Gadomski gets chance to give back to Baseball

copyright Register-Citizen (Peter Wallace) 6/6/10
Tri-State Baseball commissioner Ed Gadomski runs his life inside out from lots of people who go to work, then try to fit in the things they really love in the rest of their lives. “I’ve been working nights 22 years as a computer support specialist at Waterbury Hospital,” explains Gadomski, who lives in Thomaston. “I don’t want to be a manager or supervisor. When I leave work, my family and baseball are the rest of my life. “Of course, when I was playing, it made it tiring going to work sometimes.”
Gadomski, 43, has been Tri-State Commissioner (a volunteer position) for seven years. He hung up his own spikes three years ago. “I started umpiring then; that made it easier to tear myself away,” he grins. As one more tribute to his executive skills in baseball, Gadomski has risen to vice president of the Torrington Board of Approved Umpires in that short span. “I’ve played baseball my whole life,” he says, recounting Tech League championships at Kaynor Tech all four years he played with them as a pitcher and lead-off batter/centerfielder, then another championship at Naugatuck Valley Community College, where his team won the state championship his first year. “We had just two pitchers,” he laughs, “so one of us would start and the other relieve; then we’d switch roles for the next game.” The system worked well enough to beat Tunxis Community College, ranked 19th in the country among community colleges, for the championship. But, like so many good ballplayers, off-season relationships helped build some of the strongest bonds.
Cheshire’s Mickey Mantle team drafted Gadomski as a 16-year-old, where he played with future hockey star Brian Leetch. Gadomski won two games in the state tourney and the team’s only victory in the Mickey Mantle regional tournament — a 5-2 win over Brooklyn, N.Y. Later, in 1984-85, he played for Oakville’s American Legion team with future major leaguers Rico Brogna (Mets, Rockies, Tigers) and Darren Bragg (Mariners, Yankees, Red Sox, Reds). “I dreamed about (the majors) as a kid, but I didn’t have the size,” says Gadomski about his close brush with major league players. Maybe not, but Connecticut’s adult leagues have some players that come close; Gadomski was one of them.
“I lived and died with a slider and a 12-6 curve,” Gadomski laughs about his days in Waterbury’s Twi-Met League and with the Waterbury Laurels in the Nutmeg Legaue, who “won all kinds of championships.” He played with them for eight to 10 years, then overlapped onto Tri-State’s Thomaston Spoilers in 1991. When the Spoilers won the league title in 2003, Gadomski was the Tri-State League MVP in his best hitting season: a .456 average, five homers, 14 doubles, a triple and 22 RBI. Meanwhile, he managed a team in the Twi-Met League for three years, serving on the league’s board as secretary and “learning a lot.” When Bob McMahon stepped down from the Tri-State commissioner job in 2003, Gadomski was ready.
In seven years under Gadomski, the league has grown from six teams to 18. It’s established a hall of fame, a great website, changed to wooden bats and “looked for more ways to grow and improve” through such service efforts as a Mother’s Day Weekend for Breast Cancer Awareness. Gadomski’s gift for organization is part of the success. (“A kid who lives down at the shore called about playing. I told him, ‘There’s a league closer to you.’ He said, ‘Yeah, but they’re not as well organized.”) Fairness is part of it. It’s difficult to stack a team when a rule against more than four non-community participants per team is firmly enforced. And luck, Gadomski says, is also key.
The Twi-Met League folded and “they had no other place to go.” Now the league spans from Waterbury and Bristol through the Northwest Corner to Amenia, N.Y. Gadomski gives credit to his board of directors (all 18 coaches). “Everybody works together.” Still, most people recognize Gadomski as the glue. “Ed Gadomski should have a wing of his own in our Hall of Fame,” said former commissioner McMahon. “This is my chance to give back to baseball,” Gadomski says. “There’s nothing I enjoy more than to give kids a place to play. Every year, I place 35 to 40 kids who e-mail me looking for a place to go. I’ll stay as long as I’m enjoying it.”
For Ed Gadomski, who organizes his life the way lots of people would like to organize theirs, it’s hard to imagine a time when he won’t enjoy being in the middle of great baseball.

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