Stickball league season starts with emotional tribute

By Alex Kushel

Sun Sentinel Correspondent

Nov 05, 2021 11:11 AM

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The Legends were presented with the Rick MacInnis Memorial Trophy on Oct. 29. They won the Palm Beach County Senior Stickball League Championship this past spring.

The Legends were presented with the Rick MacInnis Memorial Trophy on Oct. 29. They won the Palm Beach County Senior Stickball League Championship this past spring. (Alex Kushel / Contributor)

The Palm Beach County Senior Stickball League recently had participants hit the streets for another season as residents gathered to play the game they loved from their childhood.

The league has several active adult communities represented from Delray Beach, Boynton Beach and Lake Worth. The league games take place Friday mornings and afternoons at Village Park, 11700 Pierson Road, in Wellington. The majority of league members grew up playing stickball in the five boroughs of New York. The league features several longtime participants and also has newcomers.

The fall season opened Oct. 29 with an emotional tribute to Rick MacInnis before the first pitch. MacInnis died at age 60 last July after a year’s long battle with cancer. He was a Massachusetts native and relocated to Florida in 2012. The league’s president, Ron Vernon, said the new championship trophy is named after their friend. The Legends, who won last season’s spring title, were presented with the Rick MacInnis Memorial Trophy before playing in the first game of the fall season.

“Rick was an All-Star player in this league,” Vernon said. “He was tremendous and one of our best players. He was tragically taken away. He was one of our younger members. He was a father and good husband and grandfather. Rick fell in love with stickball. Like most of us, we did it as a kid and then didn’t do it after that and went on to other things. Rick found the game again and was playing in the league for about six years. He organized a team and became a captain.”

Vernon also said that his friend was planning on taking even a bigger role.

“Rick was interested in the survival of our league,” he said. “He was voted in as a secretary. He passed away before he could fulfill that position. He was definitely going to be the next president. He was younger and going to lead the league forward. He was an outstanding player and a super guy. The league will miss him and his family will miss him.”

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Barry Davis, a Boynton Beach resident who is a league treasurer and secretary, also noted how MacInnis made an impact with the other members.

“Rick was a very special person and always willing to get to whatever field we were playing at and make sure it was ready to play on,” Davis said. “He was a great teammate and for a new player to our league, stepped right up to help in the executive part and was willing to do whatever job we wanted him to do. Not having him here anymore is a tremendous loss to his family and us. He was a real good guy. No. 8 will always be with us and the league championship trophy will bear his name.”

The stickball league has a minimum age requirement of 53 and older for league games. They also hold playoff and championship games and recognize top players at the All-Star Game and top teams during the end-of-season barbecue, which includes hot dogs and egg creams.

The stickball members also participate in weekly pick-up games and they meet on weekends to play in Coconut Creek and Boynton Beach. The pick-up games allow beginners to get acclimated with the game and is open to all ages without restrictions.

Boynton Beach resident Marty Messinger won last season’s spring championship as a team member with the Legends. He said he was excited to start another season in the league.

“We feel like kids when we are playing,” he said. “I feel that I am in camp. It’s a great time.”

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