By Rebecca Henely
In 1994, a baseball field in College Point was named after Fred Schade, a founder and longtime member of the neighborhood’s Little League, and now the field will bear his name once again for the first time in more than a decade.
“This is his dream come true,” said Ray Schade, one of Fred Schade’s three sons. “He’s definitely smiling today.”
City Councilman Daniel Halloran (R-Whitestone) and Borough Parks Commissioner Dorothy Lewandowski joined with members of Fred Schade’s family and young baseball players to rename one of the fields in the College Point Fields at Ulmer Street and 25th Avenue after him.
The fields had been well-tended by Fred Schade in his heyday. However, they were closed by the city in October 1997 when Flushing company Enviro-Fill dumped illegal construction debris on the site.
Despite no longer having a permanent place to play with the closure of the baseball diamonds, the Little League stayed intact through the interim. The fields were reopened by the city Parks Department in 2004 and renovated completely with the new sports complex in 2010, but the family had e-mailed Halloran’s office a year ago to get the baseball field renamed. They got an immediate response from the councilman, said Richard Schade, another one of Fred Schade’s sons.
“He was a great man and this is an incredible honor,” said Jamie Loeb, a neighbor of Fred Schade.
Both Ray and Richard Schade, who came to the event with Fred Schade’s grandchildren and great-grandchildren, said Fred Schade’s driving passion was for baseball.
Ray Schade said his father coached baseball for 40 years and would help maintain the fields on the weekends. Fred Schade, who worked fixing the machines for Hotel Bar Butter, did this because he loved the game and knew the children of College Point needed a place to play.
“Work was just something he did between baseball,” Ray Schade said.
Loeb said the field was originally named for Fred Schade in 1994, but Fred Schade’s death in 1999 at the age of 77 meant he did not live to see the ball fields reopen.
Ray Schade said the renaming meant a lot to the family.
“This was his dream,” Ray Schade said, “to always have these kinds of fields.”
Halloran commended the Schade family for helping keep the neighborhood’s Little League going and Lewandowski for working to get the field renamed.
“Dottie has worked with my office to make so many great things happen throughout this district,” Halloran said.
Reach reporter Rebecca Henely by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 718-260-4564.