The History of
Baseball in Greece
By Tom Mazarakis
Baseball in Greece has only
recently gained a reasonable amount of attention and interest and this is due
to the fact that Greece won
the honor of hosting the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens. As the
organizing nation, Greece
was given the opportunity to field a representative Olympic baseball team for the
games. At this point, I would like to mention that it should be noted
that the organizing country does not automatically get a free ride for all team
sports, which is a commonly held misconception. It is the corresponding
International Federation, for each sport, who determines which countries will
participate in the Olympic Games. The International Olympic committee
stipulates how many teams will participate in the competition and the
corresponding sport’s federation determines which countries will participate.
For baseball, the International Baseball Federation (IBAF)
had no intention of inviting a team from Greece. Their argument was
simple and reasonable: in 1997 Greece had no baseball whatsoever
and there was no hope that the country could ever build a Greek team that could
possibly compete at the Olympics level within less than 7 years.
But, they were wrong. How Greece did what
anyone who knows anything about baseball would have told you was impossible is
a story worth telling. It is worth the effort to tell because it is a
story that reflects the true nature of Greeks whose modern descendants continue
the traditions and values and are worthy heirs to the legacy of their ancient
Baseball in Greece can find
it’s beginnings across the Atlantic in the home of baseball, America. It
was from the offspring of the first wave of Greek immigrants who traveled to the United States from 1900 to 1930
from which the first Greek baseball players evolved. They went to the new
world in order to make better lives and futures for themselves and for their
families. Most of these pioneering Greeks embraced their new country and
adapted their new lives accordingly. Thus baseball, being a truly
“American” sport, became a favorite amongst the early
Greek-Americans. Countless Greeks have played the sport of baseball over
the last 70 years, but only a few made it to the Majors. The following
list includes most of them.
Alex Kampouris: Alex was born in Sacramento, California
in 1912 and is probably the first Greek to play big league baseball. He
made his Major League debut in 1934 playing for the Cincinnati Reds at short
and at second until 1938 when he was traded to the New York Giants. He
was later traded to the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1941 and ended his career in 1943
with the Washington Senators.
Greek George: (Born Charles Peter George) Charles was born in
Waycross, Georgia in 1912. He joined
the Cleveland Indians in 1935 and played with them until 1936. The
Brooklyn Dodgers picked him up in 1938 and he played on the Chicago Cubs in
1941. He ended his career on the Philadelphia Athletics in 1945.
Alex Campanis: Al is probably the only Greek to have played
Major League Baseball who was born in Greece. He was born on the
Greek island of Kos in 1916
and played only 7 games for the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1943 at second base before
volunteering to fight in WWII with the U.S. Navy. He stayed with the
Dodger organization for the rest of his career as a minor league manager, then
as a scout and eventually as a vice president in charge of player
personnel. He was a great man who was instrumental towards ending
prejudice in baseball. He was Jackie Robinson’s teammate
on the Montreal Royals in 1946 and helped many black players advance to the
Gus Niarhos: Gus was born in Birmingham, Alabama
in 1920. He played for 9 Major League seasons as a catcher from 1946 to
1955. He started his career playing for the New York Yankees and by 1955
had played for the Chicago White Sox, Boston Red Sox, and for the Philadelphia Phillies.
Gus Keriazakos: (Born Constantine Nicholas Keriazakos)
Gus was born in West Orange,
New Jersey in 1931. He made
his Major league debut in 1950 at the relatively young age of 19 when he played
for the Chicago White Sox in one game. He
pitched only 2.1 innings giving up 7 hits, 5 walks, and 5 earned runs. He
was sent down to the minors and returned to the Major Leagues in 1954 with the
Washington Senators only to end is ML career with the Athletics in 1955.
Billy Loes: (Born William Loes)
Billy was born in Long Island City, New York in 1929 and pitched in 11 Major
League seasons which started in 1950 with the Brooklyn Dodgers and ended in
1961 with the San Francisco Giants. Renowned for his wacky reasoning,
Billy advised against becoming a 20 game winner, because “If you win 20 games,
they expect you to do it every year.” Loes
never did win 20, but was 50 – 25 over four seasons in Brooklyn.
Gus Triandos: Gus was born in San Francisco, California
in 1930. He played for 13 Major league seasons as a catcher from 1953 to
1965. He started his Major League career playing for the New York Yankees
and by 1965 he had played for Baltimore, Detroit, Philadelphia, and
Harry Agganis: (Born Aristotle George Agganis)
Harry, who was known as “The Golden Greek” in his hometown, was born in Lynn, Massachusetts
in 1929. He was the star athlete of his high school and of Boston College
where he played baseball, basketball, and football equally well. He
denied a contract with the Cleveland Browns as their number one draft pick in
1952 only to sign a Major League contract with the Boston Red Sox in 1953. He played 1st base for the
Boston Red Sox in 1954 and part of 1955. His
career would have been an amazing one and he might possibly have been the
greatest Greek-American baseball player of all time if tragedy didn’t strike
him down in his prime. He died in 1955 of a “massive pulmonary embolism”
while being hospitalized after complaints of chest pains.
Agganis Arena at Boston University
is named in his honor.
Alex Grammas: (Born Alexander Peter Grammas) Alex was born in
Birmingham, Alabama in 1927. He started his Major
League career with the St. Louis Cardinals in 1954 at short where his fielding
was amazing but his hitting was less than great. He also played for the
Cincinnati Reds and ended his career in 1963 with the Chicago Cubs. He
managed the Pirates for the last 5 games of the 1969 season and also managed
the Milwaukee Brewers in 1976 and 1977.
Chris Kitsos: (Born Christopher Anestos
Kitsos). Chris was born in New York City, New York
in 1928. He had the shortest Major League career in history. He
played in only one inning of one game for the Chicago Cubs on April 21st,
1954 during which he had no official at bats.
Mike Baxes: (Born Michael Baxes)
Mike was born in San Francisco, California in 1930 and played at short and at
second for the Kansas City Athletics in 1956 and in 1958.
Jim Baxes: (Born Dimitrios S. Baxes) Jim was born in San Francisco, California
in 1928. Both he and his younger brother Mike played in the
Majors. Jim played for the LA Dodgers and for the Cleveland Indians both
during the 1959 season.
at both second and third and finished his one and only season with a .246
batting average and 69 hits (17 of which were homeruns).
Milt Pappas: (Born Miltiades
Nicknamed “Gimpy”, Milt was born in Detroit,
Michigan in 1939. He made
his Major League debut in 1957 with the Baltimore Orioles and is to date
probably the best Greek-American pitcher of all time. He was an
outstanding talent and was signed right out of high school. He pitched
only 3 games in the minors before being called up by the Orioles to play in the
big league. He was only 18 years old when he faced one of baseball's
greatest hitters, Ted Williams for the first time. Williams worked the
count to 3 - 2 when Milt struck him out looking. During his 17 year
career in the majors, he collected 209 wins with a life time ERA of only
3.40. He also has a no hitter to his credit while pitching for the
Chicago Cubs in a game at Wrigley Field against the San Diego Padres on
September 2, 1972. Milt had retired 26 consecutive batters and was one
out away from a perfect game when pinch hitter Larry Stahl came to the
plate. Milt's first 2 pitches to Stahl were strikes and he was now only 1
strike away from making history. Note that up until that point there were
only 7 perfect games on the record books during the entire 20th century. Milt
then threw 4 perfect sliders in a row and home plate umpire Bruce Froemming called all 4 pitches balls, thus ruining Milt's
perfect game. He looked at the ump in disbelief and then showered him
with every name he could think of in both English and in Greek. He got
the next batter to pop out in order to end the game and at least save the no-hitter.
On April 11, 2003 Milt gave Bruce Amspacher an interview that is worth reading. He was
a truly great baseball player who certainly belongs in the Hall of Fame.
John Tsitouris: (Born John Philip Tsitouris)
John was born in Monroe, North Carolina in 1936 and although he
pitched in 11 different ML seasons, he was a regular starter only in 1963-65
with the Reds. In 1963 he used an excellent xx curveball (and,
reportedly, an occasional spitball) to go 12-8, which
included three shutouts. He started his career in Detroit
in 1957 and ended it in Cincinnati
Louis Peter Skizas: (The Nervous Greek). Lou was born in Chicago, Illinois
in 1932. He started his career with the Yankees in 1956. In 1957 he
played for Kansas City, then for Detroit in 1958, and his
last ML season was in 1959 with the White Sox. In
the batter’s box, The Nervous Greek would, at times, put his right hand
in his back pocket and swing the bat with his left hand until the pitcher delivered.
Considered a colorful, carousing goofball, Skizas was described by Mickey Mantle as a “hippie from the
streets and alleys of Chicago
who had a girl under his arm before and after every game.”
Lee Constantine Elia: Lee was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
on July 16, 1937. He played at short for the Chicago White Sox in 1966 and was a pinch hitter for the Cubs in
1968. He managed the Cubs from 1982 to 1983 and later managed the
Philadelphia Phillies from 1987 to 1988. He is
currently the bench coach for the Baltimore Orioles. Previously he
coached for the Phillies, the Yankees, the Blue Jays,
the Devil Rays, and for the Mariners. Throughout recorded history, Greeks
are famous for being a bold and daring people of mythical proportions. Achilles,
Alexander the Great, the 300 Spartans, and even more recently, the grossly
outnumbered modern Greeks of 1940 who said NO to fascism and held their ground
despite the overwhelming might of the Third Reich. So too, Lee Elia would not just "roll with the
punches". On April 29, 1983 during his tenure as the Cubs' manager,
the Cubs suffered a one-run home loss to the Dodgers. After the
game, he held a post-game press conference during which he exploded in a foul
language attack directed at the fans at Wrigley Field (which
at that time featured only daytime games due to the non-existence of lighting
for night games) for booing and heckling the team. Probably the most memorable
statement he made then was:
Eighty-five percent of the fuckin'
world is working. The other fifteen come out here. A fuckin' playground for the cocksuckers.
comments have reached near legendary status with Cubs fans. The team was 5-14
at that point, but Elia felt that they were a better
team than they were getting credit for being.
