The Americanlegion

the world's largest veterans organization

Renew Join now

Latest News

  • Monday, July 27, 2015

    Tournament Players Get Autographs from Nursing Home Vets

    UTICA — A group of American Legion baseball players brought baseballs to St. Luke’s Nursing Home July 27 and asked military veterans for their autographs.

    Legion players with vet.

    Vietnam Marine Corps vet Richard Weston jokes with Utica Post 229 players Stone Hickey, Ben Kilian and Noah Jones.

    “It was pretty cool,” said Noah Jones, a third baseman with Utica Post 229. “It feels good to thank them for their service.”

    “Really cool,” echoed Johnny Ploffe, an outfielder with Endicott Post 1700 Spartans.

    Tournament players with autographed balls

    Nick James and Johnny Ploffe of Endicott Post 1700 Spartons show off their veteran-autographed balls.

    The 14 veterans, who served from World War II to Vietnam, talked “of what they went through and what they had to do…If they hadn’t done that for us, we wouldn’t be playing baseball, so I’m really thankful for them.”

    Some of the veterans were surprised they were being asked to autograph baseballs. “One of the group said he had never been asked for an autograph before,” noted Nick James, pitcher for the Spartans. “He was tickled about that.”

    James Yermas and Stanley Gargosh

    Commander James Yermas thanks Stanley Gargosh for his World War II service, including participating in the invasion of Normandy.

    State American Legion Commander James Yermas accompanied the players and also thanked the veterans for their service.

    Spartans Manager Steve Barrett described the experience as A telling moment for the young players. “It connects Legion Baseball to what (the American Legion) really means.”

    Several players from each of the teams playing in the New York State American Legion Baseball Tournament participated in the nursing home visit, spending time chatting with the vets. They also gave each vet an American Legion blanket donated by Andrean Post 625.