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Blair County Sports Hall of Fame reveals 2004 inductees

The Blair County Sports Hall of Fame announced the Class of 2004 at a press conference/luncheon on Thursday. Five new members will be enshrined at the Hall of Fame’s next dinner, Saturday, April 17, 2004. The event will be held at the Blair County Convention Center.
The Class of 2004 includes Doug West, Bill Saller, Jim Merritts, Martin Goldberg and Pat Fellinger. West is a graduate of Altoona High School, Saller and Fellinger from Bishop Guilfoyle, Merritts from Hollidaysburg and Goldberg, after attending Altoona for his freshman and sophomore years, graduated from Lawrenceville (N.J.) Prep School.
Hall of Fame Executive Committee president David Andrews announced the inductees for 2004, along with the Hall of Fame scholarship award winners. Although the Hall of Fame Dinner is held every two years, the Hall continues to award scholarships to its top scholar-athletes annually.
Pat Fellinger will be awarded posthumously having passed away in 1987 at the age of 52.
He played four years as an end at Indiana University at Bloomington, Indiana from 1952-56, including three as a starter. Fellinger was one of three IU seniors selected to play in the North-South All-Star game. After graduation, he was signed by the Philadelphia Eagles and played in several exhibition games, but an ROTC commitment precluded getting an extension in order to play football. Later, he tried out for the Dallas Texans (now the Kansas City Chiefs) of the old AFL and again played a few exhibition games before a knee injury ended his career. At Altoona Catholic (now Bishop Guilfoyle), Fellinger was a football and basketball standout and had offers for basketball scholarships, but preferred football. After getting out of the service, he relocated to Fort Wayne, Indiana and was a salesman. His wife and five daughters reside in the Fort Wayne area.
Martin Goldberg is the most accomplished tennis player in Blair County history, having spent three years on the New Zealand pro circuit, during which time he accumulated points on the ATP Tour and ranked among the top 600 players in the world. His best victories were over Ken Flach, who at one time was part of the world’s top doubles team and Peter Rennert, who played doubles with John McEnroe. Goldberg won the South China Open in 1979 and Hong Kong singles, doubles and mixed doubles tittles in 1980. He also won the 35-and over title at the Maccabiah Games, Olympics for Jewish athletes. Martin wads a standout at Division III Williams College, where he was an All-American in tennis and squash and won the New York squash championship in 1986. He is employed as an attorney in New York City, where he lives with his wife and one child.
Jim Merritts was a two-year starter as a defensive end/nose guard at West Virginia, and contributed to a Top 10 ranking and the Mountaineers’ appearance in the 1983 Hall of Fame Bowl. Merritts would up seventh in tackles his senior year with 63 stops, including four quarterback sacks, when West Virginia was ranked as high as fourth in the nation. Signed as a free agent but released by the Cleveland Browns, Jim spent one year in the USFL before being signed and released by the Indianapolis Colts. He spent two years playing in the Canadian Football league and then played four NFL games for Indianapolis during the 1987 strike season. A 1979 graduate of Hollidaysburg High School, Merritts spent two years at Connecticut before transferring to West Virginia. He is employed by the New York City Transit Authority and along wife his wife and one child, resides in New Jersey.
Bill Saller was a starter and key player in Saint Francis’ best era-1953-56. The Frankies as they were called during that period of time posted a 53-16 record during Saller’s sophomore and junior years, when he helped Maurice Stokes get SFC to the NIT twice, including a trip to the quarterfinals in 1954 and semifinals in 1955. Saller averaged 12.2 points per game as a junior and 8.0 points and 7.3 rebounds in 90 career games. In those days, the NIT was more prestigious than the NCAA and the 12-team field played all games at Madison Square Garden. Most of the Frankies home games were played at the Jaffa Mosque. Saller was also known as a humanitarian who helped Stokes adjust to rural Loretto, often bringing him to Altoona to stay with the Saller family. A 1952 grad of Bishop Guilfoyle High School, where he was a multi-sport athlete, Saller is employed as recycling superintendent by Somerset County in New Jersey, where he has lived for the past 35 years. Saller is married and has three children.
Doug West spent a dozen seasons in the NBA, from 1989 through 2001, nine with Minnesota and three with Vancouver and scored a total of 6,477 points. Doug averaged 9.6 points in 676 career games, including a 19.3 average during the 1992-93 season and averaged in double figures with the Timberwolves four times. His 12 seasons match former Altoona, Purdue and Detroit Lions center Ed Flanagan for the longest pro tenure by any Blair County athlete. West was selected in the second round of the 1989 draft with the 38th pick after an outstanding career at Villanova, where he scored 2,037 points, which ranks fourth among the Wildcats’ scoring leaders. He left Altoona High School with a school record 1,607 points in 1985, a mark later broken by Steve Tanneyhill. Doug resides in Wheeling, W. Va., with his wife and two children.
Stan Savran of Fox Sports Pittsburgh will once again be the Master of ceremonies. A guest speaker and presenters are still being finalized.
This years scholarship award recipients are Amber DelBaggio of Tyrone Area High School and Tom Forr of Bishop Guilfoyle and Matt Stopp of Altoona High School.
Amber DelBaggio ranks Number One in her class of 158 at Tyrone and scored 1220 on her SAT. She earned three letters in both basketball and volleyball, serving as captain in both sports. Amber was a Gatorade Player of the Year in volleyball and set the Tyrone record for most career assists. She is a member of the Student Council and National Honor Society and is planning to attend Penn State Altoona.
Tom Forr and Matt Stopp share the award for the first time the award has been split between two athletes.
Forr ranked second in a class of 109 at BG and scored 1440 on his SAT. He won a total of nine letters in football, baseball, basketball and tennis, was president of the sophomore class, belongs to the National Honor Society and has served as batboy for the Altoona Curve. Tom plans to go to Notre Dame, where he plans to walk on to the football team as a placekicker.
Stopp ranked fourth in a class of 585 at Altoona and scored 1370 on his SAT. He lettered in tennis and baseball and was a three-time District VI tennis champ, winning the singles title as a junior and senior and winning the doubles title as a freshman. He has been ranked as high as seventh in the Middle States tennis region’s 18-and-under category and is headed to Assumption College to play tennis. Stopp was a member of the National Honor Society and the school newspaper.
DelBaggio joins Melissa Morrow (1993) and Christina Burnett (2002) as the only recipients from Tyrone Area High School, since the initiation of the scholarship awards in 1988.