Franz Strassmann stepped into the batter's box at Fallon Field in Roslindale. The bases were loaded in the third inning of a recent Boston Park League matchup.
A player/manager for Grossman Marketing, the right-handed Strassmann drove an outside pitch to right-center between two Towne Club outfielders, clearing the bases with a double in a game that ended in a 7-7 tie.
"Should have had a triple, but I wimped out," lamented the 57-year-old Strassmann, who did not play high school or college baseball.
Strassmann didn't have to make excuses for his base running.
The second-oldest active player in a baseball league composed mainly of players in their 20s, Strassmann is hitting .300 with a team-leading 11 RBIs. A Belmont police officer, he works the midnight shift to accommodate suiting up for six teams — sometimes with two or three on a weekend day.
Harvey Soolman was Strassmann's teammate on the Triple D's club in the Park League more than 30 years ago. At 65, he takes an occasional at-bat while managing the Towne Club.
"Franz made himself into a player and a manager,'' said Soolman, who played at Brookline High and whose Park League days date to 1970. Recalling last month's game, Soolman noted that Strassmann "also got a hit his first time up, and when he ran by our bench after the double to coach third base, we cussed each other out — but in a good-natured way.''
In addition to his police work, Strassmann is an attorney and part-time actor. He also has a musical background, and has worked in the hotel industry.
"I play as much as I do because I enjoy it and I am physically able to compete,'' said Strassmann, who played junior-varsity soccer at Belmont High (class of 1976).
"I look forward to going to work every day just as I look forward to playing ball. The moment either one becomes less enjoyable or more like a chore is the day I find another job or another hobby.''
He also suits up for the Brockton Athletics and Braintree Braves in the Men's Senior Baseball League, and three Waltham Braves teams: in the MSBL's Masters Division for ages 38-plus, and 38-plus and 48-plus squads in the Boston Amateur Baseball League.
That adds up to an estimated 100-plus games a year — including 25 in June (there were a few rainouts) — as an infielder, outfielder, pitcher, and designated hitter. He estimates that this month he will play in 30 of his 46 scheduled games.
He also competes in MSBL-sponsored regional and national tournaments.
"No question, I'm still a kid at heart,'' said Strassmann, who is single and has three siblings.
"I have had the opportunity to play in Fort Myers with former Red Sox players Bill Lee, Bill Campbell, Gary Allenson, "Oil Can" Boyd, and Rick Miller, and I have worn No. 16 since Miller wore it with the Red Sox, so sharing that story with him was pretty cool.''
A teammate on the Brockton and Grossman Marketing squads, Johnny Hayes, said Strassmann has been a mentor.
"Franz has had a lot of life experiences and he keeps the atmosphere light with his teammates, '' said Hayes, a former catcher at Somerville High and Suffolk University. "He's held in high regard for his passion for the game, lifts religiously, set a great example, and still keeps his edge as a player.''
In 14 games last season for Grossman, Strassmann hit .390; in 2008, in his first season as skipper, he was the Park League Manager of the Year after guiding the club to the championship.
That same year, he posted a 1.36 earned run average in the MSBL.
"It's not unusual to see Franz get to the station in his baseball uniform, take a shower, and then start his shift,'' said Belmont Police Lieutenant Chris Donahue, a Little League coach in town.
"Franz is compassionate and one of the best communicators in our department,'' added Donahue, noting Strassmann's "unique skill set'' includes helping the elderly guard against identity theft or contractor fraud as liaison to the Belmont Housing Authority.
Added Strassmann, "There is nothing worse than a predator or a bully, and I have done my best to at least make a small difference.''
He said he decided he could at least hold his own on the diamond after taking a physical education course in baseball skills as an undergrad at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, where he majored in English. He later earned his master's in hotel restaurant travel administration.
He joined Triple D's in 1980 and then the Park League's Conley Club the following year, played fast-pitch softball from 1981-88 in Belmont, and returned to baseball as a player for 16 seasons in Boston's Yawkey League.
His baseball travels took him to Germany in 1995 and '96, when he played for the country's national team and with the Mannheim Amigos in the Bundesliga, Germany's top professional league.
A dual citizen, Strassmann worked in the banquets department at the Dorint Hotel in Mannheim and eventually tracked down his father's biological family in Germany.
His father, Fred, 85, a former psychiatric social worker, and mother, Joan, 80, once a nationally ranked amateur tennis player, live in Belmont.
"I think Franz got his athleticism from our mother and his ability to be a good listener from our father,'' said Strassmann's brother, Mark, a CBS News correspondent who lives in Atlanta.
"Just the sheer number of people he knows is remarkable, and what a late-life surprise he gave to our dad. It impresses me how he has kept that Walter Mitty-like enthusiasm all these years.''
Strassmann, who played trumpet in the UMass Jazz Ensemble, got into movies in 2007 as the result of a newspaper ad seeking '70s-era cars.
"I have a 1972 Jaguar convertible,'' he said, "so I sent in a photo and they asked me to work on the Cameron Diaz movie 'The Box.' I appeared in several scenes and got hooked.''
His other roles included a Gotham City police officer in "Dark Knight Rises," a German concentration camp guard in "Shutter Island," and, last fall, a nightclub patron in "Bleed for This," the story of boxer Vinny Pazienza, which is in postproduction.
He has kept his eclectic pursuits in perspective.
One night recently he was on a midshift break in Belmont and trying to figure out why his Grossman Marketing team (10-15-1 record) was struggling when he received a call to respond to a single-car accident.
Strassmann and his partner pulled the driver through the car's window and began CPR before the ambulance arrived.
"All of a sudden,'' he said, a losing record "didn't seem so bad or so important.''
Then he ripped off its fifth straight win on Thursday night.
Marvin Pave can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.