Tag Archives: Westport Little League

Friday Flashback #154

The opening of the transformed Westport Library brought back memories of the original — and reminders, once again, that it was built on what was once the “town dump.”

Alert — and historic minded — “06880” reader Fred Cantor found a fascinating aerial photo, published by the Town Crier in 1965

(Photo/Robert Lentini)

Back then, the library was located in the building at the lower left of the photo. Today it’s the site of Starbucks, Freshii and other tenants.

Across the Post Road — at the foot of what we now call the Ruth Steinkraus Cohen Bridge — is a block of shops and apartments that burned in the late 1960s or early ’70s. Today it’s South Moon Under, and other stores.

But the most fascinating part of the photo is seen beyond Jesup Green and the Taylor Place parking lot. There — in the center of town — sat the Rogers Little League baseball diamond. The dugouts are about where the upper entrance to the library lot is today. (Why is it so bumpy now? Landfill.)

Unfortunately, the photo does not show what lies beyond left and center field. That was the town dump.

It smelled. It attracted seagulls. It was not uncommon for the birds to swoop near unsuspecting outfielders, attempting to catch flies (the baseball variety).

Around that time — perhaps a few years later — Westport artist Arthur Cady drew a series of Westport scenes.

(Illustration by Arthur Cady/courtesy of Jim Ezzes)

This one may have been a bit of artistic license. I don’t think the dump was quite that close to downtown.

But it sure was near to what is now Tiffany, nestling right behind on Taylor Place.

Photo Challenge #240

Last week’s Photo Challenge was a bit of a curveball.

The image showed a sign: “No Little League Parking Beyond This Point.” In the background was a brick building, and some steps. (Click here for the photo.)

The field behind Town Hall! most readers responded.

A great guess. But wrong.

This sign can be seen at The Saugatuck Cooperative — the apartment complex on Bridge Street, between South Compo and Imperial Avenue.

Michael Calise and Chip Stephens — former Little Leaguers, back in the day — knew that before it was converted to housing, the building was the site of the original Saugatuck Elementary School. Darcy Sledge — who I don’t think played Little League here — also knew the correct answer. (In its earlier, wooden incarnation it was called the Bridge Street School.)

The playground and most athletic fields fell into disuse when Saugatuck El closed, back in the 1980s. But Little League continued to use the small diamond there up until a few years ago, even after the school was re-imagined as apartments.

Fred Cantor — who took the photo — is a longtime sports fan (and former Staples soccer player). Play ball!

Maggie Gomez provides this week’s Photo Challenge. If you know where in Westport you’d see this, click “Comments” below.

(Photo/Maggie Gomez)

Pic Of The Day #771

After the Memorial Day parade, Little Leaguers own Main Street. (Photo/John Videler for Videler Photography)

Pic Of The Day #739

Lots of action at the Little League field (Photo/John Videler for Videler Photography)

Remembering Perrin Delorey

Jeffrey Brill — president of Westport Baseball and Softball — sent this very sad statement tonight:

As many of you in the Little League community learned today, Perrin Delorey, a 10-year-old Westport Little League player, passed away tragically following a car accident on Sunday afternoon after visiting the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown.

Perrin passed with his Little League glove beside him. I will always remember him, as he appears in this photo after receiving a game ball this Spring season on May 5.

Perrin Delorey

On behalf of Westport Little League, we offer our deepest and most heartfelt condolences to the Delorey family and friends.

I am sending this note not only as the President of Westport Little League Baseball and Softball, but also as a coach of his AA team, the Cubs. I have gotten to know Perrin very well over the years while coaching him in baseball, basketball and soccer.

Wearing #5 on the Cubs this season, Perrin embodied the ethos and spirit of Little League. He exuded the team player concept and was committed to working hard to help his team.

Awarding him a game ball earlier in the season, and seeing his face in the moment, was a highlight of the coaches’ and players’ season. He was the most improved player on the team this season, and a joy to coach. My co-coaches and his prior coaches all echo this sentiment. He will deeply missed by his teammates, coaches and friends.

This news hits the Westport Little League community especially hard in these circumstances. Perrin’s first cousin, Phillip Sullivan, plays on the AA Brewers team and his grandfather, Bill Ryan, is a longtime friend and supporter of Westport Little League. Please join me in supporting the Delorey, Ryan and Sullivan families during this incredibly difficult time.

RWestport Little League intends to honor Perrin in a number of ways that we will be announcing and we will share different ways you can honor his memory.

When Perrin’s mother mentioned to me that Perrin would miss the Cubs playoff game this past Saturday, I promised her that Perrin would play another game with the Cubs after Saturday — no matter what happened this past Saturday on the field as a function of the double elimination nature of the playoffs — and reassured her that he should not miss out on a trip with his family and a visit to Cooperstown.

While the latter was certainly true about spending precious time with his family, I could not have been more wrong about the former, as events off the baseball field dictated the tragic course of events.

If we can take anything away from this senseless tragedy, it is that life can be transient and fragile, and one should relish every moment with one’s loved ones on the field and off the field.

