Boston Park League Officers
Walt Bentson - C-617-974-0704
Eddie Miller - 617-696-6111
Jim Cody - C-617-922-8812
Walt Mortimer - 781-843-9134
Skip Landry - firstname.lastname@example.org
Tony Langone -
Joe Peters - C-781-354-3958 - email@example.com
Jeff Toussaint - C-617-529-0331 firstname.lastname@example.org
Dr. Robert G. Wilkinson
Board of Directors
Mike Aiena - C-781-864-9502 email@example.com
Grady Campion - 617-240-7938 firstname.lastname@example.org
Danny Montero - C - 857-919-2136
Owen Carlson - C-617-438-2791 email@example.com
GROSSMAN MARKETING GROUP (MASS. ENVELOPE)
Franz Strassmann 617-438-1131 firstname.lastname@example.org
Sean Fay - C-617-359-0051 B-617-338-0909 email@example.com
Mike Nyhan - B-978-762-0448 X-105 firstname.lastname@example.org
Chris Piela - email@example.com
Mary Ellen Grossman - firstname.lastname@example.org
Jim Cody - C-617-922-8812 email@example.com
Jared Blandino B-617-287-1601 firstname.lastname@example.org
Harvey Soolman - C 617-967-7529 email@example.com
Ed Neal - C-617-842-0548 PGR-781-458-0346 firstname.lastname@example.org
Phil Levy - email@example.com
Gerry Ferria - C-617-602-7248
J.P. Songin - C-508-942-1558 firstname.lastname@example.org
Derek Grudinskas - C-617-372-5598 DerekGrudinskas@yahoo.com
Brian Reilly - 781-831-3257 email@example.com
Greg Digirolamo - C-617-620-3977
Bob Johnson - C-617-828-7090 firstname.lastname@example.org
Mike Connelly - C-617-435-1188 email@example.com
John Perillo - C - 774-266-0953 firstname.lastname@example.org
Park League History
The Boston Park League was founded in 1929 by Bob Cusick, program director for the Boston Parks and Recreation Department. It was his vision for the City of Boston to support and manage a quality amateur baseball league, and have most of the areas of the City represented. Charlestown, East Boston, South Boston, Hyde Park, Brighton, West Roxbury, Roslindale, Jamaica Plain, Roxbury, Mattapan, South End, and Dorchester all had teams at some period of time. Teams were sponsored by many different individuals, businesses, and churches. The popular after dinner league was highly publicized, and games were well attended. In the 1930's and 40's, it was not unusual to see 3,000 ' 5,000 fans show up for a regular season game. Come play-off time, the attendance would increase from 8,000 to 12,000 a game.
In the 50's and 60's, the league continued to draw 6,000 or more to post season playoff games. These were the most productive years. As attendance began to level off, the league continued to prosper, as a steady stream of skilled players were coming and going. The players came from High Schools, Colleges, and many were ex pro's, who's experience and desire influenced many a ballplayer to play in the best league around. The Boston Park League.
In 1982, the City of Boston decided to pass on the administrative duties to a small group of former players and coaches. The league named Bill Mahoney it's first President, Harvey Soolman Secretary Treasurer, and Walt Mortimer Umpire in Chief. With the need for more funding, the Budweiser Brewing Co. of Medford, Ma., distributors of Bud Light, sponsored the league for 4 years. The Yawkey Foundation came on board in 1986, and has continuously sponsored the Boston Park League right up to the present time.
A steady stream of Presidents have served the league with dignity and dedication. They include Leo Casey (83 & 84), Bill Stewart Jr. (85), Walt Mortimer (86), Skip Landry (87 & 88), Josh Powell(89), Bob Powers (90-92), Eddie Miller (93-95), Dr. Bob Wilkinson(96-01), and Walt Bentson (02-Present).
The City of Boston have made 4 fields available to the Boston Park League, and have done extensive maintenance and upgrading by adding new lights and new infields. They include Dick Casey Town Field in Dorchester, Bill Stewart Diamond at Fallon Field in Roslindale, Cassidy Playground in Cleveland Circle, Brighton, and East Boston Stadium near Logan Airport. The 5th ballpark is Kelly Field in Hyde Park, and is maintained by the Department of Conservation & Recreation (DCR). They do an excellent job year in and year out.
