On Friday, October 26, the spirit of camaraderie bustled through the dugout as more than 40 alumni baseball players gathered at the Long Island Campus’ new Outdoor Field Complex to participate in the 2012 alumni baseball game. There, former teammates greeted one another with high-fives, hugs and handshakes as they prepared for the night’s contest.
Under bright stadium lighting, alumni of various class years relived the glory days of their collegiate careers, blasting RBI doubles and stealing bases, all while sharing a few laughs along the way. A hard-fought battle between fellow SJC graduates, the game remained close to the finish. Certainly, there was no shortage of fun and excitement.
“This is always such a great night,” said SJC baseball head coach Randy Caden. “Tonight, players came to play ball, see the new facility and, most importantly, have a good time. Many of them even brought their families.”
Time and again, alumni athletes have returned to SJC to celebrate the tradition of one of the College’s most successful teams, a testament to how important the baseball program is to each player. Dating back to the early 1990s, the alumni game has become a tradition that players look forward to every year.
Though the game has been held annually for nearly two decades, this year’s alumni game was the first to take place at the newly constructed outdoor field complex. “This is my first time seeing the new field, and I have to say, this is a first-class facility,” said Golden Eagles Hall of Famer Bryan Lynch ’96. “I was a freshman when the first alumni game was held. As the team grows, it’s nice to see everyone come back.”
Bernie Hoyt ’95, a 2009 Golden Eagles Hall of Fame inductee, has been attending the alumni game for many years. “There’s a great atmosphere here. Because most of us live locally, this is a perfect opportunity to meet up with the people we played with in College: friends and teammates.” Jokingly, he added, “I was the first Golden Eagle to play professionally [for the 1996 Rhode Island Tigersharks of the independent Northeast League], but I don’t know if I can keep up with these guys anymore. I’m sitting out until this becomes a soft-toss softball game.
More than simply reuniting old teammates, the alumni game helps to bridge many generations of Golden Eagle baseball. “It’s nice to meet the guys who played [at St. Joseph’s] many years ago, said 2010 graduate Ron Eichhorn. “This is one of the most fun games we play. It’s a blast.”
But even after graduating, it is clear that the alumni baseball players, no matter their age, have not lost one of their most unifying qualities: their competitive drive. “We cheer each other on and have fun, but at the same time everyone plays for pride,” Mr. Eichhorn explained. “We all want to win.”