You wouldn’t expect Peter Pellegriti to sit on the sidelines during this recent controversy in Winthrop Little League that led to long-time board member Jack Dowd being dismissed from the organization after 26 years of service. We almost feel like harkening back to the old E.F. Hutton commercial in which they say, “When E.F. Hutton speaks, people listen,” when the subject is Winthrop Little League and Peter Pellegriti speaks.
Peter Pellegriti is one of those larger-than-life figures in this town whose 52 years of service to Winthrop Little League, including six terms as president, represent an extraordinary contribution to youth baseball and the children who have played the game during his tenure. Peter has been a goodwill ambassador for the league and Winthrop Little League is held up as an example for the manner in which other leagues should conduct their operations. Pellegriti said what has transpired over the past month has been unprecedented: in the history of the league and this may have been the first time that a person was dismissed from the league (the issue involved a disagreement over the All-Star selection process).
Pellegriti wants it known that Winthrop Little League welcomes volunteers in all areas of the program and that if parents step forward and want to be part of the board of directors, he and other leaders are amenable to expanding the board to accommodate as many people who are willing to make a commitment to helping the league.
It’s been a tough few weeks for Pellegriti because he has worked closely with Jack Dowd for the past 26 years and counts him among the many friends he has made through the league. And now comes the blockbuster announcement that Pellegriti will be retiring from the league and won’t be back next year. It is a decision that he had made well before the Dowd matter became public.
Other long-time mainstays of the organization are also exiting the program, including current president David Leslie, treasurer Paul Hagan, and Carol Silverman, the unquestioned unsung hero of the Winthrop Little League for many years.
There will new leadership in Winthrop Little League next season, but we hope that Peter, David, Paul, and Carol will find a place in their heart to help the next group with the transition process.
There is a foul pole named at the Winthrop Little League in honor of Peter Pellegriti, the Pelley Pole, but if there is ever a new field built, those in power should consider “Pelley Park” because Peter was the real deal.