"We got to the playoffs," Lerner, 71, said. "We had a better season than the Phillies - a shorter season, but a better season."
Lerner and Sokol were in Arizona last week for the Men's Senior Baseball League World Series, joining players from across the country to form the Tri-Valley Giants.
Three other Giants players came from the area: history professor emeritus H. James "Burgie" Burgwyn, 76; practicing minister Lou Dunkle, 71; and John DeBenedictis, 74, a retired biomedical engineer who served as field manager.
The five players are good friends from playing in the Tri-State 48+/55+ Senior Baseball League, which covers Pennsylvania, Delaware, and New Jersey. The rest of the Giants came from an existing California-based team, as well as individual players from across the nation. Many teammates were complete strangers when they arrived.
"We were all there because of the love of the game. It wasn't like just walking into a house with strange guests," Burgwyn said.
Having participated in about 20 World Series tournaments, DeBenedictis said the experience was not about the score.
"As far as results are concerned, I've had better years," said DeBenedictis, who joked about possible negative impact on his game from all the pills he takes daily.
"But they've all been good," he added, "as far as the camaraderie and enjoying the game and meeting new people and renewing old acquaintances."
Lerner agreed, citing new friendships and the fun he had throughout the week.
"Baseball and the love of baseball, it's great glue for bringing people together and helping them to stick together," Lerner said. "I consider them friends . . . I hope to play ball with them again. We'd like to see what we can do next time."
Contact Jonathan Lai at 215-854-2771, firstname.lastname@example.org, or on Twitter @elaijuh.