Joe Girardi
AP Photo/Michael Dwyer

Joe Girardi and other big names at a recent IABF Gala provide their all-Italian baseball Mt. Rushmore with ESNY’s Mike Vivalo.

Mike Vivalo

The Italian American Baseball Federation held a Gala this week and it smelt delicious.

Italians are known for talking fast and cooking amazing food, so, naturally, the fourth annual IABF Gala Dinner was the perfect place to interview baseball guys and eat.

In a room filled with heavy scents of calamari, a who’s who of Italian baseball royalty gathered for a great cause. The IABF is focused on developing young talent both in the US and Italy. Each year, they sponsor several showcases and clinics that are conducted by former MLB players and top college coaches.

Founded in 2016 by Joe Quagliano, the IABF has honored the likes of Mike Piazza, Bobby Valentine and John Franco. This year it was ex-Yankee catcher and manager, Joe Girardi.

I asked him what exactly this organization meant to him.

Also in attendance was walking baseball dictionary Ed Randall and former major leaguer, Frank Catalanotto. Girardi, Randall and Catalanotto helped me answer the question, “Who is on the Mount Rushmore of Italian baseball players?”

Next year, the IABF will honor the Italian National Baseball Team, which includes their manager, Mike Piazza.

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