Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Silvestri's -vs- The Granites A.C.... the ASA softball rivalry continues... sort of!






Facebook








This is mainly for anyone who has ever been apart of the ASA Softball experience back in the 1970's & '80's in a section of Staten Island,
New York... known as Travis.


Right next door to the Mid Island baseball complex and where the mosquitoes were at times even larger than the damn softballs & baseballs that were flying around... LoL


Silvestri's vs Granites A.C. ASA softball field Travis, Staten Island, NY
Silvestri's vs Granites A.C. ASA softball field Travis, Staten Island, NY
Silvestri's vs Granites A.C. ASA softball field Travis, Staten Island, NY
Silvestri's vs Granites A.C. ASA softball field Travis, Staten Island, NY
Silvestri's vs Granites A.C. ASA softball field Travis, Staten Island, NY


ASA softball at this time in softball history
was truly... at the top of it's game!


The talent and rivalries that stepped out onto that softball field to rule the days...
were nothing short of historical greatness!


And yeah, that sounds a bit over the top,
but...
... if you were there,
whether participating in the games,
or sitting in the stands in awe
of what was happening on that field,
then you wouldn't think that that line
was one bit... over the top!


I'm taking this quick romp down "softball" memory lane because I received a photo from a great friend, a childhood friend, not to long ago. And after he pointed out the irony of the photo, of which I didn't pickup on at first, well it just ignited SO many amazing memories for me from those magnificent ASA softball days!


I played on a team called the Orchard Inn.
And was lucky enough to be apart of
the team when we won the
ASA Medium pitch division championship!


Orchard Inn ASA medium pitch champs 1980
Orchard Inn sign
Orchard Inn champs team patch 1980
Orchard Inn team shirt... and no, I can't fit into any more... LoL
Billboard right across the street from the Orchard Inn bar... our hangout! See what beer, paint and winning can do... LoL


I want to go in SO many directions with this softball stuff and my own personal moments.
I only brought up the Orchard team because the bar we represented was right there in the middle of it all in our neighborhood.


Forest & Richmond Ave intersection where the Orchard Inn bar was once alive!


But I'm really going to try and keep my blinders on and stay on track, and say this...


that...
no matter what team you played on...
what division your team was in,
fast, slow, medium, modified... whatever...
what the talent level
your team was playing at...


... IT ALL FOLLOWED BEHIND 
ONE PINNACLE...
ONE FOCAL POINT...
ONE SUMMIT...
ONE PURPOSE...
ONE VISION...
it all boiled down to...
ONE MUTHAFUCKING RIVALRY...


... the crown jewel of the Staten Island
ASA softball venue...


It all came down to


Silvestri's service station

-VS-

The Granites A.C.


Every team aspired to be, and beat,
Silvestri's and the Granite's.
Plain & simple!


that talk's about the rivalry.))


Of course all of the guys who participated in the games during that time are older, and most probably couldn't give a crap about any of the intense moments that entertained so many of us from up in the stands for so long.
But yet... maybe some of them they do!
And if they do... I love that fact!
Something this special...
this unique...
should NOT be lost to the ticks of time.


It's something that should be forever relived...
and retold through barroom conversations
and glory-filled moments by both... the participates AND by the fans
who were lucky enough to be present
during those games!


And yes the title is most certainly written out with tongue firmly planted within cheek
when I eluded to the "rivalry" continuing on
even at this present date June 17, 2014.


But just look at the photo that my friend sent, and see if you can figure out why
that title works so well, within it's
tongue & cheek umbrella of wit.

Silvestri's vs Granites A.C. Forest & Richmond Ave's intersection SINY
Silvestri's vs Granites A.C. Forest & Richmond Ave's intersection SINY


Here's a few more photo's of the intersection just so you know where you are. Some are from the 1950's, but will give you a good idea of the intersection and what was there.


Silvestri's vs Granites A.C. Forest & Richmond Ave's intersection SINY
You are standing on Forest Ave looking towards Mariners Harbor.
This is the Forest & Richmond Ave intersection.
Do you see the P.S.22 smoke stacks
peaking out up over the rooftops to the left?
That building to the right with the billboard that reads
Shapiro's Deli, later to become the Orchard Inn
during our hanging out dayz, is where the pole is
that holds the street signs in the photo above.
The corner to the left is where the Silvestri's gas station once stood.
It has since been converted to a Citgo station as seen in the first photo.

