Gerald Ford was president when the Beiro family began sponsoring Little League baseball teams in Alexandria in the mid-1970s. That tradition has continued for almost 50 years – and youth baseball players should still be wearing Beiro jerseys many years from now due to ongoing support from the Beiro Family Foundation.
The Beiro family will be honored for their decades of supporting ALL on Saturday, when the league’s Opening Day ceremony kicks off the 2023 youth baseball season at Little Simpson Field in Del Ray. Although their involvement started in the 70s, the Beiro Family Foundation took form in 1998 and serves as the focal point for many charitable activities, including ALL.
“Alexandria Little League is so grateful to AA Beiro Construction for being such a generous and dedicated sponsor to our league for so many years,” ALL President Sherry Reilly said in a statement. “The Beiro family has been a sponsor since the beginning, sponsoring two baseball teams every season for the past four-plus decades.”
It all began for the Beiro family in 1955 when Alex Sr., a Native New Yorker, and recent civil engineering graduate from the Catholic University of America, completed a three-year tour with the U.S. Army, one which included service in the Korean War. Now a civilian and beginning one of his first construction jobs in Pennsylvania, Beiro and his new bride, the former Jean Ann O’Connell were starting their family, which would grow to 11 with the addition of nine children – four sons and five daughters.
Jeni made her own mark on the baseball diamond as one of the first, and perhaps the first, girls to play on a boys’ little league team, which she did with Warwick Village in 1973 and 1974. The non-baseball training left an indelible mark on her.
“We had a coach, Mr. Jones, who was retired. He would pick me up and we would drive to Shirlington for practice, but before practice, we would run,” Jeni said. “We used to run over that long bridge that crossed [Route] 395. And then we’d do sit-ups, but I could always beat the others in sit-ups. But I always ended up with stomach cramps.”
The Beiros were not the only family-based team in town. Eugene Simpson and T.J. Fannon also fielded teams. A natural rivalry developed between the two construction companies. Yet, according to Mary Beiro, the rivalry ended on the diamond.
“They have both been long-time family friends of ours for years,” Mary said.
The league configuration may have had something to do with this. In the olden days, the league was split into three main divisions: (age 9-12), (13-14) and (15-17). Now, according to its website (alexandrialittleleague.org), there are seven divisions serving baseball players from age eight to 16, as well as an accompanying softball league.
A natural rivalry did not develop because sponsors were not sure which league would host their team.
“Usually, you sponsored a team, and the league would decide where to put it,”Mary said. However, by extension, the Beiros hosted most teams as they also sponsored each season’s All-Star games.
AA Beiro stayed active in sports and continued his dedication to Alexandria baseball until his passing in 2008, 11 years after Jean’s death. Alex Jr., himself an avid mountain biker and tennis player, picked up the torch as a main contributor before his death last November at age 64.
Today, the Beiro Family Foundation thrives and will allow for a team to be sponsored in perpetuity. The Foundation is also sponsoring scholarships for St. Rita’s and Blessed Sacrament schools, Bishop Ireton and Alexandria City High Schools and the Alexandria Scholarship Fund.
Reilly stressed ALL’s gratitude for the support the Beiro family has provided through the years.
“The Beiro family’s dedication to our community baseball league has helped so many Alexandria youth develop fellowship, form great friend- ships, and learn to love the game of baseball,” Reilly said in the statement. “At least two of our current board members played for AA Beiro teams in the eighties!”