There’s No PLATE like Home
by Cate Murway

Nostalgia isn’t what it used to be….. Or is it?
With major league contracts, extravagant stadiums and prime-time television spots, it seems like baseball may have lost its small-town charm.  
Hey listen, heart is legal!
These passionate Bristol athletes became heroes by playing by the rules and striving for success: honestly and fairly.

Spectators galore were gathered to witness the greatness of homegrown and hometown edge talent who were prepared to take the field. A phenomenal mix of athletic brilliance, prominent players who played in the historic Bristol on the Delaware and surrounding areas in the Delaware Valley, were prepared to showcase their performances on the mound and at the plate.
Among the honored guests on hand for the festivities was Congressman Mike Fitzpatrick.

Army Sergeant Robert [meaning “bright fame”] Gildo Lattanzi, Sr.
was one of the area’s premier fast-pitch and slow-pitch softball 
players for over two decades and a stellar first baseman 
during his fast-pitch days starting in 1952. 
He played on several outstanding teams, 
including Kaiser Metal, Cadillac Bar, Chic’s Sportsman’s Bar 
and St. Ann’s A.A.
Currently a Millville, DE resident, 
Bob took center stage once again last Sunday afternoon 
when he was honored at the seventh annual Softball Exhibition 
at the Mike Manto Little League Field in Bristol Borough.

He was a leading hitter in the Lower Bucks County Fast-Pitch League for 10 seasons and is proud of his no hitter in slow pitch.   But he is especially proud that he once doubled off the legendary late American softball pitcher Eddie "The King" Feigner [1925 –2007]. Feigner first assembled his four-man barnstorming team, known as "The King and His Court" in 1946 and willingly took on all comers.  The only major league player to make contact with a pitch of his was Rodney Cline " Rod" Carew who hit a foul ball. Feigner could “strike ‘em out blindfolded!” 
Bobby tarnished his meticulous records with his two home runs!

Game chairman Frank Barbetta confirmed, “We’re honoring Lattanzi, one the best players and finest gentleman to ever play the game.”
Everything was not always just fun and games for him.
Bob is a veteran. His six years of service in the Army provided the foundation for a long career in protecting others and serving his country. He was stationed in the chain of rugged, volcanic Aleutian Islands in Alaska, serving in the end of WWII and during the Korean War. 
Thank you for your service!

Their sons, Robert Gildo “Bob” Lattanzi Jr., BHS ‘79 pitched and Joseph Nazzareno “Joe” Lattanzi, BHS ’83 was scheduled to play 3rd base. Their daughters, Valerie and Janice, BHS ’77 graduates, came to cheer and support. Their other son, Daniel Andrew Lattanzi was not able to attend.
Their daughter –in-law, Lena Lattanzi and their grandchildren Savanna, Gianna and future star athlete, James, joined in the festivities.
Bob, Sr. started playing ball when he was 10 years old and his career included playing for the Bristol Police, Italian Mutual Aid-Fifth Ward, Perotti’s Plumbing, Rainbow Tavern, St. Ann’s A.A., Boise Cascade and Cattani’s Beverages teams.
He continued playing on a Senior League in Delaware. 
His wife, Josephine Theresa [Nastasi] Lattanzi is proud. “He has earned at least 50 gold medals!”
Bob’s “best bud” was his wife’s brother, Nick Nastasi, another incredibly gifted athlete who won the batting title 5 years in a row.

The weather was perfect. A real “SUN”day!
Athletes still hear “YOU’RE OUT” and games are still called for inclement weather and sometimes, unfortunately, for medical emergencies.
James VanCleve was an accomplished athlete from Bristol Township, playing softball extensively in the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s.  Could Jimmy VanCleve really throw the ball from the fence to home plate on the fly? He never got the opportunity to show his skills.
The game was called when Jimmy fell and the spectators cleared the path for the Emergency Response Team to have rapid access to the site.
Dr. Daniel Vile began CPR and continued to do so until the emergency workers arrived and began providing their life-saving, emergency treatments.
Jimmy VanCleve is recuperating in intensive care.

Robert Nicholas Liberatore, Sr., BHS ’57 is the President Emeritus of the Bristol Alumni and Athletic Association. Bob shared, “Jim was an exceptional hitter and he has been an annual, very willing participant for us."

