Sonny’s Gang Was All Here

I get plenty of requests for “06880” to cover reunions.

Every high school class thinks it’s special. In fact, only mine is.

But a non-high school reunion last weekend rates an “06880” shout-out. Held at the VFW, it brought together 4 decades of former players from Sonny’s.

That was the legendary Westport-based slow-pitch softball team that roamed the East Coast — and as far as Texas — piling up league and tournament wins.

The 1986 state championship team: Sonny's then...

The 1986 state championship team: Sonny’s then…

The team disbanded after founder/sponsor Sonny DeMattio died in 1993. But — 20 years later — Jeb Backus, a Sonny’s mainstay, brought the gang together again.

They talked about their 5 state championship. Their 1982 World Tournament 2nd-place finish. Their 111-22 record one memorable year.

There were plenty of familiar faces at the VFW. The entire Calise family came from Arizona. The DeMattio family was represented by Joey and Mike. Former Staples players included Al Ten, Joey Bottone and Pat Smith.

...and now.

…and now.

The mastermind behind it all was Backus, who started with Sonny’s as a 17-year-old.

He played with guys in their 20s and 30s. At the VFW, I’m sure he shared some amazing teenage memories from those years.

But even though this reunion story made it into “06880,” those stories won’t.

4 responses to “Sonny’s Gang Was All Here

  1. Sonny Demattio was an incredible guy. I am proud to have been a part of his love for softball. 7 years of playing against the best teams and playing with the best players will never be forgotten.

  2. Where is the Sonny’s converted Limo? I loved seeing that around town – it was part of the landscape.

  3. What field were the home games played at in Westport? My dad was an avid softball player when we lived in Queens; the fields were primarily asphalt–they played in the schoolyards.

    • We played only at Greens Farms after the lights went in. Before that we were at Doubleday (behind Bedford Jr High) King’s Highway, Compo Beach, Staples and Greens Farms. We played exhibition games at Staples…King and his Court and donkey ball.