Rebirth of a Giant

July 1990 Red Raider Baseball Card Magazine

It’s been a long time since the old Trenton Giants have played at Dunn Field. A class AA affiliate of the old New York N.L.Giants. Dunn Field served as served as the breeding grounds for many future Major League stars (Del Ennis and Willie Mays being the most prominent). Now, several decades later, a slumbering Giant is ready to awaken. No, it isn't the second coming of the International League Giants, the Giants we’re referring to are a new breed. Sans, the traditional leather gloves, and brandishing plastic in the place of wood, the new Trenton Giants are a Wiffle®Ball team. You gotta be kidding? Wiffle®Ball? Yeah, Wiffle®Ball! What started out as a little more than a way to expend youthful exuberance some time ago has evolved into a dead-serious battle for Wiffle®Ball bragging rights. On a national level. playing a make shift, unofficial schedule with opponents all over the state (NJ), the Trenton squad is focusing on a trip to the National Tournament later this summer (August 5th through the 11th) in Hanover, Mass.

The Trenton squad is composed of three players (a squad may carry as many as five), one pitcher and two fielders. Right handed pitcher and team spokesman, Mike Palinczar, 18, is listed as having “several pitches that are tough to hit”. Mike is a switch hitter, but maintains that he is more of a threat from the right side. Shades of Eddie Murray. When not waging a war on the Wiffle®Ball field, Palinczar is a college baseball player at St. Peter's College in North Jersey. Complementing Palinczar from the left side is 18yr old Fred Bastedo. The scouting report list “Freddie” as very tough to hit, “when he is on.” Bastedo will be attending Mercer County Community College this fall and hopes to play baseball there. And last, but certainly not least comes Brain Russo. Deemed as the player who will “ignite the big innings”, Russo does not pitch, but serves as the teams catcher and fielder. Unlike his teammates, Russo does not play college ball, but instead pretty much concentrates on Wiffle®Ball only. While all the members of the Trenton squad are supremely confident of their abilities, they readily concede that “most people don't take the sport seriously yet.” Perhaps a gentle reminder that last years finals were televised on ESPN, or that the eventual “double-elimination” winner will go home $5,000 richer may help generate a little more attention.

The National Tournament field in Hanover , Mass. has been meticulously sculptured into a scaled-down version of Boston’s famed Fenway Park complete with Green Monster (15 ft. high fence). The dimensions are as follows: It’s 60 ft. down the left field line; 99 ft. to center; and 85 ft. to right. Over 800 teams have applied this year for the tournament. Of the 800, only 100 will be tendered applications to fill out. This is done on a “first come, first served” basis. Of the 100 teams granted credibility, only 48 will make the final cut. The “Final 48” will then be divided into three divisions (16 in each) to slug it out for national honors. The founder and innovator of the tournament is Rick Ferroli of Hanover, Mass. His “grand design” has actually been in existence for 12 years now, but only within the last few years has it received any media attention. And what about the future of Wiffle®Ball in general? The three members of the Trenton squad are pretty much in agreement that they would like to see a pro Wiffle®Ball someday, and maybe, just maybe, Wiffle®Ball competition go world wide.

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