First Posted: 3/7/2013
Greater Pittston Friendly Sons of St. Patrick President Jimmy Clancy announced that Mark Casper will receive the Man of the Year Award at the 99th Annual St. Patrick’s Day Banquet on Sunday, March 17 at the Woodlands Inn and Resort.
The W. Francis Swingle Award will be presented to Andy Ashby.
The banquet will feature Colonel Frank Noonan, Pennsylvania State Police Commissioner, as the principal speaker. William “Billy” Anzalone is general chairman.
Jay Duffy is serving as grand marshal.
Tickets $65 for adults and $50 for guests under 21 years of age and can be purchased from any active member of the Friendly Sons of Saint Patrick or at he Knights of Columbus in Pittston from 7 to 9 p.m. on thursdays.
Casper was born in Pittston, son of Eileen Brogan Casper and the late Robert Casper.
A graduate of St. Mary’s Assumption grade school and Seton Catholic High School, he attended Luzerne County Community College. He has been employed at Medico Industries for 27 years, serving as rental manager at the Wilkes-Barre location for two years, Pocono branch manager for 10 years and service manager at the Wilkes-Barre location for the last 15 years.
He is a member of Our Lady of the Eucharist parish in Pittston (the former St. Mary’s Help of Christians/St. Mary’s Assumption) and serves as chairman of the parish finance council and member of the parish pastoral council. He is a member of the Exeter Borough Zoning Board and is varsity assistant coach for Pittston Area Lady Patriots basketball team. He runs Mark Casper’s HOOPS4ME summer basketball clinic.
Casper was a member of the Holy Redeemer School Board and Region 7 School Advisory Board. He was Wyoming Valley Boys Catholic 8th Grade Basketball League president for six years. He served as a coach for Exeter Lions Little League for seven years, as a board member and also was a coach for the Greater Pittston Stoner soccer program. Prior to the closing of St. Mary’s Assumption Church, he served on the parish finance council, parish pastoral council and in many other capacities.
Also, to the closing of St. Mary’s Assumption school, he was an active member of the school advisory board, on numerous school committees and served as head basketball coach for 27 years. He coached over 400 young men in 750 games and his St. Mary’s teams won 10 league championships, numerous tournament championships and were diocesan runner-ups twice. He finished his elementary school coaching career in 2012 as the boy’s varsity head coach at Wyoming Area Catholic School where he reached the 500-win plateau.
Casper resides in Exeter and is married to the former Audra Lafratte . They are the parents of two sons, Adam, a senior at Scranton Preparator; and Andrew, a freshman at Holy Redeemer High School.
Ashby was born on July 11, 1967, in Kansas City, Missouri. A former Major League baseball starting pitcher, he played for five teams during his 14-season career. He now enjoys retirement which he shares with his wife, Tracy, and their four daughters.
As a youth, Ashby attended Park Hill High School in Kansas City and played baseball for Crowder College. In 1986, he was signed as an undrafted free agent by the Philadelphia Phillies. Standing at 6’1 and 180 lbs., he entered the big leagues with a boom. In only his second start in the majors, he became part of an elite category of pitchers when he threw what is known as an “immaculate inning” when he struck out three members of the Cincinnati Reds in exactly nine pitches.
In 1993, the MLB allowed for the expansion of the National League by two teams. This new expansion included a 3-round draft for the two new teams in which Ashby was acquired by the Colorado Rockies and played the entire season. In July 1993, he became a member of the San Diego Padres where he enjoyed the heights of his career. In 1998, Ashby helped the Padres reach the World Series by compiling an impressive 17-9 record and a 3.34 ERA. He also represented the Padres and the National League in the 1998 and 1999 All-Star games.
Before the start of the 2000 season, Ashby was acquired by the Phillies, placing him back where he began his Major League career for a short time before he was sent to the Atlanta Braves mid-season. He aided Atlanta in reaching the playoffs by recording an 8-6 record that season and was then granted free agency. The Los Angeles Dodgers picked up Ashby and he spent the next three years in LA. In October 2003, he had “Tommy John” surgery on his right elbow.
Since retiring, Ashby has been recognized for time he spent with United States military troops. In 2008, he became a part of the Heroes of the Diamond Tour and traveled overseas to Iraq. He made several appearances across Iraq, including Forward Operating Base Warhose in the Diyala Province where soldiers lined up to meet and share their daily lives with the MLB great. In September 2011, Ashby made a third trip to visit soldiers, this time off the coast of California to meet the sailors aboard the USS Carl Vinson.
Being retired has also allowed for Ashby to pursue some of his other passions in life, including golfing, hunting, swimming and fishing.
During his 14-season MLB career, he posted 98 wins, pitched 1,810 innings and struck out over 1,173 batters.
William F. Anzalone, Jr., Psy.D. is a grandson of Rosarii Gaughan Anzalone and a son of Attorney William F. Anzalone, Sr., the recipient of the 2006 W. Francis Swingle Award . Dr. Anzalone is licensed psychologist with a specialty in Clinical Forensic Psychology. His private practice is located on Main Street in Pittston. He is a graduate of Wyoming Seminary and was awarded a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology from Lafayette College in 1998. He earned his doctorate in Clinical Psychology with specialty in Forensics from Nova Southeastern University in 2005.
He is married to the former Jennifer Healey.