Jim Campanis: (Born James Alexander Campanis)
Jim was born in New York City,
New York in 1944. The son
of the infamous Alex Campanis, who was the only Major
League Baseball player to have been born in Greece, Jim played 6 seasons of ML
ball. He started out as a catcher with the Dodgers in 1966 and was traded
to the Kansas City Athletics in 1969. He ended his career with the
Pirates in 1973. In the book “Baseball’s Golden Greeks”, Jim is quoted
about one of the big moments in his life. He called it “a Greek moment in
Cincinnati in 1967” when Jim was batting against the Reds, Alex Grammas was
coaching third base, Chris Pelekoudas (the one and
only Greek-American Major League Umpire) was umpiring behind the plate and the
Reds’ pitcher was the great Milt Pappas.
Bill Sudakis: (Born William Paul Sudakis)
Nicknamed Suds; Bill was born in Joliet,
Illinois in 1946. He made
his ML debut in 1968 with the Los Angeles Dodgers. He played for 8 ML
seasons from 1968 to 1975 for 6 different teams, including the Dodgers,
Yankees, Mets, Rangers, Angels, and the Indians. He was a utility player
who could play every position except pitcher. The switch-hitting Sudakis homered for Los Angeles in his first
major league game. The Dodgers' third baseman, in 1969, was made a catcher and
had won the everyday job in 1970 when he broke a finger. He became a versatile
utility man. More than one-third of Sudakis' hits
were for extra bases. (JCA)
George Theodore: (Born George Basil Theodore)
Nicknamed “The Stork”, George was born in Salt Lake City, Utah
in 1946 and only played 2 seasons in the majors with the Mets in 1973 and
1974. He played 1st base and in the outfield and posted a
lifetime batting average of .219 with 42 hits and 2 home runs.
Erik Pappas: (Born Erik Daniel Pappas)
Nicknamed “Pappy”, he was born in Chicago, Illinois in 1966 and played 3
seasons in the majors as a catcher, out fielder and as a first baseman from
1991 to 1994. He started his career with the Chicago Cubs and ended with
the St. Louis Cardinals. He played in a total of 104 games, got 70 hits,
and logged a lifetime batting average of .246. Erik has been an important
member of the Greek National Team since 2002 when he was invited to help the
Greek team play in it’s first official international competition during the B’
Pool European Championship in Hungary and has been with the team ever
since. His leadership both on and off the field have proven to be
invaluable. In that tournament he led the team in hits, batting average,
RBI’s, and was tied for homeruns with Scott Demetral at 5 homers each. He
was called again the following year to play for Greece
in the A’ Pool European Championship in Holland
where he again rose to the occasion and led the Greek squad to the final game
against The Netherlands. Again, Erik led the team in hits and batting
average. Greece lost
that game by a close score of 2 – 0, but nonetheless took home the silver and
with it qualified for the Olympic games in Athens. Thus, Erik went to Athens in 2004 and played the game of baseball for Greece in the
Athens 2004 Olympics.
Eric Karros: (Born Eric Peter Karros)
Eric was born in Hackensack, New Jersey in 1967 and made his Major League Debut
in 1991 with the Los Angeles Dodgers. He played for the Dodgers until
2003 when he was traded to the Cubs. At the end of the 2003 season the
Cubs granted Eric free agency and Rob Derksen was hoping to include him on the
Greek Olympic team roster, but before the start of the 2004 season he signed
with the Oakland Athletics only to be released in August of 2004. Upon
his release from the A's he notified the Greek team that he was willing and
able to help the effort, but by then it was too late to add him to the 40 man
roster. His participation on that team just might have made the difference.
Throughout his career, Eric played first base and was an outstanding ball
player. During his career he accumulated a .268 lifetime batting average
along with a .325 on base percentage, while slugging 284 homers (all time LA
Dodger leader in homeruns). He was named Rookie of the Year in
1992. He now works as a baseball commentator for ESPN and Fox
Sports. He is probably the best baseball player to have never played in
an All-Star game.
Tino Martinez: (Born Constantino
Martinez) Tino was born in Tampa, Florida
in 1967. The second son of Sylvia and Rene Sr. Martinez, as prescribed by
traditional Greek custom, he was given his grandfather’s name (his mother is of
Greek descent) Constantino. He started playing
from the age of 5 and his father encouraged him to pursue the game. Tino made his Major League debut in 1990 with the Seattle
Mariners with which team he played until 1995. In December of 1995 he was
traded to the New York Yankees where his game peaked. He played first
base and led the Yankees to 4 World Series Championships. In 1997, he won
the Home Run Derby during the All Star Game.
George Alex Tsamis: George was born in Campbell, California
in 1967 and pitched for the Minnesota Twins during the 1993 season.
He appeared in 41 games and had a record of 1-2 with an ERA of 6.19. During
Spring Training in 1995, he played with the LA Dodgers as a replacement player
while the Major League Baseball Player's Association was on strike. Due
to his role as a replacement player, he was blacklisted and was never allowed
to enroll as a member of the MLBPA.
He is the current manager of the St. Paul Saints, a professional independent minor
league team from Minnesota.
Clint Zavaras: (Born Clinton Wayne Zavaras)
Clint was born in Denver, Colorado in 1967. He made his Major
League debut in 1989 with the Seattle Mariners where he made 10 starts and was
then sent down to the Minors. He was traded to the Colorado Rockies in
1993 and he finally called it quits in 1994. Since then he has been
working as a professional pitching instructor and is currently a scout for the
San Diego Padres. Clint played with the Greek Olympic team in Athens for the 2004
Olympics. He started Greece’s
first game of the Olympics against The Netherlands.
Clayton Bellinger: Clay was born in Oneonta, New York
in 1968. His grandparents on his mother’s side were Greek. He made
his Major League debut in 1999 with the New York Yankees and he played for the
Yanks in 2000 and part of 2001. He played every position (including
designated hitter) except for catcher and pitcher. He also played two
games at first base for the Anaheim Angels in the 2002 season. Clay was a
crucial player for the Greek Olympic team during the Athens Olympics in
2004. His experience and professionalism helped carry the team of mostly
young minor leaguers to a competitive level most of the team members had never
experienced. Sportswriter Larry Mahnken
jokingly attributes the Yankees lack of World Series success since 2000 to a
curse resulting from Bellinger’s departure in
2000. The Angles’ World Championship in 2002, when Clay briefly played
for them, is cited as proof of the “curse”.
Sean Spencer: Sean was born in Seattle, Washington
in 1975. He made his Major League debut in 1999 as a pitcher for the
Seattle Mariners. The following year he was traded to the Montreal
Expos. Sean’s great-grandfather’s name was Jim Spetsieries
and it was he who changed the family name to “Spencer”. Sean’s career was plagued with injuries and for a
while it looked like his career would be over until the late Rob Derksen found
him and asked him to play for Greece.
Sean pitched for Greece
in the A’ Pool European Championship and helped the Greek team take the silver
medal in 2003. He pitched again for the Greek Olympic team in 2004 and
did a great job for the land of his ancestors.
Aaron Wade Miles: Aaron was born in Pittsburg, California
on December 15, 1976 and made his MLB debut on
September 11, 2003 while playing for the Chicago White Sox.
He played in 8 games and hit .333 with 2 RBIs. In spring training 2000,
he wrestled an attacking gunman while the gunman was shot to death by the
police. Aaron is an outstanding switch hitting second
baseman who played for the Colorado Rockies in 2004 and 2005. In December
of 2005 he was traded to the St. Louis Cardinals where he played exceptionally
well during the 2006 season.
originally drafted by the Houston Astros in the 19th
round of the 1995 amateur draft. As a member of the Colorado Rockies, he
finished fourth in the voting for the 2004 MLB Rookie
of the Year Award for the National League.
During the the 2004 Olympic Games, which were held in Athens, Greece,
Miles, being of Greek heritage (his paternal grandmother was born in Sparta),
made the roster of the host nation's Greek Baseball Team, but the
switch-hitting rookie second baseman was recalled to the Rockies from their
Triple A farm club on May 31, 2004 and Rob Derksen was forced to cut him from
the Olympic Team. Aaron won a World Series
Championship with the St. Louis Cardinals in 2006. In December of 2006, the St.
Louis Cardinals announced that he was re-signed with the World Champions to an
incentive laden one-year deal for the 2007 season.
Kevin Pickford: (Born Kevin Patrick
Pickford) Kevin was the Pittsburgh Pirates 2nd round draft pick and
54th overall in 1993. He played on several different minor
league farm clubs until 2002 when he was traded to the San Diego Padres and
posted an 0 – 2 record. He pitched in 16 games, 4 of which he
started. He was traded to the San Francisco Giants in 2003 and played two
seasons with Triple A Fresno in 2003 and part of
2004. He was supposed to play for Greece in the Olympics, but an
elbow injury 2 months before the games took him off the roster.
