I love baseball history and there’s a Web site I consult religiously whenever I have a question or a need to know about the career of an individual professional player or team from years gone by. Its called Baseball-Reference.com and the first thing I did before beginning today’s Amsterdam Birthday Blog post was to enter the name “Aristotle Lazarou” into Baseball-Reference.com’s search windowAmsterdam knew him as Dolly Lazarou, the older brother of Costa, who was perhaps the greatest all-around athlete to ever come out of Amsterdam High School. Dolly was no slouch himself. It was Dolly who would take his little brother over to the Mllton Avenue playground when they were kids to play pitch and catch. They must have played it real good because Dolly became one of the greatest pitchers in the history of our City and Costa was voted the best all-time Amsterdam catcher in a poll conducted by the Amsterdam Mohawks baseball organization. Dolly had a legendary curveball and he was so good on the mound that he signed a contract with the St. Louis Cardinals after graduating from AHS in 1943. Like thousands of superb young athletes of his generation (including younger brother Costa) Dolly’s baseball career was disrupted by service in WWII. He joined the Navy in ’43 and did not get back to pitching until three years later. With thousands of players returning to the sport, competition for every available roster spot was fierce. Soldiers and sailors like Dolly, who returned to the lower level minors had the double whammy of shaking off the rust of not playing competitively for years and facing the competition of younger livelier arms just out of high school. When he returned to action after the war Dolly had trouble regaining his control of the strike zone and his minor league career ended with that ’46 season.
He then returned to Amsterdam and became one of this town’s all-time great bowlers and golfers. His 18-hole score of 64 was the standard at Amsterdam Muni for many years and his name could consistently be found near the very top of the Recorder’s nightly listing of the “Aces of the Alley.” He also kept pitching for many years in the Twilight League.
Dolly died in 2005 at the age of 80. Each August, the Lazarou family sponsors a Golf Tournament at Amsterdam Muni in his honor with all proceeds going to local community worthwhile causes. They call it “Dolly Day.”
Here’s a link to the actual stats that come up when you do that Baseball-Reference.com search on “Aristotle Lazarou” one of the greatest baseball pitchers in Amsterdam’s history.
Dolly shares his birthday with the most successful Amsterdam-born recording artist in history.