Spring training is underway.

The start of another season in the Major Leagues is right around the corner. (Yankees fans are freaking out over Derek Jeter’s injury.)

Mets fans will be talking about their team in Farrell’s wondering whether they can do better than last season. Where’s Carmine when you need him? (Do you remember when he thought he was Tom Seaver?)

Young kids in the neighborhood are dusting off their gloves and pulling out their aluminum bats from the closet to get ready for their try-outs. (Do kids still use wooden bats? I had a black wooden bat that I bought from Sepe’s)


The Lot on 16th street will be open for business as many kids from the neighborhood will be playing hardball; some for the very first time.   As kids,  we spent so much time in that lot. We loved baseball. Today, I’m not so sure kids love it as much as we did.

At the age of 12, playing for Holy Name Bantam ‘B’ team I pitched for the late Joe Farrell.  Facing Gordy of St. Saviors was a nightmare. But facing him taught me courage, hard work and a never-give-up attitude.

Gordy threw smoke in the 6th grade! I mean he was the teenage Nolan Ryan.

Standing in the batters box over in the diamonds in Prospect Park, shaking like a leaf I struck out often against the flame-thrower.  But you know what, I kept working on my swing until the day I was able to make contact. It’s called “perseverance.” Nothing was given to you. You worked hard for a hit.

We spent hours on our stance and swing.

Two weeks ago I saw some highlights of a baseball game between Canada and Mexico.

It wasn’t the runs scored or the pitchers strikeouts that caught my attention. It was a fight. An all-out brawl between both squads after a player was hit by a pitch.

Whenever I see a brawl in baseball I think back to June of 1977.

On a warm sunny day down at the Parade Grounds, a huge fight broke out after a CYO baseball game between Holy Name and St. Finbar’s.

Holy Name was handling St. Finbar’s pretty easy on this day. The coach for the good guys was Joe Mussa; their team had only lost one game the entire season.  By the way, Mussa was my favorite teacher at H.N.S.

The team consisted of neighborhood kids. Kevin Maloney, Timmy Hardy, Gonzo Gonzalez, Donald Barbieri, Jose Bolono, Tommy Parker, Chris Bullock, Jody Stanizewski and Robert Price. (I’m sure I’m leaving a few out)

From behind the chain-linked fence a fan began ribbing the Finbar players for their effort.  At the conclusion of the game, some of the Finbar players had heard enough. They grabbed the antagonistic fan and began beating him up.

Seeing the fan from Holy Name getting attacked, a Holy Name player ran over to help to his friend. It’s what you did when you saw a friend getting beat up by a group.

A Finbar player wound up with a broken nose.

It was a mess.

Fast forward a week later.

Dyker Field in Bensonhurst.

Not too far from St. Finbar’s.

Only the opponent this day wasn’t Finbar’s, it was St. Bernadette.

During the course of the game over 100 kids were making their way from the Golf Course towards the baseball field.  They soon walked through the left field fence.

Standing in the outfield, they resembled the “Baseball Fury” from the film, “The Warriors.”

These guys weren’t there to watch the game. They were at the field for the big payback.

The rowdy group of teens began shouting at the lonely left fielder for Holy Name.

Next thing you know they are going after him.

The entire Holy Name team seeing this all took off to the outfield to try and help their teammate.

It was no use, Holy Name was outnumbered.

At one point, the rowdy group trapped Holy Name in the dugout. After the yelling and screaming, they began throwing things at the team.

“One guy took my cap so I went after him,” said Michael Slavin. The red-headed ninth avenue resident was a member of the team and within minutes was hit over the head with a baseball bat after retrieving his cap.

Slavin wasn’t about to let someone snatch his cap.

“I felt my left arm going crazy, then I blacked out.” He said.

Slavin was having a seizure.

An ambulance arrived and took him to Kings County hospital.

“I wasn’t hurt or anything. No pain, no headache.” Slavin admits.

Holy Name kids are built tough!

Also in the melee, Gonzo was whacked over the head with a bat. Luckily he had a helmet on. As a memento of that day ‘G’ still has the cracked helmet.

After the x-rays Slavin was diagnosed with a depressed skull fracture. He spent three days in the hospital.

Upon his discharge from the hospital Slavin went up to Ford to clean out his locker at the end of the semester. Brother Sullivan walked by and expected Slavin to take his History final.

“Brother, I have a 100 percent in History and I just spent three days in the hospital. Do I really have to take it?” Slavin pleaded.

To this the teacher explained.

“Unless you want to attend summer school, yes, you have to take it.”