Chris George: (Born Christopher
Anthony George) Chris
was the number 1 draft pick for the Kansas City Royals in 1998. He
pitched for the U.S. Olympic Gold Medal winning team in 2000 at Sydney, Australia.
Since then, he has been called up to pitch for the Royals in the majors in
2001, 2002, 2003 and 2004.
Mike Tonis: (Born Michael Timothy Tonis on February 9,
1979, in Sacramento, California) Mike's family
name was actually "Koutsantonakis" and for
obvious reasons, his grandfather shortened the name to "Tonis". Mike studied at the University of California where he was the star of their
baseball team. He is a very talented catcher with a strong and accurate
arm, while at the plate his power is very noticeable. He was
drafted by the Kansas City Royals in the 2nd round of the 2000 amateur draft
and he made his major league debut on June 20th, 2004. Mike also had the
privilege to play on the Greek Olympic team for the Athens 2004 games.
Nicholas William Markakis: Born on November 17, 1983 in Glen Cove, New York, Nick
is an outfielder who currently plays for the Baltimore Orioles and went to Young Harris
College. He was the
Orioles' first-round draft pick; seventh player picked overall, in 2003 and was
named to the Second Team in the 2005 Minor League All-Star Roster . Markakis was originally drafted in
2001 by the Cincinnati Reds, from Woodstock
High School in Woodstock,
GA but decided to attend Young Harris
College instead. The Reds
drafted him again in 2002, but he did not sign then either.
At Young Harris
College, Markakis played
as both an outfielder and a pitcher, hitting for a .439 batting average with 21
home runs and 92 RBIs, while also gathering a 12-0 win-loss record as a pitcher
with one save and a 1.68 ERA in 15 games. Most Major League teams viewed
Markakis as a pitching prospect, but the Orioles preferred to cash in on his
power. He spent his first year with the Aberdeen
IronBirds, producing a strong batting average but little
power in his swing. In 2004, Markakis played for the Greek Olympic baseball
team, and spent the year with the Delmarva
he raised his average and produced more power hitting. In 2005, Markakis
started the year with the Frederick Keys and put together a solid first half
of the baseball season. He won the Carolina/California League All-Star Game
home run derby, and followed that up by being named MVP of the All-Star game
after hitting two home runs in the game. Markakis was promoted a short time
later to the Bowie Baysox, where he continued to hit well and earn a reputation as the Orioles'
2006 off season, Markakis was considered to be the top hitting prospect in the
Orioles' farm system. Several teams inquired about him in trades, but the
Orioles rejected any proposal that included trading Markakis. With the team
failing to sign a star outfielder, the Orioles decided instead to sign Jeff Conine for one year, hoping that Markakis
was only a year away from playing in the major leagues. Markakis began his
first Spring Training with the Orioles in 2006, and immediately established
himself by reaching base 9 out of his first 10 plate appearances. Because of
his performance during Spring Training, Markakis was able to earn a roster spot
on the Orioles opening day roster.
made his major league debut on April 3, 2006, when he was used as a late inning
defensive replacement against the Tampa
Bay Devil Rays. He
received his first start and plate appearances on April 5, 2006, also against
the Devil Rays. Hitting second and playing left field, Markakis drew three
walks in his first three plate appearances and hit a 400 foot home run for his
first major league hit in the Orioles 16-6 win. On August 22, 2006, Markakis
went 3 for 4 with three home runs in an Orioles 6-3 win at Camden Yards. The
game marked his first career three home run game, the 18th Oriole to do so and
the first since 1999. The feat prompted a curtain call from the dugout for
Markakis, earning him a feat that The Washington Post called "an ovation
that is rarely seen in these parts anymore. Curtain calls are for Yankee
Stadium and Fenway
Park, not Camden
Yards."  
Greek Women who played the game:
Just as the
pioneering Greek men embraced the truly American sport of baseball, so did many
brave Greek women. Despite strong old world
traditions to the contrary, some Greek American and Greek Canadian women worked
their way to the big leagues of American baseball.
Girls Professional Baseball League was a women's professional baseball
league that existed from 1943 to 1954. Due to World War II and because of concern about maintaining baseball in the
public eye while the majority of able men were away, several major league baseball
executives started a new professional league with women players. Principal
differences with the men's game were in the size of the diamond, the pitching
styles and the size of the ball. Indeed, the game was actually softball for the
first season, but rules were gradually changed over the years until the game
was virtually identical to men's baseball. The players were also required to
wear short skirts during play and lipstick at all times, were preferably to
have long hair, and not to wear slacks or trousers at any time.
The Rockford Peaches won the most
league championships with four (1945, 1948, 1949, 1950).
The Milwaukee/Grand Rapids Chicks were second with three (1944 in Milwaukee, 1947 and 1953 in Grand Rapids). The Racine Belles (1943 and
1946) and the South Bend Blue Sox (1951 and 1952)
each had won two, and the Kalamazoo Lassies won in the league's final season
League of Their Own, although fictionalized, covers the founding
and play of this league. Tom Hanks, Rosie
O'Donnell, Geena Davis and Madonna were the stars of
the film, which was directed by Penny Marshall.
Vickie Panos: Born in Edmonton, Canada
to Greek Canadian parents, Panos was a professional
baseball player for the AAGPBL from 1944. She played for the
Chicks as one of
the teams top offensive stars, swiping 141 bases in
115 games, second most in the league that year.
Sallies; Front Row: Jane Moffet, Betty Degner, Kay Lionikas, Barbara Liebrich,
Kay Lionikdas: (also known as Kay Lionikas
and Kay Lionikis) was a professional baseball
player for the AAGPBL. Born in New Brunswick, New Jersey
to Greek-American parents, she played center field for the Springfield
Sallies from 1948
Annastasia 'Stash' Batikis:
born in Racine, Wisconsin
was a female center fielder professional baseball player for the Racine Belles. She played in the AAGPBL in 1945. "Stash"
first got interested in playing baseball as a young girl in third grade while
watching men play baseball on the playgrounds. When she got older she joined
the Recreation Department League and played softball. She and her high school
friends would go out to games where Racine
played and watch in awe the women who played so well. At 18 years of age and in
her senior year in high school, she tried out at the Historic
Horlick Field where the Racine Belles played and made the cut, she was
then sent to Spring Training in Chicago where
she got a contract with the Racines, playing for her home
town. At that time only one other woman in the league played for her home town.
played for one season because she left the following year to attend college at La Crosse, Wisconsin.
After her career as a professional baseball player ended, Batikis
went on to get a teaching position, working in the educational department for
35 years. She did a lot of volunteer work for clubs, churches, ball teams, and
civic groups. She often gave talks about the League she played in. Annastasia's brother, Alex S. Batikis,
served in the United States Navy from 1943-1946. Her second brother John
served in the U.S. Army Air Corps during WWII in China,
Burma, and India and also
in Korean during that war.
- Ann was still in high school
when the league first started.
- Her advice for young women who
want to become pro ballplayers: "If you have a dream - work at it. Don't
give up. Play hard - listen to your coaches."
- She believed that playing ball
gave her the opportunity to travel, meet all kinds of neat people - helped
with self confidence.
- Anastasia is an alumna of Northwestern
- In 2002 Stash was added to Milwaukee's Walls of Honor,
which salutes Wisconsin's
baseball history greats.
- She is in the hall of fame at
her old college
University of Wisconsin for being a pioneer for women
in professional baseball.
- Inducted into the Hall of Fame
at the Washington
High School in 1987
along with her brother John Batikis who was
inducted in 1976.
- Stash's league served as the
inspiration for the 1992 motion picture A League of Their Own starring Geena
never dreamed I would make it, but I did. Seeing my name on the list of gals
that made the team was my biggest thrill," said Annastasia
What About Umpires???
there have been a considerable number of successful Greeks who played in the
big leagues, there has only been one Greek Major League Umpire.
Christos George Pelekoudas:
1918 - November 30, 1984) Chris was an umpire in
Major League Baseball who worked in the National League from 1960 to 1975.
Born in Chicago, Illinois
into a family of 14 children, he had an unsuccessful tryout with the St. Louis
Cardinals as a player in 1934. He began umpiring while serving as a Special
Services officer during World War II, and eventually worked his way to the
major leagues. He worked in the World Series in 1966 and 1972, serving as crew
chief the second time, and in the All-Star Game in 1961 (second game), 1967 and
1975. He also officiated in the National League Championship Series in 1969 and
1973. He is perhaps best remembered for having an apparent Hank Aaron home run
nullified on August 18, 1965 because Aaron stepped out of the batter's box when
he made contact. As a result, Aaron's home run record is 755, instead of 756.
was also the first umpire to ever eject Gaylord Perry from a game for using an
illegal greasy substance on the ball. He was the home plate umpire when Willie
Mays hit four home runs on April 30, 1961, and the first base umpire for Sandy Koufax' perfect game on September 9, 1965.
died in Sunnyvale, California at age 66.
- He was an umpire for the first
game ever held at Shea Stadium on April 4, 1964.
- In the book Baseball's
Golden Greeks by Diamantis Zervos, Jim Campanis
describes a Greek moment in baseball when he was batting against
Cincinnati Reds pitcher Milt Pappas, with Alex Grammas the third base
coach and Pelekoudas calling balls and strikes
behind the plate.
