Our Lady of Sorrows Sports and Arts Kids League (SPARKLE) is located in the culturally diverse and historical Lower East Side of Manhattan. Since 1959 we have been dedicated to teaching our children responsibility, respect and teamwork. Our program provides inner city youths with the chance to interact with each other, gain confidence, self-respect and the opportunity to learn and grow within the friendly competition of sport.
The Our Lady of Sorrows Parish Little League was formed by Fr. Bruce Quinn following through on the suggestion of Fr. Anscar Sullivan from late 1958. On April 4, 1959 the league played its first game. The first pitch was thrown by then Guardian, Fr. Myles Parsons. The league consisted of 8 teams of 15 boys each for a total of 120 boys. The older and bigger boys were put into the 4 major league teams and the smaller boys and beginners were put into 4 minor league teams. We had 3 major league umpires and 3 minor league umpires. Also, we had a manager and a coach for each team. The season almost always began with a blessing at the Church and a parade to the ball fields of the East River Park. The moderator would give the blessing. During the years, the games (exhibition, regular season, tournament, all-star) were generally organized among the parish teams themselves.
Fun Fact - Dellin Betances
New York Yankees pitcher, Dellin Betances played for OLS LL. Can you guess which one in the photo is him??
What an amazing Opening Day for baseball and softball on the Lower East Side! LES OLS LL collaborates with MLB to put forth an amazing Play Ball event for over 300 children. Media coverage of this event can be found below which includes interviews of some players and the President of the League, Tony Rivera.
LES - OLS Little League celebrates its 60th Opening Day with special guests, recognition awards and lots of excitement.
Hundreds of player participants sporting their new uniforms, crowded a standing room only parish hall. City Council Member Carlina Rivera gave words of encouragement and presented the league with a City Proclamation in honor of its 60 years of service to Lower East Side (LES) residents, providing a safe haven for inner city kids and teach importing life skills of discipline, hard work and teamwork. Fr. Tom McNamara and the OLS church choir lead the entire audience in the singing of God Bless America and Take Me Out to the Ballgame.
Following opening welcoming remarks from league president Tony Rivera, players displayed their team banners and their “We’re #1” foam fingers as they paraded to East River Park field 8. On field ceremonies featured a special appearance by Mr. Met who gave high fives and took pictures with all the teams bringing smiles to adoring fans both young and old. Mr. Met showed off his diamond skills when he challenged a few players from each team to a dance off. One thing was certain - Mr. Met got moves!
The LES-OLS Little League board surprised special guest Tom Brasuell, who recently retired as Major League Baseball’s VP of Community Affairs, with a lifetime achievement award. The league president thanked Tom for his two decades of service to the LES community.
Daisy DelaRosa and the OLS choir sang a beautiful rendition of the National Anthem. The ceremony concluded with opening day first pitch thrown by Fr. Tom, Tom Brasuell and Mr. Met. Play Ball!!