Al Torres with wife Cheryl and son Albert jr.


United States Handball Association Hall of Fame Dinner honoring Handball legend Al Torres - Sunday November 14th, 2004, Gargiulo's Restaurant, Coney Island, NY     by Jimmy Russo

When Albert Apuzzi first asked if I was going to the Hall of Fame Dinner, I said hmmm maybe I will. Albert had said it would be a good experience for me to go and I would have a good time. After thinking about it I started to become very interested in going. It was about honoring a great Handball player like Al Torres and it would be my first USHA event away from the courts. When I hear or see the letters USHA I think about the prestige and history the United States Handball Association has established. Then I remembered the 1st time I had seen Al Torres play late in his career, and I watched with my eyes wide open with amazement. Al Torres has the whole package...and I started asking fans and players to tell me more about his handball career. I had become more and more intrigued....how can you not, Al Torres winner of 11 Open National Handball Titles, and 35+ National Handball Titles. I believe he has also won Invitational Tournaments at Castle Hill Beach Club (with partner Albert Apuzzi), Shore Haven Beach Club (defeating Joe Durso) and clobbered (Steve Sandler in a  round robin event, pushing Mark Levine into the number 1 spot) at Brighton Beach Baths.

Al Torres arrived at the Hall of Fame Dinner with his lovely wife Cheryl and his son Albert Jr. by his side. Players, friends, and family greeted Al like a celebrity, all the while staying so humble. Other USHA Hall of Famers that were present were Carl Obert, Arty Reyer, and Joel Wisotsky. Also present were possible future Hall of Famer's Joe Durso, Albert Apuzzi, Dori Ten, Barbara Canton, Sydell Smith, Anna Calderon (was unable to attend..."I took her seat") and many aspiring present players Robert Sostre, Cesar Sala, Tony Roberts, PeeWee Castro, Joe Kaplan, Tracy Davis, and Brenda Pares.  The fun was just starting to happen, the DJ started playing some music, and then the dancing started. It was sure to be an evening to remember with a 4 course Italian feast and an open bar. It was quite a sight seeing all the players dressed up with their Sunday clothes dancing throughout the night. Carl Obert and Rene Caraballo sure can dance, they were wooing the ladies with their steps...it was priceless. 

It was now time for tribute with several guest speakers. Handball documentarien and USHA Handball Magazine contributor Dan Flickstein, fellow player Ken Ginty, close friend Eric Klarman, fellow player and Inner City Handball Assoc. President Paul Williams presented Al with the 2004 ICHA Lifetime Achievement Award, Sheila Reyer, Brother Alan Zodda, Monsignor Gradilone, Melody Ruiz presenting Al with a "Proclamation" from the Office of Marty Markowitz President of the Borough of Brooklyn, NY stating that Sunday November 14th, 2004 is Al Torres Hall of Fame Day, and inducting Al Torres into the USHA Hall of Fame was Bob Hickman President of the USHA. All the speakers praised Al Torres for his great achievements on and off the court.

The event was coordinated by Eric Klarman, with help from Cheryl Torres.


Copyright 2004 HandballCity.com