Sport Hall of Fame to Honour Capreol Fastball Mazzucas
It’s been a long time coming but the dominance of Capreol fastball is finally getting its due. Sure, plenty of individual athletes from our town have been honoured for their competitive accomplishments but this is different. This is not one team being inducted into The Greater Sudbury Sports Hall of Fame; all the fastball teams that wore the Mazzucas jersey are going into the hall together. Every iteration. Every player. The Capreol Fastball Mazzucas are the first organization to be awarded the Norm Mayer Dynasty Award. And what a dynasty?!
The good news broke in 2020 when the Hall of Fame announcement became official, decades after the team’s last provincial championship, but then a little thing called the global pandemic happened. Plans got put to the side while the world argued over vaccines but, now that saner heads have prevailed and we’re all fully inoculated, it’s finally time to celebrate. The long-postponed 2020 ceremony is going ahead at last and all those originally scheduled for induction three summers back will join four new 2023 inductees. The 52ndAnnual Greater Sudbury Sports Hall of Fame Dinner, taking place Wednesday June 14th in the Caruso Club, will, no doubt, be a memorable evening for all involved. Tickets are available now.
For those unfamiliar with fastball, also called fast-pitch softball, you ought to know that the sport didn’t start in Capreol with the Mazzucas team. Fastball was popular in town long before Bob Mazzuca began sponsoring the club that bore his family name. In fact, play can be tracked as far back as the 1930s through newspaper clippings and yellowing scrapbook photos. Records indicate there were a series thriving leagues both prior to and following WWII. Numerous local businesses sponsored these hometown teams, including Capreol’s Legion Hall, but Bob took things to another level when he became the booster. It was his enthusiastic support, combined with the hard work of the players and coaches, that pushed Capreol’s fastballers to the highest heights.
Bob Mazzuca owned and operated the Riveria Hotel, a Capreol institution, and because of that connection the Sudbury press took to calling our team ‘the hotelmen’ or ‘the hoteliers’. The ‘Riv’ became an unofficial clubhouse, with the after-game parties achieving legendary status. But it was the achievements on the field, more than two decades of dominance, that earned the Capreol Fastball Mazzucas their coveted spot in The Greater Sudbury Sports Hall of Fame. A feat worth celebrating, either at the dinner or in town—the Northern Ontario Railroad Museum & Heritage Centre has a great display focussing on Capreol’s sporting past. Go check it out.
The EXPRESS will feature a story about the team in their June issue. But, for those who can’t wait, there’s always Matthew Del Papa’s 2018 book Capreol at Bat: The Fastball Years. That local sports history delves into the game of fastball, its origins, and offers plenty of photos.