The league celebrated it's 80th Anniversary in 2009. This is what sets the Boston Park League apart from other long standing leagues around the country. In 2010, there will be 9 teams competing. They include the Palmer Club, Stockyard, Irish Village, Hines/ADSL, Cannon Club, Carlson Club, Boston Padres, Grossman Marketing, and the JM Force. They will play a 32 game schedule (subject to change) that will run through the first week of August. The top 4 teams in the final regular season standings will play a 3 out of 5 semi final playoffs, 1-4, 2-3, and the winners will play a 4 out of 7 series for the league championship.
Park League Poetry
OUR BRYLCREEM HERO
BY BOB POWER
Boston Park League Hall of Fame - 1991
A BASEBALL STORY FOR YOUNG AND OLD
AT TOWN FIELD WAS SEEN TO UNFOLD
TWAS THE LAST OF THE NINTH, TWO OUTS TO GO
AND THE CROWD TO THE EXITS STARTED TO FLOW
UP AT THE PLATE, KLUMPP LAID DOWN A BUNT
FOR THIS BIG GOON, IT WAS NO SIMPLE STUNT
AH, BUT KLUMPP WAS SAFE, A NEW LIFE WAS BORN
IF ONLY GOLDSTEIN COULD MOVE HIM ALONG
AND MOVE HIM ALONG, HE DID JUST THAT
WITH ADEPT LITTLE FLICK, OF HIS BAT
ALL THE MACKS NEEDED WAS JUST ONE RUN
NOW IT WAS ALL UP TO MRS. POWER’S SON
THE FAITHFUL MACK FOLLOWERS SENT UP A PRAYER
BUT WAIT, WHO WAS THIS MAN WITHOUT ANY HAIR
HE TOOK OFF HIS HAT, TWAS A GOD AWFUL SIGHT
FOR FROM HIS FOREHEAD SHONE A BEACON OF LIGHT
IN ONE BIG HAND, THE BATS NUMBERED THREE
OR SO IT SEEMED TO THE PITCHER, WHO COULDN’T SEE
POWER WAS READY, HIS FALSE TEETH HE GRINDED
FOR HE KNEW IF THE SUN WAS RIGHT, THE PITCHER WOULD BE BLINDED
THE PITCHERS ONE EYE, ALMOST POPPED FROM IT’S SOCKET
THAT GOSH DARN POWER, HAD HIS CAP IN HIS POCKET
THE SCENE WAS SET, THE CROWD WAS TENSE
IF ONLY YUL COULD CLEAR THE FENCE
THE PITCHER SHRUGGED, AND LET IT FLY
HIS AIM WAS GOOD, DESPITE HIS BLINDED EYE
OUR BOY STOOD AT THE PLATE, WITH A CAREFREE AIR
UNTIL HE NOTICED THE BALL, IT HAD MORE HAIR
GREEN WITH ENVY, HE SWUNG FROM THE HIPS
A SCREAM OF JEALOUSY, ESCAPED HIS LIPS
THE BAT MET BALL, AND UP IT FLEW
THAT IT WAS GONE, EVERYONE KNEW
NOW GAMES ARE WON, AND GAMES ARE LOST
AND VERY FEW REALIZE THE COST
BUT TO APPEAR IN PUBLIC WITH HAIRS THAT NUMBER ZERO
COULD ONLY BE DONE BY OUR BRYLCREEM HERO
PLAYING FOR THE LOVE OF THE GAME
IN THE BOSTON PARK LEAGUE
By Zach Soolman
Originally printed 1999 in Boston Baseball Magazine, www.bostonbaseball.com.
My shoulder is held together with fishing line, says veteran righthander Dave Worthley of the Boston Park League's Towne Club. And he's not joking. Doctors gave me a 50-50 chance of being able to throw again, but I made it perfectly clear that for me it was 99 percent. Worthley faced major shoulder surgery and arduous rehab after a career-threatening injury in 1994. Many 25 year old amateur pitchers would have thrown in the towel, but not Worthley. "Everything I do is baseball," he says. "They'll have to drag me off the field." Worthley's passion embodies the spirit of the Boston Park League: talented ballplayers playing for the love of the game. Worthley regained his All Star form, a credit to his workout regimen which includes training for triathlons. Last season, he won 10 games for the second time in his Park League career, no small feat during a 32 game schedule.
