NEW ROCHELLE, N.Y. – Before lacing up his baseball cleats for the third-annual WFAN All-Star Celebrity Softball Game in New Rochelle Wednesday, hometown boy Craig Carton made his usual stops at Greasy Nicks and Beechmont Tavern.
The co-host of WFAN’s Boomer & Carton show said he had the usual - a cheeseburger with steamers and corn on the side - at Greasy Nicks, also known as Leno’s Clam. Then he ordered some wings and “threw a few back” at Beechmont Tavern.
“I love New Rochelle,” he said. “I had a great childhood here. I never forgot where I came from. The fact that I can now come back and bring hundreds of people out to raise money for parks and rec and give a little bit back to New Rochelle, I’ll never say no. it’s awesome.”
Even though Carton said his all-star lineup this year was a little less power-packed than it the past, it boasted names like his WFAN co-host Boomer Esiason; baseball legends John Franco, Cecil Fielder, Willie Randolph and Jim Lyritz; and the star of Broadway’s “Rock of Ages” Constantine Maroulis.
Carton spends the whole day in the city before the game each year, which also includes visiting one of the city’s summer camps, said Bill Zimmermann, commissioner of Parks and Recreation in New Rochelle.
“This is always a special event when you have a native son return and provide us with this kind of excitement, especially a celebrity like Craig,” he said. “So, we’re very appreciative that he and boomer take the time out of their busy summer to do this.”
Carton said if he is going to play in charity softball games he’s going to do it in his hometown. He decided to start this celebrity game after seeing the renovated Flower Park more than three years ago.
“He had heard about it, took a trip home, couldn’t believe the complex because it wasn’t what he remembered as a kid,” Zimmermann said.
New Rochelle residents John Kuschtka and his mother Donna attended the game for a second year and were happy to meet Willie Randolph and Cecil Fielder. Kuschtka said last year he got pictures with former NBA stars Anthony Mason and Speedy Claxton.
“It’s good to have some publicity for New Rochelle,” John said.