GREAT BARRINGTON Mass. >> For the eighth year in a row former MLB pitcher and current color man of the Pittsburgh Pirates, Steve Blass, returned home to host the Steve Blass Golf Tournament at the Egremont Golf Course to help raise money for the Region 1 Athletic Committee.
“Home is home, long before this tournament I would always come home,” said Blass a 1960 graduate of Housatonic high school. “This tournament means a lot to me.”
The Region 1 Athletic Committee raises money and then spends the money on athletes to help send them to camps, buy new equipment, anything to help.
“It’s the highlight of the year,” said Region 1 Athletic Committee President, Dave Grusauski, graduate of Housatonic in 1984. “It’s crucial to give to the kids.”
Each athlete or team applies to the committee and the committee then decides to whether or not to grant their request.
“It’s on a primarily need base,” said Region 1 Athletic Committee member and Housatonic graduate in 1979, Cindy Dunleavy.
“We have almost 100 applicants the two times we open up for applicants,” said Champ Perotti, a committee member, 1983 Housatonic graduate.
One example of the Region 1 Athletic Committee was when the Steamrollers youth football team needed new helmets to abide by the new rules to protect for concussions. Perotti who runs the youth football program, went to the committee for help.
“They helped us get the new helmets,” he said.
The committee members aren’t they only graduates who return for the tournament. The alumni range from recent graduates to some who graduated over 50 years ago.
“I saw a guy I haven’t seen in 57 years,” said Jerry Tobin a 1955 graduate.
The alumni enjoy coming back to hang out with former classmates and to help to current and future athletes that will play in Region 1 athletics.
“Anything to help them beat Northwestern, Lewis Mills and any of the other Berkshire schools,” Keith Marx laughed. Marx graduated Housatonic in 1988.
“These people don’t have to do this,” said Blass. “They just want to help out the kids.”
They also play golf and this year the tournament had 30 foursomes, totaling 120 players.
“It’s fantastic, I get to have a reunion with my guys,” said Perotti. “It’s the best day it’s all about Falls Village.”
That is exactly what Blass wants the golf tournament to be about.
“Shame on me if I forget where I came from,” said Blass. “The people here have always been good to me and my family.”
Blass also know that he wouldn’t be able to host this tournament every year by himself.
“I couldn’t have this without Champ (Perotti),” said Blass. “He makes this thing run, he’s the nuts and bolts.”
After playing the course, the participants along with other committee members and some family have dinner and try to win a range of memorabilia that Blass sends to Perotti throughout the year.
The amount of memorabilia that Blass sends in could fill the back of moving truck, joked Perotti.
It’s that love of his hometown that people appreciate.
“After the 1971 World Series, on the top of his career, he praised Housatonic,” said Perotti.