The East Rochester Senior Little League World Championship team is being honored this August for the 50th anniversary of its amazing accomplishment.
Ten of the 14 members of the 1966 team are scheduled to be at Eyer Park from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. on Saturday, August 13 for a day of activities and fun. Then on Sunday, August 14, the team will be inducted into the Frontier Field Walk of Fame as the “2016 Team of the Ages” before the Red Wings game against Scranton at 1:05 p.m.
Team members Rich Herb, an infielder on the ’66 champs, and Mark Florack, the center fielder, shared their thoughts on the anniversary, along with Martin D’Ambrose, the President of the East Rochester Chamber of Commerce, Wednesday on News 8 at Noon.
“The pride and the cameraderie of our team itself, bonding as a family, it was indescribable, it was fantastic,” said Herb of that magical summer.
The East Rochester squad won 10 straight games in the single elimination competition to capture the World Championship. On August 20, 1966 East Rochester beat a team from La Habra, California 4-2 in Des Moines, Iowa in the Senior Little League Tournament final. “We were a group of young guys that grew up together playing sandlot baseball, then in the Little League, then in the Senior League and what we accomplished I think is quite incredible considering 10 consecutive games we won in a single elimination tournament,” said Florack. “I think all along the way we never really talked about whether we could do it or not, we went about it very professionally, we were always a team, and it was a tremendous experience, I think we had as many great experiences off the field as we did on the field during the whole summer.”
To this day East Rochester is the smallest community to ever win a World Championship in either Little League or Senior Little League. Xerox chartered a plane to bring the winning team back to Rochester for an unforgettable reception. “We saw thousands and thousand of people with a red carpet, and bands and dignitaries, it was unbelievable,” recalled Herb.
D’Ambrose was among those who helped coordinate the celebration planned in East Rochester. “I think it’s important for young people today to understand that if you work hard and you enjoy something and you put yourself out there, you have an opportunity to experience things that are beyond your imagination,” he said.
Both Herb and Florack still make their home in East Rochester. Florack said, “It’s huge for us, but I think it’s even bigger for our community – East Rochester, the Home of Champions.”
The 1966 Senior Little League World Champions from East Rochester, New York:
Scott Becker, 1st Base
Larry Brothers, 1st Base/P
Ross Brothers, LF
Dave Consaul, OF
Jim Carli, 3rd Base/P
Vinnie Carrozzi, 2nd Base
Mike Duffy, Catcher (deceased)
Mark Florack, CF
Rich Herb, INF
Dick Joseph, RF
John Kokinda, 3rd Base/P
Bill Kreger, SS
Brian Manns, OF
Joe Toomey, OF
Manager Jacques Brothers (deceased)
Coach Lionel Courtemanche (deceased)