Amongst the many Italian-themed organizations that were ever created, one stands out as potentially being one of the best and brightest. The Italian American Baseball Foundation was created in 2016 and was founded by Joseph Quagliano, Carmine Gangone, and former baseball player Frank Catalanotto. Amongst the members and affiliates of this organization are some of Baseball’s biggest Italian American names like John Franco, Mike Piazza, and Bobby Valentine just to name a few.
How it Started
The story behind this organization’s inception is smashing. While stationed in Rome, Salerno, and Nettuno during World War 2, Joe DiMaggio and other U.S. servicepeople taught the locals how to play baseball. This sparked a seed of interest in the sport which flourished and lasted generations into today. Baseball has always been “the” American sport but the flourishing interest in Italy has caught the eye of the IABF who not only seeks to sponsor Italian players, but players of all nationalities and backgrounds.
“…Is to promote the game of baseball…by developing youth talent through clinics with professional MLB instructors, individual training, and scholarships.”
The IABF donates baseball equipment to organized youth teams as well as individuals in need of uniforms, bats, gloves, cleats and more.
In addition, the IABF will provide scholarships or financial assistance to student-athletes that qualify academically to play baseball in the United States on the College and/or High-School level.
Incredibly moved by the foundation’s mission, former Met Allstar Ace, John Franco, has been an amazingly powerful force in the organization. This December, Mr. Franco will be honored as the IABF guest of honor at the organization’s 3rd annual fundraiser and cocktail reception, which is being held at Carmine and Son’s Restaurant on Graham Avenue in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. The event will also honor Jon Paul Morosi, who is an in-game reporter for Fox Sports and MLB Network sports analyst.
The First Annual Columbus Day Party
Despite a plethora of Columbus themed events on the weekend immediately before Columbus Day, IABF threw its first major event at Russo’s On the Bay, and it was a huge success. The event was top-shelf with an incredible cocktail hour, a terrific DJ, raffles, and the master of ceremonies was 101.1 and Brooklyn’s own, Joe Causi.
The founders took the opportunity to present the organization’s President, Joe Quagliano, with an award for his hard work and sacrifice to the organization. Humbly receiving his award, Joe briefly and eloquently addressed the huge crowd which met his grace with awesome applause.
Trip To Italy
At the reception at Russo’s On The Bay, the crowd was also given a first glimpse of a video documentary of the IABF’s recent trip to Italy. Last year the IABF brass, including John Franco, traveled to Rome, Sorento and Nettuno for scouting potential baseball players and to also possibly exchange personnel to Italy for staffing their teams. The IABF also donated a ton of equipment to their Italian counterparts. (Scroll to the bottom of this article for a link to the video).
Baseball is part of America’s fabric and has done a good job of permeating into other cultures all over the globe. As the love for baseball spreads and the pool of potential players increases and diversifies, the IABF is in a unique position to capitalize as a conduit for players and leagues to find out about one another.
The meteoric rise of the IABF is something very uncommon and it is truly based on the sincere love of the sport as evidenced by the attraction and participation of top tier players like John Franco et al.
If you would like to contribute to this organization’s growth, please do so by purchasing a ticket for the upcoming event on December 6th and/or by making a tax free donation (links below).