A Baseball Author:
Diamantis Zervos, born in Athens, Greece
to Michael Zervos and Anastasia (Giannenakis)
Zervos is the author who is best known for writing
the book "Baseball's Golden Greeks." Zervos
came to the United States
with his family in 1971at the age of 15 and fell in love with the sport during
the 1974 World Series. Diamantis established
himself as a soccer player in high school and college,
He worked diligently for the advancement of soccer in the Boston area. His book covers the careers of
the first Greek-American Major League baseball players, glorifying Hellenic
pride and dignity in "The Great American Pastime." -Graduated from
the University of
Massachusetts, with a
degree in biology. - Commonly known as "Adam" - Also has a sister,
"Chryssie" -Resides in Canton, Massachusetts
with his wife, Evangeline, and two children, Tashia
playing baseball in Greece?
While baseball was being learned and played by Greeks of the Diaspora across
the ocean, baseball was played on a small scale in Greece courtesy of the American
military bases. The U.S.
military built 2 fields on the Air Force base at Hellenikon,
near Glyfada. One field was for fast-pitch
softball, “Fanis Field”. Fanis
was the name of the Greek groundskeeper who maintained that field as if it was
his own personal garden. In order to thank and honor
him, the Air Base Commander named the field after Fanis.
The field is still being used today for the same sport by the Greek Amateur
Softball Federation. The other field was used for slow-pitch softball.
Various teams comprised of American military personnel were formed and they
played their favorite American pastime all summer
long. Except for a few Greek-Americans who were either in the U.S. military
or were civilian employees, there were no Greeks who participated in the sport
until around 1970. It was then that Father Doumas
came to Greece.
Father Doumas was a Greek Orthodox Priest from the United States, who was sent to Athens
by the Arch Dioceses of North and South America to establish a parish for the
Greek-American military and civilian employees who worked for the American
mission in Greece.
Father Doumas was an avid baseball enthusiast and so
were his 2 young sons. When he arrived, he found that there was no
baseball for young boys and so he took it upon himself to establish a Little
League in Greece.
Besides securing support from the U.S. military, he contacted the
Greek Government leadership for their support as well. The Greek
government almost immediately responded and built (with the aid and guidance of
the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers) a complete baseball field on the grounds of
the Aghia Kosma athletic
center at Hellenikon (across the street from the old
Olympic Airlines terminal). By 1972, four Little League teams were
playing baseball on the two baseball fields in Athens. Two teams were comprised of
children of U.S. military
personnel and the other two teams were comprised primarily of local Greeks with
some help from Greek Americans residing in Athens. One of the teams was almost
completely comprised of boys from a local orphanage whose coach was a sergeant
in the U.S. Air Force. In 1974, the Greek Championship team traveled to Germany
where it took part in the European Little League Championship and it was there
that the Greek team won it’s first European Championship. Most of the
boys on that team were American dependents, but there was one young Greek boy
who was on the team, Sam Georgopoulos. Sam and
his team also represented all of Europe in the
1974 Little League World Series. They lost all their games, but they
played well and didn’t get blown out of any game.
After the invasion of Cyprus
by the Turks in 1974 and the subsequent demise of the Junta, Greek-American
relations began to deteriorate. Some Greeks believed that America was responsible for the dictatorship and
for the Cyprus
tragedy. Greek society began to adopt a somewhat “anti-American” attitude
and one of the first victims was baseball. The baseball field at Aghia Kosma was transformed into
a soccer field and the 2 Greek teams were disbanded. The American
military members continued to play fast and slow pitch softball at the Hellenikon fields, but Greek participation was limited to
the few Greek-American civilian employees who played as well.
attempts to Start Baseball Leagues in Greece:
By 1991, the American Air Force Base had closed its doors and the American
forces left the base at Hellenikon leaving the two
fields behind. Unfortunately, the Americans rendered both fields
unplayable. They had laid tons of thick gravel and chemical defoliant all
over the fields in order to transform the fields into parking lots. This
was made necessary because of the fear of terrorist attacks through the use of
hidden car bombs that could have been placed into the vehicle of an
unsuspecting member of the U.S.
military. The fields were far away from buildings and so it was
considered a safer area for private vehicles to be parked at rather than the existing
parking lots. Obviously, the base teams lost their playing fields and
thus softball ceased to be played in Greece long before the base closed
In December of 1992, Tom Mazarakis, encouraged by his
old friend Matt Barrett, made an attempt to organize a baseball league
He created the “Hellenic Baseball Association” (HBA).
He first got formal permission from the Director of the “High Board of Sports
of the Armed Forces” (ASAED) on February 2nd
1993 to make use of Fanis Field for games and
practices. He then hired a small group of manual laborers
who cleared Fanis field of the gravel and the large
weeds that managed to sprout up on various points throughout the field. He
put up flyers at bars and restaurants all over Athens in an attempt to get people who knew
how to play the game to come forward. He placed announcements of the
newly formed HBA in the Athens News, Greece’s Weekly, and in the Athenian magazine. He managed to
put together 3 teams. One team was from the U.S. Embassy, the second team
was comprised of members of a small U.S. Air Force unit that was still in Athens tying up loose
ends, and the third team was made up of Greek Americans who heeded his call for
players. The American schools ACS and Deree
College were invited to
participate, but they couldn’t attract enough players to make teams. The
field wasn’t perfect, but they played a few games and had a great time. They
brought their own food and beer and enjoyed playing the great game of
baseball. But, business obligations forced Tom to withdraw his
involvement and once the last U.S. Air Force personnel withdrew from the area,
the Embassy team didn’t have anyone to play against, thus ending the first Greek
Baseball Association’s activity.
With Fanis field in playable condition, Mary Ann
Ryder started her own campaign to organize a softball league in 1994. She
too put up flyers and announcements all over Athens telling everyone that they could come
to the field on Saturdays and Sundays to play softball. Slowly but
surely, many local Greek boys and girls started to come to the field. In
the beginning to watch, and later on made their first attempts to play the
game. Many of those boys later became some of the first players to play
organized baseball in Greece
as members of the Spartakos and Titans clubs. Mary
Ann took on the position of coach for both of those teams and led the Spartakos team to their 2nd place finish in the
first ever Greek Men’s Baseball Championship in the year 2000.
gets a big boost:
In 1997, Athens was selected to be the host city
for the 2004 Olympics and this decision paved the way for the establishment of
baseball in Greece.
Recognizing the opportunity to establish a new sport in Greece, the
then undersecretary of sports, Mr. Panagiotis Fouras, appointed Mr. Panagiotis Mitsiopoulos to the task of organizing a baseball
federation. Mr. Mitsiopoulos knew nothing about
baseball at the time, but he was a successful entrepreneur and he knew how to
organize people and resources. Thus, the “Hellenic Amateur Baseball
Federation” was created in 1997. He now needed to find athletes who could
either play the game or who would be willing to learn how and he also needed to
find clubs that would be willing to form teams that would participate in the
entire effort. This proved to be a very difficult task, but by the year
2000, 6 teams were formed and the first Greek Championship was played. The
first 6 Greek baseball teams were:
(now Aris Thessalonikis)
Titans of Argyroupolis
Championship was won by Marousi 2004. The team
was mostly comprised of Greek Americans and Greek Canadians who knew how to
play the game before joining the team. The other teams were comprised of
players with little experience and knowledge of the game, but they certainly
displayed passion and enthusiasm for the new sport.
went to Spartakos Glyfadas
under the able coaching of Mary Ann Ryder. The Spartakos
team was almost completely comprised of local young men who had only been
playing the game for a few weeks.
same year, the first “Greek Cup Championship” was organized and Spartakos Glyfadas took the first
ever Cup. Pelopas Patron took the silver medal
and Marousi 2004 took the bronze.
2004 won the following three Greek Championships of 2001, 2002, and 2003, while
Spartakos Glyfadas won the
Championships of 2004, 2005, and 2006. Spartakos
also won the Greek Cup in 2002 and in 2004. Aris
won the Cup in 2001 while no Cup tournament was held in the years 2003, 2005,
play in the Olympics?
assumed that since Greece
was going to host the games, they could automatically field a baseball team,
but Mr. Mitsiopoulos, President of the HABF, knew
very well that this was not the case. For team sports such as Soccer and
Basketball, the Greek teams did indeed get automatic qualification, but that
was due to the fact that the Greeks have highly competitive athletes in both of
those sports. This was exemplified by Greece’s earlier dominance during
the European Soccer Championship in June of 2004 when they took home the Cup!
But for other team sports including baseball, softball, and field hockey, the
corresponding international federations demanded that the Greek teams prove
that they can compete at a respectable level. No sport leadership is
interested in experiencing a “Jamaican Bob-Sled” scandal. This is why Greece did not
have a field hockey team in the Athens 2004 Olympics. There is a Greek
Field Hockey Federation, but it simply couldn’t put together a team that could
be competitive on an Olympic level.
realistically compete in the Olympics?
Thus, Mr. Mitsiopoulos and the Hellenic Amateur
Baseball Federation needed to find a way to field a team that could actually
qualify for the games. This meant that a Greek team needed to be able to
first play in the B’ Pool European Championship in 2002 where it needed to come
in either 1st or 2nd place so that it could be promoted
to the A’ Pool. Once in A’ Pool, the Greek squad would need to place
either 1st or 2nd in the A’ Pool European Championship in
2003. It was obvious to everyone that it would be impossible to achieve
these goals with the players and coaches who were currently involved with the
sport in Greece.
Mr. Mitsiopoulos needed some serious help and he
found it at the American Embassy in Athens.
