Aging northeasterners stay young in the winter by playing stickball

Stickball players keep playing in retirement

WELLINGTON, Fla. - Baseball players are known as the boys of summer, but the boys of winter are swinging for the fences in Wellington.

Every Tuesday, boys are boys on Stickball Boulevard.

Swinging for the fences and never showing their age.

"For a couple of hours we all think we're 16-years-old," 86-year-old Norm Graff said.

"We're all crazy," 71-year-old Marty Ross said. "We're geezer jock crazy."

Seventy aging northeasterners, make up four teams, but every one is known as a Wycliffe Stiff.

It's the Wycliffe Stiffs Stickball league.

"It's very popular," Graff said.

"We're all trying to regain our status," Ross said.

Unlike regular baseball, in stickball it's two strikes and you're out and a lot of people strike out.

"They have to go to Bucky Dent's hitting and fielding school," Ross laughed. "Sign a few folks up."

"If I could control things we'd get rid of the stick bat and use a tennis racquet," Paul Brenner said.

Brenner wouldn't tell NewsChannel 5 his age, but he's the captain of the Boston Die Hards.

They haven't won a game this season.

Maybe they should take a hitting lesson from Graff.

He hit a double today and he's the league's oldest player.

"I don't think I've hit a double since 1942," Graff said.

He first played stickball on the streets of New York when was 7-years-old.
At that time, he ran the bases, but they don't do that anymore.

"I could walk slowly to the bases," Graff laughed. "Now we're big time.  Everybody is retired with pensions."

After 11 seasons, Graff is a hall of famer.

"You want to get in the hall of fame...You have to live," Graff joked.

Don't worry, if there's ever a scare, the scoreboard says call 911 and there's always an emergency defibrillator on standby.

"They try to keep you out of the ambulance as much as possible," Graff said.

Nice weather may take a New Yorker out of New York, but Stickball Boulevard shows you no matter the age, you can't take the New York boy out of the New Yorker.


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