`Silvestri's vs Granites A.C. Forest & Richmond Ave's intersection SINY
Silvestri's vs Granites A.C. Forest & Richmond Ave's intersection SINY
Silvestri's was called Solazzo's service station at one time.
This is where that Citgo station now resides across the street
from the street signs.
That first pic you are standing on Richmond Ave.
And the second you are standing on Forest Ave.
Forest & Richmond Ave intersection
Forest & Richmond Ave intersection
Forest & Richmond Ave intersection where Silvestri's once stood.



So...
... have you figured out just why I said the rivalry still continues???


Why on earth would the powers that be,
place a Granite Athletic Club street sign...
right across the street from the one place that once represented their toughest rival...
Silvestri's service station???


Was it a mocking gesture??
Were they looking for that final victory??
Did they just miss their long time nemesis??


You really do have to laugh at this!


It's just something,
a tiny piece of inside nostalgia,
that helps to keep us all young at heart!


Here's a couple articles I found that does explain the installation of the sign and about the Granites club. A great bunch of neighborhood people. My mom & dad grew up with them and they helped to keep that neighborhood strong throughout the years! Their picnic's, that were held in Travis, were nothing short of legendary!!
It was a high point for our family year after year!

Silvestri's vs Granites A.C. Graniteville, Staten Island, NY





The reason this hit home right off the bat for my friend Joey Marsh when he first spotted it was because he lived this rivalry firsthand,
as his older brother John Marsh
played and excelled
on the Silvestri's team. Joey himself also played on the Silvestri's team for several years!


And John... well he was so funny.
Listen to this.
At some point I believe that half the people we hungout with in the neighborhood, including myself, worked at the local pizzeria just down the block from the Orchard Inn bar and across the street from where Silvestri's was,
called Berardi's pizzeria.


I believe John had some sort of coaching duties at the time along with his brother Joey who was managing and playing on the Orchard Inn team while I was also playing.


So... he would come into the pizzeria, stick his head through the swinging doors that led into the kitchen where I was cooking and say...
"So Tom... you wanna play this weekend right?" And then give me the "Bowery Boys"
look from hell... LoL


Of course I knew what that meant!


He ordered a meatball hero, and walked out of that fucking joint with $50 worth of food... LoL


Fuckin' "A" I wanted to play that weekend!!!


So he paid $4.50 at the register for all of that grub... LoL How awesome was it to be young and not give a shit about ANYTHING!!!!
Noone said a fucking word... LoL


Too funny.


But back to the softball field.


These guys that played at this level,
the Men's Majors division,
were like watching professional ballplayers.


My older brother Joey Mondello played at that level on a team called the Bullpen. His number was 29, and he was unbelievable at times.


I remember watching him play baseball while he played for Port Richmond High School and also other teams and leagues as well. In my eyes, along with the guys he played with, it was a talent pool unmatched by many, if any!


Joey Mondello playing ball with Port Richmond High School 1975


At times my friend Joey even played up at that Major division level as well like I mentioned.


Me??


Well, I was nowhere near that level of talent!
I was "a great person to have on the team" kinda guy. You could plug me in pretty much at any position and I could be that band aid until the real guy could once again play.


But these other guys...


... poetry in motion my friend.
Poetry in muthafucking motion!


I wish I could find all the names that were involved... but I'll at least throw out the names that I can come up with.


Here's another article from silive.com
giving their ASA "allstar team" picks.


It's a very good article and gives a team that's choke full of talent. But the one name he missed that should have been included... hands down... playing right field... was John Marsh!
And this one fact proves out my point.
John has the most... I say again...
THE MOST...
National Tournament hits (100)
of any other player from Staten Island.
How on earth can you overlook that fact???




Frank Cecero at bat for Silvestri's
Ralph Miscione pitching for Silvestri's.


Here are some names that played on Silvestri's and the Granites at some point,
that helped create such a time,
such a meaningful moment in time,
such a down right remarkable rivalry.


There for us mere mortals up in the stands
and on the sidelines, and also for all the other great players on all the other "major division" teams to marvel at, respect, hate, love, be pissed off at, be envious of, be thankful for,
and most of all, to be entertained...
by the talents of these friends...
brother's...
family members...
and you "holy crap I went to school
with that guy", guys...


Awesome!


Frank Cecero
Ralph Miscione
John Marsh
Joey Marsh
John Currado
(John was my gym teacher for a spell
during my schooling years while I was attending I.S.51
Intermediate school. How neat is that!
He was also on the 1964 Mid Island
Little League World Series Champions
from Staten Island just down the very same street
(Travis Ave)
in which he also excelled on the Silvestri's team.
Just too neat again!!)