Nicholas Burns was the U.S. Ambassador to Greece at the time and was a well
known baseball enthusiast and Red Sox fan. He
was very happy to be of assistance and contacted Major League Baseball and
several important, enthusiastic, and influential Greek Americans who could be
of help. Men like Peter Angelos, Chris Karalekas, Chuck Samiotis,
and Bill Galatis. The most important man he
brought into the picture was Peter Angelos, the owner of the Baltimore
Orioles. Being of Greek descent, Mr. Angelos
immediately embraced the idea and made it an important part of the Baltimore
Orioles organization. He appointed one of his best scouts, Robert
Derksen, to the task of locating as many top quality Greek American and Greek
Canadian baseball players as he could, and to put together a team that could
compete in the Olympics. And that’s exactly what he did. Over the
next 4 years he searched all over America
in order to find high caliber players who were of
Greek descent. He visited Colleges, Spring Training Camps, Coaches
conventions, and High Schools all over the U.S.
Some of the players were relatively easy to spot by virtue of their names, i.e.
Kavourias, Pappas, Theodorakos, etc., but some were not so obvious such as
Spencer (originally “Spetsieris”), Dallas (originally “Ntalamangas”), Harris
(originally “Theoharis”), and many others who got their Greek blood from their
mother’s side of the family including Heisler, Bellinger, Pickford, Kingsbury,
Martinez, and many others.
In the mean time, “Major League Baseball International” decided to help the
“Hellenic Amateur Baseball Federation”. MLBI’s goal was to help baseball
development in Greece.
The first assistance was in the form of equipment. A whole container of
equipment was shipped to Athens
in the summer of 1999 and the HABF distributed the equipment to the various
newly formed baseball teams. Then, in 2001 they sent Mike Riskas as their
“Coach in Residence in Greece”
for the promotion and development of youth “Grass Roots” programs.
Mike Riskas is a former Baseball Coach of Pomona College
This is not the first time he has worked for MLBI. He coached the French
National Junior Team in the 1988 European Championship, in which he led the
team to the Bronze medal. He also coached the French National Senior Team
in the 1999 European Championship and led the team to the Bronze Medal. Mike
conducted several clinics and seminars for Coaches and Players and spent
countless hours helping everyone and anyone who wanted to learn about anything
and everything about baseball. He travelled all over the country and made
every effort possible to help develop the game he loved.
Greece makes its debut in its
first ever official International Tournament:
By July of 2002, Rob Derksen had put together an impressive collection of
mostly minor league Greek American and Greek Canadian ball players and took
them to Hungary to play in the B’ Pool European Championship. The Greek
team was invincible. They won all their games in only 7 innings due to
the mercy rule and obviously by lopsided scores. Their first game was
which ended up in second place and the Greek team overwhelmed them 21 –
0. The National team of Greece scored 21 runs to support
Alexander Cremidan’s brilliant pitching with 11 strike outs, a complete game
and a no-hitter. In the end, the team scored 121 runs with 25 homers and
gave up only 8 runs during the entire tournament.
that took part in this tournament were:
Erik Pappas: Even though Erik hadn’t played
competitive baseball in years his performance during this tournament showed how
and why he made it to the majors. He led the team in hits, batting
average, RBI’s, and was tied for homeruns with Scott Demetral at 5 homers
each. A truly great baseball player, Erik’s participation proved to be
crucial to the team’s success and can’t be over emphasized. His
professionalism, dedication, and enthusiasm gained him the respect and
admiration of all his team mates and opponents alike.
Scott Demetral: Scott played three years of professional
baseball in the Pioneer and Frontier leagues. His grandparents, Chris and
Louise Demetral, were both born in the Athens
suburb of Voula and migrated to the U.S. in the 1920’s where they settled in the
city of Detroit.
He is currently an assistant coach with the Akron Zips. His performance
with the Greek team was outstanding with a .571 Batting average, 5 homers, 13
RBI’s, and 12 hits. Scott comes from a
baseball family of 4 baseball playing brothers including Chris, Ted, and
Theodore Demetral: One of Scott Demetral’s
younger brothers, Theodore (Ted) played 3 seasons with the Michigan State
University Spartans. Ted played in each of the 6 games the team played in
at 2nd base where his defensive play was outstanding and although he
collected only 5 hits, two of them were doubles and he drove in 6 runs while
scoring 7 times himself.
Constantine (Gus) Panagotacos: Gus played for the varsity baseball team at the
University of California
where he earned his B.A. He then went on to the University of San Francisco
School of Law where he earned his J.D. in 2005. He currently is working
as a litigator for Gordon & Rees LLP. Becoming a lawyer must
have been a very important priority in this young man’s life, because he
certainly is a talented baseball player. In this tournament he batted
.550 with 11 hits (2 doubles, 1 triple and 2 homeruns), 11 RBI’s, 16 runs, 8
stolen bases, and 4 bases on balls. A very impressive performance.
Theodore Filis: Theodore played in all 6 games at short where he played brilliant
defense. During the tournament he logged an impressive batting average of
.550 with 11 hits (2 doubles & 1 HR), 8 RBI’s, 10 runs, 2 stolen bases, and
5 bases on balls.
Peter Rasmussen: Pete made a sterling performance during this
tournament. He batted .550 with 11 hits including 3 doubles and 4 homeruns,
15 RBI’s, 9 runs, and 3 walks. He played in all 6 games at center where
he made 3 catches and no errors.
Christopher Tartaras: Christopher played in parts of 5
games at 3rd base where he shared that position with Scott
Demetral. In his 10 times at bat he safely hit 5 times including 4
doubles for 4 RBI’s and he scored 5 times as well. Defensively he had 3
assists and no errors.
Very talented and only 19 years old, George played in all 6
games. He caught in only 3 games for a total of 16 innings during which
he nailed one runner trying to steal 2nd. At the plate he
logged a batting average of .368 with 7 hits (1 double, 1 triple,
and 2 homers), 6 RBI’s, 11 runs, 2 stolen bases, and 3 walks. George was
signed to a professional contract with the San Diego Padres and attended his
first spring training last year. He probably
would have played for the Padres this year if they hadn’t signed Mike Piazza,
but look out for this young Greek-Canadian, because he is going to make it to
the big leagues and when he does he will make it BIG.
Peter Varon: Peter played in all 6 games at first
base where he made 47 putouts, 2 assists and no errors. He batted .333
with 5 hits (2 homers), 11 RBI’s, 14 runs, and led the team with 9 walks.
In 2004 Peter was signed to a professional contract with the Kalamazoo Kings of the
independent league and the following year he played for the Seattle Studs.
Christopher Van Rossum: Chris has been playing
professional baseball in the minors since 1996. His mother is from a
small village on the island
of Chios, Pitios.
Chris played in right field in all 6 games during which he made 4 catches and
no errors. Everyone couldn’t help but to admire this young man’s amazing
arm. He repeatedly threw the ball from the warning track to home plate
for strikes! He batted .318 with 7 hits (3 doubles and 2 homeruns), 8
RBI’s, 8 runs, 1 stolen base, and 4 walks.
Athanasios Les: Athanasios played in all 6 games
moving around the outfield and even one game at first base. He batted an
even .300 with 3 hits including 1 homerun, 2 RBI’s, 5 runs, and 2 walks. His
versatility in being able to play all outfield
positions as well as first made his contribution invaluable.
Stephen Palos: Steve is from California
and his grandfather migrated to the U.S. in the 1920’s. His
grandfather’s name was Apostolos Giannakopoulos, but
he shortened the family name to Palos. He played in all 6 games batting
.300 with 3 hits, 2 RBI’s, 4 runs, 1 stolen base, and 1 walk.
Christopher Robinson: Chris was one of two players who were
chosen out of the Greek Baseball League and he was the only player on the team
who was actually born in Greece.
Chris plays for the Spartakos of Glyfada Baseball Team. His
mother is Greek and his late father was an American, Thomas Robinson. His
parents met while Tom was in Greece
as a member of the U.S.
military. Chris spent most of his life in Greece,
but he got a full basketball scholarship for the University of Kentucky.
Chris played in 5 games and batted .222 with 1 single and 1 triple scoring
was one of the two players who were chosen from amongst the various athletes
who compete in the local Greek Baseball League. Although Jimmy was born
and raised in the U.S., he
learned about the fact that the Greeks started playing baseball in the summer
of 2000 while he has attending summer classes at the International Center of
Hellenic and Mediterranean Studies in Athens.
He joined the Marousi 2004 Baseball Club and played a
major role in their domination of the sport claiming 4 consecutive
championships. Jimmy played in 4 games batting .714 with 5 hits
(including 1 double and 1 homerun), 3 RBI’s, and 4 runs.
Gregory Spanos: Greg is an extremely
talented utility player who can pitch and hit and play the outfield as
well. Still at Trinity College he heeded the call to
play for the country of his ancestors and started 2 games for a total of 12
innings of scoreless baseball while ringing up 12 strikeouts. His ERA was
Laurence Heisler: Laurence’s mother is Greek from the island of Crete
where she met his father while he was serving in the U.S. Air Force. Laurence
played for The University of Central California and then briefly in the minor
leagues before starting his own mortgage company. He pitched 1 complete 7
inning game allowing only 1 unearned run, 3 hits, and 1 base on balls, while
accumulating 9 strikeouts. His ERA was 0.00
Jason Zachos: Jason is from California
and his grandfather was from a small village near Larisa. Jason
pitched 4 scoreless innings in 3 different games allowing only 1 hit and 3
strikeouts. His ERA was 0.00. He relocated to the Greek island of Rhodes in August of 2005 and is
currently a player with Spartakos Glyfadas
Alexander Cremidans: Alex started in 2 games
the first of which was a no-hitter. In his second game he gave up 2
earned runs while collecting 7 strikeouts. His final ERA was 1.38.
