Mets honor GNYSAA luminaries with ceremony

The New York Mets honored the 2007 and 2008 Greater New York Sandlot Athletic Alliance (GNYSAA) Raymond F. Church Service to Youth Baseball Awards Dinner Honrees with an on-field ceremony Saturday. These six sandlot and amateur baseball gentlemen represent over 250 of baseball experience. They are Joseph Victor Athletic Director, Lower East Side Gauchos Baseball Program, Richard Arcari – Immediate Past President of the Long Island Connie Mack Baseball League, Bill Klapach – Staten Island Federation, Jack Kaiser – Athletic Director Emeritus Saint John's University, James McElroy – Chairman, Cadets Baseball Club and Bruno Franco – President of the New York City Baseball Federation.

The ceremony included a short bio on the long time service of each man and a presentation of a scoreboard picture commemorating their day at Shea. Met coaches Howard Johnson and Sandy Alomar, Sr. both came out to take pictures and say thanks to these men and their contributions to amateur baseball. Although each of the honorees has been honored in some form or another on a prior occasion each was touched by the ceremony.

The GNYSAA is the successor to the Journal American Sandlot Alliance established in 1940 by Sports Editor Max Kase. It is currently comprised of area sandlot leagues including Brooklyn-Queens CYO, Diamond Pros, Kings County American Legion, Long Island Baseball League, Long Island City YMCA, Long Island Connie Mack, Metropolitan New York Amateur Baseball Association, New York Federation, Police Athletic League, Queens Kiwanis Sports Association, Staten Island CYO and Staten Island Old Timers Organization. The GNYSAA has provided long-term support of New York City children through baseball, and currently serves approximately 21,000 young people ages 6 to 18 in the New York City Metropolitan area.

Each year the GNYSAA honors those that have given so much to youth baseball in the New York Metropolitan area, at the annual Raymond Church Service to Youth Baseball Awards Dinner. At this year's dinner we will honor Richard Arcari, Bruno Franco and Joseph Victor, for their community service and work in youth baseball. Also awarded are the Margaret Tempone and Raymond Church Memorial Scholarships to graduating high school student-athletes who have shown exceptional ability on the field complemented by community service and educational achievement. Two additional scholarships are expected to be added this year in honor of the late Tommy Holmes and the late Richard Arcari.

The GNYSAA is supported by New York Mets Foundation, Major League Baseball and local fund raising. Contributions to the Greater New York Sandlot Athletic Alliance are tax deductible. To make donations to the GNYSAA or to purchase tickets to the upcoming dinner honoring these baseball gentlemen please contact Thomas Sylvester at 718-392-7932 x239, tsylvester@ymcanyc.org or mail to 32-23 Queens Blvd, LIC, NY 11101.

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