It’s June!

Baseball is here.

The Mets swept the Yankees this past week.

While speaking with a friend recently, I was  reminded of a current major league baseball player from around the way. (OK, so he’s not from ninth avenue but he grew up on 11th street and 8th avenue.  Close enough, right?) Charlie Cummings was probably the one guy  from the neighborhood who came close to playing in the major leagues.  I do know he was in the New York Mets farm system and made it to Tidewater.


Adam Ottavino, a pitcher for the Colorado Rockies is 27 years old and attended Berkley-Carroll School.

Click here to read a story from the The Daily News from back in 2010.

“I’ve played in Marine Park, the Parade Grounds, over in Bensonhurst – literally every field,” he said. “Now I get tons of text messages from people saying, ‘Way to represent Brooklyn.'”

Adam played in the Parade Grounds like many others in the past.  The Parade Grounds have had a lot of good ballplayers through the years.  I recall playing down there as a member of Holy Name’s baseball team.  What I recall most was  that we always walked down to the games.




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16 Responses to PUT ME IN COACH

  1. jimmyvac says:

    Johnny was a great athlete period…. Heard he got yelled at by the Mets for playing football for Farrell’s. I played sandlot for the 72nd Pct,, Knights of Columbus, and the Bonnies. Looking back, I am amazed out of all the great players I played with and against, only two played in the bigs.. Johnny Franco and Dallas Williams. Quite a few made it to AA and AAA ball.
    As Adam said, I too played all over Brooklyn, I am amazed how we took public transportation to games all over Brooklyn and never was late for a game .

    • hoopscoach says:

      Would love to get that story about Charlie…

      I saw Shawn Dunston play down at the Parade Grounds.

      Also think Lee Mazzilli played down there too.

  2. jimmyvac says:

    Remember seeing Maz play for Lincoln… saw him hit a grounder to second and beat it out. He could also throw with both hands though never had a strong arm.. Jonny Cummings told me the Mets GM called the house screaming at Charlie because he had hurt his back earlier in the season and was playing football for Farrell’s. He played with Mazzilli in the minors and hung around with him and there was a story going around back then that Maz went to a store in the neighborhood and asked the store clerk to get him a 6 pack and the clerk told him to go get it himself and Maz went ballistic at the guy cursing him out..
    The early to late 70’s produced a lot of good players that played in the Parade Grounds, Dyker, and Red Hook… Pete Falcone, Willie Randolph, Dunston, Joe Sambito… There were at least 10 guys I knew that plyed minor league ball. Let’s not forger the most famous Brooklyn born minor leaguer:
    Michael Jordan….

    • hoopscoach says:


      Jordan did not spend enough time in Brooklyn. His father was sent to Brooklyn from North Carolina to get additional training related to work. Michael was born in Brooklyn while the Jordan’s were living in Brooklyn. It wasn’t a very long stay.

  3. jimmyvac says:

    That’s why I said born in Brooklyn. Lou Whitaker was also Brooklyn born but moved south as a kid…Brooklyn’s most famous baseball player has to be Koufax, along with Falcone and Franco, Lafeyette alums. Cannot believe the school does not have a baseball team…..

    • hoopscoach says:

      Don’t forget the Candy Man, John Candelaria who happened to be a very good basketball player too.

  4. Kevin Mahoney says:

    An interesting fact about Mazzilli is that he was a national champion speedskater as a teenager, and would probably have competed in the 1972 Olympics had it not been for baseball.

    • hoopscoach says:


      Mazzilli’s home phone number used to be in the phone book. We used to call his house and talk to his dad.

  5. Frank papa says:

    Joe Torre And Lee Mazzili

  6. Glenn Thomas says:

    There was a story that when Candaleria was playing for his outside team down at the Parade Grounds, that former Pittsburgh Pirate Manager the late Danny Murtagh caught Candaleria for a while to see how hard he threw and was doing an evaluation of him. Candaleria as most people know was also a very good high school basketball player for LaSalle Academy. I believe that he is the all time leader in career rebounds as a high school player in NYC. Pretty impressive.

  7. Eddie Matula says:

    Just saw Johnny Franco the other day on the West Side Highway bike-path. He was using a Razor scooter headed north. I’ve met him a bunch of times through different people….but funny seeing him on that scooter.

    • hoopscoach says:

      Thanks Eddie…

      Sometimes we put these athletes on pedestals but in reality they’re just like us. Especially when their career’s are over.

      Franco is one of the good guys.

  8. cathy Bove says:

    Cathy Bove’

    After we moved off 16th Street. I went to school with John Candelaria . Holy Innocents grammar school also spent many a week night at practice with the swim team. The boys and girls practiced on the same nights at James Madison H.S. He was a good swimmer too. He also played baseball.
    My dad was one of his coaches. The good old day.. 🙂

  9. John M says:

    Dallas williams, Lee Mazelli, Pete Falcone,Willie Randolph, Eddie D’alessio(COLLEGE),and John Candaleria, What about all the College Scholorship winners in the 1970’s. The toughest place to play ball by far. What a memory.

  10. George Farrell says:

    I don’t know where Joe Pepitone grew up but I remember reading he was shot at Manual HS during a dispute around 1957. A lot of talent but a party guy who loved the night life too much.

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