Slavin did as he was told and took the final. And being the outstanding student, Slavin aced it.



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18 Responses to THE BASE-BRAWL

  1. jimmy vac says:

    It takes a bunch of punks to go after someone you outnumber abot 6 to 1 and more of a punk to hit someone with a baseball bat… did they ever catch the lowlife that hit Red?

    • hoopscoach says:

      I’m pretty sure they got one kid but all he got was probation. If this happened today, forget about it!

      I’m hoping more people involved chime in…

  2. jimmy vac says:

    Hey Slavin,
    Let’s find this r*t Ba*st**rd and smack his friggin head against the Statue of
    Limitations. and then probate him…

  3. TonyF16th St says:

    As a father/coach I have seen this crap go on all too much. It gets old real fast. Let me say firstly someone should have gotten hold of the fan who was heckling the kids from Finbars and gave him a good kick in the ass because he was the one that initiated the whole thing.

  4. TonyF16th St says:

    Think about if this asshole isn’t heckling the kids, Slavin and Gonzo don’t wind up with cracked skulls. Jim Vac if you want to kick someones ass find out who that jerk was and go after him.

    • mike slavin says:


  5. jimmy vac says:

    Tony F,
    You hit it on the head… but some of the 100 morons that went after Holy Name should have the brains to figure out it was not the team that ignited the situation but the weasel with the big mouth who was shooting his
    mouth off.
    As also a coach and a father, letting the kids play seem to be the last thing
    on some people’s mind. fortunately, our bad experiences were few.I remember once alot of people getting upset that another team’s coach was watching or “scouting ” our team and another time some people were upset
    that anothet team celebrated :too much” after beating us.. The kds were * years old!! The only time I was a little mad, we lost the team due to the 9-0
    rule but still had the field for another 45 minutes or so.. so w suggested why
    don’t the coaches pitch to the kids and let them hit. the coach said no..wanted to rest his (10 yea old !!) players!!!

  6. TonyF16th St says:

    Absolutely, I’m not condoning the kids, we would have taken care of them the good old “Park Slope” way. Go down at night with like fifty guys and kick the shit out of all of them. LOL
    All I’m saying is if the “ADULT” asshole didn’t get on the kids none of this would have happened. I’s easy to blame the kids. Again I’m not saying they were right but someone should have gotten involved to put a lid on what turned into an ugly situation because an ADULT acted like a kid.

  7. Gary Lang says:

    I’m going out on a limb here, but here I go….My son growing up had me as a baseball coach in little league. I often told him not to get into any ragging on the the other team ” because you only lower yourself to their level.” My son went on to play high school baseball and was captain of his team. One particular game against Tottenville H.S., the powerhouse of Staten Island that year, they were getting their asses kicked, in addition to being verbally abused. One of my son’s teamates struck out, got verbally abused and proceeded to give back what he was fed up taking. He sat down in the dugout next to my son, who simply looked straight ahead and told the kid what he had just done was wrong. This infuriated the kid even more and after giving my son some lip, my son simply said “but you were so much bigger than them up until then, you just gave them what they wanted and they got to you.” We are all resonsible for what we do, what we teach, and what we become and that is a big problem in sports today.

  8. Maureen Rice (Flanagan) says:

    It is a huge leap from ragging on an opposing team, to purposely wait for someone, and use a deadly weapon on them…HUGE.. I get it, it would be nice if everyone just cheered their team and did not razz the other team- but it is some kind of personality disorder to pick up a baseball bat and hit someone with it…just my opinion…

  9. TonyF16th St says:

    Very well said. You must have been very proud of your son .

  10. JIMMYVAC says:

    Your son did great. The only thing worse than a sore loser is an arrogant winner. The Tottenville coach should have had more class. I remember when we beat the Gil Hodges team in the BaBa Tournement in their stadium (PA system and eveything). When the game ended, there was supposed to
    be a ceremony at home plate where one of their player was to take a trophy and hand it to one of ours, They just walked off the field. This from a team named after a guy that exemplified class…

  11. JIMMYVAC says:

    That was the name of it .. It may have been hosted by the Gil Hodges team. We beat Franco and they had two other guys that played AAA Ball .They had a great stadium , national anthem played before the game, and being announced is really cool system.
    . I pitched the final game and my heart was racing the whole game.. It was a great tournament.

  12. Clare Carella says:

    Hasn’t someone approached you to combine all you blogs into a book. I don’t visit Container Diaries often enough and may have missed too many entries. I absolutely love your writing.

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