“I spoke to Monte Irvin”

I was driving home from church on August 22, 2010 at around 10:30 am., when I decided to stop at B-W Bakery in Hackensack.  After getting my pecan ring and cream horn I started my truck and had Ed Randal’s talking baseball on the Fan radio station on and he was speaking to Monte Irvin.  I wasn’t sure Monte Irvin was still alive but there he was talking on the radio at the age of 91.  I have never called into a radio station but figured I would give it a shot.  So in the parking lot of what is Target now and where Packard’s used to be I called and got through to the radio program.  They put me on after they heard my question.  All of a sudden I hear Ed Randal say “here is Bob from Hackensack talking to Monte Irvin, Bob go ahead,” I replied, “Hello Mr. Irvin there was a ball player from Hackensack one of the best we ever had who got drafted as a sophomore out of High School his coach was furious but anyway, his name was Joe Bracchitta did you know him?” Monte Irvin who is 91 years old at this time replied, “yes, I new him very well we played together on the Jersey City Giants.” I replied “the story in town goes that when you showed up in Jersey City he was asked to show you or make you comfortable in the outfield there.  After shagging about five fly balls Joe turned and said I guess I am not getting to the majors any time soon.” As I heard Monte Irvin laugh in the back round I heard Ed Randal say “thanks Bob” and he hung up.  I had to turn on the radio to here his reply as Monte Irvin said, “We became very good friends and the last time I saw him was in 1957 he owned or ran a restaurant in California.  I always wondered what happened to him. Do you know what he is doing now or if he is still around?”  Ed Randal replied “we hung up on him Monte” Monte Irvin replied, “Oh”, in a mildly disappointing and longing way.  He genuinely wanted to know what had happened to his old baseball buddy of the 1949 baseball season in Jersey City 61 years earlier.  Monte Irvin clearly new Joe Bracchitta well having made contact with him some 8 years after they had played together in 1957 and I was so disappointed that I was unable to tell Monte Irvin that Joe Bracchitta had been drafted after he (Monte Irvin) had gone to the Giants in 1950 and while the Giants were winning the pennant on Bobby Thompson’s homerun known as “the shot heard round the World” Joe Bracchitta was serving in Korea receiving a medal for valor, Joe always wondering about a baseball career of what may have been.  I could have told Monte Irvin that Joe is still around although he is having issues with his site at the age of 81.  Although I had so much more I could have asked Monte Irvin the short exchange I had with him, confirmed the story that had been told for so many years by so many Hackensack residents of that time.  Although I am disappointed I could not have continued talking to Monte Irvin about Joe Bracchitta I am fortunate to have had the opportunity to talk to one of the legends of baseball and know for a fact that he had played along side and was friends with Joe Bracchitta from Hackensack.

Let us never forget the soldier's sacrifice.

Written by:
Bob Meli
August 22, 2010