A day ago I received some sad news.

J.J. Cortese passed away last Friday.

Cortese started the Park Slope Baseball League way back in the late 1960’s.

He was the president for decades.

There’s a field dedicated to him up in the diamonds in Prospect Park.


J.J. was a good guy.  Carl Manco of Sport Prospect e-mailed;

“I never saw him get angry. He owned an ‘old school’ grocery store on 7th avenue between 7th and 8th streets for about 60 years.”

Cortese laid the foundation for what is now the Prospect Park Baseball Association.

The man who sat outside on his folding chair was big on giving nicknames to young baseball players. He called Tommy Manco ‘Wheels’– because he was slow. If you called someone wheels today because they were slow you would probably get fired.

Carl also told me Cortese might have been the one who gave Barry Rohrssen the nickname, “Barry Arms.”

Here’s a good article from 2010 on Mr. Cortese via the Civic News. 

RIP Mr. Baseball


This entry was posted in Barry Rohrssen, Baseball, JJ Cortese, Park Slope, Prospect Park, Sport Prospect. Bookmark the permalink.


  1. Joe Solimeno says:

    I had the pleasure of meeting Mr. Cortese when I started working at Sport Prospect when the store first opened on August 27, 1988. He offered me an opportunity to umpire baseball in Prospect Park which I respectfully declined. He always said hello and asked “How are you doing young man?” when I passed home on the street. Rest in peace JJ, you’ll be missed. – Joe from Ridgewood.

  2. Maureen Rice (Flanagan) says:

    so sorry to read this..for 10 years, I worked on that year, when I was shoveling snow, he approached me and told me I needed an ice-breaker..he went up to his apt and brought me one, told me to keep it for as long as I needed it..he was in his ’80’s then, I believe..he always had a cheerful greeting….

  3. Stephanie says:

    I live around the corner down 8th and have known Mr. Cortese for years. I’m 22 and grew up with his grandson. His family is the nicest bunch of people I’ve ever met. Unfortunately, I wasn’t in the area when I heard of his passing, but my family attended the funeral which was packed–very humbling to see how such a phenomenal man had a great impact on the community. Every morning, walking to La Bagel for breakfast, I would stop and talk to him. He would tell me I need to find a great boyfriend who is going to protect me and love me…he even jokingly wished he wasn’t “too old” for me. He gave my dog treats when I’d walk her around the block–and the dog would run to him once she saw him outside. I remember sitting on the wooden floors of his old grocery store and playing Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles with his grand kids. I was even the only girl on a boys baseball team when I was little, and he would cheer me on. He gave us free fruit. I’m so saddened by this news, but I know he is swinging for the fences up in heaven. God Bless.

  4. Frank says:

    Always stopped to chat as I walked to the bagel store. .. Just a pleasant guy. . Actually got a ticket once as I was talking to him and didn’t realize the meter maid was by my vehicle. . It was worth it…

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