“I always knew he was guiding me from above,” said Saggese. “You can’t control what happens in life but you can control how you react to what happens and I keep that fresh in mind as I continued my career without him.
“I am glad the road took me to where I am now,” he said. “I am at peace I feel I have a lot to give back from what my dad taught me and that’s what I am doing now, teaching kids and players from all over the country what ‘Saggese Baseball’ is all about.”
While Saggese wasn’t able to make the reunion over Arnold’s house in June, he feels a kinship with everyone on that team, and in particular with Guzowski McGrath.
“Toby was a special player,” recalled Saggese. “He had the special qualities to pitch his best games when they meant the most. We couldn’t have made it as far as we did without the left arm of Toby.”
As for their agony at such a young age, the two former Andover National stars dealt with it on their own terms, in a different manner.
“They were different. Are different. Ricky has always been quiet and introspective. He channels his emotions through playing and teaching baseball,” said Arnold. “Whereas Toby was always an extrovert and he confronted trauma verbally.
“They had unique character as boys,” said Arnold. “And they drew on that same strength when they forced to grow up too early. I am so proud of them.”
Special section coming Thursday On Thursday the Andover edition of the Eagle-Tribune and Andover Townsman will have a special section devoted to the 1988 Andover National baseball team that went to Williamsport, Pa. It marks the 25th anniversary of their run which was chronicled by Eagle-Tribune executive sports editor, Bill Burt. The section includes stories by Burt and the three coaches, a Q&A with each former player and story on the "Lunch Bunch," mothers of the Little Leaguers that will get together once a month.