Chamber of Commerce - 2001
2001 Senior League Champions
Sitting: Alan McClelland, Marcus
Bernal, Jerry Coulehan, Richie Kaczmarek.
The Final Chapter
In addition to being the first 6-9 team to claw its way to a title victory in quite some time, the 2001 Chamber of Commerce team, led by fireballers John Barley (not pictured), Josh Hallmark, Brian Shinton and Pat Farrell, earned the dubious distinction of being the final champion in the 44-year history of the Brookline Boy's Senior League. The league was disbanded after the 2001 campaign in favor of a move into traveling leagues.
Rich Kaczmarek's boys hung tough during a difficult season, earned the fourth and final spot in the playoffs, then turned on the heat. They disposed of the #1 seed Weiss Automotive 15-7 to gain a birth in the championship round, then beat Toole Auto Body in two one-run classics, 7-6 and 6-5 for the championship.
Started in 1956 as the Brookline Prep League, Senior League baseball became a summer ritual for 13 to 15 year-old Brookline boys. Little Leaguers looked up to the older players and dreamed about making the move down to the big field to play against the big guys. Each year, new rivalries began, pitting neighborhood kids against their peers in a friendly game of baseball. The champion got to strut around town for a year, then return to defend his team's honor.
The last few seasons saw a decline in the quality of play, and sign-ups were not sufficient to sustain the league. The decision was made to enter into the local traveling league, offering the kids a chance to travel to different locations and play against their peers from the surrounding neighborhoods. The Girl's Senior League followed suit in 2004, ending their 27 years of in-house softball tradition.
Traveling teams may offer more options, and I can't argue that it is fun to play against other communities. All things considered, making the move was the right thing to do. But, nothing can take away the character and charm of the in-house neighborhood program. For those of us who experienced the excitement, we will remember with fondness our years playing in the Brookline Senior League.
Oh well, it's all nostalgia now. The final chapter of the story was written by Rick Kaczmarek and the Brookline Chamber of Commerce nine.
Click on image for a larger photo
* Photo provided by Bob Hayes Photography *
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