Those who believe the era of bunting in baseball is over haven’t met 90-year old Dorothy Juba of Park Ridge, N.J.
Juba, an avid baseball fan and weekly bowler at Montvale Lanes, has no patience for those who say bunting will one day leave major-league baseball.
“I can’t stand watching all these baseball people talk about getting rid of bunting,” Juba said. “Bunting is great and there is no need for such talk.”
Juba grew up in Fort Lee, often going across the George Washington bridge as a child to watch the New York Yankees play in the Bronx. She remembers the days of Phil Rizzuto and Mickey Mantle like they were yesterday and often tells her nephew about such stories.
To prove bunting still is important to the game, Juba and her 20-year-old nephew, Matthew Orso, went to the baseball fields in Upper Saddle River. Her nephew, comically referring to wheelchair-bound Juba as Aunt Dolly, drove her to the fields Saturday morning for an hour of bunting drills.
“Dolly always said her era of baseball was the best,” Orso said. “I think that’s why she has me drive her to the baseball fields to bunt. She wants to show the world how great baseball was in the 1950s, and bunting was important in that era.”
Orso threw soft toss to Juba, who was using a college level aluminum bat. She held the 32-ounce bat by placing the knob of it on her wheelchair. Juba proceeded to bunt 12 of the 32 pitches Orso threw to her. Three of the bunts landed in fair territory, including one that hit the third base bag.
Juba plans to have Orso drive them to the baseball fields again soon. She wants to “be the first woman in baseball history to play in the major leagues.”
She also hopes her first hit will be a bunt single past Alex Rodriguez.
“I don’t care what they say about bunting,” Juba saids. “If it was good enough for Babe Ruth, then it’s good enough for Alex Rodriguez.”