The Boston Park League, founded in 1929, is the longest running amateur baseball league in the country. The league took a step back in time this season, returning to wooden bats after years of playing with aluminum. "Players are going back to the way the game is supposed to be played. They are excited to be swinging wood," says Secretary Treasurer Walt Mortimer, a 1983 inductee into the Park League Hall of Fame, who has been involved with the league as a player, manager, and umpire since 1954.
Originally funded by the City of Boston, the Park League was sponsored by Budweiser for a few years during the mid 80's, before the Thomas A. Yawkey Foundation began sponsoring the league, together with individual sponsors. Mortimer remembers playing in the Park League during the 50's and 60's when the league could draw over 10,000 fans for a playoff game. While attendance has dropped over the years due to increased entertainment options and competing leagues, the league can still draw several hundred fans for a championship game. Park League games are played weeknights on public fields throughout the City, from Cleveland Circle in Brighton, to Town Field in Dorchester, to Kelly Field in Hyde Park. Admission is free, but home teams gratefully pass the hat looking for small donations. "It only hurts for a minute!" yells Larkin Club General Manager Howard Stein through the stands at Cleveland Circle.
The Park League features some of the area's best amateur baseball. "You have to be a pretty good player to play in the Park League," says Mortimer. Mortimer, who also umpires college games for the NCAA, says wooden bats make a big difference in the quality of play. "I had so many college games that were marathons, terrible games," he says. I've seen better games in the last few weeks than I saw all Spring." For his part, Mortimer was a hard hitting first baseman during his days as a player, spending time in the minors with the Cardinals, Tigers, and Giants, in addition to his career in the Park League. Mortimer was teammates in the Giant system with future major league stars Juan Marichal, Matty Alou, and Manny Mota. "In 1959, I signed a contract with the Giants in Springfield. The scout said he wanted me to play in Phoenix, but the Giants had some tall black guy there. "I think you can hit better than he can," the scout told me. That black guy was (future Hall of Famer) Willie McCovey. I wonder if that scout still has a job," laughs Mortimer. But more impressive than the quality of play in the Park League is the attitude of the players. "I just love playing baseball," says Derek Grudinskas, designated hitter and co-manager of the Palmer Club. "As much as you want to win, it comes down to fun." The other thing that keeps me playing is the camaraderie," says Grudinskas. "Guys like Dig (Greg Digirolamo), Reils (Brian Reilly), and Russ (Sean Russell). We've been together for a while. "It's almost like a family," says Grudinskas., who adds that his only brother passed away from multiple sclerosis in 1992. Grudinskas grew up in Norwood and graduated from Xavarian Brothers High School in 1988. He played three years of college baseball for the Community College of Rhode Island and Framingham State, but left school without a degree in 1991. Grudinskas returned to school in 1997, attending Bridgewater State. At age 25, but with a year of college eligibility remaining, he made the Bridgewater baseball team and earned a trip to the Division 3 College World Series in Virginia. "It was the best experience of my life," says Grudinskas, nicknamed Big Daddy by his Bridgewater teammates. "I wouldn't trade it for anything." Grudinskas graduated from Bridgewater State this Spring with a degree in Management Science. This is a big year for Grudinskas, who will be married in September - after the Park League playoffs, or course. "I wouldn't have it any other way," says Grudinskas with a laugh.
