Peter J. Foley dedicates ‘Mike’s Place’ to league stalwart

Longtime Peter J. Foley Little League volunteer Mike Falcha stands outside the snack bar, which was renamed ‘Mike’s Place’ this year in his honor, at the Little League facility in Naugatuck. –KEN MORSE

NAUGATUCK — Peter J. Foley Little League is in its 70th year. The league wouldn’t have lasted that long without countless volunteers dedicating their time for the players.

One of those volunteers is Mike Falcha. Over the past 33 years, Falcha has volunteered as a coach, an umpire, league treasurer and served as league president from 1995 through 1999.

“I’ve had two of my kids come through this program and next year my first grandchild will be coming through, so I guess I’ll be here for a while,” Falcha said. “I’ve seen a lot of kids come though here.”

For the past 20 years, Falcha has been a mainstay in the kitchen, overseeing the operations of the snack bar. Falcha takes on a responsibility that can, and often does, equate to a full-time job with ordering the food, picking it up, maintaining the kitchen and serving as a cook.

On opening day this year, the Little League gave the snack bar a new name “Mike’s Place” in honor of Falcha. A sketch of Falcha with “Mike’s Place” written above it in capital red letters now hangs on a wall near the snack bar, overlooking the bleachers.

“It’s because of people like Mr. Falcha that our program is successful,” Peter J. Foley President Robert Didato said. “He brings so much to the table. He runs that kitchen like it was his own personal restaurant. He cares so much about every volunteer, player, coach and community member.

“He is so much more than just Mike’s Place. He is the face of Peter J. Foley, and that’s why we put that picture up there.”

Falcha, who grew up playing in Union City Little League when he lived on the other side of the borough, is quick to point out that he doesn’t do it alone.

“I have always had countless volunteers and couldn’t have done any of this without them,” he said. “With games every night and feeding crowds of 50 to 100 fans, it takes a crew of about 50 volunteers to pull this off.”

A sign designates the snack bar at Peter J. Foley Little League in Naugatuck ‘Mike’s Place’ in honor of longtime volunteer Mike Falcha. –KEN MORSE

Peter J. Foley has a long history of dedicated men and women who have served the borough youth for decades.

Recently, the league lost a longtime volunteer, Carmen Gallo, who died June 30. Gallo, who volunteered over 50 years for the league, was instrumental in obtaining the funding for the batting cages that were named Carmen’s Cage after him.

“I was the president of the league back when the cages went in,” Falcha said. “I have done what ever has been needed over the past 33 years, but I had an awful lot of help from all the volunteers.”

“Some parents stay until their kid leaves and then there are others like Ken Stone who stay on,” Falcha added. “We have about 25 directors that help to run the whole organization.”

Didato knows it takes the devotion of people like Falcha and Stone to keep Peter J. Foley Little League up and running.

“It takes a lot of dedicated people to run an organization of this size,” Didato said. “I don’t know if we have a bigger cheerleader for Peter J. Foley than Ken Stone. There are multiple generations at Peter J. Foley and Ken is so connected within the community. He is one of our most recognizable advocates.”