DELMAR — Death, taxes, and baseball debates without true resolutions — these are life’s absolute constants.
My Saturday morning started by engaging in one of those impossible arguments. Someone posed the question, had Ted Williams not lost five in a half seasons to serving in World War II and the Korean War, would he be considered the best that ever was? Frank DeSorbo would have loved it.
Frank would have tackled the debate from two angles; the first of which may not have solved anything other than satisfying his own passion for sharing stories of war veterans. He shared those stories on the pages of our Senior Spotlight magazine.
Frank’s monthly column would often place personal stories of local veterans within proper, historical context. They were often brief anecdotes, but always poignant. Though he never served in the military, he earned the respect of many veterans — talking and listening to their stories on many Patriot Flight events to which he’d lead the charge as president of the organization. He wrote like he spoke, too. He’d often throw two or three veterans into each of his columns, running over the amount of copy space we had set aside for his column.
Despite the years that separated us, I spent more time than I could afford talking with him about his days umpiring in the Twilight League, or trying to trump one another on baseball trivia. When he moved on from Patriot Flight, we worked on changing his column to mirror our conversations. His memories of the games he played while growing up in Albany, how they built character and later helped develop his life in sports, provided a few lessons in life but more insight into a man who I learned to respect.
As I write this, Frank died just a few days ago. Before learning of the news, I observed a few quirky occurrences in my own behavior. I picked up our Baseball Guide, in which Frank submitted a piece about locals who went on to play Major League Baseball. He was behind the plate for some of those kids, and he was excited about the research that led to the article — which is why I couldn’t tell him we’d already passed the deadline. I made room for him. I always did. I went from our book, to David Halberstam’s “Summer of ‘49,” and then to my baseball cards. It was the most baseball I consumed in one morning since I could last remember. In retrospect, I think Frank had a hand in it.
Frank rooted for the wrong team, but over time, I found myself developing into a Brooklyn Dodgers fan, too. I confessed that point in our last conversation together. I emailed a few of my most recent acquisitions to my baseball card collection. A few beat up cards of Roy Campenella and Sandy Koufax. He picked up the phone and I told him I would have had a Duke Snider, too, had I not missed out on a recent auction. “I know someone who may have a few Sniders lying around,” he said. Once the pandemic settled down, he said he’d introduce me to a few more old-time baseball friends of his in Schenectady.
I didn’t get a chance to tell him I finally grabbed a Snider for myself, though I’d trade it away to have Frank back.
Frank A. “Jig” DeSorbo, passed away suddenly and peacefully on Thursday, May 6, 2021 in his home. Born in Albany on October 9, 1947. He was the son of Joseph and Rose (Garufi) DeSorbo. Frank graduated from Vincentian High School and received his Master Degree in Business Administration from SUNY Albany.
He is survived by his wife of 51 years, Dawn (Jones) DeSorbo, children Michael (Sharon Fischer) and Stephanie (Michael Paonessa), grandchildren Michael DeSorbo, Michaella, Alex, Nicholas, and Ryan Paonessa; and siblings Joseph, John, Rose, and Mary Catherine DeSorbo.
He worked for the Albany City School District and later, became Assistant Superintendent for business at Catskill Central School District for many years. Although Frank was not a military veteran himself he was very supportive of all U.S. military personnel past and present. Frank founded and was President of the D-Day Revisited Organization and was the past-President of the Capital District Patriot Flight Inc. Frank was also a long time member of the International Association of Approved Basketball Officials and Capital District Baseball Umpires Association. He wrote monthly articles for the Senior Spotlight magazine.
Frank greatly enjoyed all sports, watching horse races, card games with friends and family, boating and fishing with his grandchildren, and handing out Christmas IOUs. He enjoyed over 20 years of traveling to Aruba with his Wife and Family. His sense of humor will be greatly missed.
Relatives and friends were invited to visit with his family at Daniel Keenan Funeral Home in Albany.
In lieu of flowers please make donations to Melodies Center for Childhood Cancer and Blood Disorders at Albany Medical Center, 43 New Scotland Ave. MC 119, Albany, NY 12208 in honor of Ryan Paonessa.
The author is the managing editor of Spotlight Newspapers and current editor-at-large for Family Now magazine, where he was previously its editor under its Senior Spotlight flag. He writes about the recent passing of Frank DeSorbo. DeSorbo was a contributing columnist for Senior Spotlight, and would frequent the Spotlight office to pick up a copy of the magazine, and start up conversations about baseball and life in general. He was always up to talk about his favorite team, the Brooklyn Dodgers. However, most recently, he was most excited for Opening Day at Albany’s Twilight League, under which he served many years as an umpire.