For some of the former Golden Eagles at SJC Long Island’s baseball reunion last month, it had been less than a year since they had suited up to play baseball for St. Joseph’s College. But for other alumni at the event, it had been decades.
“You see all the older guys like us – we’re 49, 50 years old now – and when you get the chance to see guys you played ball with and went to school with, it brings such a great togetherness,” said Frank Franzone ’91, one of nearly 80 players who attended the second annual Gregg Alfano Memorial tournament Sept. 30 at St. Joseph’s Outdoor Field Complex.
“It feels like we’re back on that field, 19 years old, having the time of our lives playing ball again,” he added.
Thunderstorms cut short the three-game tournament that was scheduled, but the inclement weather didn’t dampen the spirit of the players. During warm-ups and the one game that was played, a sense of family was evident among the players on the field – bonds that would never be broken, regardless of how much time had passed.
“The thing I remember, and the thing I miss the most is just being around the guys every day,” Mike Luzim ’04, a St. Joseph’s Athletics Hall of Fame Inductee. “At the time, we had two airport vans, and we would all just pack in together. That was how we traveled to every game – we made a great time out of it.”
Recently, the St. Joseph’s College Long Island Baseball Alumni Association was created to help improve the baseball program and to keep the alumni baseball community connected.
“We just formed an alumni association, we’re rolling it out today. We have a fantastic board and our goal is to keep events like this going every year,” said Keith Fasciana ’97, president of the campus’ new baseball alumni association. “We want to give back to the baseball program, but also keep the alumni community involved.”
The event celebrated the life and career of Gregg Alfano, a distinguished player who left his mark on St. Joseph’s College baseball. Sal Alfano, who coached the St. Joseph’s team from 1995 to 2010, spoke with pride about his son and the importance of this memorial event.
“This new association enables anyone that’s been within this organization to be bound together,” he said. “It reignites the time and memory that my son played, because he was one hell of a ball player — to me, that’s really what this event does.”
Sal continued, “I went out and recruited seven or eight men from different years, got them together at a meeting and made a speech saying, this is what I want to do, but I can’t do it (alone). If you guys don’t buy in, if you don’t have the passion, it’ll never get off the ground – but they’re running with it, and it’s perpetuated.”
The association plans to host three events a year – their annual Gregg Alfano Memorial game, a winter event, and another spring baseball game.