Alex was drafted by the Arizona Diamondbacks and is currently a relief pitcher
with the Missoula Ospreys.
Peter Dallas: Pete’s grandfather migrated to the U.S. in the
1920’s and his Greek name was Dallamangas. He shortened it to Dallas for
convenience. Pete pitched in two games picking up 1 win. He
lives in Chicago, Illinois where he owns a baseball clinic for
young kids. Peter is also a player on the Spartakos of Glyfada
Now on to the next plateau!
The first hurdle had been cleared and suddenly Greece became a European baseball
power worthy of respect. But, IBAF still
insisted that the Greek team needed to place 1st or 2nd
in the A’ Pool Championship the following year. Otherwise, Greece was not
going to be allowed to field an Olympic Team.
Rob vowed to bring an even better team to Holland
for the A’ Pool Championship and that is exactly what he did. The Greek
team was even better in 2003 than it was in 2002. Despite losing their
first game of the tournament against Spain
by a score of only 1 – 0, the Greek team bounced back to easily defeat all the
subsequent opponents including Italy
by a score of 2 – 1 . In the semi-final game, Greece faced Spain
for a second time, but this time Greece
easily defeated Spain
by a score of 10 – 0 in 8 innings. Thus Greece
played in the final game against The Netherlands and although they lost that
game by a score of 2 – 0, they proved that Greece could play the game and that
they deserved to play in the Olympics.
players who played in Holland
Cory Anthony Harris: Cory’s
Greek name is Theoharis and his grandfather shortened it to Harris. He is
an extremely talented baseball player who plays with an extreme passion for the
game. In January of 2006 he signed a professional contract to play for
the Lincoln Saltdogs in the Independent
league. In the tournament in Holland
his bat and glove were on fire. He batted .414 with 12 hits including 3
doubles, 5 runs, 6 RBI’s, and 5 walks. On the field, he caught 16 fly
balls and made 3 assists.
Nicholas Theodorou: Nick is another very
talented ball player who can use his bat and glove equally well. His
grandfather migrated to the U.S.
and so his father was born there, but his mother was born in Greece. He
played College ball at UCLA and was drafted by the Los Angeles Dodgers in
1998. He has been playing in the Minor leagues ever since, mostly on AAA teams. In 2006 he was traded to the Pittsburgh
Pirates and it is expected that he we may see him playing on that big league
team. During the tournament in Holland he batted .333 with 11 hits
including 1 double and 1 triple, 8 runs, 4 RBI’s, and he drew 4 walks. On
the field he played at short where he got credited with 11 putouts, 18 assists,
and only 2 errors.
Nicholas Markakis: Nick is probably the most talented
young Greek American ball player coming up today. He can do it all.
He was the Baltimore Orioles’ #1 draft pick in the regular draft of 2003 and
number 7 overall. The Orioles are expecting great things from Nick.
Their biggest dilemma was deciding on where to use him. He can both pitch
and hit! His arm is a cannon and he can step up to the mound and release
92 mph fastballs with ease. But, his ability to field the ball in the
outfield and hit the ball with his bat are equally impressive. Everyone
is looking forward to seeing this young man’s name on the starting lineup for the Orioles in the year 2006. During the Holland tournament he
batted .323 with 10 hits including 1 double, 5 runs, 7 RBI’s, and 2
walks. On the field, he caught 8 fly balls and made 1 assist.
Christopher Demetral: The third brother of the
Demetral family, Chris came to the team with 11 seasons of professional
baseball experience, 7 with the Los Angeles Dodgers and 4 with the Texas
Rangers. Seven of those seasons were spent in Triple A. His uncle,
Jim Essian, played in the major leagues for 10 years
and managed the Chicago Cubs in 1991. In this tournament, Chris’
performance was impressive, especially with his glove. He made 13 putouts
and 23 assists while making absolutely NO errors. At the plate, he batted
.269 with 7 hits, 3 walks, and 5 runs. He has retired from professional
baseball and now works as an investment banker in the U.S., but when
the home of his ancestors called upon him to help, he stepped forward.
Peter Maestrales: Pete’s family is from
the island of Chios. He
was signed as an undrafted free agent by the San Francisco Giants in
2001. Since then, he has played on several Independent and Single A baseball teams. In this tournament Pete’s batting
average was only .214 but his OBP was .371 since he
had drawn 7 walks to compliment his 6 hits, one which was a double and one of
which was a homerun.
Christopher Lemonis: Chris was born and
raised in Brooklyn and he was signed to a
professional contract by the Detroit Tigers in 1995. He played 10 years
in the minors including single, double and triple A
teams. In this tournament he played at first base and hit the only other
homerun that the team had during this tournament. His batting average was
.200 with 6 hits, 6 RBI’s, 3 runs, and 4 walks.
Panos was one of the two players chosen
from amongst the young men who participate in the Greek league. He was
born and raised in Athens
where he has been playing baseball since the age of 16. Panos is an extremely talented infielder who is fearless
when faced with any ball hit in his direction. His speed, agility, and
quick thinking make him an invaluable member of the Spartakos
of Glyfada baseball team. His contribution to
the National Team’s effort in Holland
was limited mostly to pinch running and pinch hitting appearing in 5
games. He had 2 at bats striking out once and drawing a walk the second
time. He got some field playing time and fielded the ball once for an
was the second player chosen out of the Greek league to participate in this
tournament. John too is a young man who was born and raised in Athens and had been
playing baseball for only 3 years, but his passion and dedication for the game
are commendable. He was one of the best players on the Marousi 2004 baseball team in the Greek league. In
the tournament, he appeared in 3 games as a pinch runner and as a pinch
hitter. In his one and only at bat, he drew a walk and scored twice.
Sean Spencer: Sean was born in Seattle, Washington
in 1975. He made his Major League debut in 1999 as a pitcher for the
Seattle Mariners. The following year he was traded to the Montreal
Expos. Sean’s great-grandfather’s name was Jim Spetsieries
and it was he who changed the family name to “Spencer”. Sean’s career was
plagued with injuries and for a while it looked like his career would be over
until the late Rob Derksen found him and asked him to play for Greece.
Sean pitched for Greece
in the A’ Pool European Championship and helped the Greek team take the silver
medal in 2003. He pitched again for the Greek Olympic team in 2004 and
did a great job for the land of his ancestors.
Panagiotis (Peter) Sikaras:
An extremely talented right handed pitcher who throws sidearm, Pete was
drafted by the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2000 as their 13th pick and
399th overall. He played on single, double, and triple A teams in 2000 to 2005 strictly as a relief pitcher. Pete
threw only 3 innings in relief and appeared in 4 different games during the
tournament, picking up 1 save. His ERA was 0.00,
he gave up only 1 walk and 3 hits while striking out 5.
mannered Mel was huge. Mel is from Canada
and has played for the London Werewolves of the Independent League as well as
for the Guelph Royals of the Intercounty League
He posted a perfect 0.00 ERA in 6.2 innings during which he accumulated 6 K’s. He started on the mound for Greece in the first game against Spain and was
charged with the loss after the team gave up 1 unearned run in the third
inning. He gave up only 4 hits and his remarkable control allowed
absolutely no bases on balls. A truly remarkable
performance. The Greek team collected 6 hits but couldn’t score a
single run and thus lost their first game 1 – 0.
Louis Raptopoulos: A very talented young
man from San Diego,
Lou pitched in relief in 3 games picking up 1 save. He pitched a total of
4.1 innings of hitless baseball allowing only 1 walk and he hit one
batter. His ERA was a perfect 0.00. Lou has since joined the Marousi 2004 team of Athens
and pitched brilliantly for them in the Greek Championship of 2004.
Peter Soteropoulos: An outstanding pitcher,
Pete was drafted by the St. Louis Cardinals in 2003 out of the University of Connecticut. He has been playing
as a relief pitcher on single A teams until 2005 when
he played on an independent team. He started on the mound in the game
and pitched 3.1 innings for the win. He also pitched 1 inning of relief
in the game against Germany.
He posted a perfect 0.00 ERA allowing only 5 hits and 1 walk.
Thomas Lyons: Tom is a young pitcher
who was drafted by the Detroit Tigers in 2001. Since then he has been
playing in the Minors and played for the Oneonta Tigers of the New York – Penn League
in 2003, 2004, and 2005. In this tournament, he started in 2 games and
posted wins in both. His ERA was 0.90 allowing only 6 hits, 1 walk, 1 hit
batter and only 1 earned run in the 10 innings he pitched.
Kevin Pickford: Kevin started on the
mound in 2 games and pitched an inning of relief in a third game for a total of
16.1 innings. While giving up 15 hits he only allowed 2 earned runs for a
1.10 ERA. He was credited with 1 win and 1 loss. The loss was from
the final against The Netherlands which we was lost by a score of 2 – 0. Kevin
is currently a free agent.
Troy Pickford: Kevin’s brother pitched
in one game, but that game was the most crucial of the entire tournament.
He started on the mound in the game against Italy. Troy pitched the first 5 innings giving up
only 1 earned run. He corralled the Italian bats and limited them to only
4 hits, 2 walks, and 1 hit batter while striking out 2. His ERA was only
1.8 and his performance during those first 5 innings set the stage for Sean
Spencer to enter the game in relief and pick up the win while Pete Sikaras came in to pitch to the last Italian batter in the
bottom of the 9th whom he struck out for the save. Troy as well as Kevin were
expected to play for Greece
in the Olympics, but shortly before the games they both suffered elbow injuries
that forced the Greek team to count them out.
