I'm on a softball team for seniors, "The Young Viejos". We won today (15-6) but a much bigger thrill came as the game ended when we celebrated the 100th birthday of our oldest player, Tony Snetro.
Tony's been with the team since it started in 1994. Even then, when he was 77, he was an amazing athlete, a little guy a big personality. He played ball quite well until three years ago when his doctor ordered him to watch games from the dugout.
He was born "Anthony Sinatra" in 1917. As a young adult he tired of being asked if he was "Frank's brother". Tony changed his name. When WWII broke out he joined the Navy and served with distinction on a destroyer in in the South Pacific.
Tony Snetro came to Coral Gables today with his two kids so he could celebrate with his team and watch his favorite game. At one point his daughter turned to him and said, "Dad, you don't look a day over one hundred!". And he wasn't. Perhaps tomorrow.
During the fifth inning he'd had it with watching. Tony picked up his glove and walked out to left field. His son, Tony Jr., tried unsuccessfully to stop him. As our oldest stood there and waited for a hit the rest of us were fearing a line drive might end his life.
I walked over and played a little catch with Tony just five-feet away. Tony Jr. stood close enough to catch his dad of he fell. A few throws seemed to satisfy our centenarian. Tony returned to the dugout. I got to play catch with my father again.
Tony strikes a pose
After the game he received
a proclamation from the city proclaiming 12-19-17 "Tony Snetro Day" in Coral Gables.
His teammate, Augustin Gonzalez (age 95) received one as well as the oldest active softball player in the United States (he went 4 for 4 today!).
Augustin and Tony, enjoying our national pastime for 195 years.
I am in awe of both honorees. They play a game they love that keeps them relatively young.
I plan to continue my efforts hoping that I will get my own proclamation thirty years from now.
Tony surrounded by fans