On Monday evening, metroBASEBALL magazine presented their first annual Ambassador Awards, which were presented to “individuals and organizations...who represent the game of baseball with exemplary class and integrity.”
“Given the hammering that the game of baseball has taken, we're trying to do something positive about the game of baseball,” said Nick D'Arienzo, executive editor of metroBASEBALL. “We're trying to recognize people who have committed to the game their entire lives.”
At an event hosted at Red Star Bar in Greenpoint, awards were presented to Jack Curran, the longtime baseball coach at Archbishop Molloy High School in Queens, and Phil and Denise Galasso, the husband-and-wife team behind the Greenpoint Little League.
Art Shamsky, a right fielder on the World Champion 1969 Mets team, was also on hand. He spoke about his days as a Major Leaguer and took questions from the crowd.
All of the proceeds from the event were donated to the Greenpoint Little League. Founded in 1951, the league now has 20 teams for four- to 16-year-old kids, as well as one traveling team.
“We're very humbled by it [the award], and we feel a little uncomfortable,” said Denise Galasso. “We don't do it for ourselves, we do it for the kids and the community.”
Pat Gorman introduced Curran at the event. Gorman played high school baseball under Curran at Archbishop Molloy High School, and was a senior in 1969 when the team won the city championship. He said Curran was much more than just a baseball coach.
Gorman recalled how he was injured after his eighth grade year, just before he was to join Curran's team, and his future coach went out of his way to get him medical help. He also recalled how Curran helped him get a full-ride baseball scholarship at a college whose coaches and staff had never seen him play an inning of baseball.
“He told me to decide where I wanted to go to school,” said Gorman, who ending up pikcing Manhattan College. “Coach picked up the phone and made a call, and I had a scholarship. That's how much pull he has.”
Gorman became the first member of his family to go to college. He said he still tries to see Curran at least once a year.
“The Archbishop Molloy High School motto is 'Not for School, But for Life.'” Gorman said. “Jack Curran exemplifies that.”