“Field” of Dreams
by Cate Murway
Is this Heaven? No, it's Bristol Borough, a place of fertile soil, traditional values and simple pleasure. Enjoy the surroundings. Bat a few balls, play a little catch, run the bases or sit in shirtsleeves on a perfect afternoon and dream on the bleachers. Don't forget to bring your favorite bat, ball and glove. There’s one constant through all the years, “Play Ball!” We hope you can "go the distance" and enjoy the “Field” of Dreams.
"If you build it, [they] will come."
Rich Vallejo, South Philadelphia H.S.’60, only knew “fast pitch”. John [Junior] Field, Jr., St. Ann School grad, taught him “slow pitch”, which yields more hitting during a game than fast pitch, when he played for the “Rainbow” team sponsored by “Richie Casmirri’s New Rainbow” restaurant, currently the Phinny Magee's Pub. The late Junior and his wife, Washington Street resident, Mary Lou [Perkins], BHS Class of ‘56, a classmate of Bristol Historian and author, Harold D. Mitchener, were both born on a Friday. A “Friday's Child is loving and giving”, a joy to everyone around them as their natural kindness shines through. They raised 6 children together, civil engineer, Bob, BHS ’73/Citadel Military College of SC; Florida resident, Sharon, BHS’75; US Army Corps Steven in Fort Worth, TX, Delhaas ‘76 [his picture is proudly displayed in the store window]; Snyder-Girotti pre-K teacher, Mary Lou, Delhaas ‘78/West Chester U./Trenton State; and identical twins born on St. Patrick’s Day, BHS ‘86/Chestnut Hill College grads, Patricia [Patty] and Michelle [Mickey], who does “tackle twill” lettering for her mom. They have a total of 14 grandchildren, including a set of 13 year-old twins, Johnathan and Joseph. Mary Lou’s late brother, George Louis Perkins, BHS ’58, owned the “Perkins & Johnson” grocery store on Bath and Beaver Streets. Her dad, Lou worked in Keystone / Kaiser and her mom, Mary worked at the Margaret R. Grundy Memorial Library, the Bell Telephone Company on Pond Street, and sold candy and popcorn at the original Grand Theatre on Mill Street. Junior’s dad owned a popular family-run hamburger place on Wood Street. “The best hotdogs and hamburgers. Especially the sauce with little bits of meat. Delicious!” per Grundy Towers resident, Vincent Ferrara, BHS ’45. His siblings, retired US Steel Mill worker Gene, who at one time cut pieces for trophy assembly for JR Sports Center, and his sisters, Joanna, Carmella, Sylvia and Gloria reside in the Borough.
Junior Field literally started his business in the back of his car. His first real rented location was on Market Street and progressed to the building behind his mom’s home, 500 Pond Street, currently “I Thought Sew”, owned by Mrs. Mary McNulty, who purchased the property from Gloria Field in 1989. They rented a shop on 303 Mill Street, between what are now Rich Vallejo’s “Another Time Antiques” properties. They moved across the street for the current relocation acquisition of home and storefront of JR Sports Center on 312 Mill Street.
According to the Bristol Borough Business Association site, bristolborobiz.com, Mary Lou, namesake of both parents, offers a wide range of services including silkscreen printed garments, uniforms with logos and player numbers, team equipment, coaching supplies, and trophies. While Junior and Mary Lou outfitted the athletes together, sports advocate, Junior, who overcame enduring physical adversities after being afflicted with polio, the most dreaded childhood disease of the twentieth-century, before the age of one, was dubbed “Mr. Little League”. In spite of the fact that crippling consequences affected one leg, he umpired and maintained the Borough athletic fields for over 30 years. His cherished fields were turned over to the capable hands of his nephew, the newly elected, South Ward Borough Councilman Leo Plenski, Jr.
During the early ‘50’s, assisted by the late Ernest [Ernie] A. Pinelli, a past President of the Bristol Borough Little League, Mike Manto and Joe Tunis, Sr., he founded the Borough’s Little League, started the adult softball, midget football, and the youth and adult basketball leagues and installed lights at the Bristol Memorial Fields. He lovingly readied those fields for games, traversing the athletic facilities in his tan Chevrolet Chevette. The president of many youth leagues, he was awarded a Bucks County Courier Times “Long Service” recognition for his responsibility, patriotism and achievement and “working behind home plate”.
