The History of Harrison Little League
The success of any youth organization in America depends upon the devotion of unselfish volunteers working together towards a common goal. Harrison Little League is no exception. Our working formula of committed leadership coupled with a spirited membership spans over three generations of Harrison residents.
We are a volunteer organization founded in 1951 by a group of individuals whose purpose was to blend the national pastime into an organized youth activity. When filing the first charter, leadership included Phil Geiger, Adolph "Chopsey" D'Imperio, Bob Fleder, Fiore Aragona, Bob Harris, Joe Caparelli, Gene D'Imperio and Steve Mauro. The original four team names were the Orioles, Bisons, Bears and the Seals. The league operated with success for many years, working in conjunction with our town′s Recreation Department and its Managing Director, Mr. Frank Sollazzo. Other recreational baseball leagues, known as the Dad’s Leagues did exist in Downtown and West Harrison, however, they were not associated with Harrison Little League. During the 1960’s and into the 1970’s, our program thrived with continued excellence under the watchful eye of dedicated people such as Ron Mazzola and Bill Colangelo.
In the late 1970's, our program expanded its charter to include an additional four Minor League Teams. We now brought baseball to approximately 90 youngsters. Jerry Amorsana led a group of outstanding individuals who put their imprint into the program. They would include Bob and Joann Lucas, Lou Spizziro, Pete Gaudet, Frank Keefer, Richie Angarano and John Hoffman. Residents witnessed former Little League players grow into adulthood. They now took on the task of running the day to day operations of the program. In 1980, two Girls Softball were added to the Little League Charter. The door was now open for girls to play softball within the guidelines of our organization.
In the winter of 1983, former Little League President John Hoffman and then recreation assistants Ron Belmont and Joe Stoudt forged a new and stronger alliance between Harrison Little League and the Harrison Recreation Department. Little League Baseball was centralized in Harrison by expanding charter boundaries to include West Harrison, Purchase, Sterling Ridge, Brentwood and parts of the Franklin Park. The recreational Dad’s leagues were dissolved and absorbed by a strong, efficient organization. The 1984 spring season began with 4 Major League Teams, 8 Minor League Teams and two Girls Softball teams. Fields and equipment were upgraded with the help of Recreation, Neil Shofi, Joe Alfredo, John Amodeo and countless volunteers. The league began to utilize baseball fields from all areas of the Town/Village of Harrison. Adelphi Avenue Field was reconditioned and became known as Brentwood Park. The following year Tee-ball was added to serve 6-7 year old children eager for early instruction. At the end of the 1985 season, the charter included 16 Boys teams and three Girls Softball teams. Our organization's present structure was now in place. While enjoying the cooperation of both Town and School boards, Harrison Avenue School field was given a much needed facelift. During the mid-1980’s, the familiar faces of Lou Persiani, Rich Salerno, John Selvaggio, Bill Colangelo Jr., and Tony Dalto would be seen at every ball field in town.
Today, Rich Salerno leads a board of directors that is responsible for the supervision of three separate seasons. (Spring, Summer, Fall) The original league which began with the four teams in 1951, has blossomed into an organization serving approximately 1000 participants ranging from kindergarten aged children to the young men and women of Junior, Senior and Big League Baseball/Softball. Our rich tradition continues with the first pitch of each baseball season. It is no secret that our success depends upon the work of dedicated volunteers. Since Harrison Little League truly belongs to the people of Harrison, we must always remember that there is nothing stronger than the heart of a volunteer.