Apr. 15—A pillar of youth baseball in the Falls will have a Hyde Park ball diamond named in his honor.
In a resolution adopted by the Falls City Council Wednesday night, Diamond #5 at Hyde Park will now be known as Jeff Cafarella Memorial Field. The designation will be displayed on a sign atop a brand new scoreboard donated to the city by Greenpac.
Mayor Robert Restaino, who joined in the council resolution, arranged for the Greenpac donation. The mayor told the council members he had been to the diamond earlier in the day Wednesday to look at where the scoreboard will be placed.
“We had a walk around today and it’s going to be a process (to erect it),” Restaino said. “It’s a beautiful scoreboard (weighing 400 pounds) and it will be a substantial installation to make sure its sturdy and safe.”
Council Member William Kennedy, who said he was coached in Little League by Cafarella’s father, Jack, also a well-known youth baseball leader in the Falls, recalled the younger Cafarella was a constant presence on the Hyde Park baseball diamonds.
“I’ve known Jeff since he was a child,”Kennedy said. “I’m happy we could do this for him and his family.”
Cafarella passed away on Oct. 29, after a lengthy battle with cancer. Age 42 at the time of his death, he had committed more than 25 years of his life to youth baseball and the Hyde Park Babe Ruth Little League.
He began as a player in the league at the age of 5, and continued playing for more than a decade. At the age of 16, he became a coach for the Tops Tigers.
After 15 years of coaching, Cafarella joined the little league’s board of directors and then became the league president. Those who knew him well, like Kennedy, said he worked tirelessly to improve the Hyde Park facilities.
In 2014, Cafarella began an initiative to relocate the baseball diamonds in Hyde Park, which were close to its namesake boulevard. By 2019, the diamonds had been moved to an area of the park with more space for the games and greater safety for the young players.
In his obituary. published in the Gazette, his family noted that Cafarella had a deep love of the Buffalo Bills and enjoyed his leisure time by listening to music, having bonfires and cooking. His family said he especially enjoyed cooking with his barbeque smoker, and created his own recipes that he shared online under the name White Boyz BBQ.
Cafarella is survived by his parents, his wife and two step-children.