The results are in for the votes for Saltaire Softball’s Top Forty Players, 1940-1969.
We have broken the results down into five nine man teams representing, generally, their time frames. Obviously some of the players played in overlapping time frames, so the fact that a player appears on one team does not mean he was limited to playing in that time frame. Generally, regardless of age, a player was placed in an era that they first became all stars.
1940’s to Early 1950’s:
1) Bob Wright (MVP of that ERA) (pictured here in 1955) could have made any Saltaire All star squad from 1940 through 1969).
2) Art Mol: famous as a slugger, this Saltaire legend whose family sold to Stillgebauers in 1957, was also long time Saltaire chief Ocean Lifeguard.
3) Harry Marschalk
4) Bruce Potter
5) Dan Kopfh
6) Bruce Banta: families still in Saltaire
8) Sid Greer
9) Walter Ulrich
EARLY AND MID 1950’S:
1) Bob Marks (MVP of that era) Pictured here: . All Muscle, not too tall, quiet and great power hitter.
2) Bill Weinlandt: of the Weinlandt brothers. Bill Played a cool first base. Tall, I thought he was Gil Hodges out there.
3) Ed Weinlandt: Pitched. Not blazing fast. The most deceptive pitcher since Satchel Page. Could get an anxious batter to swing at his slow underhand pitches before the ball got to the plate. Too much of a gentleman to gloat when he got you to swing at a ball three feet from the strike zone, he could compliment you (really) for a good try when he struck you out.
Ed Weinlandt loved the game so much that even after he hurt his foot badly, which left him with a permanent limp, he pitched for many more seasons. Lucky was the kid who got to pinch- run for Ed Weinlandt. You stood behind home plate and when he hit the ball, you ran. Kids got their first chance to play in a “grownup” game by running bases for Ed Weinlandt.
4) Joe Callahan: called the “best shortstop ever” at Saltaire by no less an authority than Robin Wright.
5) Paul W. Connelly Jr.: Bill Weinlandt and Paul Connelly Jr. were the two best first- baseman in Saltaire, but neither lived on Marine Walk. To keep things fair, Mr. Connelly would play first base for Marine Walk, and Bill Weinlandt would play the same position for “The World” in the classic “Marine Walk v. The World” match ups of the 1950’s. Like the Weinlandts, Connelly was a great athlete. Connelly ran track for Notre Dame. The Weinlandts, big guys, rowed for NYAC for many years.
6) Jack Thorp: big, strong, until last year still a Saltairian.
See Thorp, the Weinlandts, and others in this 1957 photo:
8) Dave Banta
9) BOB Callahan (same family as the Corrigans)
MID 1950’s to early 1960’s
1) Robin Wright. (MVP of that era) the future “Fossil” is perhaps the only Saltaire Player with a more amazing and lengthy career than his father Bob Wright. Most home runs, 1960’s. Most home runs, all time. Most games played, most seasons played, all time.
2) John “JO.” (sometimes misspelled “JAYO”) Connolly. Still in Saltaire after all these years, played infield. When Uncle Pete let the kids play hardball, JO was often catcher. Could really take a licklin but keep on tickin behind the plate. His natural position: infield. Allegedly Hates the nickname.
4) James Connolly. Played a great first base for years. Hit with power and authority. He kind of ran defensive things from his first base position. In James’ later Saltaire summers in weeknight games against Ocean Beach, we sometimes tried to delay the start until the last ferry got in. James was a deckhand and we needed him, but so did Capt. Al. Johnny Glascock first played against OB when he would baby sit the first base position until James came running down Broadway and into the field somewhere in the middle of the first or second inning.
Tom Connolly Sr. would bring Tom, Jim and John to the ball field when it was empty, and he would teach them basics. They were maybe 10 or 12 then. Mr. Connolly would stand at home plate, set the boys up at infield positions, and hit them fungoes. As the infield drills sped up, he would abbreviate the kids’ names: He would say “T” and whack a hard grounder to Tom. “J” meant get the ball to James. “JO” meant the ball was coming to John. The kids had good coaching.
6) Pete Kurachek Jr. : A chip off the old block. Strong, steady and versatile, Uncle Pete’s son could play any position, he did so well. Most often played shortstop or catcher.
