By FRANK DESORBO
I look out my window with an inch or two of snow as I browse the morning newspaper and read a small note that Major League Baseball spring training begins on February 11th. As I ponder the conflict in my mind of snow and sunny times, my experience in baseball league directs me to a special amateur baseball league. The oldest baseball league in the country is having a 90th birthday in 2020.
The Albany Twilight League (ATL) started in 1931 and it is still going strong. A baseball league that began before television and regular radio existed, when the President was Herbert Hoover, Al Capone was convicted of tax evasion, the Great Depression was at its peak and yet an amateur baseball league was very popular among the Albany people in the 30’s. The ATL started in 1931 when a few Hall of Famers were born like Mickey Mantle, Willie Mays and Eddie Matthews.
Thanks for a scrap book produced and co-edited by Richard Barrett and Ed Delehanty, it profiled the league’s first 75 years (1931 through 2005). The endeavor produced ‘A Scrapbook of ATL Memories.’ The book is one inch thick and includes box scores, newspaper articles and statistics from 1931 through 2005. Even a portion of book is devoted with articles of the 30’s showing the construction and conversion of the city water reservoir to a municipal stadium named Bleecker Stadium. My interest and desire arises from 25 years of baseball umpiring and knowing many of the players and managers over the years. Over the last 6 years volunteering for the Patriot Flight Honor Flight, I found Veterans who played in the league. I would find a box score with their name, make a copy of the page and give it to them. The expression on their face and bringing back of youth gone by was priceless. Today some players have a dream of making the ‘big time’, others had their dreams fulfilled and other still feel the ‘American love of baseball’.
The current time clashes with the past and we hope to keep a 90-year-old league make it to 100. Look forward to more articles, publicity, advertisements and promotions to keep our local baseball heritage alive. The league produces a very informative year book. If you would like to advertise, donate or become a fan for the 90th Anniversary, please contact one of the following. The Alumni Association is only $10 and is open to past players, fans and baseball historians. Come see a game and be part of the present and with the history. Dick Barrett and Ed Delehanty did a great job on the first 75 years. Maybe we can cover the next 15 years!
Key contact people are:
- John Bellizzi, President
- Joe Altieri, Public Relations Secretary
- Bill Miles, Statistician, [email protected] 518-577-1869
- Fred Pigeon, ATL Alumni Association, [email protected] 518-598-8236
- Bill Levy, ATL Alumni Association, [email protected] 518-869-6206
- Tom Yovine, former Manager ATL, [email protected] 518-439-2062
- Frank DeSorbo, former umpire at ATL, [email protected] 518-439-9265