The Boston - Boston Park League
fter 65 years of continuous existence,the
Boston Park League has been many things
to many people. The one thing that it
remains for all those who have played and
for the presentplayers, is familY.
Organized by the City of Boston
Department of Parks and Recreation, the
I-eaguewas established to give top high
older players the opportunity to hone
League play starts the third week in May and continues
to the end of July. Playoffs follow regular seasoncompetition. In a unique format, the top four teams make the playoffs. The last-place team drops to the Yawkey League, and
the winner of the Yawkey Division replaces the last-place
team in the Senior Park League.
During the 1993season,play was conductedon six fields
in Boston: Dick Casey Field in Dorchester,Fallon Field in
Roslindale,the field at Cleveland Circle, Rogers Field in
Brighton, Kelley Field in Hyde Park and Noyes Field in East
ADSL, the Brighton Dodgers, Great Scott, the Larkin
Club, Mass Envelope, Palmer Mobile, the Serra Club, Towne
Club and the Triple D's have fought it out this season. Jim
Me l l o , m anager of d e fe n d i n g l e a g u e c h a m p i on Mass
Envelope calls it "the most competitive play in several
Although Boston has experiencedtension in the inner
city, the League has provided a wholesome environment for
many players according to Josh Powell, co-director of the
ADSL team in Dorchester.
"There is not much structure for players in the minority
community after the age of 12. With all of the distractions
it's easy for kids to go astray. The Park League not only
gives kids a chance to participate and learn from skilled
coaches,but it also provides them an opportunity that they
might not get otherwise," said Powell. Powell has been a
player and managerin the Leaguesincethe mid '60s.
F or J ohn K ellih e r, w h o h a s b e e n i n v o l v e d w i th the
League since its inception as a player, manager and official,
"the intensity of play in the League" has provided it with the
spirit that has kept it going. Kelliher is the general manager
for the Mass Envelope team.
Although official records are not kept, the Baseball Hall
of Fame recognizesthat the Boston Park League is the oldest
amateurleague in continuous existencein baseball.
This rich history is acknowledged in the players who
have gone on to play in the major leagues' They include
Mike Fornieles who played for the Supreme Saints and the
Red Sox; Vito Tamulis, the St. Augustine team and the
Yankees; Johnny Broaca, the Yankees; Tom Earley, the
Boston Braves; Joe Mulligan, the Casey Club and the Red
Sox; Joe Callahan, the Boston Braves; Bob Giggie, the
Boston Braves; Curt Fullerton, the Charlestown team and the
Catchers who played in the League and the majors
include Pete Varney, the White Sox and the McCormack
Club; George Yankowski, the St. Paul team and the White
S ox; and Ji m H egan, Mass K ni tti ng and the Cleveland
Indians. Infielders from the League who went on include first
basemanArt McManus of the Supreme Saints and Kansas
C i ty; second basemanA ndy S pognardi , the Roslindale
Rosebuds and the Red Sox; shortstop Eddie Pellagrini, Mass
Knitting and the Red Sox; and third basemanRichie Hebner,
the JohnsonBombers and the Tigers.
' rt Outfi el ders
w ho pl ayed i n
the Park League
and th6 maj ors
include Si Rosenthal of the Casey
Club and the Red
S ox and Tyl er
LaForest of Linchon and the Red
Although they never made it to the
b i g l e agues , ot her n o ta b l e a l u m n i
i n cl ude f or m er B osto n Ma y o r R a y
Flynn of the McCormack Club and curre n tl y at t he V at ic a n ; Bi s h o p J o e
Maguire of Springfield; Pat Harrington,
th e cur r ent B os t o n Pa rk L e a g u e
Commissioner;Johnny McDonald of
the St. Paul's Club: Art Nowell of the
SupremeSaints;Bill Cleary of Harvard
a n d th e S t . P aul' s c l u b . S ti l l o th e rs
who have contributed over the years
are Avi Nelson of the ADSL club, Jack
Concannon of the McCormack club,
Ste ve DeO s s ie of M a s s En v e l o p e :
H u g hie Duf f y of t h e Ke n n e d l ' c l u b :
R o b er t o F eliz and B i l l y Bro o k s o f
ADSL and the Buffalo Bills.
Walt Mortimer secretary/treasurer
of the Leagueand an active participant
since 1954, says it was a tough go for
the League to stay in existence when
the City of Bostonwithdrew financing
for its operationsin 1982.
In steppedthe Yawkey Foundation
a n d B ill G ut f ar b a l o n g w i th J o h n
Harrington and the Red Sox. "The
L e a g ue inc ur s ab o u t $ 2 0 ,0 0 0 i n
expenses,and most of that goes into
equipmentand umpires. We wouldn't
be able to meet those expenseswithout
the help of both the Red Sox and the
Yawkey Foundation," said Mortimer.
Another shot in the arm came this
seasonwhen League President
Eddie Miller's dream was fulfilled, and the League's AllSta r G ame w as pl ayed at
"Eddie has allowed us to
realize dreamsthat many of us
" l t' s hard to descri be
il,hat plal,in-eat Fenway Park
m e a n t t o al l of the peopl e
involved in the League. But it
that the Ref,Sox have.lg helping people throughout Boston
especi al l y i n the i nner cit y, " said
Above all, the All-Star Game will
be one that Jim Mello, manager of the
Mass Envelope team, will never forget.
Mello insertedhimself as a pinch hitter
i n the bottom of the ei ght h inning.
There was one out, a runner on, and his
team tied with the tntercity Star, five all.
Mel l o had tw o stri kes on him
when he was thrown an inside fastball.
"I knew I hit it out the minute I made
contact. I took a couple of stepsdown
the first base line and watched as it
went over the wall in left and landed
by the light tower," said Mello.
"It was a fantasticopportunity for
the younger kids to play in FenwaY
Park," said Mello who travels from his
home in Topsfield to work in Braintree
every day and then plays in the League
five nights a week. His scheduleis not
unusualfor the players.
T op play er s in th e L e a g u e th i s
ye a r inc lude G ena ro C a s tro , Pa b l o
Reyes,Kenny Pires, Kevin Bailey and
RosentoRentas,all of the ADSL team.
Oth er s inc lude M ark C h ri s ti a n i a n d
Mike Carista of the Serra Club. Matt
Ferrullo,Jeff Januaryand Neil Bisson
o f M as s E nv elope.B u d d T a r l o r a n d
Je ff Tous s antof t he T o * n e c l u b a n d
Ji m Mulr v of T r ipleD ' ..
Most players work one if not two
j o b s a n d have fami l i es. The fami l Y
e n v i ro nment i s one that the League
promotes. This is especiallyevidentat
"A lot of our play'ers
and their families brin-etheir ditferent
e a c h o ther after the games," says
The Boston Park League broke the
c o l o r b arri er w el l before the maj or
l e a g u e s. Men l i ke C annonbal l
Jackman, and Lefty Matthews of the
Colored Giants set the pace for the
"The thing that most people don't
realizeabout this League is it isn't just
fu n a n d games. It' s a very seri ous,
emotional, competitive environment.
With the talent in the League,you have
to give 100 percentevery night," said
For 65 ).ears.a lot of men. \\'omen
a n d c h i ldrenhavebeensi ri ns 100perc e n ti 6 -i dars a rear.
Theydon'tmisse play and neitherwillyou!