Raymond Benjamin Naylor, Sr., BHS ‘57 is the President and Frank Albin Barbetta, BHS ’50 is the BAAA secretary.
These BHS Hall of Fame athletes are on a mission to mobilize alumni athletes to reinvest in their community and their alma mater. They consider their budding scholars a worthwhile investment and the monies accrued, over $11,000, went to the final year of the Hi-Potential Program scholarship, an innovative, vibrant and positive program that targets budding young scholars who have the potential for academic excellence.
Teamwork always makes the dream work. 
Frank Barbetta’s son-in-law, Christopher D. “Chris” Marukos acknowledged their dedication. “They are bringing attention to the Borough youth and raising money to further their education.”

The fields still beckon.
You are invited to come, bat a few balls, play a little catch or sit in shirtsleeves on a perfect afternoon and dream on the bleachers.
Clearly, there’s no PLATE like home.

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'What happened that day was a miracle'

By Dan Perez
Staff Writer

Friday, August 5, 2011 6:00 am 

Jim Van Cleve stepped up to home plate and hit a single. When the next player came up to bat, Van Cleve stepped off first base, ready to run to second. Instead, he collapsed.

He was near death.
It was his lucky day.
An emergency medical technician was working the game and a cardiologist was in the crowd for the June 26 Bristol Alumni and Athletic Association seventh annual exhibition softball classic at the Bristol Borough Little League Field. And EMT Ken Hopkins remembered to bring along his automatic emergency defibrillator.
Both saw Van Cleve fall.

“The crowd started acting funny ...,” said Hopkins, of the Bucks County Rescue Squad. “I ran to my truck and grabbed medical equipment used to treat cardiac arrest.”
At first Hopkins thought Van Cleve, 72, was having a seizure, but then he stopped breathing. Dr. Daniel Vile from Einstein Medical Center in Philadelphia knew he was suffering a heart attack.
Hopkins and Vile arrived at Van Cleve’s side about the same time. Vile began administering CPR, then Hopkins used the AED.

“I remember earlier that day I was on bike detail and remembered to bring the AED with me to the softball game,” Hopkins said. “That device saved Jim’s life.”
Van Cleve of Bristol Township had stopped breathing and his heart had gone into an abnormal rhythm when the EMT defibrillated him several times to bring back his pulse. Minutes later, he was placed on a stretcher in an ambulance and an IV of lidocaine was placed in his leg, to stabilize his irregular heart rhythm. Still unconscious, he began breathing on his own on the way to Lower Bucks Hospital, where he woke up shortly after.

“All I remember is getting ready to run to the next base and then waking up in a hospital room,” Van Cleve said. “It’s still hard to believe.”
According to the American Heart Association website, unless CPR and defibrillation are provided within minutes of a victim’s collapse, few attempts at resuscitation are successful.
Hopkins, Vile and Van Cleve met Tuesday, the first time since the incident, at the same field.

“Ken and Daniel saved my life. I believe what happened that day was a miracle,” Van Cleve said, wiping tears from his eyes. “After I got out of the hospital I heard that when Ken was giving me medical treatment during the game, many players and people in the stands crowded around home plate and said a prayer for me. There were an awful lot of angels there.”

And the AED.
“In my 15 years as a firefighter, first responder and EMT, I’ve been involved in two cases like this where the person survived the heart attack,” Hopkins said. “In these cases, they survived because an AED was used.”

Van Cleve’s heart attack and subsequent treatment shines a light on a bigger problem: the lack of AEDs in the community, said Hopkins.
“We need these devices in more places in the community,’’ he said. “Whether it’s the baseball field, supermarket or any public place, we need them and training for people on how to use them.”
Even if CPR is performed, defibrillation from an AED is required to stop the abnormal rhythm and restore a normal heart rhythm, according to the American Heart Association website.
Without that, Van Cleve wouldn’t be making plans to play in next year’s softball game.

“I feel great now, I just got back from a vacation to Israel,” he said, grinning. “My new pacemaker got me out of all the long airport security lines.”

