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For love of the game

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When it comes to America’s pastime, the Staley family of Astoria, Queens, expects to take the sport far into the future. Originally from Ohio, they’ve been living in New York for 10 years, where Parents Rebecca and Nathaniel have three kids — two girls and one boy — and baseball is a big part of who they are, literally.

Their oldest daughter, Paige, 9, was named after Baseball Hall of Famer Satchel Paige. Their middle child, Gehrig, 7, was named after … you probably guessed it: New York Yankees’ Lou Gehrig, another legend and Hall of Famer. Last May the Staleys were blessed with a third child, a baby girl, and the pattern had to continue. So what name would they choose for the fifth member of their family? Would it be Morgan, after Cincinnati Reds legend Joe Morgan? No. Did they go with Ruth, their new “babe?” Not quite.

They decided on Reese, after Brooklyn Dodger Hall of Fame shortstop Pee Wee Reese! All three children were born here in New York.

“Growing up in Ohio, baseball was always my favorite sport,” recalls Nathaniel. “In high school, I had to write a term paper, and since there was already so much history with the Yankees, I decided to choose Lou Gehrig. I told friends that Gehrig would be an awesome name for a boy. Ironically, years later, when my son was born, that idea back then came into fruition.”

Seeing how much baseball was a part of Rebecca and Nathaniel’s lives while they were dating and even after they were married, it was Rebecca’s mom who suggested to consider the name Paige when the couple’s first child was born. It was a suggestion they embraced and put into action.

As for Reese, Nathaniel said that choice was a combination of simply thinking “it was a cool name” and the historical relevance it had to New York City and baseball.

Now with spring in the air and baseball season here, Paige is getting ready for her girls’ softball season and Gehrig is warming up as he prepares for Little League. As for Reese, she’ll enjoy watching and cheering on her sister and brother, until she’s old enough to put on a glove and swing a bat on her own.

All members of the family have a genuine love for the game. The family trips to games include, but extend beyond, Citi Field in Flushing, Yankee Stadium in the Bronx, and MCU Park in Coney Island, home of the Brooklyn Cyclones. In a nutshell, if it’s a baseball game, they’re there.

“Our next draft pick,” stated Rebecca with a smile, “will be of a four-legged variety.”

Updated 5:30 pm, December 9, 2016
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