Woodhaven Legend Honored

Max Rosner’s Great-great grandson – also named Max Rosner – was in attendance with over 25 other members of the Rosner family, making the day a true Woodhaven family reunion (photo courtesy of Eddie Gardiner).

By Ed Wendell | projectwoodhaven@gmail.com 

Woodhaven recently honored the history of Dexter Park by hosting a sign dedication ceremony in honor of Max Rosner, the Hungarian immigrant who came to this country in search of the American Dream and ended up owning a baseball team and stadium.

Most importantly, he found a home right here in Woodhaven, where residents loved him so much that they referred to him as “Uncle Max.” And so it was a nice homecoming as over two dozen members of the Rosner family returned to Woodhaven for a ceremony.

“Street namings are very important,” said Councilmemer Joann Ariola, pinch hitting for Councilmember Robert Holden, who was feeling under the weather. “They help us remember our history. Max Rosner was a person who loved Woodhaven and he was a visionary who loved community.”

NY State Senator Joseph Addabbo noted that Rosner “was known affectionately in Woodhaven as Uncle Max because he gave back so much to the community,” noting that his fundraising was responsible for building a part of Jamaica Hospital.

Sherry Algredo, Chair of Community Board 9, said  ”As immigrants who came to this country with a dream, it’s great to hear and learn about the history of immigrants that came before us.”

Faiuze Ali, 1st Vice Chair of CB9 said it was an honor to work on this resolution, which actually hit close to home. Pointing to the school across the street from the sign, Ali said “I’m a graduate of Franklin K. Lane High School and I had no idea that I was in a neighborhood that was so historic.”

Friends and family of Max Rosner, owner of Dexter Park and the Buswicks, celebrate the unveiling of the Max Rosner Way street sign at the corner of Dexter Court and 86th Road (photo courtesy of Vance Barbour).

Jason Antos, Executive Director of the Queens Historical Society, noted that there was a “big increase in street co-namings” going on to say this is a good thing because “Queens County is very underserved” when it comes to street signs and historic markers.

Martin Colberg, President of the Woodhaven Residents’ Block Association was joined by WRBA VP Janet Forte and said “It’s important for us to remember the individuals that had an impact on our community.”

Loycent Gordon, owner of Neir’s Tavern noted a similarity between himself and Rosner, both immigrants to our country who wanted to give back to the community. “He wanted to do something for the country that gave him so much, and I try to do the same.”

And John Perricone, Executive Director of the Woodhaven Business Improvement District noted that “as a Mets fan, it is nice to have a baseball related activity that is positive.”

And with that, the sign was unveiled and Max Rosner Way became official. Many thanks to everyone involved who brought this sign to fruition.

Max Rosner and Dexter Park were such an amazing part of Woodhaven’s history, with a beautiful stadium in our midst for three decades, the advent of night baseball, and the constant flow of great ballplayers from the Major Leagues and the Negro Leagues that entertained and thrilled Woodhaven crowds.

But there is so much more history about Dexter Park that needs to be shared, in particular the early years. For instance, the site of Dexter Park was once owned by Hiram Woodruff, who is arguably the most famous person to ever have lived in Woodhaven. And most of us have never heard of him.

Come out next Monday night (July 17th) to Neir’s Tavern (87-48 78th Street) at 7 p.m. as we will introduce you to the amazing life and career of Mr. Woodruff, whose name is still very well-known in some circles, over 156 years after he passed away in the hotel he owned on Jamaica Avenue.

And in between the eras of Hiram Woodruff and Max Rosner, Dexter Park had a very dark and controversial period of history that left a stain on Woodhaven. If you think you know about Dexter Park, you probably don’t know half of it and will enjoy this free presentation.

If you can’t make it to Neir’s, we will be giving the same presentation via Zoom on Tuesday, August 1st at 8 p.m., email us at projectwoodhaven@gmail.com for a free invite.

Thanks to everyone who came out to support the street sign unveiling and many thanks to the Rosner family who came home to celebrate with us. Mostly, thanks to Uncle Max Rosner for giving us such a splendid sporting history to be forever proud of.

St. John’s ends season on a high note

The St. John’s baseball team used a six-run second inning to end the season on a high note, taking down Villanova, 6-1, on Saturday afternoon at Jack Kaiser Stadium on the Queens campus.
Tyler Roche tossed what was arguably the best outing of his young St. John’s career, allowing just one unearned run over 6.0 innings of work to pick up his first collegiate win.
He scattered three hits and five walks while striking out eight, a season high. The freshman from the Bronx lowered his ERA to 3.44 on the season and made it three straight appearances at home (16.2 IP) without an earned run to end the campaign.
Joe Joe Rodriguez threw a scoreless seventh before Ethan Routzahn struck out three over a pair of one-hit innings.
Following his Sunday performance, Routzahn closed the campaign with a 1.19 ERA, the lowest full-season ERA by a St. John’s pitcher since Thomas Hackimer turned in a 1.17 effort before being selected in the fourth round of the 2016 MLB Draft.
Marty Higgins wrapped a stellar redshirt freshman season by going 3-for-4 with a run scored, his fourth game of the year with three of more hits. Higgins closes the campaign with a team-high .333 batting average.
Justin Folz went yard for a team-high fourth time while Carson Bartels wrapped his collegiate career with a with a two-RBI performance.
David Glancy and Colin Wetterau added singles for St. John’s (19-21, 10-16 Big East).
After the Johnnies went down 1-2-3 in the first, Folz led off the second with a blast off the batter’s eye in center, putting the Red Storm ahead 1-0 in the early going.
With the bases loaded and two outs later in the inning, Bartels hit a slow grounder up the middle that looked like it would be easily picked up by the second baseman for the last out of the inning.
Instead, the ball ricocheted off the bag, shot into right field and allowed a pair of runs to score, pushing the St. John’s lead to 3-0. The Wildcats’ bad luck didn’t end there, as two errors by freshman shortstop Cameron Hassert allowed three more runs to score and gave St. John’s a 6-0 lead after two.
Villanova (21-14, 9-12 Big East) got on the board in the top of the fourth, as Hassert singled to center, advanced to third on an error and scored on a wild pitch.
St. John’s wraps up the spring with a record of 19-21, marking just the third time since World War II that the Red Storm has endured a losing season.