Robert Lattanzi  Born: January 23, 1928-  Died: June 02, 2014

Robert Gildo Lattanzi, age 86, of Millville, DE, passed away on Monday, June 2, 2014 at his home surrounded by his family. Born and raised in Cascade, West Virginia, he was a resident of Morgantown, West Virginia, for many years. Mr. Lattanzi was a 6 year U.S. Army veteran who served in the Aleutian Islands, Alaska, Germany, Paris, and France; before settling in Bristol Borough. He was a 25 year employee of H.A. Perotti Corp. Robert was a natural athlete and played fast-pitch and slow-pitch baseball, and was an avid bowler, and shot darts. He received many awards for his accomplishments. He was honored by Old Timers Softball League in Delaware and also by Bristol Borough Athletic League (June of 2011). He is predeceased by his parents Nazareno and Ermelina; brothers Guido and Martin, and his sister Jean. He is survived by his wife of 58 years, Josephine; daughters Valerie Doran (Greg) and their children Gregory, Ryan and Vincent, and Janice Vile (Dr. Dan) and their children Katelyn, Allison and Danny; and his sons Robert Jr. (Mary) and their children Mia, Michelle and Melissa, Joseph (Lena) and their children Savanna, James and Gianna; and Daniel. He is also survived by a sister Amy; a brother Jamesand many nieces and nephews. Relatives and friends are invited to call on Friday (June 6) from 9-10am, at the Galzerano Funeral Home, 430 Radcliffe Street in Bristol. Service and entombment will be conducted privately at Rosedale Memorial Park.

Obituary of James Joseph Lattanzi

James J, Lattanzi, 90, of Westover, WV, passed away at home on Friday, June 27, 2014. 
James was born on September 19, 1923 in Austin, Preston County to the late Nazzareno 
and Ermalinda Lattanzi. He was married for fifty-seven years to his beloved wife, Margaret Kudla Lattanzi, 
who passed away in 2003.
Jim was a member of St. Francis de Sales Catholic Church in Morgantown. He was retired from Morgan Shirt Company in 1989 where he worked for over 50 years. He also served three years in the Army during WW II with the Combat Engineers where he rose to the rank of Staff Sergeant. Jim’s service took him to the Pacific Theater where he saw action in Guadalcanal, Cebu, and the Philippines. Jim was a 4th degree Knights of Columbus member and a life member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars with Post 9916 in Westover. He served the church and the community in numerous ways and could always count on Jim to jump in at a moment’s notice and lend a helping hand where needed and was recognized in the Dominion Post for his many volunteer efforts. Jim was an avid outdoorsman and enjoyed hunting, fishing and sports. He loved West Virginia and was a faithful and dedicated fan of the Mountaineers and rarely missed a basketball or football game. Jim also played in a slow-pitch softball league for over 20 years where he obtained recognition for his play by being voted on the allstar team five different times. He was also an active member of the Westside Senior Center of Westover.
He is survived by daughter, Brenda and husband Guy Fredella of Navajo Dam, NM, son, Ronald and wife Claire of Wiesbaden, Germany, sister, Amelia Fuller of Charlotte, NC, sister-in-law Josephine of Millville, DE, sister-in-law, Patricia Kudla of Westover, three grandchildren, Rachael of England, James of Morgantown and Matthew of Germany as well as numerous nieces and nephews.
In addition to his parents and wife, James is preceded in death by one sister; Jean Lattanzi and three brothers; Guido, Martin and Robert.
Visitation will be at St. Francis de Sales Catholic Church, 1 Guthrie Lane, Morgantown, on Monday, July 7th from 5-8 PM. A Scriptual Wake service will be held at Monday evening at 7:30 PM. Visitation will continue at the church on Tuesday from 10 AM until the Mass of Christian Burial at 11 AM with V.Rev.Mark G. Ward CP,VF as celebrant. Interment will follow at East Oak Grove Cemetery in Morgantown. Full military funeral rites will be conducted at the cemetery by the VFW Post 9916 in Westover. 
Online condolences may be extended to the family at
from left: Danny Vile, Jr.; 
Kaitlyn Vile; Allison Vile; 
Joe Lattanzi w/son James; 
Mary Lattanzi; Bob Lattanzi, Sr.; 
Dr. Daniel Vile, Josephine Lattanzi; 
Mia Lattanzi; Cody; 
Bob Lattanzi, Jr.;  
Greg Doran; Valerie Doran; Janice Vile.