Batter gives up Guinness record chase

Mike Filippone of North Babylon makes a second attempt to set a Guinness world record for longest time batting. In 2009 he stopped after 15 hours with bloody hands, a sore neck and back, and temporary nerve damage. Videojournalists: Jessica Rotkiewicz and Chris Ware (Sept, 16, 2012)

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At age 52, Mike Filippone of North Babylon says he has retired from attempting to set world baseball batting records.

"I'm done," he said Sunday after spending 19 straight hours knocking balls around Phelps Lane Park in North Babylon.

The effort, which started at 8 a.m. Saturday, fell five hours short of the Guinness World Records 24-hour threshold for setting a record for marathon baseball batting. Still, it was more than three hours longer than his previous try in 2009.

Filippone, who helped raise more than $8,000 for Cohen Children's Medical Center in New Hyde Park, Queens, and the Dan Gambardella Memorial Fund during the challenge, said he could have lasted 22 hours. "I knew I had a couple other hours in me, but not five," he said.

Family members, including his wife, Geraldine Filippone, became more concerned for his health as time went on, he said.

It's possible to set the Guinness record, but it will take a younger guy, he said.

Mike Filippone said he and Gambardella, 46, of North Babylon, were friends who met through the North Babylon Youth League. "He was a big part of this community," he said.

Gambardella and his friend Larry Scuteri, 49, of West Islip, were on their way to work and when they were killed by a drunken driver on the Wantagh State Parkway on April 30, 2011.

Unlike with his previous attempt, Filippone wasn't hospitalized after his effort ended early Sunday, nor did he sustain several injuries. "My hands were cut up and they were definitely blistering," he said. "[But] I'm an old guy."

Afterward, he said he was treated to "a real, greasy double cheeseburger."

An ambulance and medics were at the scene in case of an emergency. And per Guinness World Records rules, Filippone said he was allowed to take five-minute breaks each hour.

"There were a lot of people cheering him on, but others telling him it was time to stop," his wife said. "It was hard for people not to fall asleep while sitting and watching, yet alone doing it. I was going to go home, but I realized he wasn't going to last much longer. It was personal for him."

More than 200 people watched him swing away at the North Babylon park during the height of the event Saturday. Roughly three dozen spectators were on hand when he stopped.

"The community was sending food over and everyone was having a good time," he said. "I'm doing good. It was a great experience."

When asked what's next for her husband, Geraldine Filippone, 50, responded, "Rest -- for the both of us."

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