(This story was published in 2001).
By: Jerry Rosco, Renegades
A beloved member of the Renegades of New York's Big Apple Softball League, "Roxy Eddie" (Philip) Ognibene, was tragically lost in the Sept. 11 World Trade Center attack. He worked as a bond trader for Keefe, Bruyette & Woods on the 89th floor of WTC 2, which was destroyed by a hijacked plane.
Eddie was a strong lefty hitter, a flawless first baseman, and was solid in the outfield and pitching. Much more important, his last name is roughly translated as "every goodness" and that is exactly what he meant to everyone who knew him.
Joyous to the point of hilarity, always full of love and life, Roxy Eddie brought a wonderful presence to the Renegades and Big Apple softball this year. His smile, his sense of humor and funny chatter put the game and the world in perspective. Just to see him was to laugh aloud.
Although he was in great shape and loved sports, he was a hard worker who had little time for joining teams. Finally, a friend of a dozen years, outfielder Dave Lamont of the Stonewall Riot team, got Roxy Eddie to join the softball league this year.
"I know and saw how much joy he got out of playing with the Renegades," Lamont said. Another longtime friend, Ming, was a steady, quiet presence, watching Eddie play this past summer. Only weeks ago, Eddie joined his teammates for the Montreal tournament, Le Rendez-Vous du Lys, and was one of the most popular players on and off the field.
Big Apple Softball League Commissioner John Panarace said in a message to the entire league: "We have been through a week of hell. What this has only re-enforced is how much we mean to each other. Hug a friend, hug a teammate."
The league will memorialize Roxy Eddie at its awards event on Sept. 29, Panarace said. KBW has already had a service for its 69 dead and missing employees. Renegade manager Pete Cocheo has called a private meeting for his teammates and friends. Eddie's No. 5 will be retired, and there will be an award in his honor.
Players and teams from around the country have sent their condolences, including Uncle Bert's Cuzzins of the San Francisco Softball League, who enjoyed playing against Eddie in Montreal, and Commissoner Heath Britt of Portland's Rose City Softball Association.
One of his closest friends on the Renegades, Ben Moon, said, "We have to remember Roxy Eddie's love for life and for softball." His love for life was all too evident. As for the sport, what stands out is an August postseason practice that only the most fanatical players joined. It was raining and when the rain became too hard, Eddie was the last to run off the field, his shoulders comically hunched. "I don't care," he said, "I just love to play softball."