Of course Jamie Cohen doesn’t remember who the home run hitters were back when he played Derby Little League in the 1950s.
“We were 8 years old!” he told a reporter, incredulously.
But he does remember learning a little something about community service in Derby through his father’s involvement in Derby Little League.
When Jamie had to run down a ball that had been hit dangerously close to the wall, his outstretched arms were often a few feet from the Little League scoreboard that bore his father’s name.
David B. Cohen, an attorney, sponsored the Derby Little League scoreboard in 1950.
Jamie, who grew up in Derby, went to law school, and later served as the city’s corporation counsel before becoming the (now retired) president and CEO of The Valley Community Foundation, has a framed photo showing him and the scoreboard.
History, of course, repeats itself.
Saturday morning was opening day for Derby Little League (click here for photos), and the players have a brand new $7,500 wireless electronic scoreboard — thanks to the younger Cohen.
“This is just about paying it forward. That’s all it is,” Cohen told The Valley Indy Friday, the day before the scoreboard was officially unveiled.
David Cohen’s name — he was the class of ’29 at Derby High School, by the way — is now on the scoreboard above his son, Jamie Cohen, class of ’64.
It makes sense. Youth sports relies heavily on volunteers and goodwill.
The new scoreboard is next to a field that was literally cared for and nurtured by the volunteers of Derby Little League.
On the day The Valley Indy visited, a worker from Falcioni Painting was hand-painting the benches — red, of course, because this is Derby.
The company wasn’t charging a fee.
There are about 100 kids playing this year in Derby Little League, according to Ken Marcucio Sr.
Marcucio, the little league president, has been involved for so long they named the complex atop Nutmeg Avenue in his honor.
“They doubled his pay this year — times zero,” Cohen joked.
The baseball numbers are not what they were 40 years ago, making the volunteer work — and donations such as Cohen’s — all the more important, Marcucio said.
Opening Day 2018 was dedicated to the memory of Ronny Russell, who passed away in August at the age of 52.
“He was a coach and the kids really loved him,” Marcucio said.