Chris Youngberg: Chris appeared in 2 games one in relief for 2/3
innings and he started on the mound in the second. He started against Spain in the semifinal game and pitched 3 scoreless innings allowing
only 3 hits and 1 walk for the win. for a total
of 3.2 innings.
Christopher Anthony George: Chris was one of the best
Greek-American pitchers that Dirk found, but unfortunately, he was injured just
before the tournament in Holland
started and couldn’t play.
The players who returned to the team after playing in Hungary were:
Constantine (Gus) Panagotacos
Now on to the Olympics!!!
With the road clear to the Olympics, Rob set his sights on putting together an
even better team. He spent the following year searching and fine tuning
his team. He knew that the level of play at the Olympics would be far
better than that which they encountered in the European Championships, but he
was intent on making the best possible effort. Unfortunately, luck was
not on the side of Robert Derksen or on the side of the Greek Olympic
Team. With less than a month before the Olympic Games, Robert Derksen
died of a sudden heart attack while scouting a new player he had found in New York City. His
loss had a huge impact on the team’s morale. Almost at the same time, the
Greek team lost 3 starting pitchers, Kevin Pickford, Troy Pickford, and Tony Stavros to injuries and switch-hitting second baseman Aaron
Miles got called up to the Majors with Colorado. This forced Dusty
Rhodes, who stepped up to take Rob’s place, to find replacements at the last
minute, which proved to be impossible. On top of that, A.J. Brack and Derek Nicholson were tested positive for an
illegal substance and were banned from the games, thus taking away another
starting pitcher and a powerful batter.
But, the Greek team was at the Olympics and they played the best they could,
and many will agree when I say that they played damn well!
The Test Event!
In preparation for the Olympics, Robert Derksen, along with the insight of Mike
Riskas, put together 12 players from the U.S. and selected an additional 12
players who played on one of the Greek baseball teams to play for Greece in the
Olympic test event, which was held at the Olympic Baseball Stadium from March 24th
to March 28th. Three other national teams were invited to
participate in this event. They were Russia,
Sweden, and the Czech Republic.
In the first game, Peter Maestrales was the first
batter to come to the plate and he hit the very first pitch over the right
field fence for a homerun! This was a great way to start the game and the
tournament. But, Greece
lost that first game by a score of 9 – 6. Greece bounced back the next day and easily defeated Sweden by a
score of 16 – 6. In both of these games, the starting line-ups consisted
of players from the U.S.
and Rob made a few substitutions as the games progressed with players from the
Greek league. The next game was against the Czech Republic
and for this game Rob decided to field an almost entirely “Greek – League”
team. The result was to be expected. The Czech team destroyed Greece by an
extremely lopsided score of 22 – 3. The score would have been worse if
the Czech team hadn’t taken out all of its first
string players and used their bench warmers by the 4th inning.
On the following day the Greek team faced the Czech team in the semi-final
game. For this game, the Greek-League players stayed on the bench and the
Greek team thus defeated the Czech team by a score of 11 – 9. In the
final against Russia,
the Greek team easily took the Gold Medal with a 5 – 1 victory.
Greek-League players who were on the team were:
who came over from the U.S.
Theodore (Ted) Demetral
Andrew J. Brack
Constantine (Gus) Panagotacos
Chris Van Rossum
Greece makes it's debut in the Olympics
Greece’s first game:
Former big leaguer Clint Zavaras started for Greece in Greece’s first Olympic baseball
game against the Dutch. Clint hadn’t pitched in a professional game in 10
years, but he hadn’t lost his touch. He gave the team 3 amazing scoreless
innings including 4 strikeouts. He struck out the side in the 2nd
and the Greek team was looking good after the first 3 innings. But in the
4th, his arm betrayed him and the Dutch started hitting him all over
the place. After giving up a homerun and a few hits, Dusty pulled him out
of the game and brought in Sean Spencer. The final score was 11 – 0, but
the worst part was the fact that the Greek team couldn’t get a hit. Only
Nicholas Markakis was able to get both of Greece’s only 2 hits during the
we’ve warmed up, bring on Cuba!
Greece’s next game was
against Cuba and everyone
was expecting Cuba
to demolish the Greek team after its poor showing against the Dutch team.
But, the Greek team played very well against the eventual Gold medal winning
team and the combined brilliant pitching of Jared Theodorakos, Panagiotis Sikaras, and Alex Cremidans kept the Cuban bats relatively quiet with a
little help from the spectacular Greek defense which included amazing defensive
plays by former Yankee Clay Bellinger, Cory Harris, and Robert Kingsbury.
By the top of the 9th the Greek team was down by a score of 5 –
1. The Cubans were 3 outs away from another easy win, but the Greeks had
a different scenario in mind. Chris Demetral led off for Greece and drew
a walk. Erik Pappas struck out, but Clay Bellinger drew another
walk. That second walk of the inning prompted the Cuban coach to change
pitchers. That gave Greece
runners at 1st and 2nd with only 1 out. Cory Harris
then ripped one to the left field warning track where the Cuban left fielder,
logically playing Cory deep, easily pulled it down for the second out of the
inning. We now had 2 outs with runners on 1st and 2nd
and the Greek team’s back was to the wall. Nicholas Markakis then came to
the plate and hit the ball to the right center wall for a triple and 2
RBI’s. Nicholas Theodorou then got a single
scoring Markakis and we now had a 5 – 4 game with the tying run on 1st
and the go-ahead run at the plate. And who comes to the plate? Big
Jim Kavourias! Most of the Greek fans in the sold out stadium didn’t or
couldn’t fully comprehend the history being made on that field on that
night. The Greek team was on the verge of making baseball
history! Just getting this close to the Cubans was big news around the
baseball world. Being faced with possible disaster and humiliation, the
Cuban Coach pulled out his pitcher and brought in his “Ace” reliever Pedro Luis
Lazo to throw to Kavourias. The Greek team was
just one homerun away from making the baseball upset of the century and if
anybody could do it Jim Kavourias was the man for the job. Jim worked the
count to 3 – 2 before finally succumbing to Lazo’s
overpowering pitching and struck out to end the inning and the game. Nonetheless,
all the sportswriters had plenty to report that day for Greece came
very close to quite possibly changing the outcome of the Olympics as far as
baseball is concerned.
Greece’s third game was against Chinese
Taipei and Peter Soteropoulos did a great job for the
first 4 innings during which he gave up only 2 earned runs. Peter Sikaras came in to pitch in the 5th inning and
shut the Chinese down in the 6th inning as well. Then, in the
top of the 7th, the Greek team got on the scoreboard. Cory
Harris led off the inning with a gigantic homerun over the left field wall to
make the score 2 – 1. The next batter, Nick Markakis, singled up the
middle. Bob Kingsbury then flied out, but Peter Maestrales
drew a walk to put runners on first and second with only 1 out. George Kottaras then hit a deep fly ball to right center that was
caught for the second out, but Nick Markakis tagged up to move to 3rd.
Then, Nicholas Theodorou drew his 3rd base
on balls for the day and Greece
was poised to do some serious damage with the bases loaded. Chris
Demetral came up to the plate and struck out to end the inning. Everyone
was disappointed that Greece
only was able to get 1 run in that inning, but that is baseball! The
Chinese team beat up on Greece
in the bottom of the 7th scoring 5 runs.
was against Canada, which
played against Japan
for the bronze medal. Mel Melehes started for Greece and
pitched a great game giving up only 2 earned runs in 6.1 innings. Sean
Spencer closed the game and shut the Canadians down, but the Canadians silenced
the Greek bats and so the game ended at a very close 2 – 0 score.
was against Australia,
which took the silver medal home, and it couldn’t have started off
better. By the second inning, Greece
was ahead 4 – 0 and Greece’s
starting pitcher, Clint Zavaras, had shut down the
powerful Australian hitters for the first 2 innings. But, by the third
inning Clint had run out of gas. He gave up a single to the lead-off
batter and the next hitter slapped a 2 run homer to put the Australians on the
arm was hurting and Dusty knew it. The relievers started throwing in the
bullpen. The next Australian grounded out to third baseman Peter Maestrales and the next batter hit a long fly ball to
center that was pulled down by Cory Harris for the 2nd out. At
that point Dusty called in Alex Cremidans to pitch
for Zavaras only to give up a solo home run to the
first batter he faced. The inning ended and Greece was ahead by only 1
run. During the game, Greece
got 14 hits and 6 runs, while the Australians got 10hits and 11 runs. Final
score Australia 11 Greece 6.
was against Italy,
which hadn’t won a game yet either. In their first game, which was
they lost 12 – 0 in 7 innings. Both Greece
and Italy needed to win this
game, but it was Greece
that came out on top at the end of the game by a score of 12 – 7. Jared
Theodorakos started for Greece,
but the Italians scored 1 run in the 2nd and clobbered him for 4
runs in the 3rd. Peter Soteropoulos
came in for Jared in the 4th inning and pitched well until the 6th
inning when sidearm throwing Pete Sikaras was called
in to shut the Italians down for good. The Greek team scored 2 runs in
each of the 4th, 5th, and 6th innings in order
to make the game close with the Italians still ahead by a narrow score of 7 –
6. But, in the top of the 7th, the Greek team exploded for 4
runs to take the lead and added 2 more in the top of the 9th.
Greece’s last game was against Japan. Japan came to Athens
for the Gold medal, but was upset by Australia in the semifinal game by a score of 1 – 0. Mel Melehes started for Greece and pitched a great
game. He gave up only 7 hits in 5.2 innings and allowed only 2 earned
runs. At the end of 6 innings the score was Japan 2 Greece 0. Then
in the top of the 7th, the Japanese team knocked in 4 runs to take a
6 – 0 lead. The Greek team was only able to score 1 run off of Erik
Pappas’ solo home run in the bottom of the 7th.
first appearance in Olympics Baseball.
