Playing ball with a heavy heart.
The Third Annual Stickball Challenge to be held at Deno’s Wonder Wheel Park on Saturday, September 22 will have special meaning for participants as they play in honor of former teammate Raymond Francis Goffio who unexpectedly died earlier in the summer. He was 60.
Jason Cusato, one of the event’s organizers and the creative force behind the celluloid tribute to the game, “When Broomsticks Were King,” said that Goffio was a dedicated stickball player, making the tribute absolutely appropriate.
“Goffio played every year. He was also instrumental in getting me in front of the Cyclones so they could create the Stickball Hall of Fame Day that took place during the summer,” Cusato said. “Stickball was a sport he really loved. He always talked about it and we wanted to honor him before this game.”
Goffio was inducted into the Stickball Hall of Fame in 2007. He talked to this paper this past July about his love for the game, noting that he had played it since the age of nine, beginning on East 10th St., and that he had played with John Candelaria, who went on to become a Major League pitcher for a variety of teams, between 1975 and 1993.
“It’s always great to be playing ball and what a beautiful day it is at MCU Park,” he said just two months ago. “It’s always a privilege to play with Jason and the guys, and play the game of stickball. It was a great day.”
The upcoming stickball challenge will feature the South and North Brooklyn Stickball Teams and the Harlem Stickball Team, as well as Stickball Hall of Famers. The first game will start at 9 a.m. on West 12th St. between Surf Ave. and the Boardwalk, next to Deno’s Wonder Wheel in Coney Island. The event is free.
“It’s means a lot to honor him,” Cusato said. “We wouldn’t have this tournament without him.”
For more information, email email@example.com.