parts of three others from 1966 to 1971.
He will be among seven inductees to the Cambria County Sports Hall of Fame during a banquet at the Pasquerilla Conference Center on July 14.
A brain tumor cut short his promising career when Dezelan was only 42, but in the brief time he spent in the majors, he was involved in some of the game’s milestone moments.
- Dezelan was behind the plate when San Francisco Giants Hall of Famer Willie Mays smacked his 600th home run against San Diego in September 1969.
- He was part of the umpiring crew during the 1970 All-Star Game that ended as Pete Rose collided with catcher Ray Fosse at home plate in the 12th inning at Riverfront Stadium.
- Dezelan was the first base umpire for the inaugural game played at Pittsburgh’s Three Rivers Stadium between the Pirates and Reds on July 16, 1970.
A number of baseball dignitaries supported Dezelan during a 1976 testimonial dinner in Pittsburgh to raise money for his medical expenses. Among those were Ed Vargo, president of the National League umpires; Pirates broadcasters Bob “The Gunner” Prince and Nellie King; and Bucs star pitchers of the 1970s Dave Giusti, Jim Rooker and George “Doc” Medich.
His family tells the story of how hometown dentist Richard Goldberg suggested Dezelan become an umpire after a discussion that initially was launched in the dentist’s chair.
Dezelan followed through in a big way. He had a 10-year career umpiring in the minor leagues prior to his major league call up. When he advanced to the majors, there only were 24 Major League umpires in the National League.
Through all of the travels from city to city in the majors and minors, Dezelan’s wife of 52 years, Irene, and their five children were there to support him. His children include Darlene, Susan, Sandra, John and Daryl. There are eight grandchildren.