Olympic Team Roster was:
1st Base, Catcher
Meleti Ross Melehes
these players played for Greece
for the first time. They were:
James Kavourias: Both of Jim’s parents are Greek. His
father was born in Ikaria,
and his mother was born in the Peloponese. His
father migrated to America
when he was about 24 years old while his mother was taken to the U.S. while she
was still just a baby. He has many aunts, uncles, and cousins still
living in Greece,
as well as his grandmother. He played three years of college
baseball at West Virginia U, Pensacola JC, and the University of Tampa. He was drafted out of Tampa by the Florida
Marlins in the 5th round of the 2000 draft, and spent six years in the minor
leagues. Career highlights:
all American at University of Tampa 2000
Midwest League All Star 2001
Olympic Team 2004
In 2005 Jim
had an excellent year with the Joliet Jackhammers of the Independent League. He asked to
be released at the end of the season so that he could take some time off from
Pro-ball in order to complete his College Studies. We all expect Jim to
go back to Professional baseball once he finishes with his higher education.
Michael Koutsantonakis: Mike’s grandfather migrated to America in the
early 1900’s and shortened his last name to “Tonis”.
Therefore Mike’s name on his U.S. birth certificate reads:
Michael Timothy Tonis . Mike was
an outstanding College baseball player who played for the University of California
“Golden Bears” . Mike was the 2nd
round draft pick for the Kansas City Royals in 2000 and had been playing in the
minor leagues until 2004 when he was called up. He made his Major League
debut on June 20th 2004, but only got to play in 2 games and had
only 6 at bats. On August 13th he was designated for
assignment to make room on the 40 man roster for RHP
Matt Kinney who was released on waivers from the Brewers. This made it
possible for Dusty Rhodes to bring Mike to Greece for the Olympic Games.
Jared Theodorakos: Jared was born in Birmingham,
Alabama in 1981 and went to college at Baylor University in Waco, Texas.
He was the 25th draft pick of the Milwaukee Brewers in 2003 and was
signed to a professional contract with them in 2004. The highlight of his amateur career will certainly go down as his
amazing performance against mighty Cuba when he kept the Cubans down
to only 3 earned runs.
Robert Kingsbury: Bobby was born in Cleveland,
Ohio in 1980 and played college ball at Fordham University in New York. He was the number 8 draft
pick for the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2002 and has been playing on Pittsburgh farm teams in
2003, 2004 and 2005.
Vasili Spanos: His Greek heritage is from
both parents. His mother was born in Piraues, Greece. She is the eldest of five
siblings. Her parents were born on the island of Kalymnos of the Dodecanese.
Her parents are George Ypsilantis and Sevasti Mouzourakis (maiden name)
Ypsilantis. His mother, a brother and her
parents migrated to America in
George Spanos, was born in Planeterou,
and went to America
in 1951 after the Greek Civil War. His father was Vasilios
Spanos and his mother was Vasileke
Kamberos (maiden name) Spanos.
He has hundreds of relatives from the Kamberos side
who migrated to America
from the early 1900's.
College Baseball at Indiana
1999-2003. He was selected by the Oakland Athletics as their 11th
round draft pick in 2003 and has since been playing in the minors.
In an email
message he wrote to the author with these closing remarks:
“It was a great honor to play on the Greek
Baseball Olympic Team! This was an experience that will always be
memorable. I'll never forget the overwhelming and
enthusiastic FAN support that the Greek Olympic Team received from
Clinton Zavaras: (Born Clinton Wayne Zavaras)
Clint was born in Denver, Colorado in 1967. He made his Major
League debut in 1989 with the Seattle Mariners where he made 10 starts and was
then sent down to the Minors. He was traded to the Colorado Rockies in
1993 and he finally called in quits in 1994. Since then he has been
working as a professional pitching instructor and is currently a scout for the
San Diego Padres.
Two players tested positive for
drugs were wrongfully punished.
Andrew James Brack : A.J. was tested positive
for a steroid, but he never knowingly took any kind of illegal performance
enhancing drug. A.J. was the victim of
circumstances beyond his control. His mistake was to drink an
“over-the-counter” power drink that apparently was tainted with the illegal
steroid. Although the steroid content was negligible, it none the less
appeared in the drug test and he was therefore banned from the games. His
absence was deeply felt since he is a talented and experienced pitcher whose
assistance on the mound could have made a huge difference in the team’s
performance. Getting his Greek Heritage from his mother’s side of the
family, he was thrilled at the prospect of ending his pitching career as a
player for the country from which his grandfather, James Venechianos
came from, at the Athens 2004 Olympic Games. His parents travelled all
the way to Greece to watch
their son play for Greece.
Derek Nicholson: Derek was completely innocent. His test
showed that he had taken a diuretic, but he has a high blood pressure problem
and necessarily takes doctor prescribed drugs to lower his blood
pressure. This was a completely unfair decision on the part of the
Olympic officials. Derek is not a boxer or weight lifter who needs to
reduce his body weight through the use of diuretics. He will need to
follow doctor’s orders and take the necessary drugs that he needs to maintain
his blood pressure at acceptable levels for the rest of his life. To
penalize him for his ailment was sad. Derek was drafted by the Houston Astros in the 16th round in 1998 and was traded
to the Detroit Tigers in 2001. He has played
excellent ball in the minors and is destined to break into the Majors.
The Coaching Staff:
an outstanding track record as a “winner”. His lifetime record of 1072
wins versus only 428 losses is a testimony to that fact. He was an
assistant coach for the 1996 Australian National Olympic Team and worked as an
assistant coach for the USA National Team in 1993, 1994 and 2001.
Greek since he is of Greek descent. His mother and father were both from Greece. He
is a former Baseball Coach of Pomona College in California.
This is not the first time he has coached an international team. He
coached the French National Junior Team in the 1988 European Championship, in
which he led the team to the Bronze medal. He also coached the French
National Senior Team in the 1999 European Championship and led the team to the
Bronze Medal. It’s also worth noting that Mike was an outstanding athlete
and played both football and baseball for UCLA, where he earned both his BA and
MA degrees in Physical Education, from 1954 to 1958. In 1954, his
football team won the NCAA Division I National
Championship undefeated. He also played in the infield and outfield for
the UCLA varsity baseball team where he was voted “Most Outstanding Senior” and
“Most Inspirational Player”. He was inducted into the UCLA Baseball Hall
of Fame in 1996. While in Greece,
Mike conducted several clinics and seminars for Coaches and Players.
three years of professional baseball in the Pioneer and Frontier leagues.
He is currently an assistant coach with the Akron Zips. Scott comes from
a baseball family of 4 baseball playing brothers including Chris, Ted, and
Mike. Chris played for Greece
in the Olympics.
John is a
graduate of The University of Missouri at St.
Louis where he played baseball. As a senior in
1976, he led the team with a .385 Batting Average. He stayed with the
school for several years as an assistant coach. He is now a very
successful scout for the Chicago White Sox.
for the Greek Olympic team diligently searching for players of Greek descent
that could help the Greek team’s effort. He was hired as the scouting
coordinator for the Toronto Blue Jays and has since been assigned to be the
assistant to the General Manager, J.P. Ricciardi.
Brian is an
assistant athletic trainer with the Towson Tigers and his professionalism
proved crucial in keeping the Greek players as healthy as possible for the
Post Olympic Games Baseball in Greece:
Olympic Games ended, the Olympic Baseball stadiums have been left to just rot
away. No one is allowed anywhere near the facilities. Fortunately,
the two practice fields that were also built for the games have been released
to the care and use of the Hellenic Amateur Baseball Federation. The Federation
has since used the fields to host the 2005 Greek Baseball Championship from
March to June.
In July of
2005, the Greek National Team traveled to the Czech Republic
in order to play in the European Championship. Unfortunately, only 7 of
the original 23 Olympic athletes were able to join the team for this
other players weren’t allowed to come either because their teams wouldn’t let
them go or due to the fact that bureaucratic delays caused the late issuance of
their Greek passports. They included Clay Bellinger, Cory Harris, Michael
and Ted Demetral, Jared Theodorakos, Peter Maestrales,
Peter Dallas, and Louis Raptopoulos. But, 10
players selected from the Greek league were selected to help the team in the Czech Republic.
significantly weaker team was able to win 3 games and placed 9th out
of 12 teams. This guaranteed that Greece will stay in the A’ Pool of
the European teams and will compete in the A’ Pool of the European Championship
in 2007. The team that wins that Championship will automatically go to
the Beijing Olympics in 2008.
National Team was supposed to participate in the World Championships in the Netherlands in September of 2005, but financial
difficulties forced the Hellenic Amateur Baseball Federation to withdraw Greece from the
tournament at the very last minute. Fortunately, the Czech Republic
fielded a team to take the place of the Greek team.
26th and 27th, the Hellenic Amateur Baseball Federation
hosted an international tournament in Athens.
The first Balkan Invitational Baseball Tournament in which teams from Greece, Turkey,
participated. The Greek team completely consisted of players who belong
to Greek teams that participate in the Greek league. Despite rain and
inappropriate behavior on the part of certain Greek
players and certain Greek fans, the tournament was a great success. The
Greek team played very well winning 3 out of 4 games and took 2nd
place behind the Bulgarian team, which also won 3 out of 4 games, but took 1st
place because of a run difference.