Richard Aguzzi, baseball was a passion. He grew up in the golden era of baseball in the 1950’s, and it was no surprise he was a fan of the Yankees. Throughout the decade he enjoyed success from little league to college. He was a dominant hitter and outstanding ballplayer.
Dick had a typical childhood for a young man whose father was an accomplished ballplayer, Al “Doc” Aguzzi. Neighborhood teams were commonplace in Branford, growing up in the shadows of the old Branford Lockworks he played with noted BSHOF members, Jack Cirie, Dick DeSarbo, the McGowans and Petela’s. Everything was within walking distance for these young men: the Community House, Hammer Field and Page’s Sport Shop. They played in the recreation department leagues run by legends Joe Trapasso, Chet Blomquist, and Stan Petela.
Dick distinguished himself at every level beginning as a Little League All-Star. In PONY League,
Dick and his team from Branford were Connecticut State Champs, later in the regionals they played a team from Mount Vernon , NY. Dick turned in a stellar performance striking out 17, while driving in two runs. As a high school freshman, Dick and his good friend Dick DeSarbo were so talented, they were asked to play for the local men’s team in the Middlesex League, the Branford Townies.
Dick would continue his success as a good contact hitter with power at Branford High School . Opposing pitchers found it difficult to throw a fastball at him. The Hornets would go on to win consecutive Housatonic League championships in ‘57 and ‘58 under Coach Gerry Crotty, with Dick Aguzzi leading the way as Housy batting (.425 average) and home run champ.
Dick graduated from BHS in 1958, the last class from the old building on Eades Street.
For many young men standing in the batter’s box at Hammer Field, they could see their career choices: the Atlantic Wire down the left field line and the Malleable Iron Fittings down the right field corner. Rich’s father “Doc” would work there for over 30 years as would many of the Aguzzi boys during the summers. Dick had bigger aspirations, going to SCSU where he continued to make a name for himself on the diamond. During the ‘60 and ‘61 seasons while Mantle and Maris were hitting the cover off the ball in the Bronx , Dick was pounding the baseball around the yard for the Owls. He participated in tryouts for the Yankees and Athletics, under the watchful eye of Whitey Puirek. NH Register sports writer Bill Guthrie acknowledged “ Dick Aguzzi was the most powerful hitter at the tryouts at Bowen Field. ” He was invited to play in the Cape Cod Summer League. Dick distinguished himself in the classroom earning Dean’s List honors all four years, and would later go on to pursue a masters and 6th year degree in administration.
He graduated from SCSU in 1962, and pursued a teaching career in Los Angeles with his friend MIke Salvin. After two years teaching at the junior high level out west, he returned home to Connecticut, eventually landing at David Wooster Junior High in Stratford for 34 years. Dick was ahead of his time academically, he received an award from the University of Illinois for a project on alternative energy. He was an academic leader, creating innovative programs and curriculum for the school. Despite many opportunities to move up, he preferred the classroom over being an administrator.
After his competitive baseball days were over Dick played for the Silver Dollar team in the men’s softball league in town and the team competed throughout the state representing Branford.
Rich was married to his wife Dianne and is survived by his three step children Sandra, Jaqueline, and Mathew and eight grandchildren. In his spare time he was a passionate golfer and avid gardener.
Tonight Dick Aguzzi joins his father the late Alfred “Doc” Aguzzi, his brothers Robert “Tomo” Aguzzi and the late Alfred “Allie” Aguzzi into the Branford Sports Hall of Fame, a tribute to a family that gave so much to the game of baseball and more importantly to the lives of of countless students and athletes who benefitted from their dedication and passion for the sport.