There’s little doubt that longtime scorekeeper John “J.J.” Guinozzo has seen more American Legion World Series games than anyone.
Guinozzo first began keeping score of Legion games in 1964, and since the World Series came to his hometown of Memphis, Tenn., in 1972, he has scored every game since then.
In 1982, at the request of American Legion Baseball director George Rulon, Guinozzo began researching files at the national headquarters and has produced a record book on the event ever since.
Including the 15 games played in 2019 that were his 48th ALWS, Guinozzo has now scored 712 of the 1,057 ALWS games ever played — or 67.3 percent of all ALWS games.
Starting in 2007, Guinozzo was asked to pick his all-time ALWS teams and all-time ALWS moments.
Here are Guinozzo’s top teams and notes about what became of the greatest ALWS players in history:
Pre-Guinozzo era team (1926-71)
P – Scott Seger, Cincinnati OH – 1957-58
The 1958 Sportsmanship Award winner who helped Cincinnati to back-to-back national titles in 1957 and 1958, Seger signed a free agent contract with the Chicago White Sox in 1959. Later playing for the Cincinnati Reds and Milwaukee Braves, he had a 10-year minor league career with a 59-65 pitching record in 262 appearances (142 starts).
P – Ray Bessom, East Lynn MA — 1937
The 1937 Louisville Slugger Award winner as a hitting and pitching star for the national champions, Bessom signed a free agent contract with the Cleveland Indians in 1938 and spent six year in the minor leagues with a 48-46 pitching record in 135 appearances (31 starts).
P – Phil Cavaretta, Chicago IL — 1933
The winning pitcher of both games of a 2-0 World Series sweep in addition to starring at the plate, Cavaretta signed a free agent contract with the Chicago Cubs. The 1945 National League MVP, 1945 National League batting champion and a four-time National League All-Star, Cavaretta hit .293 with 95 home runs and 920 RBIs in 2,030 career major league games over a 22-year career. He was player-manager of the Cubs from 1951 to 1953 and later managed 11 years in the minor leagues.
P – Tom Gibson, Yakima WA — 1953
The winning pitcher in two of Yakima’s three victories on its way to the 1953 ALWS title while also collecting two hits and three RBIs in the championship game, Gibson signed a free agent contract with the Cincinnati Reds in 1957. Later playing for the Minnesota Twins and Milwaukee Braves organizations, he had a six-year minor league career with a 31-10 pitching record in 123 appearances (76 starts).
P – Joaquin “Butch” Vargas, Oakland CA — 1966
The winning pitcher of the ALWS title game, Vargas took six pitching victories in regional and ALWS play, including three in the 1966 ALWS title run that gave Oakland its first championship since 1950. A Cal State Hayward graduate, Vargas became a physical therapist for 45 years.
C – J.W. “Jay” Porter, Oakland CA — 1949-50
The 1949 and 1950 Louisville Slugger Award winner and 1950 player of the year winner for back-to-back ALWS champions, Porter signed a free agent contract with the Chicago White Sox in 1950 for a then-record $67,900 signing bonus. He spent six seasons in the major leagues for the St. Louis Browns, Detroit Tigers, Cleveland Indians, Washington Senators and St. Louis Cardinals and hit .228 with eight home runs and 62 RBI in 22 games. He also played in 1,102 games in 10 years in the minor leagues.
1B – Donnie Castle, Memphis TN — 1968
The 1968 player of the year for the ALWS champion, Castle was a 1968 first-round draft of the Washington Senators and played four games in the majors for the Texas Rangers (after the Senators moved there in 1972). Later signed by the New York Yankees organization, he hit .268 with 115 home runs and 612 RBI in 1,103 games in 10 years in the minor leagues.
2B – Richard Dash, Long Beach CA — 1963
The 1963 player of the year, Dash hit .343 and played error-free baseball in leading his team to the ALWS title.
SS – Jimmy Fraiche, New Orleans LA — 1932
The 1932 Louisville Slugger Award winner hit .450 in national competition for the ALWS champions. The captain of the New Orleans teams, Fraiche had a two-out single to drive in the winning run in the title game.
3B – Billy Capps, San Diego CA — 1954
The 1954 player of the year for the ALWS champions, Capps signed a free agent contract with the Kansas City Athletics in 1954. Also playing for the Milwaukee Braves organization, he spent two years in the minor leagues and hit .266 with one home run and 18 RBI in 174 games.
U - Clyde Dick, Albemarle NC — 1940
The 1940 Louisville Slugger Award winner for the ALWS champions, Dick hit .452 in national competition and helped Albemarle win three straight games to win a best-of-five series after losing the first two contests.
U – Ray Herrera, Oakland CA — 1949
The 1949 player of the year was captain and shortstop for the ALWS champions. Herrera signed a free agent contract with the St. Louis Cardinals in 1951. Later signed to play for the Milwaukee Braves organization, Herrera spent five years in the minor leagues while hitting .240 in 533 games.
