'69 Mets: Bill Lucano

Bill Lucano, 50, Garden City. Bill Lucano, 50, Garden City. Photo Credit: Photo by William Perlman

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Bill Lucano, 50, Garden City. Now an advertising salesman for News12 Networks, he remembers a Little League event.

I remember picking up my very first trophy at the awards dinner, which was held at the Garden City Hotel in June. Two New York Mets pitchers were there - Gary Gentry and Jim McAndrew, and they were signing autographs! Of course, they both signed my baseball for me (I am a Mets fan) and I still have it!

It was my first time at the Garden City Hotel and putting on a blazer and a tie. . . . It was a fancy dinner for all the players in the Little League that were receiving their trophies. . . . I remember the date because the baseball was signed with a date. It was June 23, 1969. I remember looking at them and thinking they were men. And my dad looked at them like they were kids.

They were men to me. I brought my baseball. Both of them signed my baseball. Gentry signed it first and McAndrew signed it second. I held on to that baseball and I wouldn't let it go.

My father said some Mets would be there, and I thought my idol, Tom Seaver, might be there, and I didn't know who these guys were.

We followed the games and we watched the games. We went to the games. . . . I just remember that they were there and they were the only players there.

Our team was called the Heroes, and it was sponsored by . . . Taylor Warner Realty [which was owned at the time by Robert F.X. Hogan]. . . . They named their teams after "Hogan's Heroes," the TV show. . . . I was 10, so that team was composed of 10-, 11- and 12-year-olds, so I was a peanut, but I could throw the hell out of the ball.

We did win the championship that year. The team went 13-1 and I actually went seven games, so I went 6-1. . . . That was the first time I won a trophy and I remember how hard that was to do, to be the winning team.

That was definitely an important summer.

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