New York Daily News

July 30, 2003

Baseball challenge

By Bill Farrell

The NYPD baseball team will be looking to avenge a loss and help one of their own Saturday when they face the Chicago Police Department team at St. John's University.

NYPD team manager Police Officer Jose Vasquez set up the game in hopes of creating a scholarship in the name of his son, who was shot and killed by a friend this year while they were playing with his father's off-duty revolver.

Anthony Vasquez, 14, was hit just below the eye by a single bullet fired by his best friend on April 2, and died several hours after the shooting. The boys did not know the gun was loaded.

"It was the most difficult phone call I've ever gotten," said Vasquez, who was returning home from the 104th Precinct in Queens when he received the call. "It was a tragic mistake. Who knows why this happened? But my wife and I are coping with it one day at a time."

Vasquez said the creation of the Anthony Vasquez Scholarship is an appropriate way to keep his son's memory alive. Admission to the game is free.

"We're not going to sell tickets," said Vasquez, "but we'll ask for donations at the game."

The teams last met at Chicago's Comiskey Park in September 2001. The Chicago cops won that game 5 to 2.

"We played that game three days before the attacks on the World Trade Center," Vasquez remembers. "Immediately after the towers went down, players from Chicago jumped into a van and came to help with the digging."

This Saturday, they'll help out once again.

Pregame ceremonies will start at 2 p.m. and the first pitch will be at 3 p.m. The ballpark is on the St. John's Jamaica campus, just off Utopia Parkway and Union Turnpike.

For information, call (212) 414-7743, or visit the web site: www.nyfinestbaseball.com.