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Back in 1980, a group of guys who worked in the music industry, many for Epic Records, decided to start a softball team and the Epic Records Rockers were formed. Thirty-eight years later, the Rockers just won the Yorkville Sports Association Men’s Division 1 CHAMPIONSHIP. And what is remarkable is that the pitcher, Gary Pacheco is an original Rocker from 1980; and the catcher, Brad Gardiner, joined in year two. They are a combined 125 years old (I won’t tell you which is 63 and which is 62) and still play at an extremely high level. I mean we DID just win the championship.
The Rockers were founded by Charles Kaplan back in 1980 and after playing in many different leagues, found a home with Yorkville back in the mid 1990’s. There have been many Rockers over the course of 38 years. By estimation, more than 400 guys played at least one Rockers game.
The current coach, Adam Freifeld, who has been running the team since 1999, joined The Rockers in 1992. Recruited by original Rockers and the team’s spiritual conscience, Patrick Gibbons. Freifeld hit 11th and played right field and was a bit player on the 1992 championship team. Freifeld, who just turned 51, recruited many of the current Rockers from the summer league in which he plays in Saltaire on the barrier island of Fire Island. Fall Ball coach Seth Mayeri, 46, joined just two years after Freifeld.
In addition to the 1992 and 2017 championships, The Rockers also won both the spring/summer and fall championships in 2007.
Another interesting fact about the team is that The Rockers have an extremely coveted permit for a field in Central Park. It’s pretty amazing to play our games there and we turn the permit over to Yorkville each season and they schedule a majority of our games on that field. Original Rocker Peter “the Babe” Frank still holds the permit. And while he no longer plays for the team, he gladly turns the permit over to The Rockers each year.
This year’s championship team consisted of 18 players:
Gary Pacheco – Rocker since 1980 – Original Rocker
Brad Gardiner – Rocker since 1981 – recruited by the founder, Charles Kaplan
Adam Freifeld – Rocker since 1992 – recruited by original Rocker Pat Gibbons
Seth Mayeri – Rocker since 1994 – recruited by original Rocker Pat Gibbons
Keith Wachtel – Rocker since 1996 – recruited by Mayeri
Jeremy Buffam – Rocker since 1999 – Free Agent from Yorkville
Chris Clarkin – Rocker since 2006 – recruited by Freifeld
Michael Mathias – Rocker since 2007 – recruited by Freifeld
Kevin Buniva – Rocker since 2010 – Pacheco’s brother-in-law
Mike Pacheco – Rocker since 2010 – Pacheco’s son
David Mueller – Rocker since 2011 – recruited by Freifeld
David Swiedler – Rocker since 2013 – recruited by Freifeld
Jake Lipton – Rocker since 2012 – recruited by Freifeld
Tiffer Valente – Rocker since 2015 – recruited by Freifeld
Mike Valente – Rocker since 2017 – recruited by Freifeld
Phil Posillico – Rocker since 2017 – recruited by Tiffer Valente
JC Mindich – Rocker since 2017 – 18 years old, recruited by Freifeld