A Tribute to John Scalzi

No, not me. There was a John Scalzi back in the 1920s and 30s who was quite the sportsman, playing baseball, football and basketball, and who made it all the way into the pro leagues in the first of these, with the Boston Braves, although apparently an arm injury made his tenure very short. He went on to be the president of a minor league for a few years and eventually had a park named for him in his hometown in Stamford, Connecticut. In terms of notable John Scalzis, he’s right up there with the late John B. Scalzi, in his life the nation’s most pre-eminent masonry scientist (the highest award in masonry science is the Scalzi Award, don’t you know). And you know, I don’t have a park named after me anywhere, so maybe he’s the most famous John Scalzi after all.

The Stamford Historical Society has unearthed “A Tribute to John Scalzi,” dating back to 1963, so if you’re at all curious about this athletic triple-threat who just happens to share my name (we’re not related, as far as I know), here’s the link. Enjoy.

7 Comments on “A Tribute to John Scalzi”

  1. John —

    I’ve actually been to said park to shoot a movie on their baseball field around about the time of the whole Aussie Scalzi Incident (“ASI”). It made me laugh but nice to hear the story of the dude.

    I’m not sure if this counts in various “Six Degrees” games — but if so, you are now exactly two degrees away from Tony Soprano (via Michael Imperioli, who shot the movie in your park)….

    Feel free to intimidate your friends, because you now Know A Guy.

  2. John Scalzi sounds like Jim Thorpe… if he only ran track and had a couple of Olympic medals!!!

  3. changterhune – Before you hear lies from Chang Terhune himself, we thought we’d tell you the truth: without us, his old action figures, he’d be nowhere. He loved science fiction from way back and began reading it at an early age, but it was through us that he acted it all out. That’s what led to the writing. He watched a lot of science fiction shows like Star Trek, U.F.O, and movies, too. But we were always there to do his bidding. And it’s like they say: you always forget about the little people on your way up. Oh, the 70’s and early 80’s with him were good times! He’d use these blocks and make all the crazy buildings for us to be in his stories. I gotta say the kid’s imagination was pretty damn fertile. Oh, he had friends, but they just weren’t into it like him. He was like the Lance Armstrong of action figures. And of science fiction. At first, when he began writing in the eighth grade, we didn’t mind. He still made time for us. And we knew that when he was holding us in his sweaty little hands and he got that far off look in his eye, he’d come back to burying us in the back yard or - god forbid! – blowing us up with firecrackers. But it was worth it for a part in one of those stories. We loved him for it. He kept us around even when we were minus a leg or two - or even a head. In that mind of his, he found a use for all of us. Then he discovered girls. October, 1986. It was like the end of the world. One day we’re standing in the middle of this building block creation he’d pretended was some marble city on a planet near Alpha Centauri and the next we were stuck in a box in the closet. Not even a “See ya later!” Nope, it was into the closet, then we heard some high-pitched girly-giggles then silence. We didn’t see him for years. We got word about him once in a while. Heard he took up writing, but it was crap like “The Breakfast Club” only with better music. We couldn’t believe it. Not Charlie. What happened to those aliens with heads he’d sculpted out of wax? Spaceships? Those complex plots? All gone. For what? You guessed it: Girls. Emotions. “Serious fiction.” I tell you, it was like hearing Elvis had left the building. During our two decade exile in the closet, we heard other things about him. He went to college. He wrote a lot, but not much he really liked. We knew it even then. It was like he didn’t dare write science fiction. Some of us had lost hope and just lay there. Others kept vigil, hoping for a day we didn’t dare speak about. Then we heard he’d stopped writing in 1996. Did he come to reclaim us? No. He took up music for ten years or so. He took up yoga. Once in a while, he’d visit us in the closet. But it was half-hearted. His mind was elsewhere. Then one day, he really did come back for us. One second we’re in the dark and the next thing we know we’re in a car headed for Massachusetts. Suddenly we got a whole shelf to ourselves out in broad daylight! Then he bought a bunch of others form some planet called Ebay. He’d just sit and stare at us with that old look. But why were we suddenly back in the picture? He had a wife now, who didn’t mind that he played with us. So what had happened? Turns out he’d never forgotten about those stories. He’d been thinking about all of us and the stories he’d made up and then remembered he’d been a writer once. From the shelf we could see him typing away. Before long he’s got a whole novel together! Then he’s working on another one. Word is there are two more in the planning stages! Some short stories, too! It’s good to see him using his imagination again. Its good to know he never abandoned us. He returned to his true love of science fiction. We hear the stories are pretty good. Someday we’ll get one of the cats to score us a copy of the manuscript. Man, it’s good to be out of the damn closet! --- I'm smarter than you I'm harder than you I'm better than you I'm just raw I'm hotter than you More popular than you More clever than you And goshdarn it, people like me I'm smarter than you I'm harder than you I'm better than you I'm just raw I'm hotter than you More popular than you More clever than you And goshdarn it, people like me
    Chang in Sensurround!

    ZOMFGBBQ!!!!!!

    I used to hang around in Sclazi Park alla time!!!

    Actually I had to look it up on MapTube but I did used to live around there.

  4. I grew up in Stamford CT and am quite familiar with the area, though it’s been years since I’ve been there. (I now live in the UK). I’m sure it’s changed quite a bit since I saw it last.

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