Playing softball in Amsterdam isn’t just a sport, its pretty close to a religion. When the time comes, you either get invited to join a team or you start one of your own and you keep playing until there’s a verifiable and irreversible reason why you can’t play any longer. Game nights are eagerly anticipated, not just for the thrill of the competition but also because its a night out with a bunch of good friends and a chance to laugh, reminisce, tip a few cold ones and maybe if you’re lucky, rip a shot into the gap and make it to second standing up. And its been going on forever. Ask anyone whose played recreation league softball from my dad’s generation, from mine or my kids’ to name a best memory from their own playing days and they will instantly recall five.
When I think of people having fun playing softball the first name that enters my mind is always Marty Tambasco. In fact if softball really were a religion, today’s Amsterdam Birthday Celebrant would be its Pope. He has been playing the game continuously since the late 1960s, when his U.S. (later Shorty’s) Clippers team won their league’s championship (see photo below.) His hair has changed color and his competitive juices may not flow quite as aggressively as they did back then but this guy still loves every aspect of the game and plays it with the zeal that old timers like me truly admire.
For the past couple of decades he’s worn the Post 701 jersey. He’s also done a phenomenal job maintaining that team’s official Website. A great teammate and a cherished friend, I know hundreds of Amsterdam softball players past and present join me in wishing Marty Tambasco a very Happy Birthday. Mart, your playing career has outlasted Mantle, Murcer, Mattingly and Jeter. Next up is Aaron Judge!