©2003 (Rick Wilson) Thomaston Express
A 5-foot-8, 170-pounder with Popeye forearms, he hammered baseballs with ferocity. First at Holy Cross, then at Mattatuck Community College, where he was a two-time All-New England pick and a junior college All-American. In 1993, he earned NEC Player of the Year honors playing for Sacred Heart University. From there, it was Modern Motors in the Twi-Met League and the Bethlehem Plowboys in the Tri-State League. They say it was a parasitic infection that was the cause of death. Still, in the throes of recovering from a liver transplant in March 2003, the immune system was not 100 percent, unable to repel the attack on his body. He hit .456 for the Plowboys in 2002 (was named Tri-State League MVP) and despite missing (the 2003) season was expected to help them reclaim the title in 2004. “Marc Damelio was the best hitter I ever played with and by far the best player,” said Bethlehem player/coach John Pettit. “Amateur-wise, he was one of the best players to come out of Waterbury. And he was an even better guy.” The same energy and ferocity translated well into the classroom (as a 5th grade teacher). He was the first one to his school everyday. He kept pushing to get back after the liver transplant because he wanted to be with his kids. He loved his job. He had a laugh and a smile and a firm hand when need be. The students respected him and he loved being with them. It was a good mix. One of the sentiments expressed was about how Marc’s baseball friends never had any idea what a great teacher he was and how his teaching friends never knew what a good baseball player he was. Maybe so. But they all knew what a great guy he was. An enviable legacy. He left a future that should have been long and bright. Maybe now, but probably more often in the future when the ache wears away, thanks for the 31 years will be in the offing. Today and tomorrow and the next day, you think in a raw mixture of grief and frustration, damn.
Damn. Damn. Damn. He will be missed. Damn.