Warwick’s Billy Piccirillo and Ed Holloway both received prestigious honors last Sunday, when they were part of a group that was inducted into the Babe Ruth Hall of Fame during a ceremony at the Le Foyer Club in Pawtucket.
Piccirillo, who was nominated for the honor by longtime friend Pete Palermo, learned of his induction about two months ago when he received a letter in the mail. Piccirillo has dedicated the better part of the last two decades to coaching youth baseball players at the Babe Ruth level, spending six years with the Narragansett/South Kingstown Babe Ruth League, before beginning his time with the Warwick PAL Babe Ruth League. Piccirillo still coaches at Warwick PAL, as he just concluded his 12th year coaching local players in Warwick this past summer.
In his time instructing youth players, Piccirillo’s coaching philosophy has been simple.
“I just want the kids to get better,” Piccirillo said. “That’s my goal. If the kids are better at the end of the season, I did my job.”
Piccirillo has coached the Warwick PAL all-stars the last seven years, working with some of the best players the city has to offer. But, in that timeframe, one moment, in particular, stands out among all of his coaching memories. Piccirillo’s 13-year-old all-star team back in 2014 rallied with its back against the wall, winning three games in a 24-hour period to win the state championship.
“I will always be grateful to have witnessed the courage that those 12 players displayed that weekend,” Piccirillo said. “That’s the highlight of my coaching career.”
After the team won the title, Piccirillo underwent quadruple bypass surgery, but two weeks after the surgery, the team helped Piccirillo walk around McCoy Stadium during a ceremony for the state champions.
“That’s my happiest moment because that’s one of the reasons I keep coaching,” Piccirillo said.
Piccirillo doesn’t have any immediate plan to retire from coaching either. He noted that he has a grandson that currently plays at Warwick North Little League, and Piccirillo would like to coach long enough so he would have the opportunity to coach his grandson at the Babe Ruth level.
“As far as retiring is concerned, that will be depending on how the legs hold up,” Piccirillo said.
Holloway, who has been affiliated with Rhode Island baseball for the past 40 years, was also recognized for his hard work and dedication, particularly pertaining to the 32 years that he’s been associated with Babe Ruth baseball.
During those 32 years, Holloway has also been extremely involved with the Warwick PAL organization, as well as Rhode Island Babe Ruth as a whole. In addition to Babe Ruth, Holloway has also displayed his level of dedication at the high school, American Legion and Connie Mack levels. He has coached at Bishop Hendricken for the last 30 years, spending 22 of those years as the varsity head coach. In his 22 seasons, Holloway has led the Hawks to 15 state championships.