When you write about Malden baseball, you better have a least a little knowledge of the local hardball landscape. Or else. I heard from on high shortly after I gave up my all-time Malden baseball team from the 1960s into the 1980s (thereabouts). He didn’t appear to me supernaturally but through the USPS in the form of a handwritten letter. It was from local baseball deity, “Knight for Life” Bob Rotondi. Bob was amused by my recent baseball column and being the kindhearted gentleman that he is, had mercy on me. He noted that my team was good but the team he presents will match mine, one through nine. He wasn’t kidding. The “Boys of Summer” that Bob put together are a powerful group of athletes (and great bunch of guys) that, I am ashamed to admit, flew under my radar.
Bob is a local treasure. In that massive brain of his are 60 plus years’ worth of Malden history. I ain’t just talking sports. I am talking about his Malden bonafides and his connection to this community where he has been a BMOC for as long as I have lived – a local treasure. Thank you so much, my friend, you’ll never know how much I appreciate your friendship.
I’ll let Bob take it from here: “In a recent article – you wrote about your baseball team from the ’60’s through the ’80’s. Your ‘complete baseball operation.’ ‘Feel free to disagree,’ was your final statement. Well, I’ll not disagree with your list, eight of whom I had the privilege to coach; but here is another team, to go head-to-head with your club. It takes a large staff to manage a baseball operation. My organization has a lot of familiar names with a great deal of experience. Please note I did not take anyone from your organization. Your club is powerful. I am honored to be named manager. I hope I have met your challenge. Again, you wrote that the club was from the ’60’s through the ’80’s yet your closer was really a ’90’s guy (or better). But that’s okay because my closer will be his father. What fun! Without further ado…..”
Pitching staff: Dave Marsters, Frankie “Red” Harris, Rich Barker, Steve Caiazzo and Mike Byers.
Bullpen: Arthur Eld, Eric Provitola, Joe Flak, Jay Gibbons, Peter Plachowicz.
Closer: Freddy (father of Kevin) McGlinchy.
Catcher: Ralphie Kelly, Tommy Lubin, Donnie Roach.
Infielders: Neil Hurley, Johnny Furlong, Steve Wishoski, Mike Turilli, Dennis Gallagher, Johnny “D” DeBenedictis, Jimmy Tuxbury and Johnny Stanasek.
Outfielders: Jay Symonds, Eddie Fitzgerald, John “Doc” Doherty, Steve Powell, Ronnie Nickerson, John Montecalvo, Mike Vona.
Designated Hitters: Jackie Burke, Billy Roderick, Paul Zabrick.
Bullpen Catcher: Harry Caras and Victor Sousa.
September Callups: Greg DeCandia, Paul DeVincentis, Paul Fraser, Kenny Coye, Billy Burke and Richie Tuxbury.
Injured Reserve List: Barry Malitsky, Steve Belt, Mike Hyde, Owen “Buddy” Knight and Steve Almeida.
Scorekeeper: Perry Verge Sr. and Bob Warner.
Bat Boy: T.J. Benner.
Manager: Leo Moro. Bench Coach: Terry Mathews. First Base: Andy Scarano. Third Base: Frank St. Clair. Bullpen Coach: Charles McCooch. Pitching Coach: Paul Maccioli. Future Coach to Be: Deano Summers. General Manager: Joe Levine. Scouting Bureau Chief: Kenny Magneson. Assistant Chief: Don McKnight. Minor League Director of Operations: Kenny Petraglia. Equipment Manager: Joey Caraco and Dave Allen. Union Rep: Tom Herter, Sr. Groundskeeper Superintendent: Kevin Benner. Post-Game Caterer: Neil Sullivan (Cornucopia Foods on Pleasant St.) Administrative Assistants: Mike Bondamge, Phil Cook, Harvey Nadler, Terlonzo “Beanie” Amos, Wayne Martineau and Mik Pascinto. Road Trip Manager: Steve Wright. Assistant Road Trip Manager: Jim Chiavelli. Publicity Director: Peter Levine. Office Staff: Laura Perry, Diane Rotondi, Rose Senatore, Caren Sarno, Jean (Grasso) Maquardo and Steve Zolondick.
So, speaking of my baseball column, here are three quick asides that did not make the 1,500 words that week:
- Throwing out the first pitch will be Bobby (McVicar’s) father-in-law, the legendary MHS Hall of Famer Ernie LeBlanc, and Malden High School Hall of Fame member Helen Nordquist from the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League.