Our thoughts and prayers remain with Perrin’s family and friends.

Remembering Howard Dickstein

The men and women who grew up in the 1920s and ’30s — and who served their country in so many ways — have been called the Greatest Generation.

The nickname fits in Westport too. Arriving here in postwar droves, those young parents served their new hometown with the same vigor. They imparted important values to their kids (and their kids’ friends). They volunteered wherever and however they could. The roots they planted then still help bear fruit today.

Westport lost another member of that Greatest Generation last week. Howard Dickstein died at home, a month shy of his 90th birthday.

You may not have known his name. But he was one of those men and women who made Westport the kind of town it is.

An honors graduate of New York’s DeWitt Clinton High School (at age 16), he supported himself through NYU’s journalism school by working at an ad agency, and as a stringer for the Herald Tribune.

After serving in the Navy during World War II, he completed his NYU degree on the GI Bill.

Dickstein spent most of his career in advertising, eventually running his own agency. He returned to journalism after retirement, as a proofreader and columnist (“Hawkeye”)/sportswriter for the Minuteman. He particularly enjoyed covering the Staples High School soccer team, long after his sons Peter and Steve starred for the Wreckers.

Howard Dickstein

Dickstein’s passions ranged far and wide. During the civil rights era he co-sponsored The Forum, which brought speakers like Floyd McKissick and Norman Thomas to Westport.

He promoted dialogue between Westport and Bridgeport, and designed pamphlets for fair housing.

He was a 2-term president of the Southern Connecticut Ethical Society, a volunteer in the Norwalk Hospital emergency room, a meal server at the Senior Center, and a longtime Little League umpire.

Fascinated by the OJ Simpson trial, he enrolled at Norwalk Community College to study criminal justice. As part of his studies, he accompanied local police on ride-alongs.

He and Kate — his wife of 64 years — were original members of The Turkeys. For 30 years, the group met in members’ homes, read plays and shared food and laughs.

He was a talented and tireless handyman. He spent years constructing a massive stone wall at his Park Lane home.

Dickstein adored the University of Connecticut women’s basketball team, and was chronically disappointed by the New York Mets.

Of all his accomplishments though, he was most proud of his family. He is survived by his wife Kate; sons Peter (Lisa) of San Francisco and Stephen (Natalie) of Delray Beach, Florida, and daughter Jane (Gordon) of Mill Valley California; 5 grandchildren; his sister Geraldine, and nieces, nephews and cousins.

Special gratitude goes to his dedicated caregivers, Stacy Meikle and Jennifer  Wilson.

At his request, a memorial service will be private. Contributions in Howard Dickstein’s name made be made to Visiting Nurse & Hospice of Fairfield County, PO Box 489, Wilton, CT 06897.

Pic Of The Day #7

Little Leaguers practicing this morning. (Photo/Leslie Flinn)

A Sure Sign Of Spring

Earlier today, alert “06880” reader Fred Cantor watched a woman struggle against fierce Compo winds, trying to get this sign to stand:

(Photo/Fred Cantor)

Click on or hover over to enlarge. (Photo/Fred Cantor)

When he saw what it said, Fred immediately felt hopeful. He knows there’s nicer weather ahead.

He adds: “Many thanks to the volunteer who brought a bit of sunshine on this miserable day.”

Route To The Royals

Westport is known for many things. Producing professional baseball players is not one of them.

So we’ll take full credit for Joey Markus — even though his athletic career in Westport consisted of just a season in Little League.

Joey Markus in Little League...

Joey Markus in Little League…

But the 9th round draft pick of the Kansas City Royals has a decent local pedigree.

His father, Steve Markus, graduated from Staples in 1976, and played baseball and football there.

His mother, Robin Greenhut Markus, was a 1981 grad. She captained both the volleyball and ski teams.

Joey’s academic career in Westport consisted of a few months at Coleytown Elementary School. His family then moved to DeLand, Florida, where he was a power-hitter who played several positions.

Delayed puberty and and growth plate issues in his shoulder hampered his high school career. He coached the high school girls softball team one year; as a senior he was a designated hitter on a team that reached the state finals.

Still, he received a full athletic scholarship from Indian River State College in Fort Pierce, Florida. Last year, he finally pitched. Scouts liked what they saw: 1 6-6 left-hander who throws 91-93 miles an hour.

Joey is playing now for the Burlington Royals, a Rookie-level team in the Appalachian League.

...and as a Burlington Royal.

…and as a Burlington Royal.

 

 

Westport Little Leaguers Make It To Williamsport — Again!

A year ago this weekend Jeb Backus was in Pennsylvania, cheering rabidly as Westport’s team made a storied run to the Little League World Series final.

Jeb was back in Williamsport today. He was less invested in the title game — Chicago won 7-5, over Las Vegas — but was thrilled to see Westport has not been forgotten.

Way-larger-than-life banners outside Lamade Stadium honor Chad Knight, and the rest of the local team.

Little League 1 - Chady Knight by Jeb Backus

Time flies. On Monday, most of those former Little Leaguers begin their freshman year at Staples High School.

Little League 2 - by Jeb Backus