STAMFORD — As a youngster, Anthony Frangiose had to make sure he used a softball whenever he practiced on his front lawn. He said he would inevitably end up hitting the ball into his neighbors’ houses.
Frangiose has always been a natural hitter, even in his T-ball days. King baseball coach Ken Lewis knew it from first working with him when he was 13 years old. Stamford Senior Legion coach Kevin Murray knew it when he recruited the 15-year-old to his team this summer as the youngest player on his roster.
“His power, size, we saw him in the winter and we knew he was coming through the ranks, and I had the luxury of coaching him in the spring with coach Lewis and he developed,” Murray said. “We knew he was a pure hitter, but he produced.”
Frangiose earned the spot on the Senior Legion team off of his freshman year at King. They called him up during the season, and he ended up batting second for the Vikings.
“He’s a natural talent when it comes to his hitting, and it’s a pretty remarkable talent that I would say I’ve maybe seen it two or three times in my years of coaching — when you have a talent at this age, where the balls jump off the bat differently than other players,” Lewis said.
Lewis coached Frangiose in Legion ball when he was in middle school, and he could tell even at a young age he was going to be a special player.
“At 13, he was like a man amongst kids with the way he hit the ball and the way he ran. He was a little different,” Lewis said.
When he got to King, he didn’t hold back. Frangiose could use his power to hit the ball right into the gap and his speed to make it to third, sometimes even home, which Lewis said he did for him a couple of times at the varsity level.
Now, as the youngest player on the Senior Legion roster, he bats cleanup behind the team’s top hitter, Kevin Stone, and pounds the ball against college-level pitching. While many would be intimidated coming onto a new team, being the youngest player, Frangiose couldn’t feel better about his teammates.
“It’s not much different than the usual team,” he said. “They welcome you to the team, they make you feel comfortable and it’s just a lot of fun in general.”
First baseman and pitcher Peter Horn, a teammate of Frangiose’s at King, attested to what it has been like for the Legion team having him around.
“He’s a big part of our lineup every day so we welcomed him,” Horn said. “We all like him, he’s a good kid who we respect, and he has fit in perfectly.”
Stamford, which is currently 14-2 and at the top of the zone standings, boasts one of the deepest rosters in the area. Frangiose is just as much a part of that as anybody else. Although he has more to learn, according to his coaches, the experience on this team is invaluable for discovering the instincts of the game and becoming a better teammate.
“When you get a 15-year-old like this, you look at him and he looks like a 17- or 18-year-old, and you expect him to kind of have that awareness already, but he’s only 15,” Lewis said. “There’s a lot to coaching a special 15-year-old, and it helps him if the guys understand that he’s 15. There’s a great group of character kids on this Legion team, and they take good care of him.”
“He has fit in with this team because he swings the bat. He protects some of our good bats, and we’re lucky to have him,” Murray said.
Despite all of the praise that he receives, whether he knows it or not, Frangiose is a grounded kid, and you can tell by just talking to him. He knows that his hitting is the best part of his game, and he knows that something special is happening with him as he progresses in his baseball career. But when asked about what he was looking forward to the most about his time with Senior Legion, it wasn’t about him getting better as an individual, and it wasn’t about all of the attention he might get with his strong play this summer. His answer was humble, pretty much summing up exactly the kind of person he is: “Just being with the team, hopefully going really far and making it to the World Series. Yeah, that would be really fun.”