Cape Coral Little League founder honored

Reporter: Emma Heaton Writer: Drew Hill
Published: Updated:
joe koza
Credit: WINK News

The man who started Cape Coral’s Little League Baseball back in 1968, is being remembered on Sunday.

Dozens of people rounded the bases at Koza-Saladino Park to remember the life and legacy of Joe Koza. He started Little League Baseball in the Cape in 1968. Last month, Koza passed away at age 95.

Now, family and friends are remembering the mark he left on his community. Actually, anyone who knew Joe Koza would need more than an extra inning to explain how much he meant to them.

Keagan Connely, Asher Tucker and Christian Linares are all current players. “They’ll remember him as a man who started the little league.” They all know that Koza is the one who made Little League Baseball possible in Cape Coral some 53 years ago.

He and his friend decided to found the city’s first Little League Baseball. For 20 years, Koza coached his Little League Team The Red Legs.

Mark Ursitti is a family friend. “Joe was a mentor. He wanted kids to learn the right way. Do you want to teach them the right way and he did it by example, not by words. He was out there doing it for years and years and years,” said Ursitti.

Ursitti didn’t play for The Red Legs but he did play against them. But, rivalry or otherwise, Joe Koza meant a lot to Ursitti and to the City of Cape Coral.

Greg Koza is Joe Koza’s son. “The City of Cape Coral honored them back in the 90s and, which is a huge honor for him and our family. Just to be able to have this field that will forever be a place where kids learn how to play the game of baseball,” said Greg.

Even at age 95, right before he died, Joe would show up to his field on a scooter. “Wow, a 95-year-old throws better than a nine-year-old,” the players said.

Koza’s son told WINK News that he’s thankful so many people showed up. He said it was the memory of a lifetime to honor his father’s life and legacy.

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