Mary Lou and Junior were married a month shy of 25 years and they shared lunch together every day at Cesare’s Italian Specialties Ristorante. Junior only closed the store for lunch and Notre Dame football games! Junior was a member of the Knights of Columbus Council #906 and Mary Lou is an active member of the Women's Auxiliary, continuing and contributing to the noble charity work of the Knights. Mary Lou faced a difficult time when she became widowed in 2004. Losing her husband was a devastating experience but she realizes in hindsight that the couple's mutual involvement in JR Sport Center left her in a position she was capable of handling, to orchestrate a fairly smooth transition into running the business on her own. She continues to attract new customers the way Junior did -- through word of mouth and by putting heart and soul into her work, impacting people’s hearts, minds and bodies. As a St. Ann Church parishoner, she volunteers at the Spaghetti Night dinners and the annual carnival.
“Close your eyes, let your spirit start to soar”
lyrics of her favorite song, “The Music Of The Night”, from Phantom Of The Opera.
The town still celebrates success every day with JR Sports products! Mary Lou engraved plated acrylic basketball trophies for the “K- 2nd Grade Final Night” held at Snyder-Girotti Elementary School and supplies screen printed, customized team t-shirts for the athletic teams at special reasonable “Borough Rec Program” prices.
She offers a line of the highest quality apparel, including such sought-after brands as Columbia Sportswear, Champion, Hanes, Lee, and Munsingwear from the national Alpha Shirt Company, and accessories: balls, hats, sliders, shin guards and knee pads; and baseball, softball, basketball and soccer equipment. Local Catholic school gym clothing, BHS sweats, shorts and shirts, gym bags and school jackets are in stock. A row of the smartest, fastest Mitre synthetic rubber sports cleats is just waiting for little feet! A Borough athlete, Pittsburgh Pirates Hitting Coach Jeffrey [Jeff] Paul Manto, BHS/ Temple University, who broke into the big leagues in June ’90 with the Cleveland Indians, offers his proper hitting techniques “Batting Tapes”, for just $10.00 at JR Sports.
Mary Lou, who loves any color “as long as it’s blue” and keeps 97.1 FM, [today’s best music mix] on her radio dial, also works part-time as a Home Interiors decorating consultant, making her qualified to assist you to beautify your home in your own personal style, whether Classic, Casual, or Contemporary. From detailed, crafted accessories to almost anything pertaining to athletics, JR Sport Center can accommodate nearly any gifting occasion, the unique combination of fashion and function. Recognize any deserving accomplishment with a custom engraved plaque, nameplate, medal, ribbon or certificate, tag or badge.
Junior Field was always “all about the kids”. Mary Lou Field is all about proving there is a kid in all of us!
Please knock loudly… the doorbell is broken!
Mention this Business Spotlight and receive a 10% discount on any purchase.
JR Sport Center
312 Mill Street
Hours: 10:00 a.m.- 6:00 p.m.
Closed Wednesday & Sunday
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Gloria M. Plenski
Bucks County Courier Times
Gloria M. (Field) Plenski passed away peacefully on Tuesday, Feb. 17, 2009, at Lower Bucks Hospital after a courageous battle with cancer. She was 69.
She was a retired employee of Silver Lake, where she worked as the head chef for over 30 years.
Gloria was a very caring, giving and loving person who cherished the time she spent with her children, grandchildren, sisters and brother.
She was preceded in death by her parents, John and Anna Field; her recently deceased son, Joseph Plenski; and her brother, John Field "Jr."
She is survived by Leo Plenski Sr. of Florida. Gloria will be sadly missed by her children, Leo Plenski Jr. and his wife, Anne Marie, of Bristol and Ann Marie DiCarlo and her husband, Richard, of Penn Valley; loving grandmother of Danielle, Leo III, Joshua, Deanna; and great-grandmother of Hailey, Madison, Dylan, Matthew and Gege. Also she is survived by her sister, Carmella Sassi, Joanne Warner and Sylvia Marozzi (Gus); a brother, Eugene Field (Mary); sister-in-law, Marylou Field; and many nieces, nephews and cousins.
