Boston Red Sox cheered for 96-year-old Frank Murano as he threw out the first pitch at the May 2 home game against the Kansas City Royals at Fenway Park. “I’m very honored and excited about the first pitch at Fenway,” Frank says. The invitation came as a result of a lifetime of remarkable achievements, including Frank’s 2007 induction into the National Senior Softball Hall of Fame.
Frank, who resides at Allerton House at Harbor Park in Hingham, is a man of many talents, who enjoys gathering for community activities and listening to the residents who excel at playing the piano.
“He is an innovative, creative man who has always been ahead of his time,” says his daughter Joanne Laubacher. “When we were growing up, he always devoted time to teaching us.” Laubacher recalls her father having a “Tom Sawyer” way about him, and says, “He would be raking leaves or shoveling snow, and tell us how much fun he was having and that he didn’t need any help. Of course, that made me and my siblings want to jump in and help.” Family activities included fishing, gardening, carpentry, and playing ice hockey in the rink Frank built in the backyard.
An athlete all his life, Frank excelled in hockey, baseball, and softball. He used to train with the pros at Fenway Park, crossing paths with the likes of Dom DiMaggio and Ted Williams. He caught the eye of Hugh Duffy of the Red Sox and was told they could place him. He had already enlisted in the Army Air Force and served during World War II. Hugh Duffy sent Frank a letter from the Red Sox, offering placement after the war. Frank never went back as he was married, raising his family, and serving his community as both a Boston firefighter and a U.S. Postal Service worker!
In his 60s, Frank found time to pick up his glove in earnest again, hitting, running, and fielding like a star in senior softball traveling softball leagues well into his 80s. He is passionate about the game, saying, “It was fantastic. I played year-round for teams from Florida, Baltimore, Scituate, Quincy, and Rhode Island. I am the only New Englander in the Senior Softball Hall of Fame.”
When Frank was nominated for induction into the Hall of Fame, letters of support came rolling in with comments like, “In addition to being a key player for his teams, he has been a superb representative of senior softball both on and off the field,” “There are few more deserving than Frank Murano,” “He is without a doubt the most knowledgeable and the most highly regarded player in the entire league,” and “Admiration among league players for Frank Murano goes beyond his softball talents and savvy.”
The crowd at Fenway Park on the second of May for Frank included members of his proud family of five children, 11 grandchildren, and six great-grandchildren. Summing up the incredible inspiration her father is, Joanne says, “He has impressed upon us to always, in all things, give it a try – you’ve got nothing to lose.”