OF – Jack McCormick, Yonkers NY — 1926
The hitting star of the first ALWS champion and the first Louisville Slugger Award winner, McCormick hit .583 in three games as Yonkers beat Springfield, Ohio; El Dorado, Kansas; and Pocatello, Idaho, in the inaugural ALWS.
OF – Bob Usher, San Diego CA — 1940-41
A hitting, pitching and fielding star for the 1940 ALWS runner-up and 1941 ALWS champion, Usher signed a free agent contract with the Cincinnati Reds in 1943. Usher played six years in the major leagues and 10 years in the minors and also played for the St. Louis Cardinals, Chicago Cubs, Cleveland Indians, Washington Senators and Philadelphia Phillies organizations. He hit .235 with 18 home runs and 102 RBI in six major league seasons during a career interrupted in 1944 and 1945 by military service.
OF – Rollie Fingers, Upland CA — 1964
The 1964 player of the year and 1964 Louisville Slugger Award winner was a pitching and hitting standout for the ALWS champions, Fingers signed a free agent contract with the Kansas City Athletics in 1964. He began his 17-year major league career in 1968 when the franchise moved to Oakland and also was a relief pitcher for the San Diego Padres and Milwaukee Brewers. The first and only person to win MVP honors at both the ALWS and major league World Series, Fingers was a seven-time All-Star, three time World Champion, 1981 American League MVP, 1981 American League Cy Young Award winner and a 1992 inductee into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y.
Manager – Joe Hawk, Cincinnati OH
A five-time ALWS champion in a 21-year coaching career, Hawk coached 14 future major leaguers including Don Zimmer and Pete Rose.
Guinozzo era team (1972-2018)
P — Shane Spencer, Henderson NV — 2017
The 2017 player of the year for the ALWS champion, Spencer played collegiately at Central Arizona College. He won two games in the ALWS, including a three-hitter in the championship game.
P – Chris Mason, Cherryville NC — 2003
The 2003 Bob Feller Award winner on the ALWS runner-up with 69 strikeouts in regional and ALWS play, Mason played at UNC-Greensboro for three years before being chosen in the second round of the 2005 draft by the Tampa Bay Devil Rays. He went 15-1 with six saves and 233 strikeouts in 131 1-3 innings in 27 appearances (14 starts) in the 2003 Legion season.
P – Joe Grahe, Jensen Beach FL — 1986
The 1986 player of the year and Bob Feller Award winner for the ALWS champions, Grahe pitched at Palm Beach Community College and the University of Miami before being chosen in the second round of the 1989 draft by the California Angels. Also playing for the Colorado Rockies and Philadelphia Phillies organizations, Grahe had a 22-30 record with 45 saves in 187 appearances (39 starts) in seven major league seasons.
P – Jason Adaro, Aiea HI — 1995
The 1995 player of the year, Louisville Slugger Award winner and Rawlings Big Stick Award winner for the ALWS champions, Adaro was a hitting and pitching standout. He had a 4-0 record and .488 batting average in regional and ALWS competition, highlighted by a four-hit shutout in the championship game.
P – Matt Brown, Danville CA — 2000
A 2000 ALWS champion who threw three complete games and didn’t allow an earned run in regional and ALWS competition, including the championship game, Brown was a 2003 draft pick of the Chicago Cubs and 2004 draft pick of the Houston Astros who never signed. Also a 1997 Pony League World Series champion, Brown spent four seasons at the University of California and was the 2002 starting pitcher in the prestigious Cape Cod League All-Star game.
P – Ben Sheets, Gonzales LA — 1996
The 1996 Bob Feller Award winner for the ALWS runner-up, Sheets played three seasons at Northeast Louisiana (now Louisiana-Monroe) before being chosen in the first round of the 1999 draft by the Milwaukee Brewers. A four-time All-Star, he was also the winning pitcher for Team USA in the 2000 Sydney Olympics and had a 94-96 record in 250 starts during a 10-year career in which he also pitched for the Oakland Athletics and Atlanta Braves.
P – Emerson Gibbs, New Orleans LA — 2012
The 2012 player of the year and Bob Feller Award winner for the ALWS champions, Gibbs played four seasons at Tulane University before being chosen in the 33rd round of the 2016 draft by the Milwaukee Brewers. He spent two years in the minor leagues with a 2-3 record in 15 appearances (six starts).
C – Mike Holloran, Edina MN — 1983
The 1983 player of the year for the ALWS champions, Halloran played four seasons at the University of Minnesota before signing a free agent contract with the Minnesota Twins. He spent one year in the minor leagues, hitting .255 with 15 RBI in 40 games.
