Stickball Hall of Fame: Neither a Hall, nor Famous (Yet)
Friday, July 09, 2010
During the week, 60-year-old Carlos Diaz works as the community liaison for the Archcare nursing facility in East Harlem.
But among the stacks of papers and file folders in his office, he also has little, pink, rubber balls and a felt banner that reads "Champs, 1992," at his desk.
On weekends, Diaz is the proud President of New York City's Stickball Hall of Fame.
Diaz started playing stickball at age 12, and still plays in East Harlem on Sundays, with teammates ranging in age from 16 to 80.
"There's nothing like playing with your uncle," Diaz says. "There's nothing like competing with your dad...and they love it because they're playing the same sport they played 30 years ago, playing with their grandson, and playing with their sons."
The Stickball Hall of Fame is not actually a hall (it doesn't have a physical space) but it is famous (in some circles).
People from all over the country, as well as Puerto Rico and Panama, nominate their fathers and grandfathers to the Hall. Diaz says elderly players are often surprised and deeply touched by the gesture. So far, Diaz has never denied a nominee.
Diaz will inaugurate some of these older players, as well as New York Yankee Mariano Rivera, into the Stickball Hall of Fame this Friday at 6 p.m. at the Museum of the City of New York.