Tom Montilli had been to a number of Yankees games in his life, but on Saturday, May 15, he went to the game in style.
Tom, who lives on Throgmorton Avenue, watched the game in a large suite with his family, and even came onto the field to receive recognition. “I’ve been on a lot of baseball fields before, but never on a field like that,” Tom marveled, remembering the home game he saw vs. the Twins.
The seven tickets Tom received to that game, plus a $500 savings bond, came his way from Con Edison, which chose Tom for its annual baseball award.
Each year, the company taps a Bronx student athlete that excels on and off the field.
Tom’s 90 grade average after freshman year at Cardinal Spellman High School, along with his spirit and performance on the JV baseball squad, caught the attention of Con Ed.
Con Ed gave Tom the award for “playing that Yankee way both on and off the field,” according to the company’s Bronx manager Rolando Infante.
On Friday, August 13, Tom and his dad, Tom Sr., met up with Infante, president of Pelham Bay Little League Vinny Prestopino, and Assemblyman Mike Benedetto, to officially present Tom with his award on the field he loves.
It was Benedetto that recommended Tom to Con Ed. “You’re an athlete and a scholar, that’s a great combination,” he told thethird baseman.
Pelham Bay Little League has meant a lot for Tom, who was a little leaguer only a few years ago and now still spends his summer days at the field’s indoor complex lifting weights or taking pitches in the cage.
He also does community service work at the field. “I help coach clinics for the younger kids,” explained Tom, who plays over the summer for a travel team, the Pelham Bay Highlanders, which his dad coaches.
Tom Sr. was unsurprised by the award. “I always thought he deserved recognition,” he said. “He works very hard at what he does, he’s very committed.”
Tom had a good time talking baseball with his assemblyman. He mentioned that when he went to the Yankees game as part of his award, he got a chance to meet Ron Blomberg, who had played for the Yanks in 1969 and from 1971-76.
“Blomberg was the very first DH,” Benedetto recalled with pleasure. “A good hitter, I remember him well. Came up quick, but then he got injuries.”
Benedetto’s own daughter played for the Pelham Bay Belles softball league for three years, during which time he helped coach the team.
He and Prestopino discussed the league and its history, while Tom listened and admired his certificate, which reads: “In recognition of a good citizen, a good student and an avid baseball fan.”
“Keep playing hard,” Benedetto advised the honoree, “and don’t stop working in school.”
Tom said he’s going to try his best not to spend that savings bond for a while.