I was thrilled to be invited as a former member of the Springville Town Team to honor the Founders of the Community Park this past Saturday at the Opening Day ceremonies. The founders were Marv Smith, Lutz Zielinski, Joe Zielinski, Steve Zielinski, Duke Dains, Dick Errington, Richard Fancher and Lyle Moritz.
When I started playing for the Town Team I was 14 years old. Marv Smith was the manager, Duke Dains was playing third base and Earl Biscup was the pitcher. My Uncle Joe Zielinski was in the dugout keeping score and giving 10˘ to kids for chasing foul balls. Uncle Steve Zielinski just finished mowing the lawn and dragging the infield. Uncle Lutz Zielinski was always working on the water pump and passing the hat to pay for the umpires. Fourth of July celebrations at the park were a two-to-three day event with fireworks culminating the holiday. Everyone was expected to work, even family members helped out to make the occasion a fun and memorable pastime. My Mom and Dad, Frank and Dorthy Wozniak, were in charge of cooking and selling hot dogs. Dick Fancher was in charge of the fireworks, and for some reason everyone else wanted to work in the beer stand.
Fast forward 25 years from my childhood of playing on the Town Team, I started to coach my own children (Tim and Eric Wozniak) in the Babe Ruth and CEBA leagues. With other teammates, these kids worked hard to keep up the baseball diamond and took pride in the history of the Community Park.
It was with great pleasure and proudness that these boys spent many days and nights to maintain these fields so they too could play. My children and their former teammates still to this day have many happy memories of being a part of continuing on the legacy that our founders created.
Although the carnivals are now a pastime, the Zielinskis are still at the park. We had to sell some land and timber to keep the park going. In 1992 the founders had a vision to sell the park for $1 to the town of Concord. With the help of SYI and Springville Baseball Association, this park is one of the nicest parks in WNY.
As I now sit back and watch two of my grandchildren play and be coached by family members and former players of mine, I can only reflect on the four generations playing at the Community Park. I want to thank SYI, Springville Baseball Assoc. and the town of Concord for keeping the Founders vision alive!