If you listen to longtime Nyackers, when they get to reminiscing about their athletic stars of yesteryear, you’ll hear the name D’Auria bandied about quite frequently. Who was the best athlete? Pete D’Auria? Pat D’Auria? Jerry D’Auria? Each of the brothers (there were six of them) has his supporters. In the 1930s, it seemed like a D’Auria was always making headlines, driving in the winning run, making the gameÂ-saving play, sinking the clinching shot.
The argument will go on as long as Nyackers’ institutional memories freeze those athletic moments in their mind’s eye for posterity, and probably longer. There’s no arguing one fact, however: now there are three D’Aurias who will have the title “Rockland Hall of Farner” affixed to their names.
Jerry D’Auria, this year’s recipient in the Old-Timers category, joins Pete (inducted 1976) . and Pat (1988) in the Hall of Fame pantheon. A 1939 Nyack High School graduate, Jerry excelled in baseball and basketball. In basketball, he was a four-year starter for the Indians and made the All-County team twice, in the 1937-38 and 1938-39 seasons.
Baseball, though, was the sport in which he attained his greatest measure of fame. At Nyack, he played varsity ball for five seasons – from eighth through 12th grades. D’Auria was an All-County shortstop four consecutive years – 1936, 1937, 1938 and 1939 – and led the Rockland County Public School Athletic League in home runs in the 1938 and 1939 seasons.
After graduating from Nyack, he attended Southwestern University in Lafayette, La., for one year, 1939-40. At Southwestern, he batted a robust .421 for the baseball team, and also played point guard for the basketball team.
In 1940, D’Auria was drafted by the Lafayette (La.) White Sox, a Class D farm team of the Chicago White Sox. Just three weeks into his tenure with the team, in April 1941, he was drafted into the United States Army. In his 34-month military stint, during which he earned five Battle Stars, D’Auria played on the All-Service baseball team, competing with and against major league players and touring all over European war zones.
After obtaining his honorable discharge from military duty in 1946, D’Auria played one year of professional baseball, batting .287 for the Nyack Rockies of the Class D North American League. He set a league record with 11 RBI in a doubleheader (two grand slams and a bases-clearing triple). He then retired from baseball to run Jerry’s, a candy store and soda fountain on Main Street in Nyack, until 1995. He also coached CYO basketball at St. AnnÕs in Nyack for 20 years, and was elected a Nyack village trustee for two terms.
A longtime Nyack resident, D’Auria, who is 82, now lives in Stony Point. His wife, Alice Welsh D’Auria, died in 1994. Jerry and Alice D’Auria had 10 children, three of whom are deceased.