Nowakowski began his high school pitching career at Pittston High School in 1952 and finished with a record of 25-2. He pitched seven no-hitters and ten one-hitters while averaging 18 strikeouts per game. In his senior year his one no-hitter was a ten inning game which he struck out 22 batters. As a hitter, he never batted below .350 and hit about 20 home runs in high school. He was All-Scholastic fullback and was the only athlete in Pittston High School history to letter in both football and baseball his freshman year. “Nippy” was voted the MVP of the Mountain League in ’54 and ’55. His three-year record in the league was 30-2. Nowakowski joined the U.S. Marine Corps and upon his discharge in 1958 he signed with the New York Yankees. He played in their minor league until 1960 when an injury ended his pitching career. He managed and played for Pittston Junction, leading them to two championships. From ’61 to ’64 he led the West Side Club of Nanticoke to 3 titles. He played for the Ashley All-Star team and came in third at national championships in Witchita, Kan.