UNION, NJ – Beginning their 68th season, Union Little League celebrated opening day a little differently this year, with a limited number of players, family members, little league members and township officials in attendance.
“While there are few parents and players here with us today, we’re very happy to see kids playing baseball again and see the joy that it brings to them,” said Jim DiGiovanni, a member of the league’s Board of Directors. DiGiovanni said last year’s season was canceled due to the pandemic. This year, he said, there are over 230 players with six major league teams, four minor league teams, six training rookie and six t-ball teams.
During the ceremony, the league’s clubhouse was dedicated to recently deceased long-time volunteer and board member Bill Morrison. DiGiovanni said, “the clubhouse was one of Bill’s pet projects, one he worked tirelessly on to make it happen. Consequently, we want to dedicate the clubhouse to Bill’s memory. He worked so hard for many, many years.”
“Bill gave of himself in so many different ways,” said State Senator Joe Cryan. “He made everyone better by just being around him. He never put his hand up and said look at me, look what I did. He let his actions speak for themselves. We miss him. I don’t know anyone who’s made more of an impact to so many for so long.”
“’It’s for the kids. It’s just for the kids’, that was Bill’s battle cry,” said longtime friend John Dennis. “Every time we talked about a project, all Bill would say was ‘it’s for the kids’. Union Little League owes so much to Bill.”
A plaque was presented to Morrison’s wife, Maryann and children Don and Kim which read:
We are forever indebted to those for donate their time. For the past 31 years, Bill Morrison dedicated his life to Union Little League. Regardless of his position, Bill believed in doing the right job. The sky was the limit because it was for the kids. His hard work, unselfish dedication and his unsurpassed level of volunteerism has set a standard for decades to come. Union Little League will certainly miss this unique individual, but will always remember his incomparable personality, leadership and laughter. It was a joy to work with him.
“I personally had the opportunity to meet Bill in 2007 when we started on the planning board together,” said Mayor Michele Delisfort. “I came in; I didn’t know anyone, and from day one he embraced me as if he knew me for over 20 years. He always had beautiful things to say about his family. He was a wonderful person.”
Also recognized at the ceremony was long time Union Little League member David Petruzziello, who passed away in December. A plaque was presented to Petruzziello’s family members which read:
For 30 years, Dave donated his time to Union Little League. Long after being a coach, he served the league in many directorship positions and as president for two terms. His soft-spoken manner, wisdom and guidance paved the way for the league’s success and growth. Dave inspired us by showing what an amazing person he was. He is gone from our lives, but he will never be gone from our memories. Union Little League thanks him."
In the interest of transparency: TAPinto Union's publisher, Kathy Cryan, is married to State Senator Joe Cryan.