Chris N. Karalekas, Founder
Chris N. Karalekas, 46, born and raised in New York City and a graduate of St. John’s University and Long Island City High School is currently a Managing Executive with the FedEx Corporation in New York.
Married for twenty years to his best
friend, Chris and his wife have two children and reside in Huntington, New York.
Active in community affairs, he has been a
member of St. Paraskevi’s Greek Orthodox Church’s Greek School Board, in
Greenlawn, Long Island. Additionally, he currently manages a Huntington Tri-Village Little League team. He
is also a published writer.
Growing up and playing baseball with my brothers on the same playgrounds that Whitey Ford of the Yankees, and Billy Loes of the Brooklyn Dodgers played on in my Astoria, in New York City, gave me a license to dream I guess.
Although I never advanced beyond high school ball (with no apologies) the game romanced me and I
romanced the game at an early age. The love affair continues to this day. The sounds of a mid-summer game remains music to my ears, just as it was all those
years ago when the voices of Phil Rizzuto, Frank Messer, and Bill White turned my ever- present transistor radio into a box seat behind the Yankee dugout.
Similarly, whenever I listened to the Mets, Ralph Kiner, Bob Murphy and Lindsey Nelson were magical voices who drew vividly beautiful pictures in my mind.
It’s that romantic imagination perhaps, along with the 2004 Summer Olympic Games in Athens, that inspired me in 1998 to begin this Herculean odyssey to somehow share my love of the game with the land of our ancestors in Greece.
In memory of my grandparents, who were the moral compass in my life, I wanted to dedicate this effort to them. My yiayia and papou represented the very best of the immigrant story & the American Dream by the way they lived and loved life. To my mom and dad, and Uncle George who taught me the game, and to Uncle Nick who was awarded a Bronze Star & Purple Heart in World War II and taught me principles…this is in your honor.
For five years it has been a privilege to work with and help the Hellenic Amateur Baseball Federation in Athens, Greece. To have assisted Major League Baseball International, the Baltimore Orioles and The Angelos family, U.S. Ambassador to Greece R. Nicholas Burns, Little League Baseball and people like Olympic Baseball Coach Mike Riskas, Dimitri Goussios, Panos Mitsiopoulos, Tom Marudas, & Lou Angelos has made this a more fascinating endeavor.
Coaching a baseball team of Greek American boys at the first ever Elliniada Games in Salonika last summer was wonderful. Surpassing that wonder, however, was sharing the game with children and adults in Greece. Winning the Cup Championship against Hellenes from Canada, Australia and Greece was special, but no more special than seeing boys from America step on Greek soil for the first time and making an ancestral connection that will last a lifetime.
In the end, for the game to take root fields will be needed. Seminars have to take place, and books and equipment have to be distributed…and games have to be played. Baseball Acropolis is planning a Barnstorming Road Show Tour before the Olympics this summer as a means to stage the game to the masses. Educating and entertaining Greece on baseball as supplemental to what the Baseball Federation is doing can only help.
To that end, we humbly ask for your support. Please know that every penny towards this journey will go towards planting seeds of baseball so the game can take root beyond the Athens 2004 Games. Dreams do come true, and in honor of your yiayia, papou, mom, dad, theo or thea and to the Harry Agganis’s and Alex Campanis’s who are out there in Greece, I fervently thank you for giving us the privilege to be a custodian to this legacy of love.
Chris N. Karalekas
“YES WE CAN “
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