Tonawanda News — Tonawanda's Joseph Michalics Jr. will be inducted as a member of the University at Buffalo's 40th Hall of Fame class on April 19.
Michalics — a two-time baseball captain and team MVP — led the Bulls to 66 victories over four seasons, just a few years after Buffalo reinstated its baseball program. He was the first player in the history of the program to record 200 hits, finishing with 234 and a .322 career batting average.
He was drafted in the 34th round of the 2005 MLB Draft by the New York Mets.
"When I first heard about (being inducted), I was surprised." Michalics said. I got goosebumps."
Michalics was not highly recruited out of high school. To be looked at for baseball in Western New York, he said a player must network.
While playing at Bishop Timon-St. Jude High School, the team had many older players who were recruited by UB — such as John Sullivan, Mark McMahon and Brendan Dunford. Michalics' relationship with those players sparked his interest in t Buffalo, along with the coaching staff.
"Coach (Bill) Breene and coach (Ron) Torgalski — they showed interest in me," Michalics said. "It felt good to know someone wanted you."
Michalics called Breene his biggest supporter. He was the man who brought Michalics to UB and the two shared one of his fondest memories on the diamond.
"First weekend of freshman year, we played Southern Penn," Michalics said. "Breene was an alumni (of Southern Penn) and recently inducted into their hall of fame. I think they were ranked in the top 25 and we picked up a win against them; I knew how much that meant to him."
Following his senior season, Baseball America ranked him as the 16th best prospect in New York state. Michalics was drafted by the New York Mets in the 34th round — making him the first Bulls' baseball player since 1986 to sign a Major League contract.