Little League International Mourns the Passing of Linda Cammarata
Little League International mourns the passing on Tuesday of Linda Cammarata, mother of Michael Cammarata. Mr. Cammarata was a Little League Baseball World Series participant who later became a firefighter and perished on Sept. 11, 2001, in the attack on the World Trade Center.
Michael Cammarata played right field in the 1991 Little League Baseball World Series for the South Shore Little League team of Staten Island. Ten years later, he was attached to the New York City Fire Department’s Ladder Company 11 in lower Manhattan.
On the morning of Sept. 11, Michael called his family at 8:54 a.m. from the firehouse on East Second Street in New York City, and left this message on voicemail: “I am going to the World Trade Center. A plane hit it. Just tell everyone I am all right.”
After the tragedy, the Cammarata family found a note Michael had left, in the event he were to lose his life in the line of duty. It read: “1 – Take care of Jenna (his girlfriend). 2 – Don’t mourn me this is the career I chose. 3 – Make my spirit live on. 4 – Remember I love you all and will be waiting for you upstairs. Signed Michael Cammarata Shield #1138.”
Michael was posthumously enshrined into the Peter J. McGovern Little League Museum Hall of Excellence on Aug. 25, 2002, during the Little League Baseball World Series. His family accepted the honor in the infield of Howard J. Lamade Stadium before a crowd of more than 30,000, and after a five-minute ovation.
“We are grateful that Linda and the Cammarata family could be with us on that day,” Stephen D. Keener, President and Chief Executive Officer of Little League Baseball and Softball, said. “She somehow bore agonizing grief with quiet dignity, and accepted our token of gratitude because it was a way for Michael’s memory to live on.”
Today, Michael Cammarata’s uniform number, No. 11, is the only number on the outfield fence at Lamade Stadium, placed there in his honor near where he played as a 12-year-old boy.
“Michael loved playing Little League,” Mrs. Cammarata said in an interview in 2002. “I can remember always taking him to games and practices like a chauffer. He was very athletic, and always gave 150 percent of himself, whether it was baseball, or hockey, or being a firefighter.”
Mrs. Cammarata also followed through on preserving Michael’s memory.
She began the Firefighter Michael Cammarata Foundation, a non-profit organization that helps provide scholarships for Tottenville (N.Y.) High School athletes and youth hockey players, sponsors hockey clinics and tournaments, and supports St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. The foundation also sponsors a team in the South Shore Little League: the Firefighter Michael Cammarata Heroes.
Linda Cammarata (right) chats with her husband, Joseph (center) and Stephen D. Keener, President and Chief Executive Officer of Little League Baseball and Softball, at the Little League Museum in 2002.