There are so many great things that we miss about the “old” Chelsea and one of those memories is the Chelsea Municipal Fast Pitch Softball League at Carter Park.
There were many, many nights when the Carter Park stands and the staircase leading into the ballfield from Orange Street would be filled with fans watching exciting softball action. The park was a gathering place at night for so many Chelsea people young and old.
Chelsea Little Leaguers, after playing their games on Diamonds 1, 2, and 3 at Chelsea Memorial Stadium would come to the games and watch larger-than-life figures like Durant Paint’s slugger Billy Palladino, Torro Contractors’ Tommy Phillips and Geno Freeman, Ed’s Grill’s Tommy Fay, Bobby Halas, Red Carroll, and Jimmy Cameron, the Alderman DiOrio Club’s Golden Tyre, and Andie’s Citgo’s Jimmy Guidi – along with Eddie McCarthy, Homer Norton, Bobby Gallo, Danny Cronin, Mike Kearney and the other members of that charismatic, fun-loving group that wore the New Bridge Café uniforms.
The umpires, distinguished men like Charlie Lee, Biff McDonald, and Bill Smigielski, brought their own style and gentlemanly grace to the games.
It was Arnold Goodman’s dream to build a tremendous following for Chelsea softball and make it the most competitive league around – and he accomplished that goal. Goodman was one of the league founders and a dedicated president – not to mention a superb left-handed pitcher for the Chelsea Y.M.C.A. team who dazzled batters with his spinners, change-up and curves.
It was no surprise that Goodman would organize and run such a fantastic league. Those who attended the Shurtleff School in the 1960s and 1970s will tell you that Arnie Goodman’s intramural basketball league was the best league of its kind, intramural or otherwise.
There is no more fast pitch softball being played in Chelsea. There are modified fast pitch and slow pitch leagues still in existence in the area, but fast pitch – as we know it – is no longer a local pastime.
But in the minds and scrapbooks of long-time Chelsea residents and softball players, the Chelsea Fast Softball League will live on, a testament to Arnold Goodman and others whose efforts brought so much enjoyment to so many people on warm, summer evenings at Carter Park.