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2002 Stickball Classic: Section guide

• 2002 Classic Home
• Finals
• Final Competition Photos
• Queens Competition
• Queens Competition Photos
• Bronx Competition
• Bronx Competition Photos

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• Stickball Classic 2002
• Stickball Classic 2001
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• Stickball Classic 1999

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Streetplay stickball: Section guide

• Stickball home
• Introduction to stickball
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• Schedule / Contacts
• Equipment
• Celebrities
• Poetry
• Other online resources
• Stickball discussion

More on Streetplay
• Stickball Hall of Fame
• Tribute: Steve Mercado, FDNY
• Beating the Big Kids
• Ouch, That Buick Hurts!
• Angel Quinones, Sr. and Jr.

The Universal All Stars took the Bronx competition
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The "Universal All Stars," a pickup team of players from throughout NYC took the Bronx competition.

The 2002 Stickball Classic - Bronx Competition

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"Stickball Commissioner" Curtis Sliwa opened the 2002 Bronx Stickball Classic with recollections of firefighter Steve Mercado.
On 161th street and Walton Ave, in the shadow of Yankee Stadium, under cloudy skies and constant drizzle the 2002 Bronx Stickball Classic commenced. Like the weather, the mood of the attendees was bittersweet. Last year's competitions had been suspended in midcourse due the events of 9/11. This year's event reflected the spirit of the City to move forward.

Players gathered in the morning to take their customary warm-up swings. Curtis Sliwa, the "Commissioner of Stickball" took the mike and asked for a moment of silence in respect for those who perished in the tragedy and in remembrance of Steve Mercado, a lost firefighter and the former president of the New York Emperors Stickball League. Referring to Mercado as the game's greatest advocate, and a highly regarded power hitter (Steve had numerous 300 ft+ shots), Sliwa announced that the distance derby that open's each of the Classic competitions had been officially renamed to the Steve Mercado longball competition.

Although there were a number of top power hitters in attendance, this year's Longball competition was a tie between two new faces Elias Aponte and Julio Moran, both of whom hit 295 foot blasts, a considerable distance given the day's high humidity.

Although the Bronx event is usually a high point of the competition, this year only two teams participated and both were "pickup squads." The lack of turnout was due to a combination of threatening weather (with forecasts of rain) and the fact that the NY Emperor League's finals were being played the next day, Sunday Aug 25. Many of Bronx's best players were focused on that event and the upcoming Labor Day tournament in Florida.

The two competing teams were the Untouchables, a group largely composed of members from the Youngbloods, one of the Emperor League's top teams; and the Universal All Stars, a collection of players from throughout NYC, captained by Queens resident and stickball slugger, Andre Liberato. The game was well played, with a fairly relaxed atmosphere. The key inning was the top of the 6th when Juliao Moran one of the longball winners came to bat with a man on second and hit a towering home run giving the Universal All Stars a 4-1 lead. That was all the scoring for the day.

As has been the case with the past Stickball Classic's, fans were "treated" to the sounds of the Brooklyn Dodger Sym-phony band, despite the loss of Lou Dallojacono, the band's fiesty and unique leader who passed away during the past year, the band maintained a sense of good spirits and their legednary "melodic form."

The Stickball Classic has been close to an annual competition since it was initiated by the Daily News in 1993. This year's sponsors include the Daily News, WABC Talk Radio and Modell's Sporting Goods.

Stickball Classic Banner
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A special thanks to the Daily News
for its continued support of this legendary NYC street game.

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