Stickball season opens in Warwick

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Photos



  • Photo by Roger Gavan Twenty-three members signed up for the 2012 season and all wore brand new baseball caps donated by Dr. Barry Sussner in memory of his father, who loved playing stickball in the streets of Brooklyn. Front from left are: Jack Hickman, Ron Genovese, John Mangano, Activities Director Patricia Starick, Gene Maloney, Ted Kastanis and Dave Eaton; center from left are: Bill Sussman, John Hainzl, Jeff Speiser, Lou Marino, Don Rochford, John Santangelo and Ira Margolis. Rear from left are: Andy Capul, Tom Pepe, Dave Halper, Ed Winstanley, Al Ridella, Roy Casse and Pat McGinley. Not present for the photograph: Larry Berman, Frank Atkins and Barry Sussner.



WARWICK — On Sunday, June 24, team members and fans assembled outside the Warwick Grove clubhouse to celebrate the fifth annual “Opening Day” of the stickball season.

The celebration included hot dogs, soda and beer, a la Yankee or Shea Stadium, but without the steep price.

Warwick Grove Activities Director Patricia Starick and “Stickball Commissioner” Ron Genovese coordinated the celebration.

Twenty-three members signed up for the 2012 season and all wore brand new baseball caps donated by Dr. Barry Sussner in memory of his father, who loved playing stickball in the streets of Brooklyn.

The Warwick Grove Stickball League plays every Saturday at 9 a.m. at the Park Avenue School parking lot. And unlike the days when some of the team members played in the streets of the five boroughs of New York City, local police are unlikely to chase the players or confiscate the broom handle bats and Spaldeens. Nor will anyone have to dodge traffic while fielding a solid hit.

The stickball league was the brainchild of Ron Genovese, a Warwick Grove resident who was raised in Manhattan, and his friend Ted Kastanis, a native of Brooklyn.

Just like the old days they still select teams and players by placing hand over hand on the bat to decide which team captain gets first pick. And, reviving practices that, as teenagers were an economic necessity, they still use chalk or old car mats for bases and broomsticks or even broken shovels for bats.

“When you’re 60 years old and you play golf you feel like 60,” said Genovese. “But when you’re 60 years old or more and you play stickball, you feel like 16.”

To prove that point one of the league’s best pitchers, Gene Maloney, is 86 years young.

“Everybody is so excited about this,” said Starick. “It’s just as popular with them as golf.”

At the close of the season the league will also name its most valuable player and home run king.

Warwick Grove is a traditional neighborhood home development just off McFarland Drive.

- Roger Gavan

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