Artists & Writers Softball Game Supports Four Charities in 2018

The Artists & Writers Game in Herrick Park
The Artists & Writers Game in Herrick Park, Photo: Daniel Gonzalez

The Artists & Writers annual softball game began as a picnic on Sundays in the summer of 1948. It was played by artists such as Franz Kline, Willem de Kooning, Philip Pavia, Jackson Pollock, and Joan Mitchell. Everyone brought a dish. Some brought drinks. Two writers joined in this picnic, Barney Rosset of Grove Press, whose girlfriend was Joan Mitchell, and Harold Rosenberg, an art critic. All this took place on Wilfrid Zogbaum’s front yard.

The artists had moved to Springs and the East End for cheap rent, larger studios and an easier life. They talked of art, gossiped, ate, drank, and shared in camaraderie. Some recall what a glorious time it was. The war was over, the world’s Depression lessening, and more artists’ work was being seen in New York galleries. Some were successful in sales and reputation. Some drank too much. Most were just young artists anxious to be part of the emerging art scene.

Writers joined the artists in the ’60s and ’70s. Irwin Shaw, Willie Morris, and James Jones were among the group who expanded to include politicians, actors, musicians, publishers, editors and television personalities. The game has included governors, mayors, senators, a former president and a Supreme Court justice.

Bill Clinton Jim Leyritz Artists Writers Game East Hampton
Bill Clinton Jim Leyritz at the Artists & Writers Game, Photo: Tom Ratcliffe III

Most importantly, the game is now played for four local charities that provide vital human services and it would not exist if it were not for the humor and determination of Leif Hope, who has for more than 50 years kept this game alive—with a little help from his friends.

Leif’s charm and wit have endeared many along the way—mostly women—to help keep him organized. Hats off to them. So have fun, buy lots of raffles, shirts, hats, posters and notecards. Enjoy our burgers, hot dogs, ice cream and Snapple.

And it’s all for the good causes listed below!

East End Hospice is a New York State Certified Hospice, providing an individualized plan of care for patients, their families and loved ones throughout the difficult time of illness and loss. Since 1991, their team of skilled professionals and volunteers offers social, emotional, and spiritual support and pain and symptom control in a familiar and loving environment. No one is denied care because of inability to pay. Their bereavement care services are offered throughout the East End community. Their staff is extensively trained in grief therapy. East End Hospice also offers Camp Good Grief, a summer day camp for children who have experienced a loss—a place where fun is mixed with therapy, and a skilled bereavement staff plan and lead each day with care.

Filling a need for day care in East Hampton while supporting single parents, working families and the businesses in the community that employ them, Eleanor Whitmore Early Childhood Center provides a safe and nurturing environment that promotes the physical, social, emotional and intellectual development of pre-school children. Since 1969, the Center provides an environment that contributes to each child’s sense of belonging, gives recognition for effort and accomplishment, and encourages each child to express ideas freely without fear of rejection or ridicule. The only licensed New York State day care center in the town, the Center relies on contributions to maintain its vital programs and meet its growing needs.

Phoenix House Academy of Long Island, the nation’s leading nonprofit substance abuse treatment and prevention organization runs 10 programs on Long Island. It provides treatment and a variety of prevention and intervention services to schools and communities. It offers a safe haven and a chance to rebuild damaged lives. Phoenix House treatment is comprehensive and includes health care, education, and job training among its broad array of supportive services that enable residents to leave drugs behind and start healthy, productive new lives as part of the Long Island community. Phoenix Academy of Long Island, is a 45-bed residential, adolescent treatment and school program in Wainscott. East Hampton Outpatient uses a combination of individual and group counseling approaches. They are a small program that provides clients with individualized attention, as well as support, counseling, education, and advocacy. The East Hampton Outpatient program is a phased program for adults and adolescents that begins with education and orientation. The second phase of treatment is a recovery phase and the final phase prepares the client for self-preservation and discharge. Phoenix House programs have been saving lives and strengthening families and communities since 1967.

The Retreat’s mission is to provide safety, shelter and support for victims of domestic abuse and to break the cycle of family violence. In pursuit of that mission, The Retreat offers residential and nonresidential services, including a 24/7 domestic violence hotline, group and individual counseling, legal advocacy, violence prevention education and crime victim assistance, as well as a comprehensive fatherhood program, self-sufficiency and financial literacy training programs, rental assistance, batterer education, and collaborations to offer support to victims living with mental illness, in foster care, substance abuse treatment and developmental disabilities communities.

The 2018 Artists & Writers Charity Softball Game is this Saturday, August 18 at 2 p.m. at Herrick Park in East Hampton. Learn more at

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