It was about 1991 when I was the League President of the Blue Ridge League and I was playing for the Lovettsville Dodgers when I saw an article in the Fairfax Journal about Roger Stanley and a MSBL team. I called Roger and we talked about baseball and the League. After talking with Roger, I decided to play for Roger’s team called the Twins at that time. A year later, I left the Blue Ridge League and have been playing with the DCMSBL on various teams in the 18+, 25+, 30+, 40+, 48+ age divisions.
Joined DCMSBL in their second year of operation- 1990
On the short list of guys who could be called and show up on short notice to help a team field 9 players, aka the Timmy rule.
Participated in every Phoenix World Series since 1994
5 final 4’s and 2 World Series rings
10 Years high school baseball coach at Falls Church and now at Woodson High School
Original member of the League Committee
Still playing in the over 25, 35, 45, and 55
Featured in the Washington Post in August, 2013
I played one year of professional baseball in 1950. I signed with the Cleveland Indians and was released before my big bonus ($300) was valid after 29 days with Batavia, NY, in the Pennsylvania Ohio New York (PONY) League. I then signed with Lockport, NY, a Cincinnati Reds farm team, to finish the year out. I batted .254 for 120 games, played third base, and that was my last year in professional baseball.
I went into the Air Force in 1951 and got discharged in November 1952. I came home and became a Union Printer and played with the printers for 10 years as their shortstop. I got married in February 1953. In 1954, I became a basketball official, officiating for a time in the ACC and Southern Conference Division I. I quit officiating in 1968 and with my family (Jean, Carol, and Craig) began camping each weekend for 12 years.
In 1977, I didn’t like the way my body had become, so I started running. I quit smoking and ran the Marine Corps Marathon in 1980 in 3 hours and 43 minutes. I said “Anyone dumb enough to run 26 miles should be dumb enough to officiate again.”
I officiated another 19 years, Special Olympics and Northeast Conference Women Division I. In 2001, I was awarded Life Membership in the International Association of Approved Basketball Officials (IAABO) of which I am very proud. My Special Olympics experience runs to every World Games since 1987 every 4 years. Culminating in my going to Dublin, Ireland (2003), Shanghai, China (2007), and Athens, Greece (2011), this will be my swan song.
When my son, Craig, was 28 years old (1985), he began playing baseball with the Ponce de Leon League. Because he was involved, I wanted to go and watch him play. Ponce had a rule that you played the game no matter how many players you were missing. In this game, each team had eight players, so I suggested to my son that I would play right field for each team. The owner of the league at that time said “No” because of my having no insurance. So the next year, I decided to play with him in the Ponce League. He was not eligible for DCMSBL because he was too young.
When he reached 30, he and I both began playing with the Montgomery County Angels and Frank Holt. I have been going to all his games since then. The DCMSBL has since, because of my age, grandfathered me into the league so I don’t have pay any fees. I keep score with the teams that Craig has played with since then and act as the “forfeit guy,” if the have eight players I play until someone arrives to take my place. Occasionally, I get to hit (ha, ha).
I want you to know that I am very humbled by this award and very thankful to Larry and Roger for continuing to run the DCMSBL so very well. At my age (80), it is a blessing to still be alive and active. Thank you very much.
My Baseball Life
A good friend of mine has a saying about the game we love, “Life imitates Baseball!” This rings true to me on multiple levels. The game itself, demands that we pay attention moment by moment to little things. A lapse of attention at any moment could become the turning point in the game. The game gives you multiple chances to succeed; and if you’ve been paying attention all along, you can use what you learned a moment ago, to succeed in this moment. There is also a great interdependence among the players on both sides of the ball. We have to communicate. And when we know each other well, we can anticipate what a teammate (or an opponent) will do in a situation and position ourselves to take advantage of that knowledge. Haste does indeed make waste (aka errors) in this game; a lot of it shows up in the box score, and a lot of it doesn’t.
The game has also been at the forefront of change in American Society. Jackie Robinson not only broke the color barrier in America’s Pastime, but opened a door to experience for Americans who were in the dark about the character and capacity of Black Americans. His courage and resilience even today is a model for all Americans. In my mind, the game has brought Americans closer together and broken down many of the stereotypes that separate us. Like life, the game boils down to a few simple things to do and pay attention to in order to be successful. And like life, there are an infinite number of little things that can pile up on you if you are not paying attention.
And, the game is HARD. Where else can you succeed only one third of the time and be deemed to possess greatness. Success in baseball occurs in a moment. The wing of the bat; that unmistakable sound of a ball well hit, that feels as light as a feather off the bat. Or the catch after getting a great jump on a ball that was going to be a double in the gap. These are the moments we live for in this great game.
I continue to play precisely because it is hard. And succeeding at something as hard as this game, makes those moments of success all the more enjoyable. The game teaches you that it is the play that is important, not the momentary success. If you play this game only for the moments of success, you’re going to have a hard time; just the same as if you play life only for the momentary pleasures, it will be hard and stressful all the time.
I am grateful to DCMSBL for the opportunity to play for over 20 years now. I’ve loved this game since I was 6 years old. My love for the game came from my Dad’s influence. My Dad took me to ball games where I saw the legendary Satchel Paige in the twilight of his career pitch for the International League Miami Marlins. He didn’t argue with me about going to school when I got sick in October of 1954 and was able to see Willie Mays catch Vic Wertz’s drive to deep center. He didn’t argue either in October of 1955 as I was home with a cold and watching our beloved Dodgers finally beat the Yankees with Johnny Podres pitching a complete game shutout; in Yankee Stadium, no less! Those games inspired me to play and I’m thankful to be able to continue to do so.
