UNION — On Saturday, April 28, Kean University hosted alumni who played on the school’s baseball and softball teams at its “Diamonds Are Forever” reunion event. About 65 attendees turned out on a bright, sunny, but chilly April day for a barbecue lunch in the University’s Harwood Arena. They also enjoyed watching the current baseball and softball teams in action; both teams happened to be playing doubleheaders, with the ladies facing Rutgers-Camden and the guys going up against William Paterson.
The baseball alumni tended to skew toward players who attended Kean during the 1960s. This close-knit group enjoyed sitting together, calling each other by their old team nicknames—“The King,” “Mammy Yokum,” “Sessue Hayakawa”—and ribbing each other about real and alleged achievements on the diamond. A favorite story retold by this group spotlighted Jim Hynes ’63, one of Kean’s most distinguished alumni and a great supporter of the University (baseball games are played today in the Jim Hynes ’63 Baseball Stadium). During a game against Glassboro State in 1962, while playing second base, Hynes sustained a compound fracture when he caught his spikes in the bag and a Glassboro player took a hard slide right into his leg. He ended up with a 33-day hospital stay and a plate in his leg that causes him difficulty in airport metal detectors to this day.
One of the younger baseball alums, Bob Golden ’85, was a catcher from 1982 to 1984. After confirming that his knees were still doing fine, he commented, “There are a lot of great memories here and it’s always a lot of fun to come back. Some of the greatest times I’ve had in my whole life were here, playing sports at Kean. It’s a really good feeling to be able to come back and see some of the people who coached you or you played with.”
Softball player Lori Abry ’98 ’04, when asked why she had returned to Kean for the reunion, responded: “What do you remember about your college years? You remember softball.” Liana LaVecchia ’97 listed some of the benefits of having played her sport: “Teamwork, trust, a bond. You create a relationship [with your teammates] where you can rely on each other… I haven’t seen these guys in 15 years, but as soon as I saw them all the memories came rushing back.”
For more information about upcoming Kean University alumni events, including the 50 Plus Reunion on May 22 and the 2012 Summer Splash on June 16, visit www.keanalumni.org.
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