Relatives and friends are invited to call 7 to 9 p.m. Friday and again from 9 to 9:30 a.m. on Saturday at the Galzerano Funeral Home, 430 Radcliffe St., Bristol Borough, followed by her funeral Mass 10 a.m. at St. Ann Church. Burial will follow in Resurrection Cemetery.
Family requests memorial donations be made to St. Ann School, 418 Jefferson Ave., Bristol, PA 19007. Galzerano Funeral Home,
February 19, 2009 2:50 AM
Augostine V. Marozzi Jr.
Bucks County Courier Times
Augostine V. Marozzi Jr. of Bristol Borough passed away on Friday, Feb. 20, 2009, at his home surrounded by his loving family. He was 74.
Born and raised in Bristol Borough, he was a graduate of Northeast Catholic High School in Philadelphia.
After high school, Gus enlisted in the U.S. Air Force. Upon his return, he was employed at U.S. Steel Fairless Works for 30 years until his retirement in 1985.
He was a member of the St. Ann Athletic Association and the Knights of Columbus.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Agostino and Caroline (Angelaccio) Marozzi; his recently deceased sister-in-law, Gloria Plenski; and his brother-in-law, Junior Field. He will be greatly missed by his wife of 46 years, Sylvia Marozzi (Field); his children, Michael Marozzi and his wife, Sissy, Robert Marozzi and his wife, Dorcie, Joann Marozzi, and John Marozzi; his adoring grandchildren, Robert, Jackie, Paul, Alex, Danny and Kerry Marozzi and Erin and Katie Golden; and his siblings, Betty Cordisco and her husband, Dave, Louis Marozzi and his wife, Shirley, Joe Marozzi and his wife, Jackie, and Michele Sawyer and her husband, Jerry. He also is survived by sisters-in-law, Carmella Sassi, Joanne Warner, and Mary Lou Field; and brother-in-law, Eugene Field and his wife, Mary; and many cousins, nieces and nephews.
Relatives and friends are invited to call from 7 to 9 p.m. Monday and from 8:30 to 9:30 a.m. Tuesday at Galzerano Funeral Home, 430 Radcliffe St., Bristol Borough. Funeral Mass will be celebrated at 10 a.m. at St. Ann Church. Interment will follow in St. Mark Cemetery.
The family would like to thank Donna and Elaine from Hartland Hospice for all of their wonderful care and compassion. Galzerano Funeral Home, Bristol
February 22, 2009 3:00 AM
Remembering Bristol's best athlete
By: JOHN CORDISCO Bucks County Courier Times
October 12, 2010
Editor's note: John "Junior" Field passed away in 2004. Recollections of Field and his influence on many kids in Bristol came to mind for Cordisco on a recent cruise in the Baltic Sea, where he wrote this piece.
When I first saw him, I was about 10 years old. The decades have slipped by and my own children are adults now, but I still remember the anticipation when I used to walk up the steps of the Wood Street gym in Bristol as a young boy.
You could hear the sound of a basketball pounding against the wooden floor even before you pushed through the two big doors. Inside, the lights from above lit the wood-paneled walls and the hardwood court below.
The boys were practicing basketball, shooting, and dribbling and always under one man's watchful eyes. To a 10-year-old, he had a powerful and commanding presence, which sometimes hid his gentle nature.
The strange thing was that he never took a shot while we played and played under his guidance. And yet we all knew he was the best when it came to basketball. Every Saturday he was there watching us as we played on teams named after great schools that were meant to inspire us to greatness ourselves: Harvard, Yale, Temple, Army, and Navy.
He recognized some of the best talent Bristol ever saw. His mere presence sharpened Bobby Liberatore's jump shot; enabled Billy Keys to block more shots; and allowed Bobby Morris to be a better ball handler. He even had the ability to keep Pete Mancini's focus on the game.
Those were during some of Bristol basketball's glory days that saw the home team even win the Pennsylvania state championship.
And while some of us succeeded and some of us fell short, he was always the same, and he was always there for every game and every practice. He knew all the players and understood their skills or lack thereof. But the wonderful thing was, he helped make the game fun for all of us - even those of us who were not destined to be the stars of the future.
Basketball wasn't his only sport. Every Little League baseball player from the area knew him as well. One look at a player and he could tell his true potential; never degrading any player and always encouraging. And he had the gift to see talents in people that many did not even recognize in themselves.
