The following is a guest column written by Mike O'Donoghue, a long-time Mosholu Jerome baseball league player, retired New York City police officer, and a former classmate of mine from St. Ann's School, 1970-1976, with whom last year I had reconnected for the first time since those days at St. Ann's.
Michael offered the following reflections in response to learning that league founder Jerry Silverman contacted me to express delight with this website. -- Steve Peacock
My greatest memory of Jerry goes back to my very 1st day of Little League. I was eight years old and had NEVER played real baseball before...but I absolutely loved the game. My mom took an interest in the sport and supported my baseball desires. I had a few experiences around the neighborhood, swinging a bat and tossing a ball. They just didn't add up to the vast experiences and skills that the other kids displayed. None of that mattered to me, because I was going to practice and become a good player.
Well, I got to Harris Field early on that very first day. The early game was taking place on Harris Field #6. The Flyers were playing some other team (The Bombers??). My team, the Pilots, was scheduled to play the Jets after that game. I was so excited, but terrified.
John Sinon (Do you remember him? The son of Mrs. Sinon, St. Ann’s School secretary?) saw me and yelled “Hey Mike! Do ya wanna warm up like they do in the big leagues?” I said "OK" not knowing what warm up even meant. John Sinon was a 9 year old superstar. On the other hand, I had NEVER even caught a ball in my glove! Never ever!
Anyway, John threw the baseball directly toward me. I didn't know how to position my glove, so the ball skipped through my hands and glove and struck me directly on my nose.
I remember seeing a blue flash, and then I woke up on the ground. Poor John Sinon was right there crying "Mike, Mike...I'm sorry, I'm sorry.” The next voice I heard through all the commotion was my mom's Irish brogue calling to me. One of the other mom's (Lonnie Trotta's mother) was resourceful, and got a towel filled with ice from the hot dog man. I was bleeding profusely. My yellow Pilots jersey turned red.
And all of this took place BEFORE the game.
Jerry Silverman, bless his heart, lifted me off the ground and said to my mom “C'mon, Mrs. O'Donoghue. Follow me." He carried me to his car and and sped off to Montefiore Hospital, where he stayed with my mother and I until I was cared for by a doctor. I was diagnosed with a badly broken nose.Take note of the “hook” in my photos.
I remember—clearly—how Jerry calmed my mother and made me feel like a real pro ball player. He was just a great guy with all the kids, especially me.
There he was, with his shirt covered in my blood, and he was such a great sport about it. As he was leaving, I asked him to tell my manager (John Terhune's dad) that "I'm sorry, and would try to be at the game tomorrow.”
Jerry laughed at my dedication in the face of injury, and advised me to take a week or two off the field so that my nose could heal.
I actually talked my mom into letting me go to Harris Field the next day just to support my new teammates (and to watch my team lose).
Believe it or not; I was back on the field the next week, black eyes and all.
You sparked a memory when you mentioned Jerry Silverman. He obviously played a positive role in my early life. He probably played a positive role in hundreds of kid's lives. I hope he knows that about himself. - Mike O'Donoghue