The tournament is smaller but still special as the champion earns a Stanley Cup-like trophy called the Cy Williams Cup. The award is named after the late major league scout and Greater Buffalo Sports Hall of Fame member.
Williams was always a featured speaker at the league’s annual banquet, and the family donated the cup after his death.
Although Zajac’s involvement in the league for a little more than half a century is impressive, it hardly happened.
The diocese closed the league after its 49th season due to costs and the belief that most of the boys wanted to play football. Jerge, then St. Martin’s coach, organized a meeting and invited supporters from various congregations interested in saving the league. About 40 people attended the meeting, proof that baseball could work.
They sponsored the Monsignor Nash Council and the Monsignor Baker Knights of Columbus, who donated $ 2,000 to keep the league alive. Zajac, Jerge, Paul Quagliana and Fran Cleary were appointed Chief Officers.
“If it were not for Jack, the league would have died,” said Zajac.
However, the league found that he was struggling to survive again five years later when the Knights of Columbus decided to stop sponsoring. AMVETS Post No. 45 came to help the league, including paying a bill the league owed K of C. After 35 years as a sponsor, donations from friends of the late birth of Orchard Park coach Ed McGrath have since helped cover the cost of running the league. .