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Player: George Lolin   Team: Young Devils & Bronx Old Timers

George Lolin, still a strong player Click for bigger picture
George Lolin

In the 1999 Stickball Classic Semi-finals, the Bronx Old-Timers were trailing the Bronx Knights 3-2 in the bottom of the seventh (and last) inning. George Lolin lined a shot into the short outfield and began tearing around the bases. As the throw came in to second, Lolin slid on the asphalt, trying to avoid the tag. In a close and controversial play he was called out and the Knights were declared the victors. Lolin disagreed with the call, and politely told the ump he had been safe. Smiling he shook hands with the other team, congratulated them on the victory and left the field with his teammates.

This recent story that says a lot about one of the Old Timers. A man who at 63 still plays with fire in his belly, speed in his legs and the spirit of a gentleman.

Lolin, a well liked and highly respected player, began his stickball adventures back in the early 50's playing for the Vultures on 114th between Madison and Park. As he recalls "We were just kids, so we'd all chip in and play for a total of only $1 - $2 per game. After awhile, we would do chores add that money to kitty and let it keep growing. On Sundays, we'd play local teams, like the Minatours, Sharks, Tiny Tims, Aces, Corsicans, Dandies, Tagateers and Mambo Boys, which were all from the streets in our neighborhood.

We joined up with the Sharks up on 115th between Lexington and Park during the Korean war when a lot of the guys went into the service. After the war, in 1957, Harry Santiago the captain of a great team called Home Relief started the first organized stickball league. Different teams were set up and players were drafted. We played all over the city, and then settled on a regular field in the in Hunts Point area. The league only lasted one season because many of the guys were getting married and moving out. At that point I got involved with John Stephens who had started a regular stickball pickup game up in the Bronx. This later became the Bronx Old Timers.

I played Stickball with John and Softball in an Industrial League up in the Bronx for many years. I'm very adaptable and willing to play lots of positions, so I'm always able to find a place on the team. Wherever no one really wants to play, that's where I'll go. I'm a hustling type of player, a good fielder and more of a speedster than a power hitter. You make a mistake on one of my singles and I'm already on second base.

I really love the game and have some great memories. There was nothing like playing stickball in the street. I remember one time playing with the Vultures against the Elks from 123rd street. One of their players hit a shot from quarter of the way from Park Ave that started ricocheting against the building at the end of the street. It bounced along the ledge of the building. I followed it along the way and caught it coming down in the middle of Lexington Avenue. Lex was 2 way back then, and I wasn't event noticing the cars passing by. I was lucky I wasn't hit.

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