Copyright “excerpts” from LitchfieldCountySports magazine October 1,2017 – Tim Gaffney
When Waterbury‘s Twi-Met League faded into the sunset in 2006, it was said that baseball was dying because kids didn’t want to play the game anymore. That’s just plain wrong. When young athletes get out of high school or college, they often want to keep playing baseball. They were simply looking for somewhere else to play. They found it. Without the Tri-State baseball league they’d have to turn to softball, golf or another activity. Those things are good to have, but they’re not baseball. Today the Tri-State baseball League, born in 1934, is 18 teams strong and boasts the AABC state tournament champion for the past seven seasons. The AABC Stan Musial East Coast World Series has called Waterbury, CT its home the past two seasons under the guidance of CABC president Tony Santoro and tournament director and Tri-State Baseball League commissioner Ed Gadomski.
National recognition for the league came on October 11, 2015 when the Tri-State Baseball League was inducted into the National Semi-Pro Baseball Hall-Of-Fame in Evansville, Indiana by Director Tim Turbin. The charm of the league is that it’s serious enough to make fans sit up and notice, while pure enough to leave room for the sheer joy of playing. The league embraces a wide range of talented players. At one end, it has talented youths representing both college and high school stars, some looking for that break to catch a major league baseballs’ scout’s eye. On the other end of the spectrum are wily veterans who still have the passion for the game.
Gadomski who took over the league some 14 years ago, has taken this league from a run of the mill summer activity to one of the most respected organizations around the New England area. The league oozes talent and has had their fair share of players go on to play at the next level in professional baseball. “I never envisioned the league being where it is today when I took over as commissioner in October of 2003,” Gadomski said. ”I am most proud of the growth of the league as a whole and changing the reputation of our league from being a doormat to a league now being used as a stepping stone for young players with a dream of playing in the major leagues.”
“On a more personal level, making a million-new friends is priceless,” Gadomski said. “Whether I go out to dinner, to the supermarket, or even out of state, I run into someone who recognizes me as the commissioner of the league. Whether it be a beaming old-timer, a current player, or past player whom I played with or against. The smile on their faces makes my day when we discuss the Tri-State Baseball League. A kid who lives down at the shore called about playing in the Tri-State league” Gadomski recalls, “There’s a league closer to you.” Gadomski said, ‘Yeah, but they’re not as well organized’ the kid replied. Organization and competition known as ‘real baseball’ is the allure the Tri-State Baseball League now holds, as evidenced by the all players from the recent past and/or who currently are in the league with MLB experience:
· Willy Yahn (Baltimore Orioles)
· Zach Risedorf (San Diego Padres)
· Mike Odenwaelder (Baltimore Orioles)
· Ryan Plourde (Chicago White Sox)
· Conor Bierfeldt (Baltimore Orioles)
· Jesse Darcy (Tampa Rays)
· Chris Blazek (Houston Astros)
· Joey Serafin (Chicago White Sox)
· Michael Fabiaschi (Oakland Athletics)
· Emmanuel Cruz (Cincinnati Reds)
· Pierre Lepage (Chicago Cubs)
· Brett Anderson (Texas Rangers)
· Justin Morhardt (Atlanta Braves)
. Zach Albin (Baltimore Orioles)
. Kody Kerski (Seattle Mariners)
. Brooks Belter (Tampa Bay Rays)
NEWSFLASH: Former Tri-State Baseball League all-star pitcher Pete Maki, who led the Tribury Turkey Vultures to the 2004 Tri-State Baseball League World Series, on December 6th was named the Minnesota Twins minor league pitching coordinator, replacing Eric Rasmussen, who was with the Twins for 27 seasons. Maki spent 6 months in 2016 with the with the major league club and has been pitching coach at Duke University since 2015 and was with Columbia University before then. Congrats Pete and best of luck!!
Parity in the league is also a drawing point for Tri-State. Each team (“town”) is allowed only 5 out-of-town players on their rosters keeping the league balanced and opportunities fair for each team. Throw in the allure of Old Timers Day games, All-Star games, a Hall-Of-Fame, extraordinary ball parks like Municipal Stadium (Waterbury), Fuessenich Park (Torrington) and Muzzy Field (Bristol), and a top-notch website making the Tri-State Baseball League an Example to Follow –or Join!!
The Tri-State Baseball League has had 9 different champions in the past 11 seasons.
2017 Naugatuck Dogs defeated Tri-Town Trojans
2016 Watertown Blaze defeated Naugatuck Dogs
2015 Litchfield Cowboys defeated Tri-Town Trojans
2014 Wolcott Scrappers defeated Tri-Town Trojans
2013 Tri-Town Trojans defeated Naugatuck Dogs
2012 Litchfield Cowboys defeated Waterbury Wild
2011 Litchfield Cowboys defeated Tri-Town Trojans
2010 Bethlehem Plowboys defeated Tri-Town Trojans
2009 Brass City Brew defeated Bethlehem Plowboys
2008 Winsted Whalers defeated Brass City Brew
2007 Torrington Rebels defeated Bethlehem Plowboys