Taking a Swing at Living a Long and Healthy Life
When sports personality and former Little Leaguer Ed Randall says he is thrilled to be a life-long baseball fan, it’s because 10 years ago he did not think he’d still be alive today to enjoy the game.
Diagnosed with prostate cancer in November 1999, Mr. Randall of WFAN-Radio in New York City and MLB.com, has been in remission for nine years. As host of the “Ed Randall’s Talking Baseball” on WFAN and on Sirius/XM Radio, the graduate of University Heights Little League in The Bronx, has made it his mission to raise awareness about prostate cancer.
“There is nothing I will do on the air for the rest of my life that is more important than this,” Mr. Randall, who started broadcasting minor league baseball on the radio with the New York-Penn League’s Elmira (N.Y.) Pioneer Red Sox, said. “This is extremely important because God has given me a second at-bat.”
During his childhood, Mr. Randall was a typical neighborhood kid, looking for something to pass the hours away from school. An only child, Mr. Randall’s mother was always looking for the right environment for her son, and what she found was University Heights Little League.
Playing his first Little League season at age 9, Mr. Randall played right field for the UHLL Bears.
“I had a pleasant experience in Little League,” Mr. Randall said. “My dad was in the Merchant Marine and passed away when I was 10, and I didn’t have any brothers or sisters to play with, so my mom was always concerned about keeping me off the streets. She wanted me in a safe environment, so she was happy I developed my obsession with baseball.”
Mr. Randall admits he was not much of a physical specimen and limited athletically. To keep himself from spending countless innings playing right field, he taught himself to pitch and was good enough to warrant all-star selection.
Citing a fear of the batter’s box, Mr. Randall realized the only way he would continue to earn playing time was on the mound.
“I hit .108, with three career hits, including two bunts,” Mr. Randall, describing his lack of batting prowess, said. “I was so bad that I describe myself as the first ‘switch-batter,’ since I figured I could strikeout from both sides of the plate in every game.”
As a 15-year-old pitcher, Mr. Randall did excel, and claims to hold the University Heights Little League Senior Division record for strikeouts (16) in a seven-inning game.
“Since there is no more University Heights Little League I feel pretty good that that record will live in perpetuity,” Mr. Randall said.
Continuing to play into his college years at Fordham University, Mr. Randall nurtured his love of the game as he tended to his studies. Despite graduating with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science, Mr. Randall gravitated toward professional ball fields rather than politics, the court system or boardrooms.
Arriving in Elmira after graduation, his first job was more like an internship as he was paid $3 per Red Sox game. Still, the obsession kept him coming back to the ballpark, and eventually his passion and talent landed him on radio and TV in New York City.