CYO Baseball Lasts A Lifetime
Oct 15, 2013Posted by james

Al Itallia pitched and played first base on Catholic Youth Organization teams that won league championship during the 1940s and 1950s. He said the wins and losses pale in comparison to the lifelong friendships among the ballplayers.

Itallia now is 80 years old. Once a month, he gets together with men from his old Nebraska neighborhood to talk about family, sports and current events. CYO stories always come up, and the players have fond memories of their baseball days.

John Stellar, who is 78, meets weekly with another group of former players. He’s grateful for the baseball friendships that eventually led him to the Nebraska Baseball Hall of Fame.

The friendships enjoyed by Itallia, Stellar and younger players who participated in CYO baseball through the 1970s were forged during a simpler time. Lacking today’s tech toys, generations of boys were drawn to neighborhood ball fields through their parish schools or summer camps.

CYO baseball was about competition, and bringing people together through friendship and mutual interests. Many of the ballplayers enjoyed their time in CYO so much that they became high school, college, or sandlot players. Stella even coached in the San Francisco Giants minor league system.

After all these years, friendships from CYO baseball continue to thrive. According to Stella: “If it wasn’t for baseball, I probably wouldn’t know anyone.”

We all start somewhere. Many of us can point to the sports field as the place where we began our journey that led to lifelong achievements at work and many wonderful memories with family and close friends.


No Comments

No comments yet.

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Leave a comment