Joe Namath talks with head linesman Jim Mello before Super Bowl XLVIII at MetLife Stadium. (c) Ed Mulholland, USA Today Sports.

From BPL All-Star to Super Bowl XLVIII

Neither Bo Jackson, Deion Sanders, nor any of the other 65 professional athletes who played Major League Baseball or in the National Football League ever achieved such a feat. But Jimmy Mello of the Boston Park League did. This winter, Jim Mello, 56, became the first player in history to hit a home run out of Fenway Park and participate in a Super Bowl. (Until another historian proves otherwise!) Read more

Dick Paster, Designated Hitter

America’s First DH in Amateur Baseball

In May of 1973, the Dick Conley Club of West Roxbury and the Supreme Saints faced off in the Boston Park League opener. But this was no opener to take sitting down.

On this particular Monday night at Roslindale’s Fallon Field, the Park League introduced the designated hitter to sandlot baseball. Dick Paster didn’t get to play the field this day. But his at bats were historic. Read more

Mansfield players in the Boston Park League

Five Mansfield Athletes Playing Baseball Together in Boston Park League

Five Mansfield baseball players who started together in Little League who are now either in college or recent graduates are still playing ball together in the Boston Park League, the country’s oldest amateur baseball league.

Robert and Chris “C.J.” Johnson, Michael Perillo, Dan Gad, and Ben Blaisdell are all members of the of the TJO Sports team in the Boston Park League. They play third base, first base/pitcher, infielder/outfielder, catcher, and shortstop, respectively.

The team is coached by longtime Mansfield Little League coaches Bob Johnson, Robert and C.J.’s dad, and John Perillo, Michael’s Dad. Read more

J.P. Songin and his teammates at Fenway.

Like Songins before him, J.P. Can Play the Game

J.P. Songin is a perennial all-star in the Boston Park League. He also has a love-hate relationship with baseball.

“I love the game, especially hitting,’’ said the 36-year-old Norwood resident, a player-manager for the Palmer Club, “and I hate to strike out.’’

That motivation, according to league records kept since the 2007 season, has indeed brought out the best in Songin, who has fanned just 33 times in his last 651 at-bats while hitting .346.

A star at Walpole High who belted two homers in one game against Bay State Conference rival Natick his senior season in 1995, Songin went on to record a .402 average in his final year at Georgia College in Milledgeville, Ga. Read more

Harvey Soolman, JM Force

Soolman Manages To Live A Baseball Dream

Medford’s Harvey Soolman couldn’t make the Northeastern varsity baseball team, but he quickly found a home in the Park League.

Somewhere under the crumbling cement bleachers at Kelly Field in Hyde Park, Harvey -Soolman works his way through a sea of equipment and benches in the dark, finds a fuse box on the wall, and flicks a switch. The lights towering above the baseball diamonds begin to flicker in the twilight as the Little League field across the way enjoys the last few splashes of sunshine that the day will offer.

Soolman appears in the outfield, strolling out from behind the bleachers like a legend pushing his way out of the corn fields and onto the warning track of Ray Kinsella’s field in Iowa. He is in full uniform, with number 11 emblazoned in red on the back of his JM Force jersey, the team he manages in the Boston Park League. Read more

Kevin McGlinchy

Kevin McGlinchy Holds Out Hope For Another Shot At The Pros

Kevin McGlinchy made his Major League debut at age 21, in April 1999, with the Atlanta Braves. That October, he was on the mound at Yankee Stadium, pitching in the World Series. But his last big league appearance came when he was just 23.

Still, he has no regrets.

“Nah, I wouldn’t change anything,” said McGlinchy, drafted out of Malden High by the Braves in the fifth round of the 1995 first-year player draft. “Because then it would screw up the evolution of my life.

“But I feel like I could have done more. That’s why I’m still playing. I got four years in the majors and six years in the minor leagues. That’s a pretty good career so far.”

After several years of coaching, helping out alumni camps for the Major League Baseball Players Association, and giving private pitching instructions, the 34-year-old McGlinchy is pitching again. He was undefeated for Carlson of the Boston Park League. In 10 regular-season games he went 8-0 with a 0.76 ERA, racking up 76 strikeouts and just six walks in 59 1/3 innings. He allowed just one home run for the season. Read more

Jim Murphy, a retiree from West Roxbury, enjoyed a free front-row seat for a game at Fallon Field in Roslindale Wednesday night. ((Dina Rudick/Globe Staff)

Park League takes fans, players back … way back

It’s a sultry summer night, and the collision of wooden bats and hurtling baseballs echoes around the cozy grass amphitheater of Fallon Field in Roslindale.

“Nice throw, Danny!’’ barks Franz Strassmann, the coach of Grossman Marketing, which is battling to wrap up a playoff berth. Scattered applause ripples from the metal bleachers behind home plate and from lawn chairs perched along the foul lines.

This is the Boston Park League, the oldest continuing amateur baseball league in the country, and a throwback to a slower era when neighborhood and company teams drew rabid fans to simple ballparks without towering video screens, luxury boxes, and gourmet concessions.

They also had pretty good ballplayers, too. Read more

Mike Ross, Boston Padres

Ross Still Feared After A Decade In Park League

Boston Padres manager Ed Neal cannot remember how Foxborough’s Mike Ross ended up with his team nearly 10 years ago. But after all this time, he is happy Ross stuck around.

Ross was among the Padres’ leading hitters as he helped the team earn its first Boston Park League championship last month. The outfielder hit .376 this season and came up with several game-changing hits.

“Anytime he’s at the plate, you always know something special is going to happen,” Neal said. Read more

Needham native Hal Carey, head baseball coach at Catholic Memorial in West Roxbury, can’t stop playing the game. Eight years after hanging up his Harvard uniform (below), Carey is the shortstop for the Stockyard Club in the Boston Park League.

For The Love Of The Game

Though he last wore a Harvard University baseball uniform in the spring of 1999, Hal Carey still holds school records for career hits and stolen bases. The Needham native is still playing the game he loves, and playing it well, in the nation’s oldest continuous amateur baseball league.

Carey, head baseball coach at his high school alma mater, Catholic Memorial in West Roxbury, recently completed his 11th season in the Boston Park League as shortstop for the Stockyard Club, the runner-up in the league championship series last week to the Boston Padres.

A league all-star who batted .308 as one of the team’s elders at age 30, Carey played for the Park League’s All Dorchester Sports League team for three seasons while attending Harvard and the past eight years for the Walsh and Stockyard clubs. Read more