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Kudos to GCHS Alum Bob "Dece" Dacierno Inducted Into the SJ Baseball Hall of Fame

UPDATED: 1/22/24


William E. Cleary Sr. | CNBNews


CNBNEWS SPORTS (January 19, 2024)--Robert "Dece" Dacierno Sr., a prominent athlete and a graduate of Gloucester Catholic High School's Class of 1963, was inducted into the Hotstovers South Jersey Baseball Hall of Fame in November. The organization's 63rd Awards Banquet and 34th South Jersey Baseball Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony took place at Adelphia Restaurant in Deptford. The other inductees are Dan Baker, Darren Ford, Robert “Tookie” Johnson, Ryan Kulik, Bob Seddon, and Sam Tropiano.

Screenshot 2024-01-19 at 18.04.14Robert Dacierno, second from right standing with the other members of this year's South Jersey Baseball Hall of Fame class. (photo courtesy of Rutgers-Camden).


The following is from the HotStovers banquet booklet:

Dacierno earned three varsity letters playing third base for Rams Coach Joe Gallagher. He was named Hot Stovers Player of the Year in his senior year, batting .551 with 27 hits in 49 at-bats, hitting five home runs and driving in 33. He also scored 23 runs.

These are outstanding stats when one considers that Gloucester Catholic played only 17 games that season. He missed his junior year after breaking his foot in the third game of the season. As a sophomore in 1961, his statistics caught the eyes of voters, and he was named All-Parochial, All-Conference, and Third-Team All-State.

He played his summer ball for Joe Barth’s American Legion team. In fact, he played so well that the Los Angeles Dodgers drafted him and assigned him to their Pocatello (Idaho) Chiefs in the Rookie League, where he played for Baseball Hall of Famer Tommy Lasorda. Bob says that among his lasting memories was sitting on a team plane and looking around at great players he read about – Sandy Koufax, Don Drysdale, Willie Davis and Ron Fairly.

Following his high school graduation, Dacierno attended Temple University Preparatory School, which played in the Philadelphia Public High School League.

Still today, Bob Dacierno loves the summer game that gave him so much satisfaction. And why should today be any different than a headline on the Courier-Post on January 31, 2008 that read Gloucester Catholic: Talented Dacierno left dreams on field. The final paragraph of that story read, “Dacierno came home twice during spring training because his mother was sick back in 1966 – and he never went back the second time.

Gloucester Catholic classmate Gus Danks described Dacierno as a “colossal guy and a great athlete – a real credit to Gloucester Catholic.” Said Danks: “Gloucester has had a lot of terrific athletes, but Bob was really exceptional among them. It’s a privilege to have been his classmate.”


CNBNews reached out to other members of his class along with his teammates for a comment. Realizing this was 61 years ago, we were
happily surprised that each person had such vivid memories about Dacierno.

Screenshot 2024-01-22 at 22.57.25
Bob Dacierno
(1963 GCHS graduate)


Mickey DeCastro, founder and manager of the Haddon Heights
American Legion baseball team, said Bob and he played baseball for Gloucester Catholic and were friends off the field.
"As his baseball career continued after Gloucester Catholic, we lost touch after high school. In a twist of fate several years after graduating, while I was coaching Haddon Heights Legion in a game against Brooklawn, I saw a Dacierno in the Brooklawn lineup. Obviously, it wasn't Dece, but it was his son.  So I got to see Bob many, many times through the Legion games. His son was an excellent player, similar to his dad.  That was three great years of a reunion."
"Bob was a great athlete, said Frank Batavick. "When I visited John Loschin in high school, Dece was sometimes around.”   Loschin was the Ram's catcher. Batavick said, "On this one particular occasion, Dacierno had a baseball bat and kept taking practice swings as if the bat was just an extension of his arms.  Bob was quiet and shy but also a very witty guy.  I remember how he'd say things in a low voice and crack everybody up but not laugh himself.  He just kept that sweet smile on his face,"
Teammate George Anastasia, who was a sophomore and not a starter at the time, watched Dacierno from the sidelines and said, "The ball would explode off of Dece's bat. He was a great hitter, a great third baseman, and a genuinely nice guy. "

Bill Gross had this to say about his lifelong friend. "I have been friends with Bob since my freshman year at Gloucester Catholic, and we have

Dacierno with his grandchildren

remained close for the past 61 years. We played together on the same baseball and football teams, and were also members of the Gloucester City AC sports club. Bob was a natural athlete who was exciting to watch. If there was ever anyone who deserved to be inducted into the South Jersey Baseball Hall of Fame, it is Bob Dacierno. I introduced him to the girls at Powell's Luncheonette, and they immediately fell in love with his charming personality and good nature. Bob is a rare gem of a person who always has something positive to say about everyone and is willing to help others whenever they need it. I feel lucky to have him as my friend and don't think I could ever find a better one."


"Dece was Mr. Cool back in the day," said his classmate and CNBNews editor Bill Cleary.  “He and some other guys from Fairview and South Camden were bussed into Gloucester Catholic. Come to find out, many of them were good athletes. Monsignor Lucitt, who was the former pastor of Sacred Heart Parish, South Camden, and now the pastor of St. Mary's, which included the grammar and high schools, paid their tuition to attend Gloucester Catholic. On the first day, I saw them, they all had this certain walk. They would place one hand in their right pocket and pull the pant leg up a little. In their left hand, they carried a few books held up high near their left armpit. They all walked like they didn't have a care in the world. Funny how some things stay stuck in your mind."

"Dece, to this day, still has that same quick wit. He could always make me laugh. When my wife Connie and I got married, he was one of the wedding party drivers. He played basketball, football, and baseball. He was a gifted athlete. Out of the three sports, baseball was his best. He was head and shoulders above everyone else. I met with him, Ed and Lou Pirotta, Gus Danks, Frank Kelly, and Bill Gross several times in recent years, and Bob is still the same cool guy. Congratulations, Bob! "


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