NORWALK, Conn. Norwalk brothers Jim and Joe Parlanti will be honored as the Norwalk Sports Persons of the Year at the seventh annual Fairfield County SportsNight dinner on Oct. 17 at the Hyatt Regency Greenwich. The Parlantis have been long-time supporters and volunteers in the Norwalk youth baseball community.
Jim has been the president and treasurer of Norwalk Athletic Association Babe Ruth Baseball, while Joe has been vice president of Babe Ruth. They both played a vital role to help Norwalk secure this summers 13-year-old New England Babe Ruth Baseball Tournament. It was the first New England Babe Ruth tournament hosted by Norwalk.
The eight-team tournament included Norwalk as host team, state champions from Connecticut, Rhode Island, Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont and champions from Western Massachusetts and Eastern Massachusetts.
It was not the first time the Parlantis have coordinated a successful tournament. Joe was president and Jim was treasurer of the Norwalk Cal Ripken League from 2003-07, an era in which they hosted five district tournaments and one state tournament.
Through the foresight of the Parlanti brothers, the Norwalk Cal Ripken League was one of the first in the state to increase the distances of the bases to 70 feet and the distance from the mound to home plate to 60 feet after the national governing body of Cal Ripken leagues authorized that the leagues may have that option. Though many leagues statewide opted to stay with the shorter distances, the Parlantis saw the value in enabling the younger boys to make a transition to a bigger field, and eventually most other Cal Ripken leagues in the state followed their lead.
The Parlantis have also been successful coaches and administrators for several other baseball leagues in Norwalk, including t-ball.
The newest members of the Fairfield County Sports Hall of Fame and 15 Sports Persons of the Year from county communities will be recognized at the dinner. Sports personalities slated to attend are former Yankees pitcher Tommy John, ex-NY Giants football player Bob Hyland, Lowes Moore, who played with the New Jersey Nets, former world boxing champion Travis Simms and Wes Matthews, a two-time NBA champion with the LA Lakers.
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