25 Years Ago in Bonac Sports 07.10.14

Local sports history

July 6, 1989
Paul Annacone said this week that when his career winds down he’d like to help Scott Rubenstein, whose Health Hampton Club project is being weighed by the East Hampton Town Planning Board, set up programs for local youngsters.

“If we have a facility like this some day,” he said, “kids here will have something positive to do rather than hang around, and, hopefully, a youngster who wants to pursue an athletic dream, as I did, won’t have to be uprooted from friends and family.”

Annacone spent three and a half years, from the age of 13 to 17, at the Nick Bollettieri Tennis Academy in Bradenton, Fla. He could have made the professional tennis circuit no other way, he said.

“It’s easy for kids in Los Angeles or Boca Raton,” said Annacone. “They’ve got 50 people to practice with every day. I know what it’s like to be the only person within a 90-mile area trying to achieve the goal of a touring tennis professional career.”

Rotary, with a two-run rally in the bottom of the sixth inning, won the East Hampton Town Little League “world series” on June 28, defeating the Masons 5-4.

It was the first championship for a Rotary-sponsored team in 20 years.

Steve Redlus went all the way on the mound for Rotary; Alex Walter Jr. was the losing pitcher. Rotary’s Scott Gibbons had two doubles and drove in three runs.

Gibbons, a 12-year-old, recalled later, at the A&B Snowflake, to which both teams repaired for postgame celebrations, that the first year he played Rotary went 0-15, the next year 0-13, and last year 3-9.

The following were named to the league’s all-star traveling team: George Wilson and Gibbons of Rotary; Guy Ficeto and Keith Corso of the Masons; Denis Dunn of Marders; Asa Gosman, Travis Kelly, and Jim Brady of Montauk; Henry Meyer and Tim Ross of the Town Police Benevolent Association; Matt Fromm and Ellamae Gurney of Amagansett; David Barbour of March Equipment, and Steven Payne of Lions.

“The single most important aspect of hitting is concentration,” the former Major League baseball great Tommy Holmes told a gathering of Sag Harbor Little and Lassie League players and coaches on June 28.

“You kids have all your playing days ahead of you,” he said. “Take advantage of them.”

Holmes fielded questions from the Little Leaguers after his talk, though he sidestepped one from Phil Cardone, who asked him what was the greatest team he ever saw. “I would say the Brooklyn Dodgers of the mid-’50s were among the best,” he replied.

Holmes showed no such hesitation when asked who the best hitter he ever saw was: “The great Ted Williams.” He went on to say that Babe Ruth was the best power hitter he had ever seen. Holmes, incidentally, once coached the Major League home run king, Hank Aaron, who broke Ruth’s lifetime mark.

Holmes was a lifetime .302 hitter, and had one of the lowest strikeout-per-at-bat ratios in the history of the game, a fact that attests to his knowledge of hitting.