DATE - 08/02/2011
ICL Legends Kalfopoulos & Crisafulli Continue to Turn Clock Back
It was not 1994, but longtime ICL observers probably had to take a second glance when looking over Monday nightís boxscores.
Arguably, the two most prolific hitters in the long history of the league, once again turned the clock back a decade or two, hitting home runs for their respective teams.
Mike Kalfopoulos of the Americans and Justin Crisafulli of the Chiefs both launched round trippers in leading their teams to wins. Kalís came at Playstead Park in a 13-7 win over the Merchants and Crisafulliís at Readingís Morton Field in a 6-3 win.
Kalfopoulos began his ICL career an incredible 30 summers ago, in 1981, with the then Hosmer Chiefs. He moved to the Melrose Rams from 1986 to 2001, then back to the Chiefs in 2002 and 2003, before coming out of retirement to join the Americans in 2008. With his home run last night, Kal has to be oldest player to ever hit a round tripper in the ICL at the age of 48.
Although thirteen years younger than Kalfopoulos at age 35, Crisafulli has been in the ICL since 1994. He has spent the majority of his 18 year career with the Chiefs, except for two seasons with the then named Medford Mustangs, when the Chiefs took a two year sabbatical from the league in 2004-05.
Kalfopoulos has hit 121 homers in his 30 years, leading the league in that category several times from 1986-1994 while wearing the Ramsí uniform. He has recorded over 800 hits and is the ICLís all time leader in both of those categories.
The only player that would ever have a chance to catch Kal is Justin, who way back in the mid 1990ís, was widely considered to be Kalís heir apparent as the ICLís reigning power king. Since then, Crisafulli has hit 90 home runs for the Chiefs, and a few more for the Mustangs, to go along with over 600 career ICL hits. Still going strong and appearing to have many more ICL seasons ahead of him, he is currently leading the loop in hitting at a lofty .462 clip, while enjoying one of his best seasons ever.
The two have combined to go deep over 200 times and between them have almost 1,500 hits.
Both Americansí Manager Kevin Burgoyne and Chiefsí skipper Chuck Andre, who have had the privilege of coaching both legends, agree that they are the two best that they have ever seen. Andre adds, ďI once intentionally walked Kal, when he was with the Rams, in a playoff game that we were leading 2-1 in the last inning to move the winning runs to second and third just so he couldnít beat us. Thatís how dangerous he was.Ē
Kalfopoulos came to the ICL after a great career at Everett High, before moving on to tear up the Ivy League, where he had a four year Hall of Fame career at Cornell.
Crisafulli also played his high school baseball in the Greater Boston League for Medford High. He started his college career at Arizona Western JC, before moving on and leading Central Missouri State to College World Series appearances in 1996 & 1997. Justin was twice courted by Major League Baseball. He was a 17th round draft pick of the Red Sox before eventually signing as a free agent with the Cleveland Indians in August of 1997 after leading the Chiefs to another ICL championship.
Just to show how much baseball is still in their blood, the two sure bet future ICL Hall of Famers spend their Sunday morningís as teammates on the Orazio Azzarello coached Somerville Senators in the over 30 Menís League.