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Mar, 2023

NVCCLL Announces Inaugural Hall of Fame Class

Back in 1981, Congers little leaguer Daniel Casey pulled off a Shohei Ohtani-like performance in leading his Yankees team to victory in the Tournament of Champions. In the semi-final of that tournament, Casey pitched a no-hitter. In the championship game, mighty Casey turned around and won the title for his Yankees with a dramatic, two-run, walk off home run. A legend was born.

This year, the multi-talented Casey – who would go on to earn all state honors in three sports during high school and play hoops for Division I Columbia University – will be one of six local baseball stars inducted into the newly minted Nyack Valley Cottage Congers Little League (NVCCLL) Hall of Fame.

As the sounds of spring announce the start of a new season full of possibility, the new Hall of Fame marks yet another exciting chapter in the lower Hudson Valley’s storied youth baseball history. 

That history began with the opening of the Nyack Little League in 1951, just six years after the end of World Word II, with a Braves-Cardinals matchup at Memorial Park on the Hudson River. 

The league expanded to include Valley Cottage in 1972 and now boasts a total of 10 District 18 championships. To commemorate all the greatness developed over the years, the league created its own Hall of Fame, which includes 21 hometown heroes, back in the early 2000s.

In 2020, Nyack Valley Cottage merged with Congers, a league that carries its own rich tradition that dates back to its origin in 1968. Congers’ story includes the triumphant tales of six District-18 championship squads, as well as other great teams, like the Yankees team Danny Casey carried to such heights more than 40 years ago. 

Starting this year, there’s now one home for all these great stories: the Nyack Valley Cottage Congers Little League (NVCCLL) Hall of Fame. 

During Opening Day ceremonies, April 29th at 10 am, NVCCLL commissioner John Welch will celebrate Daniel Casey and the other five members of this inaugural class of beloved local ball players and league contributors, including Richard Salvati, Timmy Casey (Daniel’s younger brother), John Clune, Ross Nappi, and Frank DeSimone. 

Read more about each of the inductees below!

Nyack Valley Cottage Little League Fun Facts

  •  Established in December of 1951 by Nyack Booster Association 
  • Rockland County’s 1st little league
  • First season was 1952 (60 players comprising of 4 teams)
  • First game played on May 19, 1952 (Braves vs Cardinals) at Memorial Park in Nyack
  • Was Nyack Little League until 1972 (then became Nyack Valley Cottage)
  • NVCLL Hall Of Fame (Created in early 2000s) currently consists of 21 members
  • In total, 10 District-18 Championships (All Baseball)
    • (12 and under: 1979, 1986, 2000, 2015)
    • (10 and under: 1994)
    • (Juniors: 1987, 2002, 2003)
    • (Seniors: 1979, 1997)

Congers Little League Fun Facts

  • Established in 1968 (was originally apart of Clarkstown Little League)
  • First season consisted of four Teams (60 total players)
  • First game played on May 11, 1968 (Mets vs Yankees) at Sheridan Field in Congers
  • Congers Little League has never had a Hall of Fame
  • In total, 6 District-18 Championships (4 Baseball, 2 Softball)
    • (12u - 1983)
    • (10u - 1998)
    • (Juniors - 1982)
    • (Seniors - 1974)
    • (Softball Seniors - 1999, 2005)

2022 Hall Of Fame Class

Richard Salvati (Congers LL)

A graduate of Clarkstown North High School and long-time member of the Congers fire department, Salvati was a phenomenal little league coach, beginning with the 1976 Mets, steering a series of great teams during a dominant run that stretched from the early 1990s into the new millennium. His three majors championships (1991, 1998 and 2000) as a manager are the most in the 55-year history of the league. His 1998 team of 10-year-olds covered the league in glory and is the last Congers team to win a district title. Salvati, a proud member of the Sons of Italy, coached or managed in the Congers little league for a cool quarter of a century and spent years tirelessly working the fields and organizing equipment as vice president of the league’s board. Salvati passed away in 2016 at the age of 61.

Daniel Casey (Congers LL)

Daniel cemented his legacy as one of Congers’ baseball GOATS with his legendary Tournament of Champions run in 1981, but he also lead his team to a Majors title the previous season in 1980. Daniel’s local legend would grow as he went on to earn all-league, all-county and all-section honors in three high school sports at Clarkstown North – baseball, football and basketball. After high school, Daniel continued his baseball career as a member of the varsity team at Columbia University, where he earned his undergraduate degree. Daniel, who once said, “Don’t dream dreams, live them, died unexpectedly in 1993. His untimely and premature death is the reason why Clarkstown North decided to create its own Hall of Fame

Timmy Casey (Congers LL)

Timmy proudly followed in his brother’s enormous footsteps, winning a Majors title with his Pirates team, batting a cool .500 (!) while hitting 10 bombs. A classic, 5-tool centerfielder in the Julio Rodriguez mold, Timmy earned all-league and all-section honors. He finished his high school career in 1991 having toppled seven single season and career Clarkstown North baseball records, easily cementing his Hall of Fame status. Post-graduation, Timmy dominated the competition for Rockland Community College, taking home all-conference, all-region and all-american honors. Those accolades landed him a scholarship at Seton Hall, a school with a rich national baseball profile. As a senior with the Pirates, Timmy was named first team “All Big East.” Timmy passed away in 2022 at the age of 49.

John Clune (Nyack Valley Cottage LL)

Clune, one of Nyack Valley Cottage Little League’s most successful managers and leaders, helped engineer one of the great playoff runs in league history as well as the successful redevelopment of Liberty Field. Clune led his Angels squads to Majors titles in both 1985 and 1986. His 1986 team proved to be one of the league’s best of all time, cruising to the 12 and under District 18 title and then marching all to the Sectional Championship game before ultimately falling in the final. It remains the furthest any Nyack Valley Cottage team has ever reached in the Little League playoffs. Clune, who worked for years at the Clarkstown Highway Department, now lives in Florida with his wife.   

Ross Nappi (Nyack Valley Cottage LL)

Over the course of two decades, from 1983 to 1998, Nappi distinguished himself as one of District 18’s most respected umpires. While Nappi worked as NVC’s primary umpire, his reputation led him to be named head umpire for many of the Tournament of Champions and District 18 tournaments. In addition to umpiring, Nappi coached his son Scott for six NVC little league seasons. Nappi, who worked for the postal service after returning from the Korean War, passed away in 2016 at the age of 79. 


Frank DeSimone (Nyack Valley Cottage LL)

DeSimone, who spent a solid decade molding young ballplayers and programs in the Nyack Valley Cottage Little League, managed the 1993 White Sox to a Majors championship and was assistant coach for two other title teams. But DeSimone might be best remembered for helping rejuvenate the league’s junior and senior programs in the mid-1990s. In addition to those contributions, the now retired associate court clerk also served on the league’s board as both secretary and Majors director. He lives in Valley Cottage with his wife, Peggy. 

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