Editor’s NOTE: William J. “Bill” Frew is a local writer. His major work is “A Pilot’s Life”, memoirs of flying for the Air Force and TransWorld Airlines. With his permission, we have excerpted a vivid memory Bill wrote about in Book 2, concerning Charles Bazzinotti – now memorialized on South Boston’s Vietnam Memorial, the first in the nation.
“As I start to write this short chapter on Memorial Day, May 28, 2018, I just watched the Memorials from Washington, D.C., on TV. As I watched, I mentally mourned two of my Air Force friends I recalled on this beautiful Memorial Day, and one young man (Bazzinotti) I was associated with in South Boston. This chapter is mainly about that young man …
I wrote in another chapter about my friend Coley; we used to frequent the practice field at M Street Park. One day Coley told me that a friend of his had asked him to manage a Little League team in the South Boston League. Apparently, Coley’s friend had a new job, and he did not have the time to be at practice and the games. Coley asked me to help him with the team, which of course I agreed to do. Then, in rapid succession, Coley also found himself a job, and could not be there in the evenings for the games, so I wound up being the coach by myself. After a short while, I found my assistant coach in another friend, Joe Casper …
We also had one 12-year old player (Bazzinotti) in particular who was motivated to play well, but he had outgrown his coordination; it would catch up to his size, but not immediately. I played him at third base because he did not have to cover a lot of ground, he was large enough that he probably would not get hurt, and he had a strong throwing arm for that throw from third base to first. His size versus coordination was more of an issue when it came to making contact as a batter … I worked very, very hard with him as a batter in the week before the big game; he also took a few extra balls at third base in preparation. Finally, came the day of the big game and my third baseman remembered his practice; he delivered two hits that made a big difference as we won that game. I could see that my big third baseman was very happy with his contributions to our win. After the game, (the opposing coach) remarked to me, ‘How did that big third baseman ever figure out how to hit the ball?’
My big third baseman continued to contribute, and we ended the season in first place. As the season ended, I had to leave to enter the Air Force just before the playoffs began.”
NOTE: Excerpt below is from a page entitled “Lieutenant Charles A. Bazzinotti”
“As I write about (my son’s) moments of success in sports, I think back to my tall, 12-year-old third baseman as I mourn him on this Memorial Day, and many days throughout the years. I hope that extra work at the bat and in the field, followed by success in the games, gave him a feeling of self-esteem which he carried through his unfortunately short life. A few years after I was back in South Boston and working with TWA, I was shocked to see a square at N and Seventh Streets with the name of my 12-year-old third basemen honored there. Seeing that honorary square was the first that I heard the news of his untimely death. I always picture him with his happy smile of success after that big game.”
Memorial Day Is for Remembering.