A look back: Major League ties to Milford schools

The Milford education system and Major League Baseball cross paths in at least two places.

The late Arthur Ceccarelli (1930-2012), remembered recently as a popular high school teacher who had been a major league pitcher, was not the only big-time ball player to teach here.

 

The late Ray Stoviak, who taught in Milford in the 1950s, also played Major League ball before taking his place in front of a classroom, and making his mark on Milford sports.

Stoviak was born June 6, 1915 in Scottdale, Pa. He attended high school at Georges Township in Uniontown, Pa., where he excelled in football, basketball and baseball. Stoviak was offered an athletic scholarship at Villanova University, where he played varsity football and baseball.

Upon his graduation from Villanova in 1938, he joined the Philadelphia Phillies, playing left field during the 1938 season. He made his debut with the Phillies on June 5, 1938, according to Baseballreference.com. He appeared in 10 games as an outfielder and pinch-hitter, and then spent the rest of his season with the Centreville Colts of the class D Eastern Shore League. He spent the last five games of his baseball career with the Baltimore franchise of the International League.

During World War II, he was a first lieutenant in the Navy stationed at Chapel Hill, N.C., and Pensacola, Fla., where he coached baseball with men like Bob Kennedy and Ted Williams. At the end of the war, he worked in rehabilitation at the Brooklyn Naval Hospital.

He coached football and baseball at the New York Military Academy and Fordham Prep School.

Stoviak lived in Milford from 1948 to 1962, and coached football and baseball at the former Arnold College. He later coached football and baseball, and taught social studies at Milford High School during the 1950s.

He was assistant football coach at Yale University under Jordan Olivar, his classmate and good friend at Villanova.

After a severe stroke in February 1994, he lived in Nicoya, Costa Rica, with his daughter Joy Stoviak Flores until his death Feb. 23, 1998. He was 83.

“His greatest loves after his family were football, baseball and golf,” said his granddaughter Lisa Riley, who still lives in Milford.

Like Stoviak, the late Arthur Ceccarelli (1930-2012) taught history after leaving the big leagues. He taught history for many years at Milford High School and Foran High School before retiring.

A left-handed pitcher, Ceccarelli was originally signed by the Brooklyn Dodgers as an amateur free agent in 1948. Though he compiled a record of 9-18 for his career, Ceccarelli never played a game for the famed franchise in Brooklyn.

According to Baseballreference.com, Ceccarelli missed two seasons in 1951-52 serving in the United States military. He eventually made his major league debut on May 3, 1955 pitching for the Kansas City Athletics.

Over the next five years, Ceccarelli pitched for the Kansas City Athletics, Baltimore Orioles and the Chicago Cubs. His final appearance in the majors came on May 17, 1960 with the Chicago Cubs.

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