Queens College Knights make All-ECC teams

Four Queens College Knights were named to the East Coast Conference All-Conference team.
Freshmen first basemen Reed Hoskins earned a First Team selection. Freshmen outfielder Andrew Smith, sophomore left-handed pitcher Liam Pulsipher, and sophomore left-handed pitcher Dean Fazah made the Second Team.
Hoskins is the second freshmen for the Knights to earn First Team honors. He started in 24 games and in 77 at-bats went on to lead the Knights in batting average (.351), doubles (7), total bases (41), hits (27) and triples (2).
On the season, Hoskins was awarded Rookie of the Week honors in the last week of the regular season.
“Reed was a big part of our success this season,” said coach Chris Reardon. “He transitioned into a new role and excelled at first base and was a mainstay in the starting lineup while batting in the middle of the order for us.”
Smith was a consistent performer in his first year as a Knights as he appeared and started in 21 games either in right field or as the designated hitter in the starting lineup.
He ranked among the top five leaders in several categories, and he produced eight multi-hit performances on the year.
One of two pitchers to be named all-conference for the Knights, Pulsipher was a pillar in the starting rotation. Starting seven games, he produced a 3-2 record pitching 38.2 innings with a second-best ERA of 3.26, with opponents batting only .196 against the lefty.
Among the Knights pitching rotation, he ranks second in strikeout (40), while tied for eighth among conference pitchers.
Nationally he is ranked 42nd in Hits Allowed Per Nine Innings (6.12).
He opened the season with a win pitching 5.0 IP, allowing 4 hits, ER, and struck out five in the Knights 7-4 win over the Cougars.
On April 10, he produced a complete-inning gem, as he shut out the D’Youville College Saints, allowing only three hits and striking out a career-high 12 batters.
Fazah showed his experience throughout the season as one of the backbones in the Knights pitching rotation.
On the season, he appeared in eight games and made four starts to finish the regular season with a 3-1 record. He pitched 32.0 innings, leading the Knights in strikeouts (42) with an ERA of 3.94. He held opponents to a .260 batting average.
Nationally he ranked 41st in Strikeouts Per Nine Inning (12.49).
“In his first year with us Dean showed us his versatility and value throughout the season,” said Reardon. “He could be a spot starter as well as being a relief pitcher out of the bullpen.”

St. Joe’s sends off seniors

Senior Kevin Reyes went 4-for-4 at the plate and scored a run while Anthony Hernandez went 4-for-5 with an RBI and a run scored, however, the St. Joseph’s College (Brooklyn) baseball team dropped the first game of Sunday’s twin bill to SUNY Maritime College, 7-5.
Joining Reyes and Hernandez with multi-hit games were Floral Park Memorial product Chris Leary and Nick Tapio, who both hit doubles and recorded an RBI each. Louis Lombardi also drove in a pair of runs.
Reyes would go 2-for-3 with a pair of runs scored in the nightcap while Leary drove home both runs for the Bears (2-20, 1-14 Skyline) as the Privateers (10-5, 7-2) took the 14-2 win.
Along with Reyes, SJC honored their six graduating seniors from Gregg Alfano Field: C.J. Bunnicelli, Darius Cadle, William DeLuca, Nicholas Hernandez, and Maspeth native Matthew Rienzi. All six seniors would see action on Sunday.
In game one, the Privateers took an early 2-0 lead in the first thanks to a double that found the left-center field gap. Reyes’ leadoff double began the bottom half of the inning, scoring on Leary’s single to put the Bears on the board.
Hernandez followed that up with a single up the middle before he and Leary scored on a two-bagger by Lombardi; giving the Bears a 3-2 edge.
Vasilios Vafakos drew the game even at three with a single in the away half of the second. The freshman outfielder batted in the go-ahead run on a sac fly in the fourth, 4-3.
Leary doubled to begin the fifth. Hernandez blooped a single over the head of the Maritime first baseman and down the right-field line to once again tie the game, this time at four apiece.
It remained knotted until the eighth, when Danny Green’s RBI single gave the Privateers the lead at 5-4. Bunnicelli was pulled after 7.1 innings, allowing three earned runs and settling for the loss.
In the nightcap, a combination of passed balls and wild pitches plated Vafakos for the opening run of the game in the first, adding a couple more later in the frame.
As was the case in game one, Reyes led off the Bears’ half of the first with a double and scored on Leary’s single up the middle, grabbing a run back at 3-1.
Maritime saw their three-run lead restored in the second, but the Bears once again cut the deficit to two in the third with Leary bringing Reyes home, this time via a sac bunt, 4-2.
The Privateers further distanced themselves by scoring in each of the final four innings, headlined by a pair of doubles in that stretch and a seventh-inning homer, to win the non-conference game 14-2 and sweep the series from SJC.
DeLuca started the game on the mound for the Bears, tossing an inning and being dealt the loss. Rienzi played his 45th and final game in a Bears uniform, extending the program record for appearances by a pitcher, coming on for DeLuca in the second.
It was followed up by Cadle’s longest outing of the season, pitching 2.2 innings in relief and striking out three.
The seventh inning saw Reyes fan a pair in his first-ever appearance on the bump and Bunnicelli, entering as a pinch hitter, notching his first collegiate hit in the bottom of the inning.

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