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HAZLET HEX LIFTED!

New York Yankee fans will be pleased to know that the team finally returned Stanley ‘Stash’ Branowski’s World War II banner! County Baseball received a telephone call in late June from Louie Cocuzza, in the Yankees’ Media Relations Department, to say that the ball club returned Stash’s commemorative banner on June 26, 2005.

When County Baseball contacted Stash for confirmation, he explained that United Parcel Service had delivered the banner to his front door on June 26. Just over a year after his visit to Yankee Stadium, at the invitation of George Steinbrenner himself, (see related story in HCB Spring ’05) Stash was nonetheless happy, surprised, and gratified to receive the banner that Joe Torre had promised to return on June 6, 2004.

Mr. Branowski expressed his complete satisfaction with the outcome of efforts made on his behalf by several people throughout the winter and spring of 2005. In addition to letters from County Baseball Publications written to George Steinbrenner, Brian Cashman, and Joe Torre, local businessmen Steve Kalafer, Jack Cust, Chris Gacos, and Jack Branowski (Stash’s son) made timely inquiries as well. The public relations blitz resulted in the return of a prized possession, bearing twenty-five signatures of the entire Yankees team.

Stash said it all when he told County Baseball that he was “elated to get it back.” Sounding every bit like the little kid at the ballpark who just got his favorite player to autograph his baseball, Stash effervesced about how he has shown his banner "to everyone in the neighborhood."

“And it couldn’t have come at a better time,” says Stash. He explained that, as soon as he received his prized banner back, the Yankees "started winning again." Who’s to argue with him? Mired in the middle of the American League East pack in the early summer, the team has indeed crept back up in the standings since the All-Star break to challenge perennial foes, the Boston Red Sox, for the division lead. At the very least, they now have a realistic chance to make the playoffs, when no more recently than two months ago – prior to the return of Stash’s banner and installment of the Hex – they resembled little more than a .500 ball club.

As true-blue as the season is long, and despite Joe Torre’s year-long delay in keeping his promise, Stash remains a staunch Yankees fan. "I never really lost confidence in them," he says, "I’m still a big fan."

And now, with Stash’s Hex a matter of baseball folklore, they may still make a serious run for the pennant, and, who knows, maybe even the World Series!

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