Danny pitched and batted left handed and pulled the ball, so his power hits were often doubles, but he hit for a good average. His pitching style was fast and hard to hit. Whereas Danny's Uncle Ed Weinlandt’s (see above) pitching style was slow and patient, Danny at his best could be too fast to hit.
Johnny Glascock was as versatile an athlete as there was. He was pretty big, but athletic enough to captain his wrestling teams in high school and college. He hit the Chocolate Church every now and then, and hit a lot over the fence. Caught enough because he was big and tough, but athletic enough to play a fine first base.
3. Ronnie Swedborg: Pitcher. Right handed. Often he would pitch one game, Danny would pitch another. Ronnie was a couple years older and really pitched a lot in the early 1960’s before Danny and Johnny came of age. But he pitched in the mid 1960's for this team.
Ronnie could pitch maybe as fast as Danny, but he always pitched with his arm cocked at the elbow, as if he had a cast on his arm. That made his release a little higher than your normal underhand delivery, and it was very hard to get a good sense of where the ball was coming from. Also hit well and hit for power. All in all, Danny and Ronnie Swedborg were the very best pitchers in Saltaire in the 1960’s.
4. Allen Aherne. Great reflexes here made for a great third baseman. Could go to his right and get up to get the runner at first as well as anybody. Hit will and with power.
5. Kenny Torrey: both played at the same time, and a good argument can be made about either as being the best third baseman. Kenny Torrey, a little smaller than Allen, and a little bit more athletic. Allen could hit the ball farther; Kenny always hit a lot of singles. Kenny got bigger a few years later, and was an all-America playing baseball in small college. There is now a squash gym at Columbia Univ. named after Ken Torrey, assistant director of athletics to this day.
6. Eugene Piper: he was really important at short stop and he hit for average, especially for this team in its earliest years. Fine reflexes, and was a good match for his second baseman Bill Ervin. Butch Cassidy to Blervin's Sundance Kid.
7. Bill Ervin: could turn a double play with a good relay from Eugene or Kenny or Allen.
Bill Ervin had a good eye at the plate, batted for average, and had a good range at second base. On the small confines of a softball diamond, with Billy Ervin at second and Johnny Glascock at first, ground ball hits between first and second bases were rare.
8. Dick Latham: Great agile athletic infielder/outfielder, a lot of people know him from the 1970’s and beyond, but the judge started playing on Saltaire teams in the 1960’s and outshining kids 25 years his junior.
9. Phil Keane: another hardworking athlete who could hit. Phil and others bridged this team with the great teams that immediately followed it.
THE LATE 1960'S AND THE END OF AN ERA: THE LAST GREAT TEAMS before the formation of the Saltaire Softball league and organized schedules. These kids below not only rounded out the 1960’s with great teams, they would be the core of the exciting league play that started in the the early 1970’s:
1.)Bobby “Turtle” Cerveny, MVP of era. Grew into a great power hitter, hit the roof of the Chocolate church as many times as any person. He showed all the kids his age that they were just as good as all the great teams before them.
2. Denis Keane. Great hitter and fielder, he garnered a lot of votes for all around ballplayer.
3. Kevin Cunningham: big, strong, athletic and hit with lots of power. Like the Wrights and Connolly's before them, the Cunninghams contributed 3 great players to their generation. Kevin was the best athlete of the three.
4. Noel Feustel: lots of votes here, not just for athletic prowess but for pioneering new leagues. Another power hitter who was left handed and limited to doubles, Noel anchored the teams he built and kept all those guys together for years after the 1960’s.
4. Terry Cunningham: Big, Tall, Fun. Boy, we miss Terry. Could play outfield, and hit well. His humor probably kept the more serious Kevin on an even keel and the whole team benefited from his sense of proportion.
5. Bill Cunningham. The oldest Cunningham could hit the ball a mile. Level headed and cool, had a good eye and hit for average.
6. Mike Bernstein. Fastest ever in the outfield.
7. Chris Boyman: these guys were really good, even at an early age. Heree's Scoonj and Bernstein in the late 1970's but they were real good at early ages and sarted impressing people in the late 1960's.
8. Rudy Schott: older, played more later, but he played in the 1970’s and can’t be ignored in voting as a great pitcher.
9. Chip Hull: "Cosmo" received one vote from himself as “most notorious player ever.” Stepped on a nail and got an enormous flapper, 2008.