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Carl A. (HOP) Nuzzo

            A transplanted sports enthusiast, Carl A. (Hop) Nuzzo became one of the “main men” in the background of the town’s sports history.

              He never ran for a touchdown or ringed a hoop. He didn’t swing a bat in the years since 1951 when recreation director, Joe M. Trapasso, first recruited his services in 1951 and found an aide who became invaluable.

              Hop was the town’s umpire in chief not only for his impartiality on the field of play, but for his faculty for organization in arranging for arbitrators on all levels of athletic competition.

              He came from New Haven to marry into the Vailette family. In his earlier years, he is still remembered in the Elm City as the ablest of a coterie of managers who made softball success a byword during and after the Second World War. He handled Joe Small’s Arena Grille team after years of background work for various of the city’s baseball nines- not unlike the able Joe DeGale of the Campania Club before him.

              Beyond his capacity for detail, Hop was valuable for the lesson in fair play which he taught by example. It was a trait that made him an asset to amateur, professional and schoolboy talents throughout the town. He was the local authority who settled all disputes. His decisions were not always agreed with, but they were respected for the impartiality they commanded.

              A slim, energetic 5’9” dynamo was familiar about the town as an inveterate walker. He talked as fast as he perambulated, his words frequently tumbling out of his mouth when he expressed a “hot stove” appreciation for some victory or commiserated over a Branford defeat.

              For his unselfish devotion to the youngsters of our community, the East Main Street resident found peace, harmony and love in his adopted town. For him, it was easy. He was a friend to all.

 

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