1964 Mid Island Little League Team World Series Champs
1964 Mid Island Little League Team World Series Champs
John Currado 1964 Mid Island Little League Team World Series Champs
1964 Mid Island Little League Team World Series Champs
1964 Mid Island Little League Team World Series Champs



Glen Van Pelt
Ray Doyle
Frank Montalbano
Dennis Jackson
Joe Oppedisano
Tom Laresca
Joe Wuensch Sr.
Joe Wuensch Jr.
George McClendon
Mike Marotta
Mike D'Esposito
Vinny D'Esposito
Jimmy Stefanski
Kirk Ruffler
Ken Rigatti
Greg Hansen
Frank Zasa
Ed Pitre
Tony Manzella
Paul Wicinski
Mike Arsenuk
Dan McDermott
Jim Bergen
Stan Zazula
Pete DeCataldo
Bob Greco
Len Procak
Jim Dugan
Joe Sollazzo
Nick Caruso
Joe Gambuzza
Vin Posniak
Jeffery Szcezinski
Danny Cugini
Jim Muirhead
Phil Campanella
Mike Troianello
Al Pavolack
Jim Falluca
Bob Perotta
Vin Potestivo
Tony Urti
Thomas Putkowski (JP)


If I missed anyone, which I'm sure I have,
I'm really sorry. If you send me the names I will add them to the list right away... thanx!


Tommyrawblog@gmail.com


Here are a few articles about Silvestri's and the Granite's that I photo copied from the microfilm copies of the Staten Island Advance newspaper from the St. George library a while back.
Some neat memories I bet!!



Silvestri's wins ASA Major Division June 2, 1980
Silvestri's wins ASA Major Division June 2, 1980



Silvestri's SI Advance recap June 24, 1980



Silvestri's SI Advance recap August 1980



Silvestri's SI Advance recap July 5, 1980



Silvestri's SI Advance recap August 31, 1981
Silvestri's SI Advance recap August 31, 1981
End top at Ray Doyle then go to the left at (4 for 4) to continue.
Silvestri's SI Advance recap August 31, 1981


Silvestri' vs Granites August 19, 1981
Silvestri' vs Granites August 19, 1981



Silvestri's Granites July 3, 1980 SI Advance




Silvestri' vs Granites


Silvestri's - Granites article from the Staten Island Advance August 3, 1977




Granites A.C. team photo.


Granites A.C. team photo.


Here's 2 team photo's of the Granites.

Not sure of the years.
Found these on a great facebook page
https://www.facebook.com/asa.sony.reg2
Some pretty neat stuff right!?



Granite A.C. Booster booklet thanking the club and the neighborhood 1982
Page 2 of booklet displaying Granite softball team roster and tournament finishes for 1981


Another outstanding fact to share,
is that Silvestri's won the very first ever
ASA Men's Major Modified
National Championship
that was played in the state of Michigan
back in 1975.


I was lucky enough to locate these few photo's on the internet from that day. Thanks goes out to Frank Cecero for posting and sharing them!!



Silvestri's wins first ever ASA Men's Major National Championship 1975
Silvestri's wins first ever ASA Men's Major National Championship 1975
Silvestri's wins first ever ASA Men's Major National Championship 1975
Silvestri's wins first ever ASA Men's Major National Championship 1975
Silvestri's wins first ever ASA Men's Major National Championship 1975
Silvestri's wins first ever ASA Men's Major National Championship 1975
Final standings for 1975 tornament


Silvestri's team jacket photo... sent to me from the guy who wore number 12. Can you remember who that was?? Hint: He was a First Team All American in 1986!


Here's a link that gives a year by year listing

of the National winning Modified Fast pitch
teams. Pretty impressive!


This is for the entire country now,
and not just locally here in Staten Island!





And one last final thing...
above and beyond the rivalry theme.


I attended the
ASA Hall of Fame Game & Inductions
back on September 6, 2003
at the Travis ball field's
and snapped a few photo's.


I'm sure you guys will recognize
some of the people there.


Click here to see the photo's


It was a fun ride huh!


Thanx to Joey Marsh...
and also his wife Carmen
for emailing that photo over to me.


So okay, I don't have a smart phone
and she went the extra mile to email it also
so I could view it! Thanx Carm.
You made this post happen.


And thanx to anyone and everyone who in some way gave me a memory to hold on to from a time in our lives when sports, camaraderie, and of course drinking many many... many beers, was such a fun & meaningful part of our lives!


Cheers... to you all


tommy mondello