Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

Vitale to Be Inducted into Hall of Fame

Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

Vitale to Be Inducted into Hall of Fame

Article excerpt

LITTLE LEAGUE: Love of baseball began early for basketball guru

SARASOTA

It all started at the dinner table for Dick Vitale.

That's the place where his parents, uncles and aunts would gather after church on Sundays to talk nothing but baseball.

And it's where Vitale learned his most valuable life lesson: family first.

A Garfield Little League pitcher for Mazzo Oil in New Jersey, the 12-year-old Vitale remembers going to bed wearing his uniform and sleeping with his glove every night.

He spent those same Sunday afternoons dreaming of someday making the big leagues.

"My love for baseball started as a little kid on Sundays," said Vitale, who recalls debating the greatest center fielder of all time with his dad one day.

"Willie Mays was always my favorite player, but my father would butt in and say 'Joe DiMaggio never made a great catch because he never had to.' Those are the moments I'll always treasure."

Nowadays, Vitale is still dreaming big.

The Lakewood Ranch resident will be inducted into the Peter J. …

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