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Softball GloveToday we have something different. We have a guest blogger. I got this from Phil Anastasia. He asked if I would put it out so here it is. If anyone else has a story they would like to tell send it to me I’ll put it out. If you don’t want to write it out as a story just send what you remember and I will do something with it. Let’s not forget the times we had. Phil’s story is about the fast pitch team. If anyone wants to say something about the high arc team send it in. About the games or the Harp and The Mandolin after the games, Kamikaze shots all around.

A Glove For Patty

Back in the mid 70s the Eight Three had one softball team, the high arc team, which played in AlleyPondPark. One Sunday morning I worked a day tour with Carmine Napolitano affectionately known to all as “Nappy.” I was fairly new to the command, assigned there from the Academy in July of 1973 along with about 23 other guys. It didn’t take long on that Sunday for me to bond with Nappy. Because, if we were not working that tour we would both be playing softball with our respective teams. Moreover, I finally met a bigger Dodger fan than myself.  During that tour, Nappy indicated his desire to start a team to play in the Bklyn North fast pitch league. The main ingredient needed for a fast pitch team was a good pitcher, and that was Nappy’s milieu. He was a control pitcher who consistently kept the ball around the knees with some giddy-up. Another constant was, he always puffed on that pipe between innings. The plan was that he would get some of the older guys to play, and I was to “scout” the guys from my class for the “ballplayers.” The following spring we were off and running. Nappy (the manager) went to all the necessary meetings and we collected the funds for the entry fee and equipment. We were set for our debut. We put together a pretty good team. But, the most admirable aspect was the competitive nature of the guys; every player on the team couldn’t stand the thought of losing a game of checkers, let alone a softball game.

Right up there at the top of the list in intensity and the win at any cost mentality was none other than the author of this Blog, Kevin. He was our firebrand left fielder who had a curious technique. Instead of trying to scale a fence to make a catch, Kevin tried to run through the fence and catch the ball on the other side. The fence always won those battles! But I’ll tell you this, Kevin used to bounce pretty good in those days. After a few practices, Nappy told me that we had a new guy coming to try out for the team, a big husky guy named Patty DeGregorio. Patty told us he had not played in many years, but would like to try out nonetheless. In fact, he mentioned that he borrowed a glove for the workout. Patty worked his heart out that day, and one glance told you how much he wanted to make the team. At the end of practice, Nappy told Pat he made the team. He was elated; it surely would take days to get the smile off his face. He told Nappy and me that since he made the team he was going to go out and buy a brand new glove, the best he could find. Nappy said, “Good, we have a couple of exhibition games before the season starts, so you can break it in. But don’t forget to oil the glove after you buy it.” We both told Patty to get some neat’s-foot oil for his new glove. The following week was an exhibition game and while I was taking some grounders before the game Nappy started yelling to me “Philly, get over here. You won’t believe this” So I jogged over to Nappy and Patty standing by the dugout.

:What’s Up? Nappy said “look what this Mama-Luke did” and threw a glove to me. Well it was just like throwing an eel at me. I mean it was just as slippery and slid right out of my hands. It was when I bent over and picked up this moist mess of a glove that Nappy said, “tell him.”

I looked at Patty who resembled a recalcitrant adolescent whose teacher caught him doing what kids do. Looking downward he said “I couldn’t find that oil you told me about, so “I used OLIVE OIL.” The three of us had to sit down on the bench for a few minutes to laugh it off. Patty took a lot of ribbing that year. In fact every time he bobbled a ball, Nappy would look over at me and grumble “too much olive oil”

By the way, it didn’t have any effect on the exhibition game. We prevailed in a hard fought game. You know, some of those folks from the Menorah Nursing Home were pretty spry. Some even walked upright.

Seriously folks, we all had the pleasure of working with some of the best cops in the world. These teams provided the opportunity to escape the turbulence of a “Burning Bushwick” for a few hours, and play a game with some of the nicest guys in the world. While we all miss Nappy and Patty I know they are up there playing for the Blue Angels. I just know it!

God Bless and Stay Safe

Phil Anastasia

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Posted November 8, 2013 by kevingcox in Random Thoughts

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