Thursday, 22 July 2010 7:29 P.M.
Greatest Film Ever' chronicled in new baseball film, says former
teammate, Tom Paciorek
courtesy of Stunt3 Multimedia
Mich. -- It was a Grand Slam. The movie preview was definitely
a grand slam. It was the first showing of the short-documentary,
“The Legend of Pinky Deras: The Greatest Little-Leaguer There
Ever Was”. Players from the 1959 Hamtramck Little League National
Champions and the 1961 Hamtramck Pony League National Champions
were celebrated. These were mostly second generation Polish-Americans
and Pinky carried the load for both of these championship teams.
The preview originated from WXYZ-TV Detroit.
Leaguer, Tom Paciorek highlighted the film with great praise for
Deras. Most remember Paciorek as the longtime Chicago White Sox
broadcaster. Besides broadcasting baseball, he has the pedigree.
He was an 18 year MLB veteran, an All-Star and 1972 Minor League
Player of the Year.
data backs him up and then some. During that 1959 summer, the single-season
pitching statistics were printed in newspapers around the country
including the New York Times and Sports Illustrated. There were
18 complete games, 18 victories, 16 shutouts, 10 no-hitters (including
five straight), 298 strikeouts and only 10 walks in 108 innings.
.641 with 33 home runs and 112 RBI’s. “When Deras pitched,
you couldn’t see the ball,” said Paciorek. “And
when he hit, well you had better walk him or it was a home run.”
Paciorek should know. The evening was supposed to be about celebrating
Art ‘Pinky’ Deras. He wouldn’t hear of it as he
shared the spotlight with his former teammates. The players in attendance
received a standing ovation. “That’s Pinky,” said
Robert Miller, a 1961 Pony League Championship teammate. “He
was humble then and he is humble now.”
had Tom Lasorda pulling for me when I was with the Los Angeles Dodgers,
Pinky needed someone to pull for him when he was in the minors,”
presentation had rare footage of the 1959 Championship game between
Auburn, California and Hamtramck. Kevin Deras (Art’s son)
located the ‘lost’ 16-millimeter film at the Little
League archives in Williamsport, Pennsylvania.
another longtime teammate said, “We were good as a team, but
Pinky just had that much more talent.”
One of the
great anecdotes of the evening was when Deras recalled his professional
California League playing days; he went out for dinner one night
with Tom and John Paciorek. “I think we were in Modesto, which
was pretty heady stuff for three kids from Hamtramck. That was the
60’s and I was probably a bit too free spirited. I really
looked up to John. He was a great player.” John Paciorek has
a special footnote in baseball history, as he has the listing for
the highest batting average in the ‘Baseball Register’.
Another lost to history detail was that the Deras family name had
originally been spelled Darasz.
shifting the spotlight from himself. “Don’t forget Sid
Cline pitched a great second game,” said the tall pitcher.
“Hawaii had just become a State so there was a lot of excitement.”
was big for my age, everyone caught up,” he added smiling.
In the 1959 Finals, Hamtramck won three straight, Puerto Rico, Honolulu
and Auburn. It was on Aug. 29, 1959 when Deras pitched that championship
game, a 12-0 shutout. In all, Hamtramck won 13 straight games in
their journey. The mostly Polish-American community of Hamtramck
went wild. Their native son’s were Little League National
In the preview
there were scenes from the nationally televised, “The Lawrence
Welk Show” that the players appeared on and never before seen
shots of the 1961 Pony League Championship from Washington, Pennsylvania.
One of the players even danced with the prominent, ‘Champagne
Ladies’. Dodge of Chrysler Motors was a national sponsor for
the Welk show and because there was a Dodge-Main (factory) connection
to Hamtramck, the advertising agency pulled it all together. The
team got a trip to Disneyland and were in a parade with the world
famous clown, ‘Emmett Kelly’.
and heralded educator, Joe Piasecki was remembered fondly for being
such a great teammate. Also, the other catcher, Greg Pniewski said,
“I had to catch those fastballs and Pinky threw the equivalent
of over 100 mile per hour.”
was sponsored by the Hamtramck Recreation Department and high praise
went out to former Director Frank Wysoki who was so instrumental
in the achievements of the Hamtramck baseball programs.
how successful the Hamtramck High School baseball teams were in
the old Twin Valley Conference and former Detroit Tiger, Ike Blessitt,
who was in attendance, agreed wholeheartedly.
and directors of the movie were present and moderated a spirited
question and answer session. Buddy Moorehouse and Brian Kruger introduced
narrator, Oliver Darrow. The large crowd gave the film makers another
standing ovation. “We are still editing and will make a few
more tweaks,” said Kruger, President of ‘stunt3-multimedia’.
also highlighted the special recognition award the National Polish-American
Sports Hall of Fame gave to the 1959 Hamtramck Little League National
Champions. “I didn’t save many mementos but I have my
photo with Stan Musial from when I was at spring training with the
St. Louis Cardinals,” said Deras. Deras retired recently after
spending 30 years as a Warren Public Safety Officer.
reiterated, “Pinky was the best 12 year old baseball player
ever and he was the best 14 year old baseball player ever. I have
seen many and he was the best. We had the support of the whole community.”
aired on selected stations before the ABC-ESPN presentation of the
2010 Little League World Series Final. Japan beat Hawaii for the
International title this year, 4-1.
the DVD, which is expected to be 42 minutes long are available at
Hamtramck Little League National Champions