- And yes, I know McGlinchy was 12 in 1989 (as Bob pointed out above), but he was hitting and pitching like he was in his twenties back in his Little League days at Bruce Field.
- And yes, I know Helen and Ernie didn’t actually play during that time frame, but I just had to get them in the mix, somewhere!
- Beyond proud to have made Bob’s list!
It is said in Malden Musings… Nobody has better retro Malden stories than retired Malden Police Officer Mike Hardiman. Mike has been kind enough to share some of his tales of Malden yesteryear to his Facebook page. Shamelessly, I am sharing them in my column. Take it away, Mike: “A couple of friends of mine from the way back when crowd, Sal Morando and Ronnie Spaulding, went on more than a few adventures together over the years. One of their claims to fame is they were on the 1964 undefeated Lincoln Junior High football team. I was a Beebe Junior High student at the time. Both Sal and Ronnie, by the way, were pretty good when it came to getting into fistfights in junior high (and high school). I was the peacemaker, the one that broke up the fights. When we hung around the Granada Lanes, another member of the group Arthur Demase, who is good friends with Ronnie – they used to battle it out between each other, behind the First Baptist Church. Mostly on Saturday nights. That’s where all the boxing matches were held – behind the church in Malden Square. The guys and girls that hung out at the Granada Lanes were called the ‘collegians’ and the ‘fusco’s.’ The ‘rats’ hung out down by Senior Pizza. Generally speaking, we all got along. I had friends in all the groups. We used to have large drinking parties and social events up on Waitts Mount and at other locations. In those days you didn’t have cell phones, so we used to meet down in the Square, at our hangouts, and then the adventures would begin. Every day was an adventure back then, actually, they still are.” Thanks, Mike.
As Peter Falk’s iconic TV character “Columbo” would say, “Just one more thing, sir” – crazy to believe it has been 10 years already (September 2012) since Malden High School submaster (and much more) Brendan Duffy passed away. Ten years! Duff did it all: US Army veteran during the Cold War, happily married for 52 years to his beloved Elaine, mayoral assistant, adjunct teacher of Writing at Bunker Hill CC, advisor to ‘The Lion’ at MHS, fierce handball competitor at the old YMCA (and much more). In the September 9, 2012, edition of the Malden Evening News, the then Editor of the paper, Steve Freker, wrote a touching “Appreciation” on the life and legacy of Mr. Duffy. Steve nails the essence of Duff but zeroes in with this: “Was he hard-nosed? Oh yeah. As hard-nosed as they come when he wanted to be and had to be (a lot of times). That came with the territory of the job as one required to mete out discipline and address transgressions. Big and small, on a daily basis. But like a lot of people who have an eternally gruff exterior, who hold a position of authority and are in the public eye, they also have an intense sense of justice, compassion, and genuine caring within.” Nailed!
Freck closed like Eck in his prime: “For over 30 years beginning in the 1960’s and carrying almost to the new millennium, Mr. Duff roamed, monitored, and embraced the halls of MHS touching lives of literally thousands of students. And for those thousands of Malden kids who ranged in years from being smack dab in the middle of the Vietnam War Era in the ’60’s to the salad days of the Bill Clinton presidency in the late ’90’s, Mr. Duff worked the halls of MHS. And we’re all the better for it. You will surely be missed.” My note: his two wonderful children, Marko and Kevin, living proof of the kind human being Duff went through life as.
Postscript: I’d like to take a moment to wish all the readers of this newspaper (and my column) a very happy and healthy new year. We’ve taken a turn for the better in the last couple of years; the future bodes well if we stay vigilant. I’d also like to thank the powers that be for the privilege to contribute to this outstanding newspaper. The Malden Advocate is what hometown newspapers are all about. They are a vital resource for local news and information that can be counted on to be truthful and helpful in making important decisions in your everyday life. A proud descendent of all that can be trusted in the print media, the Advocate follows in the finest tradition of David Brickman’s Malden Evening News locally and The Boston Globe regionally. A source that can be counted on week after week to enrich your life. No fake news. No “alternative facts.” No misinformation or half-truths. As Walter Cronkite used to sign off, “And that’s the way it is.” All the best in 2023 to Malden (and beyond).
Peter is a longtime Malden resident and a regular contributor to the Malden Advocate. He can be reached at PeteL39@aol.com for comments, compliments, complaints or criticisms.