At age 42, Rosendo "Junior" Rentas remains one of the most feared hitters in the Park League. Legend has it that Rentas made an appearance with the Boston Red Sox back in the 70's, a legend perpetuated by the old-style Red Sox batting helmet - red with a faded navy "B" - that Rentas wears to the plate. "No," he says with a smile. "Just class A." Rentas attended Jamaica Plain High School after coming to Boston from Peurto Rico in 1973., and made his Park League debut that same year. In 1975, Rentas signed with the Red Sox as a catcher and spent a couple of seasons at single A before returning to the Park League. Rentas joined ADSL in 1993 and led them to the Park Leaguer Championship in 1995, playing third base and occasionally closing games. Off the field, Rentas has been a Boston Police Officer since 1985. Ask Rentas how many times he's made the Park League All Star team, and he'll tell you matter-of-factly, "I've made it every year I've played, I think." Rentas says the highlight of his Park League career was belting 20 homers in one season for Socia Latina in the late 70's. "I don't know if they keep records or not, but I hit a lot," says the burly righthander. Baseball has always been a part of Rentas' life. "I've been playing baseball since I was five or six with my brothers," says Rentas, who now has three daughters of his own. "I'll play until I lose my arm." I play to stay competitive, says Larkin Club first baseman Scott "Scooter" Govoni. "The Park League adds a lot to my life." Govoni lives in Millis and works in Boston. On game days, he drops his car off near the field in the morning, and takes a train or bus to work. "It's a huge commitment, but it's worth it," he says. I've met lots of nice people. It's great playing first because I get to talk to everybody." A smooth fielder, Govoni would probably win a Gold Glove if the Park League gave such awards. "I'm just a short, fat first baseman, but I get the job done," laughs Govoni. Govoni ranks playing against the Silver bullets at Fenway Park in the 1995 Park League All Star game, and winning three championships in a row with Larkin from 1995-97 among his most memorable moments of his career. "Winning three in a row was awesome," he says. Govoni is part of an infield that third baseman Carl Anderson calls, "The best infield I've ever played with." Anderson, 30, is one of the league's best players and the heart and soul of the Larkin Club. "It's not even the player," says Larkin shortstop Marty Canavan. "Just hearing Carl's voice. Even if he didn't have baseball ability, he makes everyone play better." The first championship was for my father. All those years driving me from field to field, says Anderson, who started his Park League career with Great Scott's when he was just 16 years old. "It was a family thing. My mother would wash my uniform and my father would talk to me at dinner to get me prepared to play." Baseball is a family experience for Anderson on the field too, as his younger brother Chris plays right field for Larkin. Anderson says family involvement is what makes the Park League special. "Maintaining a family atmosphere at the game is key. Wives, girlfriends, and families come down. It keeps the same guys coming back year after year, and that helps you win. And even if you don't win, you still have fun." Known for his youthful enthusiasm, Anderson says passion for baseball is what keeps him playing. "Why do we come down? People work full-time jobs, have families and kids. But we love the game," says Anderson. "That's why we play." And that's what the Boston Park League is all about.THE SWEET PART OF THE BAT
by James M. Collyer
Boston Park League Hall of Fame - 1983
As my years drift by and the summers grow shorter, I sit and think of the days gone by. If I was to sit real still and listen hard, those exciting days could be heard again. That thud in the mit when the batter swung and missed. The sound of the bat on the ball. Yes, if we could return to those days it would be so nice. "Go Bitetti, catch that ball. Turn that double play Gerard. Hit that long ball again, Klumpp and Henue." "Ah! Curley, block that plate. Give no ground." "Throw that smoke Kearns. We'll need it for McDonald, Kelliher and Mortimer, and to face those pitchers on the other side." "Concanon, Wilkinson, and Nowell was a match in itself." Yes , the fifty's were exciting years, and the years before as well. The Cateruis brothers, Bird, Jackman, Settino, Festa, Kallenberg, and many more as great. Then along came the ping in the bat. The homers came many and far. The long ball was here, and the pitching had to be great. Paublo, Higgins, Blaine, and many more would take the mounds. The Hill brothers, Rentas, Anderson, Castro, Riley and many more, would send those balls into space. Now here at the start of the next century, the ping has left the bat. The sound of the forty's and fifty's can be heard in the parks again. Defense and pitching is back, wood is the name of the game. Let's make sure it never leaves again. For there is no greater sound than when the ball meets the sweet part of the bat.
The Boston Park League wishes to sincerely thank the following for their continued support of amateur baseball in the City of Boston:
- The Yawkey Foundation
- The City of Boston - Thomas Menino, Mayor
- The Boston Parks & Recreation Department
- The Department of Conservation & Recreation
- Old Dorchester Post, American Legion Post #65