July 11, 2012 –- A few months after I was in Florida with Bucky Dent for the feature story that will appear in the July Issue of Yankees Magazine, I shared a few stories about the trip with my first cousin — who is also named Al Santasiere.
To my surprise, Al told me that he participated in a baseball camp at the Bucky Dent Baseball School in Delray Beach, Florida in the early ’80s.
Al played baseball at Columbia High School in South Orange, New Jersey, and prior to his junior season, he spent a week at the South Florida school.
“Without a doubt, that was the first time I truly learned the fundamentals of hitting,” said Al, who batted over .350 in his junior and senior seasons. “I still remember to this day the things I learned there, including the proper batter stance, stepping in the right direction and several other key hitting mechanics.
“I have been a Yankees fan my whole life, so having the opportunity to be around a Yankees star was a big deal to me,” Al continued. “On the last day of camp, we had a scrimmage, and Bucky called balls and strikes from behind the plate. Unfortunately, he called me out looking at strike three, but it was still quite a thrill.”
Dent, who recently sold the baseball school, remains proud that he helped thousands of kids improve their skills over the years. On Old-Timers’ Day, I gave Dent two copies of the photo below from the 1982 camp — which Al sent to me after our conversation.
Dent kept one copy and signed the second copy “To Al, A Great Boy” for my cousin.
The next day, I received a text message from Dent that read “Wow, what a picture! That brings back some great memories!”
–Alfred Santasiere III