On Friday June 19, the Larchmont-Mamaroneck Little League presented its annual Daniel Marcus Sportsmanship awards in a ceremony at Lorenzen Field. The only individual player awards presented by the LMLL, they go to a “graduating” little league baseball and softball player in memory of Daniel Marcus, a Larchmont Little Leaguer who loved baseball, played with great enthusiasm, and died eleven years ago, just before his 13th birthday.
This year the LMLL added two new annual recognitions: an umpire award named for the late Stephen Spina, a much loved little league umpire; and a coach’s award in honor of the late George Allen, a former coach and dedicated LMLL Board member.
This year’s winners are:
Daniel Marcus Sportsmanship Awards: Jimmy Bernstein (baseball); Leah Haviland (softball).
George Allen Coaching Awards: Phil Johanson (softball); Joe Calvini (baseball);
Stephen Spina Umpiring Award: Howie Klein and Jeff Jakob
Mamaroneck Town Councilman David Fishman and Larchmont Village Mayor Liz Feld were on hand to recognize the winners.
They had special praise for the young players. “I am so impressed,” said Mayor Feld, “by how these two get the bigger picture. To Jimmy and Leah, playing on their teams was not just about being the best players, which they were, but also about being the best teammate they could be.”
“That quality,” said Mr. Fishman, a former president of the Little League, ”reflects the essence of both the Daniel Marcus Award and the Little League experience. We are all proud of Jimmy and Leah and wish them many more years of fun on the diamond.”
“The nominations this year were particularly glowing on both the baseball and the softball side,” said Eric Marks, president of the LMLL. He lauded Coach Calvini for his many contributions as a coach. “As much as any LMLL coach I have seen, Joe understands that Little League is about the kids. He is an extremely supportive and encouraging coach. “
Mr. Marks described Coach Johanson as ”a man who gets the meaning of recreational sports; someone whose communication abilities are exemplified not only by what he says on the field but what he doesn’t say.”
According to Chris Plaut, a member of the LMLL Executive Board, the easiest selection was for the umpire award, “but only after we decided that there was no way to choose between Jeff Jakobs and Howie Klein.” He explained, “Jeff and Howie umpire their games in a way that exudes respect for the game and all of those who play in it, not just the ones who excel.”
Mr. Marks recalled how one coach marveled that “Jeff has ability, like no other umpire he knows, to commend a weaker player after an inspired play, and everyone on the diamond knows that it’s o.k. for the umpire to do that.” Similarly, Howie Klein has a ritual of learning the first names of every 4th and 5th grade softball player (106 this year) who plays in the Intermediate Softball Division.