From Baseball To Charity:
Queens Takes Up The Challenge
Clippers are a Queens-based amateur baseball team with some big league heart and as they
prepared themselves this week to play for borough bragging rights as part of the Queens
Challenge Cup, they are also coming together as a team to hit a home run for kids who are
less fortunate then they are.
heat hanging over the field at McClancy High School in Jackson Heights was almost
intolerable during the early evening hours of a recent August Wednesday as Clipper Michael
Xifaris took batting practice in preparation for the First Annual Queens Challenge Cup
a tournament where Queens and Long Island teams will face off and collect baseball
equipment for underprivileged children in the Dominican Republic.
Xifaris, a catcher for the Clippers, prepares for the First Annual Queens Challenge Cup.
the sound of the crack of the bat traveled to the ears of Clipper founder John Bulone and
Clipper director Hector Algarroba as they turned to watched the ball travel deep into left
turned around and said, On a 100 degree weather day, kids come out for the love of
an aerospace engineer, founded the Clippers five years ago as a summer travel team that
would continue baseball for youngsters when the school season ends in June.
team is also a means to keep kids out of trouble, Bulone explained.
the Clippers have grown into a year-round baseball club.
Clippers have expanded to 125 boys, aged 11 to 18, and three other coaches that are
preparing to host the boroughs first Challenge Cup playoffs this weekend.
Clippers are comprised of local kids come from all walks of life to from Astoria to
East Elmhurst play ball.
Saturday the Clippers amateur athletic baseball club will host the First Annual Queens
Challenge Cup and besides being about playing ball, the event will also be about having
the heart it takes to collect used equipment for impoverished baseball loving kids in the
tournament will consist of three Queens baseball teams including the Clippers
and three Long Island teams.
Bulone, director of the Clippers, and Hector Algarroba, a co-director of the Clippers and
founder of the HHS Foundation.
Photos By Nick Abadjian
time is Saturday, Aug. 18 at 11:30 a.m. and the finals are scheduled for Wednesday, Aug.
of the games, played by those 16 and under, will be held at Monsignor McClancy High School
Street and 31st
team will get to play at least five games.
the Queens baseball clubs is HBQVB of Queens Village and RGMVM of Ridgewood and Middle
But the Clippers are not just focused on winning.
a director for the Clippers and founder of the HHS Foundation, explained, This is
the first year. We are looking at being a good host.
foundation collects used equipment from various baseball teams and donates it to the
fanatic baseball youth in the Dominican Republic.
tournament will serve as a collection drive for the equipment.
McClancy, the Clippers play on the fields of the Elmjack Little League and Astoria
the last four years weve become a well known baseball club, said Bulone.
Clippers have traveled as far as New Jersey and Florida and won titles from Queens
Kiwanis, Queens Alliance and Glen Cove.
47, explained that playing ball gives the kids less time to drink and smoke.
children unpack materials collected in Queens by the HHS Foundation.
played for the local and now defunct Silk Socks baseball club in the 1960s over at what
used to be the Bulova fields.
players have heart but they cant have two failing grades otherwise they get kicked
off the team.
of the players come from broken homes or are in dire straits financially.
those cases, the Clippers organization doesnt charge the players the $50 for the
spring or summer fee.
year two 18-year-old Clippers played in the Connie Mack All Star Game at Shea Stadium.
said that it is always a possibility that college scouts show up to the game.
a Clipper also offers a sense of responsibility and sharing as they help collect and pack
the equipment bound for the Dominican Republic.
boys got to realize how good they have it here, said Algarroba. He joined the Clippers the first year after his
son started playing for the club.
When he goes back to his native country of the Dominican Republic,
Algarroba stuffs his luggage with used baseball equipment.
left the Domician Republic when he was 10 and every time he goes back he is reminded how
impoverished parts of the country are. Because
of the love of the game and the absence of winter, kids play baseball 365 days a year.
it is hard for the kids that play without bats or gloves.
1999, Algarroba went to the Dominican Republic with his son Steven and came back with
dreams of fields with equipped kids.
enlisted the help of his son and Bulone and started collecting equipment on
a more massive scale.
effort produced the HHS Foundation, named after Hector, Hippolito, Hectors father
and his son Steven.
used the contacts he made through traveling with the Clippers.
Algarrobas traveled in a minivan to baseball clubs in the Metropolitan Area collecting
equipment. Some of the used equipment
collected involved cracked bats and cracked helmets not fit for Little League.
they make a fine replacement to the rocks and broom handles that poor Dominican kids use
to play ball.
in February the Clippers helped collect, sort, and package over 500 bats, over 200
helmets, miscellaneous clothing, including many complete uniforms, catchers
equipment, gloves, and baseballs. Their
efforts helped 17 leagues in the town of Los Conucas.
April, the HHS Foundation touched 38 leagues and more than a 1,000 children.
blowing out, said Algarroba.
they began the collection they used Bulones garage.
Mike Curran of Elmjack Little League temporarily loaned them a trailer by their field to
house the equipment. But the trailer had its
HHS Foundation grew it met new sponsors. Frank
Delicia of River Hauling in Brooklyn recently donated a 20-foot trailer for the equipment.
contributors include Tropicana, the Police Athletic League and Sealine Cargo, which
donated the boxes and shipped them for free.
effort went beyond baseball as the HHS Foundation did the paperwork for creating a new
school for 600 kids in the town of Juan Dolio after their former school building had been
ravaged by a storm. School supplies for the
school were collected from various Catholic schools in the borough.
foundation has also networked volunteer doctors to create a makeshift clinic from rooms in
a school in the town of Pedro Bran.
clinic services 300 families and provides general medical and dental work and surgery. It also collected medicine from two major
hospitals to create a pharmacy in the clinic.
February, the organization is planning a trip for the Clippers to go to the Dominican
Republic. It will be the beginning of a
baseball exchange program. And maybe some day
a Dominican team will come here to play ball.
of used equipment will be collected at the games.
learn more about the Clippers and the HHS Foundation, call 932-1778.