MSBL Player Profile: Dave Moriarty, Connecticut MSBL

By Steve LaMontia, Director of Communications

The Connecticut MSBL is a 10-team league in Fairfield County with teams ranging from Stamford to Monroe. They are a 25+ older league that plays games on Sunday mornings from April through October.  Why is this significant?  Enter 71-year-old Dave Moriarty.

Dave played his last summer in the league in 2023, as he has since moved to Florida and it attacking new baseball horizons as he continues to extend his pitching career.  He has been the oldest player in the Connecticut MSBL by far for the past fifteen years and has continually pitched to batters who are decades younger.  League President Henry Boynton recommended we contact Dave and find out what makes this super-competitor tick as part of our MSBL Player Profile series.

“We were fortunate to have had a player, Dave Moriarty, who just retired from our league at the age of 70,” explained Henry.  “He pitched competitively in the league until his retirement.  Dave was a long-time player on our league, most recently with the Stamford Pirates.  The most interesting fact is that he did this while dealing with two artificial hips!

Dave is a great guy who recently relocated to Florida, where he continues to pitch in various leagues.  Though Dave is a great competitor, he most importantly embodies the concept of sportsmanship, friendship, and camaraderie.”

We caught up with Dave recently and requested that he outline the baseball roadmap that brought him to 2024.  He was very happy to fill in the blanks.

“I grew up in Massachusetts and my father was a baseball enthusiast,” began Moriarty.  “His passion for the game was engrained and continues in me to this day.  I played high school then played for Amherst College in Amherst, Massachusetts for four years, where I thought my baseball days ended.

I became a marathon enthusiast and ran a couple of New York City Marathons but just couldn’t find a window for baseball.  I then went to Germany for three years and played a lot of softball, as that was the only game in town, so to speak.  But I hadn’t touched a baseball for a long time, but fortunately, that was about to change.”

So, how did this journey lead you to an MSBL league in Connecticut?

“There were a lot of us guys who were coaching and watching our kids play youth baseball and one day we dads decided to create an informal baseball league.  There were no standings or even uniforms.  We just picked teams and played.  It was a real-life adult sandlot baseball league.

Then around 2000 some other guys we didn’t know asked if they could play and they were throwing hard!  We had just been lobbing the ball in so everyone could hit!  We decided to put a more competitive team together and join their MSBL league and get back to the real game.  That’s how the Wilton Red Sox were born.”

As time went on, the Red Sox merged with the Stamford Pirates, where most of the same guys played together for the next 15 years.  Though many of those players have dropped out of the league or simply stopped playing ball, Dave continued playing in Connecticut for the next 23 years.  But his involvement encompasses the MSBL national tournament arena as well.

“I have played in the MSBL World Series maybe seven times with teams from Rhode Island, St. Louis, Long Island, and Portland.  I have also played in the Fall Classic in Florida and pitched at the Sunshine Classic just recently.  We have won once in Arizona at the World Series.  I look forward to getting back there, maybe this year.”

Dave is exclusively a pitcher and has grown quite a bit in his knowledge and technique over the past 20-ish years.  What’s the secret to longevity on the bump?

“When I started pitching again after a long absence, I tried hard to strike everyone out, which simply made me just a thrower.  Then I learned to just throw strikes and put the ball in play.  I don’t give up a lot of multiple hits, rely on the fielders, and try not to pitch to their barrels!  I’ll try to stop the bleeding with an occasional strikeout but the overall game plan remains pitch location, not strikeouts.  My arm is still pretty strong so I am very fortunate to be able to throw at a competitive level at my age.”

Shifting gears a little, what is the best thing about the Connecticut MSBL?

“It’s that people you would never meet in other walks of life, all coming together because they share one thing in common; playing baseball.  Lasting friendships are made.  Competing in baseball creates respect from both teams.  That respect may not have existed if we hadn’t come together on the field.  All players find a commonality because everyone loves the game.  We are a gentleman’s league and not a ‘win at all costs’ organization.”

When Wally Hurd was president of the league from 2007 through 2011, Dave was asked to be his vice president and was placed pretty much in charge of being the ‘strong arm’ and disciplinarian of the league.

“I helped establish the code of how the league would become a gentleman’s league and how to perpetuate a code of conduct.  I was part of the disciplinary squad!  We didn’t tolerate misbehavior, which was a big topic at the time.

We also discussed forfeits and specifically how everyone can play and not face a forfeit.  We made sure everyone played and went out of our way to allow teams to pick up players, for example, so that everyone could play.  It’s the journey, it’s the playing, and it’s the respect you earn, not just the victories.”

In closing, we asked Dave about a favorite moment in his long career between the lines.  Though he has played multiple times in Cooperstown, Dave conveyed that one year sticks out as his career highlight.

“Our league lost a long-time friend and teammate, Al Cheng, in January 2021.  Al passed away from Covid so we dedicated a double-header at Cooperstown in 2022 in his memory and as a means of celebrating his life.  His wife threw out the first ball and his family was also there.  It truly showed the spirit of MSBL.

The feeling among his Stamford Pirates teammates was the best way to celebrate his life would be to play ball at his favorite field, Doubleday Field. Current and former teammates, as well as his many friends from other teams, took part.

Three of us were able to play with our sons, and I was able to play with our son Shea.  That made the day even more special. At the end of the day, several players remarked that it was the best day they had ever experienced on a ball field.

That qualifies as many people’s career moment.  Al will be missed.”