He saw something in a hard-headed young shortstop named Mike Missanelli and thought that Mike could play beyond high school, and he did - he played for Penn State. He was on the field when Jeff Manto threw his first pitch. At that point, he knew Jeff was destined to do great things in baseball and Jeff made it all the way to the big leagues.
I can't begin to name all of the Little Leaguers who played the game a little better because of him. We all worked hard because we wanted to play in his game. We liked how he took every game seriously and how he ruled the field. The first base line, as well as the third base line, were all his. And, as far as his eye for home plate, well, suffice it to say that he never misjudged a pitch. And we loved knowing that we could rely on him and trust in him to be there.
Bristol has produced some great athletes and some great teams over the years, but, when it came to athletics, there was no one more important than Junior Field. He was actually the greatest of them all; even though he never played a single game. Junior Field was born with a disability - one leg was significantly longer than the other. And yet no one gave more to Bristol's young athletes.
Thanks to him, we all got a chance to play. Because of him and the generous gift of his time and energy and encouragement, we all grew stronger, fairer, more skillful, and even a little bit smarter. He wasn't a coach or a rich benefactor. He was just a man who loved to volunteer and help out so we could play our games. He was there for the youth basketball league as well as the Little League. He made sure that we had a place to play, and referees, and a time clock. He also made sure that the Little League fields were lined and ready and he would umpire our games. He gave his entire life selflessly to the betterment of Bristol's youth.
We, as a community, were fortunate to have people like Junior Field to guide us in our early years. And there have been others as well. Men like Chic D'Angelo, Mike Manto, Joe Tunis, Ernie Pinelli, Louis Persichetti and Jim Sottile.
Junior Field is gone now - I am sure he is resting in peace - but when I go off to shoot hoops or do any number of things that grown men do, I know his guiding presence is still with me - as it is with so many others.
To Junior Field and all the generous volunteers throughout our towns who inspire us and nurture us in our youth, please know that we remember you. We thank you. And your generosity is repeated through the years as each of us now helps the young people in our lives to strive hard to be the very best they can be.
Attorney John Cordisco is chairman of the Bucks County Democratic Party.
Eugene "Gene" Field
Posted: Sunday, October 9, 2011 4:00 am
Eugene 'Gene' Field of Bristol Borough passed away peacefully
Saturday, Oct. 8, 2011, at home surrounded by his loving family.
He was 83.
A lifelong resident of Bristol Borough, he was a retired employee
of U.S. Steel Fairless Works in Falls Township.
He was the son of the late John and Anna (Flatch) Field.
He was a kind and gentle man who was well-liked by everyone.
Gene was a lifetime member of Consolidated Fire Co. in Bristol Borough. He also was an active parishioner of St. Ann Church where he served as an usher, elevator operator, and member of the art and environmental committee.
He, along with his father and brother, maintained and managed the Bristol Borough ball fields for many years. He was a member of the Golden Marks, the Bristol Borough Senior Center, and the St. Ann Athletic Assoc. He also loved doing crossword puzzles, crafts, and woodworking.
Gene will be greatly missed by his wife of 41 years, Mary Serlenga Field; his children, Rachelle Carr and her husband, Richard of Tabernacle, N.J., and Eugene and his wife, Eileen, of West Bristol; his adoring grandchildren, Charles, Richard, Joseph and Ashley Carr, and Nicholas and Ryan Field. He also is survived by his sisters, Carmela Sassi, Joanne Warner, and Sylvia Marozzi; sister-in-law, Mary Lou Field; and many cousins, nieces, and nephews. He was preceded in death by his brother, Junior Field; his sister, Gloria Plenski; and nephew, Joseph Plenski.
Relatives and friends are invited to call from 7 to 9 p.m. Tuesday, and from 8:30 to 9:30 a.m. Wednesday at the Galzerano Funeral Home, 430 Radcliffe St., Bristol. His funeral Mass will be celebrated at 10 a.m. at St. Ann Church. Interment will follow in St. Mark Cemetery.
The family requests memorial contributions be made to St. Ann Church, 357 Dorrance Street, Bristol, PA 19007 or Alzheimer's Assoc., 399 Market St., Ste. 103, Philadelphia, PA 19106. Galzerano Funeral Home, Bristol