Tony Aresco earns NAFA Hall of Fame honor

Written by Bob on August 8th, 2017

Father Tony Aresco and son Anthony, 21, will bring a men’s team and an age 23-under team to the 2017 NAFA World Series in Fargo, No. Dak. Aug. 9-20. A highlight of the trip will be Tony Aresco’s induction into the NAFA Hall of Fame. Courtesy Photo By Tony Aresco

STONEHAM, Mass. – Some give a little, some give a fair share, and a few give a lot to men’s fastpitch softball.

And then there’s Tony Aresco. You’ve heard of the 110-percenters? Well, Tony leaves them in his dust.

For over 30 years his contributions to the game – and to the North American Fastpitch Association in particular – are remarkable.

Aresco of Stoneham, Massachusetts, plays, manages, sponsors, recruits, teaches, promotes…You get the idea: he’s a man of many hats, many talents.

NAFA LOYAL, NAFA WINNER

He’s been bringing teams to the NAFA World Series for 11 years. In that time, he’s won championships at nearly every level – Masters, 21-Under, and an assortment of other men’s divisional championships – six in all.

With his Boston-area ball club, the Sea Dogs, Aresco has been selected Most Valuable Player once and All-World five teams, his most recent in the 2016 A World Series. This at the age of 51. As a catcher.

No doubt he has earned the respect and the admiration of all who have ever played with or against him. And what he has accomplished with NAFA is now being rewarded.

THE HALLOWED HALL

Aresco will receive the highest honor the game can offer back – a beautiful plaque and jacket – and membership in one of the sport’s most exclusive clubs: The NAFA Hall of Fame.

Aresco will be inducted during ceremonies in Fargo at the World Series.

“It’s an unbelievable feeling to be inducted into the NAFA Hall of Fame,” said Aresco, who is also a Massachusetts ASA Hall of Famer. “There’s a lot of great players and managers in the Hall of Fame and now to be included with them is an amazing feeling. I attribute a lot of this to my players. Without them I wouldn’t get this recognition. They are reason we are successful.”

But Aresco won’t be coming to Fargo just for the accolades and the recognition. He’s coming to battle for another championship in the A Division as well as helping his son Anthony Aresco win the young men’s 23-under title, a feat accomplished in last year’s World Series.

Anthony, 21, has grown to love the game as his father does. And as his father “steers the ship” of the Sea Dogs men’s team, Anthony has assumed managerial duties and pitches for the 23-under ball club.

He’s learned much about fastpitch from his father, and has come to realize the energy, commitment, work ethic and sacrifice his father has given to the Sea Dogs and for the game overall.

Worthy of NAFA Hall of Fame enshrinement? For Anthony, without doubt.

“The stuff he does for us is incredible,” said Anthony. “There is no way there would be a Sea Dogs without him. He makes everything happen. When he gets inducted all our guys will be there. All the 23-under guys will be there. It will be a (memorable) time.”

CAUGHT TOP HURLERS

Over the past 30 years, Tony Aresco has proven to be one of the best catchers on the east coast, if not in the entire country. He has played for the likes of the Reading, Pennsylvania Sunners, managed by ASA Hall of Famer Rocco “Rocky” Santilli.

He’s caught hall of fame pitchers such as Darren Zack, Michael White, Paul Algar, Owen Walford, David Scott, Steve Price, the late Chris Wilson, and the list could go on and on.

He’s spent a good share of his career competing in NAFA, but he’s made a mark in the ASA national tournament as well, finishing third in the 1997 Men’s Major in Clearwater, Florida as the Matarazzo Sea Dogs.

BUILDING A DYNASTY WITH FRIENDS

But it was 1988 when the idea started percolating to build a ball club shooting for the top.

“I saw my first major national in 1988 in Bloomington, Illinois and thought, ‘oh my god, this game is for real,’” he said. “Then I played in 1992 for the Sunners and decided to start my own team.”

But as a true and loyal Bostonian, Aresco was committed to recruiting players locally. About the only outside talent he brought in was pitching.

“I wanted to play with my friends from the Boston area,” he said. “I would have to import pitching, but I wanted a Boston area based team. I’ve always looked at it as a night out (league games) and weekends (tournaments) spent with my friends. We would either win or lose, but we would do it together.”

YOUNGSTERS TAKE THEIR LUMPS

One of his most devoted players is John Kosinski, who has played for Aresco since they graduated from high school in 1984.

He says that as young greenhorns, Aresco made sure they played tougher, veteran competition. Made sure they played the best, even though they suffered some hard losses.

“Tony knew that on the other end of that losing we would get better,” said Kosinski. “He realized that and he pushed us.”

Kosinski and Anthony Aresco spearheaded the nomination process for Tony’s Hall of Fame consideration. Once approved, Kosinski was one happy man. He even made a heart-felt video presentation honoring his teammate, manager and friend.

“The one constant in our lives has been softball,” said Kosinski on the video. “The one person who has made sure that constant always exists is Tony. “He’s one of the best hitters ever out of Massachusetts. And as a catcher he’s caught the best of the best. That’s all very impressive, but what makes him a Hall of Famer in my eyes is that we have been able to play softball for 30 years only because Tony has been running the ship.”

USA SOFTBALL COACH

Now you might think running the Sea Dogs men’s team, the masters team, helping his son with the 23-under team would be enough on his plate. Wrong.

He’s also an assistant coach on the USA Softball Jr. Men’s National Team (age 19-under).

“I wanted to get involved, I wanted to help, so I threw my hat in the ring,” Aresco said. “Ty McKinney (head coach) saw I could relate with kids, so I think that’s why he accepted me. It’s another way to help keep the game alive. I want the kids to love it the way I love it.”

No better words ever spoken by a Hall of Famer who has given more than 110-percent to the game.

1 Comments so far ↓

  1. Joanne Annunziata says:

    Congratulations Tony !!!!! I know you gave your heart and soul to softball for years. I am so happy for you to be receiving the recognition you deserve.. Enjoy the ceremony… I know all the sea dogs couldn’t be prouder to play for you
    Joanne Annunziata

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