Bensonhurst residents play ball in a salute to the old days

They gathered on the block from all corners of the country — from the plains of Kansas to the swamps of Jersey. Food, drinks and teams were prepared as groups of men reunited with old friends, neighbors, relatives and others in Bensonhurst on Saturday, July 12, to take part in the third annual 77th Street Stickball Classic. “I grew up on this block, and this game was our life,” said former resident Joe Curreri.The event this year was dedicated to the memory of Anthony Vollaro who died of an asthma attack when he was a teenager. Vollaro, whose nickname was “T,” grew up as a Seahawks fan, and the event’s tee shirts were designed in Seahawk colors in his honor. In keeping with stickball tradition, the games took place in the middle of 77th Street between 15th and 16th avenues, and players of all generations had to avoid the numerous bikes and cars that came their way.Despite the heat, sticks, bats and great plays soon dotted the street as people embraced the game they love from dawn till dusk. “We get people from all over the tri-state area returning here to their old block; it’s amazing,” said local resident Tom Ferrante. His nostalgia is shared by others including former longtime resident, Barbara Vollaro, wife of T’s older brother, Mike. “They used to play from morning till night. The game was their tradition,” she said.This year’s event also served as a fundraiser for the Morabito family, longtime residents of the block whose two-year-old son Rocco has Hypoxic-Ischemic Encephalopathy (HIE), Spastic Quadriplegia Cerebral Palsy and chronic lung disease. “We’re helping to raise money for him to have a van, so he can go to school and participate in family events and other things,” said Ferrante. “My brother John and his wife do everything for him, and because he’s growing, they need to this van to help him get around,” said Rocco’s uncle Michael Morabito. “It’s great that these guys help out however they can.”

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.