HALLS OF FAME: LH opens its door to a 1,000-point scorer and the man with the arm of iron

HALLS OF FAME: LH opens its door to a 1,000-point scorer and the man with the arm of iron

reporter photo

WALLINGFORD — The Lyman Hall Hall of Fame will welcome home two star athletes next month at its 37th annual induction ceremony.

John Mattie and Jim Hartman will be honored along with the 1969 Class L state championship baseball team on Friday, May 10 at the school’s Dr. Richard A. Otto Auditorium. The festivities begin at 6:30 p.m. The 1969 baseball team will be given the “Historic Team Award.”

Mattie, a 1975 grad, was a force in the post and a 1,000-point scorer on the hardwood. Hartman, a 1966 grad, was a flame-throwing pitcher, one of an impressive string of Lyman Hall pitchers in the 1960s.

Dr. Stephen W. Hoag, long-time chairman of Lyman Hall's Hall of Fame, discovered in going through his vast LH archives that Hartman finished his high school career with spotless 23-0 record from 1964 to 1966.

“That pitching record hit me right over the head,” Hoag said. “That could very well be a state record.”

Hartman played for John Riccitelli. Bob Neubauer was the assistant coach.

Hartman’s career began with a 4-0 sophomore campaign in which he fanned 27 in 20 innings. He drew the Opening Day start and blanked Seymour in his varsity debut.

As a junior, Hartman went 7-0 in seven starts. Each was a complete game. Despite losing part of the season due to injury, Hartman tossed 44 innings and had 54 strikeouts and 11 walks.

In his epic senior season in 1966, Hartman logged an almost unthinkable 12-0 record.

“It’s incredible,” Hartman said. “I always say I wish I could go back to that season. That was the most exciting year.”

Hartman pitched in 15 of Lyman Hall’s 17 contests that season — 12 as a starter, three in releif. He went the distance in each start and the Trojans finished the regular season 16-1 with the Housatonic League banner.

Hartman, who had a nasty curve to go with his heat, had a string of 49 straight scoreless innings and punched out 141 batters.

“I never got a sore arm. They used to call me ‘Iron Man,’” Hartman said. “I never had to practice that year. The coaches would send me to Fairview Dairy to get a milkshake because I’d have to pitch again tomorrow. I hardly practiced. Every other day I was pitching. That was the most exciting year.”

His high school career stats over three years: 23-0, 1.96 ERA, 156 innings pitched, 222 strikeouts, 34 earned runs, 48 walks and 94 hits allowed.

”He was larger than life,” Hoag said. “It was so exciting to see someone throw rocket fire. His catcher Al Chrisman talks about catching him with two sponges in his catcher’s mitt instead of one.”

Chrisman, who caught Hartman all three years at LH, is traveling back to Wallingford from Florida for the May 10 ceremony. He will give Hartman’s Hall of Fame introduction.

Several other members of the 1966 LH baseball team are expected to be on hand for the induction.

Hartman and his wife Joanne live in Middletown. He retired a few years ago from then Ulbrich Steel after 35 years of service. As far as athletics, Hartman is still involved in archery and a pistol club.

In his spare time, he has many hobbies, including wood burning and building bird houses.

He said his daughter Dawn and her family, as well as and his brother Mark, who is traveling from North Carolina, will be in attendance.

As for Mattie, the 1,000-point scorer piled up 22 points and 10 rebounds per contest his senior year.

He signed off with 1,078 points. It was the most in Lyman Hall history when he signed off in 1975.

Mattie averaged 18 points per contest as a three-year starter as a 6-foot-3 forward. He was selected All Housatonic in his junior and senior seasons and was honorable mention All-State as a senior.

Mattie also played baseball at Lyman Hall. His career pitching record was 7-2.

Mattie was also a star in the classroom, where he was an honor student and graduated in the top 5 percent of his class.

He went on to the University of Hartford and continued both his basketball and baseball careers. He graduated with a degree in Accounting in 1979.

Now a resident of Farmington, Mattie retired last year from the international accounting firm Pricewaterhouse Coopers after 39 years. Most recently, he was a partner in charge of the firm’s U.S. Education and Academic Medical Center practice, managing a $200 million business line with over 500 professionals nationally.

Mattie held multiple senior management and leadership positions throughout his near-four decade tenure at Pricewaterhouse Coopers.

Mattie said he was surprised and honored to get the call from Hoag saying he had been chosen a Lyman Hall Hall of Famer.

“It’s a nice surprise after all of these years,” Mattie said. “I look back at my years at Lyman Hall very fondly. I’m a little unique because I grew up in Wallingford, but in the last 40-plus years I’ve been living around the country. I haven’t been active in the LH community, but I would drive my kids through the areas where I grew up.

“Secondly,” Mattie added. “I still remember things that my coaches and teachers said to me at Lyman Hall. What my coaches taught me helped me in the professional world. I would always fall back on that. I always maintained the knowledge of where I came from and it’s stayed with me.”

Fran Stupakevich, Nick Economopoulos, George Grasser, Phil Ottochian and Bill Freeman were the coaches Mattie singled out as influential on his athletic career and beyond.

“It’s going to be very special,” Mattie said. “I’m hoping that some of my classmates that are in the Hall will show up. I haven’t seen them in years. I’m hoping some of my coaches show up. It’s going to be pretty emotional.

“It almost feels like yesterday that I can hear their words to a 17-year old. They were like parents to me. If i see them again, it will be like seeing a close relative again. That’s the type of influence that sports program had on me.”

Mattie and his wife Linda have been married 33 years. The couple has two children and a granddaughter.

“I wasn’t the best athlete,” Mattie said. “I was a hard worker; I was a plodder. There were other athletes well deserving and had more illustrious careers and gave much more to the Wallingford community. I left town and had my career. I’ve gotten much more than I have ever given back to the Wallingford community.

“This is so much of an honor. Again, I’m hoping to see my old coaches. They have no idea how much of a positive influence they had on my life.”


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