‘Geezer’ softball keeps octogenarians spirited

Friday, July 7, 2017 0 Comments

The Miami Lakes “Geezers,” a group of several dozen local residents who some would consider are “past their prime,” are dedicated to continue enjoying regular Monday and Wednesday morning softball games at Miami Lakes Optimist Park.

One of the prime motivators behind this committed group is former Miami Herald executive David Oliver who has become the official “scribe” of Geezer games and Geezer lore.

In late May, after playing some recent games at other Optimist Park diamonds, Oliver reported that the Geezers returned to Miami Lakes and in a special pre-game ceremony, Geezer Bruce Davidson sand “You’ve Really Got a Hold on Me” to his fiancé Mary Lavoie to commemorate their purchase of engagement rings from Geezer Gary Snow at Snow’s Jewelers.

Twenty-five gentlemen showed up for that game and were drafted into two squads:

The “Visitors” included Alfred (A Rod) Rodriguez, Jose Caballero, Gilbert Alfonso, Iggy Escandon, Bob Jones, Jorge DeArmas, Mariano Fernandez, Peter Fishel, Victor Fernandez, Angel Sosa, Vinnie Kaminski, Frank Weber and Oliver plus Rocky the Mascot.
The “Homesters” included Angel Hernandez, Ernie Garcia, Luis “Giancarlo” Arencibia, Juan Iglesias, Jose Rivera, Carlos (CarGo) Gonzalez, Luis Calderin, Davidson, Lee Collins, Oscar Sauri, Alberto Sordo-Ramos, Terry (TKO) Kushi, and Mary the Cheerleader.

After a flurry of hits and some outstanding defensive plays, the “Visitors” won the game 12-8.
What is interesting about this congregation of die-hard athletes is the small group of octogenarians who continue their youth with a ball and bat. Included in that group are Peter Fishel, Vinnie Kaminski, Alberto Sordo-Ramos, Victor Fernandez and Angel Sosa.

Fernandez, 83, and Sosa, 85, both started playing baseball at an early age in Cuba. 

Fernandez left Cuba in 1962 with his wife and two children. A third child was born in New York City where he played baseball in “The Spanish Leagues of New York, Inc.” He moved to Miami in 1970 and worked as a Tool & Die maker and part-time Real Estate agent.

Sosa left Cuba in 1963 and traveled to Mexico. He arrived in Miami in 1964 and for 17 years, worked as a Mechanical Maintenance Superintendent for Miami-Dade County Aviation Department. He retired in 1993.

More than 25 years ago, the two played on the same team in Miami-Dade County including Union Central Life and Lavin Baby Center.

Now, they are playing together again with the Geezers in Miami Lakes.

Sosa considers this opportunity a blessing. At least three times, he has arrived at a Geezer game with tears in his eyes, reporting that the doctor told him he no longer could play softball due to a bad back, hernia and asthma. But he continues to come back.

When Sosa and Fernandez play Geezer ball together, they may be well into their 80’s, but they play like they are still in their 30’s.

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