Western Massachusetts is mourning the loss of Al Stanek who was known for all things baseball from his time in the Pioneer Valley through his run with the Giants in the MLB.
Stanek, a man best known for his record-breaking work on the baseball fields of western Massachusetts died Tuesday of heart failure at 74.
While hardcore MLB fans may not know his name, just hearing his impact from family and friends, you probably should.
Stanek's son Jeff remembers what it was like having a famous dad.
Stanek came straight out of high school to play with the San Francisco Giants of the MLB in 1963, side by side with hall of famer Willie Mays.
Before he was a Giant, he was a pacer, leading Chicopee High School to an undefeated season and two state titles.
After a two year run with the Giants triple a affiliate Tacomah, it seemed Stanek had a bright future.
But his future fell short after hurting his shoulder in basic training during the Vietnam War.
Since then, he was never the same player, but he continued to impact youth baseball players in Holyoke for decades to come.
Stanek has left behind a legacy filled with sports records, but more importantly, memories his children and grandchildren will have forever.
"We're going to do our best to make sure that his legacy carries on," said Jeff Stanek.
The Stanek name is one very few will ever forget. He still gets fan mail to this day, living proof that this historic icon was not only a great player, but a caring one.
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