NYBORICUA    

Stickball

TRIBUTE TO STEVE MERCADO

  Courtesy of Streetplay.Com 

NEW YORK CITY FIREFIGHTER - ENGINE 40

NY EMPERORS STICKBALL LEAGUE
STREETPLAY.COM



 


BRAGGING RIGHTS is an hour-long video documentary that chronicles the vibrant history of the urban game of stickball through its colorful players.

Stickball has been played in the streets of New York City since the early 1920’s and is known as “the poor man’s baseball.” Stickball is the ultimate in improvising much with very little. Up until the 1960’s, hydrants, cars and sometimes old men sunning in chairs were bases. During that time, many ethnic communities that would fight each other any other day of the week, would compete on the stickball field on Sundays. Over time, racial barriers were broken and many of the players became lifelong friends.

Through the persistence and the passion of a tight-knit community brought together by tradition, the documentary chronicles what has become a national game of all family members. BRAGGING RIGHTS underscores the struggle to overcome and embrace difference and triumph over adversity.

 

STICKBALL HALL OF FAME 2002 INDUCTION CEREMONY
"A DAY OF PRIDE AND JOY"
by Ismael Nuñez

Memorial Day weekend, is the first long weekend that marks the beginning of Summer.  Everyone starts leaving work early, and starts buying last minute things to enjoy the first days of Summer.  This past Friday May 24, at the Museum of the City of New York, the annual Stickball Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony took place.  Carlos Diaz, who is President of the Stickball Hall of Fame, gave a good explanation for this activity.  "The truth is the Hall of Fame has been around for almost twenty years.  What happened was we needed a place to show the importance of this sport.  In the last three years the museum has been very instrumental in providing space for us."  Diaz would add, "The importance of this activity is that it brings people of all nationalities in one room."  Father Skelly, pastor of Saint Cecila's church located  at 106th Street between Lexington and Park Avenues gave his feelings on stickball.  "It's a sport which brings peace and harmony to the community of East Harlem."

Besides being a day of honoring, it was also a day of remembering.  The day was dedicated to Steve Mercado, New York City Firefighter / President of the NYESL (New York Emperors Stickball League) who lost his life saving lives on September 11th.  Mercado stated, how important stickball was to him, which was written in a program handout.  "I like to thank Stickball for this tale I tell.  I've vowed that my children will have much more than I for I will teach them to reach for the sky."  Charles Ballard an Afro-American who is in his early 80's and still playing Stickball, would add, "What's good about this sport is that it is safe to play.  You don't spend any money on buying equipment like shoes or clothing."  He goes on to add, "Parents should be well aware that they could spend less on stickball than in those video games which kids play."

Another individual of which this reporter had the honor of talking to is John Aromi his nickname is "
Ñoci."  What is amazing about this person is that he is a physically challenged individual.  You see "Ñoci" has one hand, the other hand has no fingers, then again that hasn't stopped Aromi from being the fierce competitor that he is.  "Hey I can still swing the bat sometimes better than a thirty-year old."  When asked how old he is, with pride he stated, "Hey I'm sixty-seven years old!  "I'm still good, and still having a good time with these fellas."  Standing next to him was Charles Candelaria, President of the 111th Street Oldtimers Stickball Organization, he would add "We are all good.  It's the one sport where you can argue and have fun at the same time."

The night of the induction, all of the inductees: Sabas "Sonny" Hernandez, Sam Marquez, Edwin Matos, Steve Mercado, Andres "Andy" Rivera and Rosendo "Rusty" Torres, stated in their speeches, "We always looked forward to Sundays."  "We loved the challenge."  "Most importantly, we all maintained good friendships which to this day still exist."  Sonia Gonzalez, a filmmaker whose documentary entitled "Bragging Rights" is scheduled to come out on PBS by early 2003 stated, "The way they talked about life in the neighborhood, and putting differences aside while playing (teamwork), inspired me so much, that I had to make this film."  Lavinia Mancuso who is Deputy Director of Learning at the Museum said it best, "Stickball is not just a game where you see good skill and  sportsmanship, it's a sport where you see role models for the commuity."  After what was seen in the museum with the Stickball Hall of Fame, and the documentary being made, the dream of this NYC street game being an Olympic sport and having a Hall of Fame, will slowly but surely become a reality.
 

 LINKS

STREETPLAY.COM
NEW YORK EMPERORS

 




STREETPLAY.COM


Batter008.jpg (58053 bytes)
WORLD  SERIES  OF  STICKBALL  2000


TP001.jpg (70077 bytes)
111th STREET  OLDTIMER'S  DAY  2000


PlayList001.jpg (50997 bytes)
111th  STREET OLDTIMER'S  DAY 1999


NYEmperors014.jpg (49690 bytes)

NY EMPEROR'S  MEMORIAL  DAY  2000


TPMemoriam001.jpg (27677 bytes)
NEW  YORK  CITY   MOURNS   TITO

TEAMS WANTED...EL BARRIO STICKBALL LEAGUE...CONTACT JUNN AT (212) 828-3785...EMAIL: SincoJones@hotmail.com



NYBORICUA
BACK TO MAIN PAGE



Sign Guestbook

Read Guestbook

[TheGuestBook.com]


CONTACT US
 

Google
WEB NYBORICUA.COM

Copyright © 1999-2002 / Talí Lamourt-NYBoricua / All Rights Reserved / Updated: August 12, 2006