1B – Anthony Harrold, Brooklawn NJ — 2013-15
The 2013 player of the year and 2013 Louisville Slugger Award winner for 2013 and 2014 ALWS champions, Harrold played one season at Wagner University. Harrold hit .529 in 2013 and also made the all-tournament team in 2014 and 2015.
2B – Tony Skjefte, Eden Prairie MN — 2010-11
The 2011 Rawlings Big Stick Award winner for the ALWS champions, Skjefte also was a member of the 2010 ALWS runner-up. He played three seasons at the University of Minnesota from 2012 to 2014.
SS — Blake Schmidt, Eden Prairie MN — 2010-11
The 2011 player of the year and 2011 Cowger RBI Award winner for the 2011 ALWS champion and 2010 Sportsmanship Award winner for the 2010 ALWS runner-up, Schmidt played two seasons at Des Moines Area Community College and two seasons at the University of Maryland. He also was chosen in the 26th round of the 2014 draft by the Minnesota Twins and played two seasons in the minor leagues.
3B – David Magadan, West Tampa FL — 1981
The 1981 player of the year for the ALWS champion, Magadan played three seasons at the University of Alabama and helped the Crimson Tide to a 1983 College World Series runner-up finish before being chosen in the second round of the 1983 draft by the New York Mets. He spent 16 years in the major leagues as a third baseman and first baseman, also playing for the Seattle Mariners, Florida Marlins, Houston Astros, Chicago Cubs, Oakland Athletics and San Diego Padres while hitting .288 with 42 home runs and 495 RBI.
U – Mike Rucci, Brooklawn NJ — 1998-2001
The first player to participate in four ALWS, he was a member of the 2001 ALWS champions. Rucci was a three-time All-American at NCAA Division III Rowan University. He was team captain and catcher for Brooklawn and made the 2001 ALWS all-tournament and set records for RBI, hits, doubles, home runs and total bases at Rowan before playing one year in the Canadian-American Association independent baseball league.
U – Mike Boddicker, Cedar Rapids IA — 1974-76
The 1976 Sportsmanship Award winner and 1975 ALWS runner-up, Boddicker pitched three seasons at the University of Iowa before being chosen in the sixth round of the 1978 draft by the Baltimore Orioles. Also playing for the Boston Red Sox, Kansas City Royals and Milwaukee Brewers organizations, he had a 134-116 record with three saves in 342 appearances (309 starts) in 14 major league seasons.
U – Tim Raines Jr., Sanford FL — 1997
A 1997 ALWS champion who hit two home runs in a comeback from a six-run deficit in the championship game, Raines was chosen in the sixth round of the 1998 draft by the Baltimore Orioles. The son of Baseball Hall of Famer Tim Raines Sr., Tim Raines Jr., hit .213 with seven RBI in 75 major league games in three seasons. He also played in 1,284 minor league games during 12 years.
OF – Jeff Malm, Las Vegas NV — 2008
The 2008 player of the year for the ALWS champion, Malm was chosen in the fifth round of the 2009 draft by the Tampa Bay Rays. He spent eight seasons in the minor leagues and two more years in independent league baseball while also converting from a first baseman/outfielder into a pitcher. Malm hit .248 with 51 home runs and 247 RBI in 590 games and he had a 9-8 record with five saves in 78 appearances (13 starts).
OF — Rob Wassenaar, Edina MN — 1982-83
The 1982 Bob Feller Award winner and two-way performer for the 1983 ALWS champion and 1982 fifth-place finisher, Wassenaar played four seasons at Stanford (winning the 1987 College World Series) before being chosen in the 21st round of the 1987 draft by the California Angels. He had a 38-44 record in 321 appearances (23 starts) in seven minor league seasons.
OF – Ivan Snyder, Boyertown PA — 1982
The 1982 player of the year and 1982 Louisville Slugger Award winner for the ALWS champions, Snyder became the second player to hit .600 in the regional and ALWS competition — he hit .600 exactly — and also threw a complete game shutout as a pitcher.
OF – Dave Edler, Yakima WA — 1975
The 1975 player of the year and 1975 Cowger RBI Award winner for the ALWS champions, Edler played four seasons at Washington State (helping the Cougars to the 1976 College World Series) before being chosen in the 21st round of the 1978 draft by the Seattle Mariners. He hit .216 with six home runs and 36 RBI in four years in the major leagues.
OF – Tomas Gil, Hialean FL — 1978-80
The 1980 player of the year, 1980 Rawlings Big Stick Award winner and 1978 ALWS champion, Gil played at Miami-Dade College and Miami, Fla., before being chosen in the 13th round of the 1981 draft by the Pittsburgh Pirates. He spent one season in the minors, hitting .261 with 11 RBI in 40 games.
Manager – Joe Barth Sr. – Brooklawn, NJ
The 1991, 2001, 2013 and 2014 Leadership Award winner, Barth started the Brooklawn program and managed the team for its first 61 years with 26 state titles and two ALWS championships.