Bob Goldsholl once saw two teammates squabbling over a uniform -- with No. 9 on the back.
This memory came flooding back as New York University begins its first baseball season since 1974. Goldsholl, a retired New York sports broadcaster, pitched NYU into the College World Series in 1956, wearing a hand-me-down uniform from a certain team in Boston.
The venerable NYU coach, Bill McCarthy, had friends with the Red Sox, ranging from a scout to the owner, Tom Yawkey. Every year, the Red Sox shipped used uniforms to NYU, which led a couple of top dogs to bicker over Ted Williams’ elongated uniform. (The team name was altered on the front.)
Those were great days for baseball in New York – three teams in the major leagues and seven local rivals in the Metropolitan Conference – City College, Wagner, Brooklyn, St. John’s, Hofstra, Manhattan and NYU.
Personal note: As the student publicist for Hofstra, I sat on the bench, kept score and heckled the other team. The St. John’s players used to shout, “Shut up, Pencil.” Three players I saw made the majors – Chuck Schilling of Manhat-tan, Ted Schreiber of St. John’s and Brant Alyea of Hofstra.
From the home-and-home series, you got to know the players in the Met Conference. City College had a squat little center fielder named Tim Sullivan who bravely wore No. 7 in a city with another outfielder bearing that number, and a junk-balling lefty named Lubomir Mlynar. (My Hofstra guys made fun of his nose and his name and his stuff – but they could hardly hit him.)
City College had an all-star third baseman, Weiss, who had missed a scholarship to NYU because of a bureaucratic slipup. He savored playing his good friend, Jerome Umano, the shortstop, whose NYU uniform had Johnny Pesky’s name sewed inside.
(Weiss would play well into his 70’s in adult hardball leagues, and is currently featured in a book about New York and baseball, Penance and Pinstripes: The Life Story of Ex-Yankee John Malangone, by Michael Harrison.)
NYU had a great history, sending Ralph Branca to the majors plus Eddie Yost, Sam Mele and my good friend, a two-sport star, Al Campanis, who had a war-time cameo with the Dodgers. They played on the uptown campus, right next to the Hall of Fame.
No New York team had ever reached the College World Series in Omaha until Goldsholl and Art Steeb pitched NYU there in 1956.
“I was warming up in Omaha before our first game against Arizona,” Goldsholl said Thursday. “The public-address announcer introduced the squads -- NYU, with a record of 16-4-1 and the University of Arizona, with a record of 45-6.”
Struck by the ludicrous disparity between northern baseball and southern baseball, Goldsholl said, “I just stopped throwing and started to laugh.”
NYU lost to Arizona and Wyoming. Goldsholl played two years in the Giants’ system, and later became a familiar New York voice. NYU gave up baseball after 1974 and moved from Division I to Division III and consolidated (to say the least) its presence in Greenwich Village.
The new players need not inspect their uniforms for any Red Sox names.
David Vecsey's sweet tale of distant love before the Web, now NYT Podcast, narrated by Griffin Dunne. Please see:
George Vecsey is Hofstra University's Alumnus of the Month! Read a Q&A with George here.