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BILLS POINT OF VIEW: Congratulations Joe ; and A Friend in Need


by Bill Cleary



SECOND TO NONE!-Longtime Brooklawn American Legion Coach Joe 6a00d8341bf7d953ef01157142a733970c-800wi “Pop” Barth along with friends and family celebrated the 60th anniversary of the Brooklawn Legion baseball program earlier this month. Over 300 people attended the affair that was held at the Legion Home, on Railroad Avenue.  


When Kevin Callahan of the Courier Post asked Joe what it meant to him to be coaching for six decades now, Pop said in his typical fashion "damn if I know."


Pop means so much to Bob Nannay, who played shortstop for Brooklawn in 1958, he came from his home in Old Orchard Beach, Maine to attend the celebration. 


"He taught me responsibility and commitment and the importance of the team," said Nannay, 69, who is a retired professor at the University of Southern Maine. "He is just a great teacher. He was the best teacher I ever had."


Barth started the program in 1952.  Two years later, Brooklawn won the first of its 24 New Jersey state championships. Brooklawn also captured 12 regional titles and the World Series titles in 1991 as well as 2001. And, Brooklawn was twice 

national runner-ups.


We had the thrill of a lifetime watching our grandson play baseball for the Brooklawn Legion team. Adam played one year on the junior legion and two on the senior team. As we traveled around to the games being held in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and New York one thing was clear everyone knew and respected Pop Barth. In 2005, our grandson’s last year of legion ball,  the team made it to the World Series being held in Rapid City, South Dakota. Pop Barth was introduced prior to the start of the series. The stadium was packed and the fans gave Joe a standing round of applause. 


Joe Barth at 89- years- old is still full of spirit and grit. And I am sure he would agree that much of his success is due to his Number 1 fan, his lovely wife Helen. Throughout these 60 years, she was and still is at every game rooting for her favorite team, “The Brookers.” 


Thanks Joe for all the great memories you have given us!  


A FEW THOUGHTS ABOUT BILL BILL-New Jersey State Trooper Bill Billingham, a former Gloucester City police officer and past resident of Gloucester City was charged recently with being part of a state police cover-up of a traffic accident he was involved in two years ago. 


He has been my friend for 30 years.


 Bill started his career in law enforcement in the 1980‘s as a Gloucester City cop.  He was dedicated to his job and soon after being hired he was promoted to an investigator for the GCPD. His lifelong dream was to become a State Trooper and 18 years ago he realized that aspiration. When he told me he was an undercover cop working in Atlantic City I was fearful for his safety. Although small in stature Bill is a karate expert and he could take care of himself. But even so, he put his life on the line every day.


The outcome of the investigation into his alleged crime will be known soon enough. But no matter what the result I will remember Bill for all the good things he has done. 


Al Pacino in the 1996 movie City Hall, stated it best, “Be careful how you judge people, most of all friends. You don't sum up a man's life in one moment.”




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