We all know baseball fans who live and die by the game, but very few as devoted as the late Al Cummings.  A member of the Senior Softball Players, he passed away last year and had his ashes spread on the Halmich Park field, where he and his fellow teammates—many World War II veterans—play a couple of times a week.

“Our league is seventy and older,” says Rudy Kramer, the gang’s unofficial spokesman.  “We may have players in their nineties, but we’re still too young to take up golf.”  Kramer, who was a 6th Division Marine Corporal in World War II, maintains that the games are all about good times and good camaraderie, and insists that they’ll play, “…until it’s time to go.”

The team is intent on delaying that moment as long as possible, or so says Al Bicego, who fought in the South pacific.  “This is the secret to staying young:  staying physically fit and mentally alert.”

Former seaman 2nd class Harold Sims points out, “We haven’t grown up yet

Their spirited game, played on Warrens Helmich Park field on July 28, will be featured in Detroit: Our Greatest Generation and is intended to show a side of World War II vets that isn’t often seen:  a fiercely competitive nature that hasn’t faded since the 40’s and may well be why they were so successful in combat and in life.

“We haven’t grown up yet,” laughs Ray DeFiore, 83, former PFC in the US Army who fought in Germany.  “We love the exercise, plus, it gets us away from our wives!”

Hearty cheers followed that sentiment.  The real show of showmanship, however, the true spirit of the era came when they were asked who was the best player on the team.

Every hand went up.




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