There are many memories of great times over the years of DCMSBL. Great games that stick in my mind and a few championships along the way as well. However, the greatest memories of the last 22+ years have to do with the friendships that go back throughout the period of time starting with John Small’s Yankees, and Astros, John Russell and Bob Janis’ DC Mets; and more recently with the Blue Jays. Many of the Blue Jays started with me as teenagers; and I’ve watched them grow into men. We have won a few Championships together, but what is most gratifying, is that they have taken the lessons of the game between the lines, into their lives outside the lines. DCMSBL made this possible. Like I say, “Life imitates Baseball!”
Being raised in a military family, 4 years of Little League was played in 4 different locations from 1965-1968……..Puerto Rico, California, Florida, and Virginia.
-Falls Church Babe Ruth 1969-1971 with 13 & 15 year old State Championships
in 1969 & 1971.
-George C. Marshall H.S. in Falls Church, Va. First team All-Met 1974.
-George Mason University Varsity Baseball 1975-1978.
-NAIA College World Series 1976.
-Clark Griffith League 1975.
-Maryland Industrial League 1976 & 1977.
-1978 Signed as Free Agent in Class A Carolina League with Alexandria Dukes
(Parent team Seattle Mariners).
-Virginia Credit Union League 1979-1986 with Springfield Rifles.
-Started playing in DCMSBL in 1991 & 1992 for John Zendarski of the 30+
-1993-1997: 30+ Springfield Rifles. Fall Classic in Florida 1995 & 1996.
-2007-2018: 18+, 25+, 22+, 18+ Loudoun Rifles
-Robinson H. S. Varsity Baseball Assistant 1979 & 1980. AAA State
-Loudoun Little League 1988-1999.
-American Legion Post 34: 2000-2001.
-Park View H. S. Varsity Baseball Assistant 2003-2008.
-DCMSBL 1993-1997: 30+ Springfield Rifles & 2007-2018 Loudoun Rifles
-Stafford Little League 2018
Joined DCMSBL in 1996. Answered a Washington Post newspaper ad to join the Red Sox (40+), a new team being formed in the league. A true expansion team. Played 4 years for the Red Sox, then, when old enough, also played for the 50+ Virginia Senators. Went to 3 MSBL Arizona World Series Tournaments with the Senators.
In 2004, co-founded the Rebels, in the 48+ age division, and in 2005, expanded into the new 55+ division. Brought the Rebels to AZ MSBL World Series for 6 years. Also in 2004, founded and managed the 18+ Oak Hill Mets, with two sons on the team. The Mets played for 5 seasons, winning 2 Division titles.
Played in 5 different age divisions over 15 years, many years on multiple teams (28+ (Fairfax Americans), 35+ (Giants, Red Sox), 45+ (Senators, Rebels/DC Mets), 55+ (Rebels/DC Mets), Fall UL (Senators, Rebels/ DC Mets).
Managed in 5 different age groups, 18+ (Oak Hill Mets), 35+ (Giants), 45+(Rebels/DC Mets), 55+ (Rebels/DC Mets), Fall UL (Rebels/DC Mets).
Assistant Manager 4 different age groups (35+, 45+, 55+, Fall UL). For 4 years (2005-2008) managed/assistant mgr. for 4 teams per season. Currently Player/Manager for the 45+ and 55+ DC Mets (formerly Rebels).
I love baseball! I’ve been playing for almost 30 years. From T-Ball, to Little League, to Seniors, Big Leagues, and DCMSBL. In addition to playing I have coached and managed teams and am a trained and certified umpire with experience in “umping” both Little League and Senior Games.
I began my “baseball career” in Londonderry New Hampshire in1987 playing “T” Ball and Little League, moved to Sterling Virginia in 1991. I was selected for, and played on, the Big-League County All Stars and played in the state tournaments two years in a row (2001 and 2002). I “discovered” DCMSBL while searching online for adult leagues and started playing in the league in 2003.
I have played on the Marauders, the Reston Pirates, the Fighting Lloyds, the Kapital City Royals and the Loudoun Sharks, and helped win the League Championship with the Reston Pirates in 2014. With a group of friends from the All Star experience, we formed the Loudoun Sharks in 2004 and I’ve played, coached and managed the team through good seasons and bad until we finally won the Championship in 2015 – and the Sharks will win it again.
Playing with thirteen different teams, in multiple age groups, in two Fall Classics, two World Series’, several local tournaments, and as part of four DC MSBL championship teams, Bill Kirkendale will be playing in his 25th consecutive season in 2016. And, to top it off, Bill will be joined in the league by his two sons – twenty year old Billy, playing in his third season, and eighteen year old Chris who will be playing together on the reigning champion 18+ Sharks.
Bill was wrapping up his Babe Ruth team’s practice at Four Mile Run in Arlington in the spring of ’92, when having his own kids was the last thing on his mind. Bill remembers a bunch of guys his age throwing around a hardball and then coming onto the field. “I asked about it and how I could play too.”
The late Ricky Blasquez’ Senators – perennial contenders and two time DC MSBL Champs – invited Bill to work out with them, signed him up, and he’s been playing ever since. “Ricky asked me what position I played, I said pitcher, he asked how hard I threw, I said pretty hard, he said to hang around and warm up. Later he put me on the mound against a live batter and I almost took the guy’s head off trying to show off, haha!”
Bill currently plays for the 25+ NOVA Yankees and the 45+ Angels. “It’s such an amazing honor to be recognized as a part of this standout league’s history! I’m overwhelmingly grateful for the DC MSBL and the big part it has played in my life. To keep playing real baseball every spring and summer as I did when I was a kid, and still now at 56, and with my boys in the league! How awesome is that!”