Sports

In Queens, Nun Prays and Mets Play

It’s been an up-and-down season so far for our beloved New York Mets.

They started hot out of the gate, but a rash of injuries have turned a potential World Series contender into a team fighting each day just to keep its hopes of a wild card playoff berth alive.

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Sister Gerry

If it’s any consolation though, there’s a nun in Queens who has been saying her prayers every day for her favorite team.

Sister Geraldine Cregg, C.S.J., bleeds orange and blue. Sports became a way of life for her ever since her days as a student and parishioner at Holy Name, Park Slope.

She loved playing volleyball and stickball in the neighborhood, and she also had four brothers so there was also one sport or another being played.

Sister Gerry grew up a Brooklyn Dodgers fan and was especially fond of shortstop Pee Wee Reese. However, like so many Dodgers fans in the area, the team’s decision to move west after the 1957 season did not sit so well with her.

“When they (the Dodgers) left and went to Los Angeles, I was mad at them,” Sister Gerry said.

So her love of baseball took a brief hiatus for a few years. After graduating from Bay Ridge H.S., she entered the sisters’ college in Brentwood, L.I., in 1959 to begin her religious life.

She finished her studies in 1962 and spent three-and-a-half years teaching at St. Rita’s in Long Island City. From there, she spent the next three-and-a-half years at St. Pascal’s in St. Albans. In 1969, she then moved on to St. Ann’s in Flushing, where she has spent the past 47 years teaching first grade.

1969 of course rings a bell for Mets fans, as the team captured its first of two World Series titles. Right as the school year was getting underway that September, the Mets were enthralled in a heated pennant race with the Chicago Cubs.

Every day after school, Sister Gerry and some of the younger nuns would go down to the parish basement to watch the ballgames on television – since some of the more senior nuns were upstairs watching their daily soap operas.

She remembers as the Mets defeated the Baltimore Orioles in that year’s Fall Classic, and the rest is truly history.

“I got so involved in it that they won me over, and I’ve been loyal to them since then,” Sister Gerry said.

In addition to her love for the Mets, Sister Gerry also had a love for youth softball. For 30 years, she served as a softball manager at St. Ann’s, as well as the secretary and treasurer for the parish’s entire sports program.

When she arrived, St. Ann’s had never had a girls’ softball program. Under her guidance, the league soon blossomed into six teams of girls ages 8 to 13.

Sister Gerry always stressed responsibility and enjoyed seeing the girls develop a love for each other, their opponents and the game of softball.

“I tried to instill in my girls that it wasn’t important to win the game all the time,” she said. “It’s easy to be a good winner, but it’s hard to be a good loser. I taught them respect for the adults and the umpire especially.”

The league was known as the Queensboro Athletic Association, but after her years of dedicated service, the St. Ann’s league was renamed the Sister Geraldine Cregg Girls Softball League.

As she coached her girls in softball, she of course kept following baseball and the Mets. She relived the thrill of 1969 with another Mets’ World Series championship in 1986. Her favorite players throughout the years were Tom Seaver, Dwight Gooden and Gary Carter.

“Right now David Wright is my favorite player, so I’m very upset that he’s not able to play,” she said. “He’s such a good role model, and you like kids to see that.”

In addition to Wright missing most of the season, the Mets have been without Matt Harvey, Lucas Duda, Zack Wheeler, Asdrubal Cabrera and Yoenis Céspedes all for extended periods of time. After last season’s success, missing these players has been tough for a team with high expectations.

“I thought they were going to go all the way,” Sister Gerry said. “I really did have high hopes. But they have so many injuries that it’s really sad.”

Sister Gerry will continue to pray for the success of her team over the final month of the season, as she sticks to the loyalty she firmly established back in 1969.

And when in doubt though, she definitely has the right attitude when it comes to the Amazins.

“There’s always next year,” she said.

Spoken like a true Mets true fan!


Contact Jim Mancari via email at jmmanc@gmail.com.

2 thoughts on “In Queens, Nun Prays and Mets Play

  1. Sister Geraldine may have gotten the Mets out of the deal when she moved to Flushing, but, Flushing got so, so, so much more out of that deal. The wonderful things you mention here about Sister Geraldine are not even the tip of the iceberg of what she has done for not only us as her students, but the entire community. She is one of the finest, best, kindest, most Christian people I have ever known and every single time I go to church I cannot help but think of her – what a blessing indeed!

  2. Sister Geraldine is a gem, and I was so lucky to be “one of those girls” who played softball under her coaching direction! I admired her for many reasons and thought she was the coolest nun because she was so into baseball and sports. I am privileged to still see her occasionally and have introduced my two boys to her because she is one teacher/role model I still speak about till this day and trust me there haven’t been many I admire so strongly!

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