Zach Soolman unleashes a pitch during his comeback start with Larkin Club after Tommy John surgery.

Zach Soolman, Tommy John Surgery, and The Love of the Game

If Zach Soolman’s true baseball ambitions had been realized, he’d have been pitching for the Red Sox last summer, perhaps working in step with Pedro Martinez in the rotation and giving New England baseball fans a dazzling 1-2 pitching punch: Zach and Pete, and pray for sleet, or some such pressbox contrivance.

But fantasy is fantasy, and real life is real life. And for Zach Soolman, in hisa 28th summer, real life meant working in the consumer marketing department for Gorton’s Seafoods, and, just for kicks, pitching for the Larkin Club in the Boston Park League.

Soolman has been pitching pretty much his whole life, from Little League bandboxes to Needham High School to Tufts University. His college career ended with his graduation from Tufts in 1995, but he never stopped pitching. Going into last season, he had been a Park League mainstay for nine years.

We bring you, then, to the night of July 30, 2001. Read more

John Casey, Tufts

Park League Inducts Casey Into Its Hall

John Casey, who grew up in Jamaica Plain and has been head baseball coach at Tufts University in Somerville since 1984, was inducted this month into the Boston Park League Hall of Fame. The league is the oldest amateur baseball league in the country. Casey was considered one of its top players in the 1980s and one of its best umpires in the 1990s. He has continued his support of the league since retiring from the diamond. Read more

Ballplayer Awaits Call To The Pros; Braintree Slugger, A Star At Trinity, Is Being Scouted

Mike Ranieri is in the midst of his longest waiting game ever.

This time, the slugging baseball player isn’t stepping out of the batter’s box and playing games with an opposing pitcher.

His wait is for a ring on the telephone at his Braintree home or a knock on the door. You see, Ranieri is on the outside looking in. He is waiting for a call from Major League Baseball.

Four nights a week he puts on a uniform and plays center field for the All-Dorchester Sports League baseball team in the Boston Park League. And he keeps his ears and eyes open. Read more

Bill Stewart, Boston Park League Baseball

Generation After Generation: The Boston Stewarts – A Lot To Live Up To

Open the photo albums and you can see the Stewarts. Turn the page and listen to their stories – you’ll begin to feel the family’s traditions.

Bill Stewart can remember his grandpa’s stories. Bill heard them time and again. Stories of big games, great athletes, magical stadiums. Sports are a big part of the family tradition. But while lots of families hand down stories of legendary athletic events witnessed, the Stewart family hands down stories of participation, beginning with Grandpa Stewart, “Bill Sr.,” who was a National Hockey League (NHL) referee and a National League (N.L.) baseball umpire.

Generation After Generation: The Boston Stewarts – A Lot To Live Up To, by Dan Herbst, as appearing in Referee Magazine.

Colorado Silver Bullets

Bullets Seek Silver Lining

Forty years have passed, but they are still in a League of Their Own. The sight of women on the grass at Fenway Park seems as foreign today as it did when they wore skirts and high socks in the 1950s.

But one can see why the popularity of the all-female Colorado Silver Bullets is growing as they criss-cross America and Canada, making a statement that is much stronger than the movie of the same name. Their 6-0 loss to the Boston Park League All-Stars yesterday was not unexpected. What was surprising was that 5,200 went home convinced they’d been a part of history. Read more

Kelliher is Ready for Park League Season

The Boston Park League, the nation’s oldest amateur baseball league, begins its 65th season tomorrow, and as usual, Milton resident and Mass. Envelope general manager John Kelliher will be part of the proceedings.

When Mass. Envelope won the league title last year, it marked Kelliher’s 11th Park League championship as either a manager or GM in a career that dates back to 1939, when he played for the old Hurley Club of Roxbury after graduating from Roxbury Memorial High.

“I’m retired from the MBTA now, so I’ve got more time to devote to baseball,” said the former Red Sox and Brooklyn Dodgers farmhand, “and I’m really looking forward to this season. Each spring, I kind of get rejuvenated because of baseball.” Read more