Latino Baseball Legend Inspires Hometown Youth to Dream Bigger
QUEENS, NY (September 25, 2018) - Former NY Mets All Star Edgardo Alfonzo spent a lively afternoon with 6th and 7th graders at Queens Community House (QCH)’s Beacon Program at JHS 190 in Forest Hills on Monday, answering questions, playing catch, and signing autographs for everyone in the room.
Alfonzo, nicknamed “Fonzie,” is considered by many to be the best second baseman in Mets history. He posted a career 29.5 WAR, ranking him the seventh best Met of all time. During the 1990’s, Alfonzo led the franchise in runs, hits and doubles. He was named to an All Star team, won a Silver Slugger, and had three top 15 MVP finishes. Today he is the manager for the Brooklyn Cyclones.
At the event, which was dubbed, “Catching Up with Fonzie,” Alfonzo's knack for inspiring a crowd proved timeless when the students got their chance to grill him.
“What was it like to play in a World Series?” one student asked. To which Alfonzo replied, “I was nervous. The stakes were very high. But I found courage and stayed focused.” “Did you win?” the student followed. Alfonzo laughed.
“I have been given a great opportunity to do what I love," Alfonzo said afterwards. "I’m glad I am able to give back to my community and make people smile. We need that today more than ever.”
Alfonzo, who was inducted into the Latino Baseball Hall of Fame in June, is originally from Venezuela. “I always talk about my experience when I first came here and what I went through to become a professional baseball player. If these kids take home just one idea or inspiration from my story, then I’ve done my job.”
QCH will honor Alfonzo at their annual Strengthening Neighborhoods Inspiring Change Gala on October 23. “Positive role models like Edgardo Alfonzo have a huge influence on youth, especially those who closely identify with his experiences as an immigrant," said QCH Executive Director, Ben Thomases. "He offers kids of all backgrounds achievements to look up to, and we’re thrilled to add Queens Community House honoree to that impressive list.”
Alfonzo is as unassuming today as he was when he ruled second base. “When a player gets on the field, their focus is to play the game well,” he said. “It’s never a thought that you’ll one day be known for the work you do. It's an honor to be celebrated by Queens Community House for my history as a baseball player, but even more important to be recognized for doing good.”
The gala will take place at the Museum of The Moving Image in Astoria. More information is available at www.qchnyc.org/gala.
About Queens Community House: Founded in 1975, Queens Community House, is a multi-site nonprofit organization that offers a wide network of comprehensive services to individuals, families, and communities throughout Queens. From 32 sites in 14 neighborhoods, QCH helps thousands of Queens residents to thrive in school, make healthy life choices, succeed in educating themselves, become engaged citizens, stabilize their housing situations, and make the most of their senior years. Learn more at www.qchnyc.org.