Edwin J. Cornwell
Longtime NABF Member & Supporter, Past President-Bridgeport Senior City League (CT)
December 27, 1935 – September 25, 2017
Edwin James Cornwell, longtime NABF member and supporter and past president of the Bridgeport Senior City League (CT), passed away peacefully at his home in Bridgeport on Monday, September 25, 2017 surrounded by his loving family. He was 81. Born on December 27, 1935 in Bridgeport and raised in the East End, he was the only child of the late Raymond and Mary DeMattia Cornwell. He graduated from Lincoln School and Warren Harding High School, and started playing baseball with the East End Pal and Royals teams. This began a deep involvement in sports, especially baseball, for the last 60 years as a player, coach, sponsor, scout and league administrator.
At Harding, Ed, who was too small to participate in varsity sports, was football and basketball manager under Coach Steve Miska and baseball manager under Coach Sal Caggianello. In 1952, at the tender age of 16, Ed coached his first team, the Picayunes, in the Junior Recreation League. This team copped league titles in 1954, 1955 and 1956 and were State Runner-ups in 1956. Some of his players were the late John Lewis, Bob Liptak, Lou Zayas, Dick Panuzak and Mickey Buckmir. During this period, he coached the Picayunes and Ferrando's basketball teams.
In late 1956, Ed volunteered in the U. S. Army. He served as a tanker with the 11th Armor Cavalry Regiment at Fort Knox, Kentucky and West Germany.
Returning to the local scene in 1959, Ed joined Charlie Rich's Royals baseball program and coached in the Bridgeport Pony league until 1964. Along with Mike Fettig and Jack Ceccarelli in 1961 and with Milo Albanese in 1963, he led the Pony All Stars to the Pony World Series in Washington, PA. Some of his players included Dave Bike, Sandy Sulzycki, Jack Kvancz, Ken Bruno, Tom Lyddy, Joe Galatie and Ron Steele. From 1965 through 1968, Ed coached Pilots in the Senior City League, Grasso-Seavy American Legion team and the Connecticut Oxygen Connie Mack team with Buzz Dobbs. The latter club won League, State and Regional titles in 1967 and 1968 and participated in the Connie Mack World Series in Farmington, New Mexico. His 1968 team lost a tough 1-0 game to Cincinnati, Ohio in the finals. His Connie Mack teams were led by Rick Anderson, Tom Finch, John Slosar, Harold Smith, Richie Mariconda, Richie Dobbs and Coach Sandy Sulzycki.
In 1969, he joined the Philadelphia Phillies as a scout under Dick Teed. He remained with the Phillies until 1975 when he joined the Cincinnati Reds as a scout under Porter Blinn. He remained in this capacity through the 1982 season until family and work schedule demands caused him to resign. He recommended four players who reached the Major Leagues, namely, former Mets pitching coach Dave Wallace, who played for the Phillies and local star, Kurt Kepshire, Fairfield University's Keefe Cato and North Haven's Paul Householder. There were also many players that Ed helped to minor league and college careers.
In the 1980's, Ed returned to the local amateur baseball scene. This association continues until today. In the late 1980's and early 1990's, he assisted Andy Van Etten and Mickey Buckmir with Bobby Valentine's entry in the West Haven League and with the Stratford PAL in the Senior City League. The latter club won five straight league titles and the AABC Stan Musial State title in 1991 while Ed was with them. Some of the players were: Dom Martone, Kurt Kepshire, Jim Tonelli, Mick Buckmir, Al Walania, Rich Licursi and Kevin Kerkes.
In 1992, he joined his longtime friend, Frank Snyder with the Paul's of Milford and late the Bridgeport Energy teams in the Senior City and Fairfield County Leagues. Players from these combines included Tim Belcher, Steve Hine, Adam Samuelian, Glen Maxwell and Tom Mead.
Ed ably served as President of the Senior City League for 20 years. In 1992, he received the Bob Palmer Jr. Sportsmanship Award from the Connecticut Amateur Baseball Congress. In 1994, the Senior City League named its Coach of the Year Award in his honor. Ed was past president and honoree in 2000 and 2016 of the Greater Bridgeport Oldtimer's Athletic Association and also served as Membership Secretary.
Ed retired from the State of Connecticut in 1992. In addition to his beloved fiancee of 25 years, Nancy Corr, he has nine children, Eddie and Amanda Cornwell of Arlington, TN, Carrie and Rob Virgutto of Higganum, Gretchen and Mike Radecki of Bristol, Shannon and Josie Fenton of Seymour, Aaron and Amber Corr of Portola, CA, Wendy and Terry Hanratta of Mt. Juliet, TN, Sean Fenton of Milford, Bryn Parrish of Seattle, WA and Theresa Cornwell of New York, NY, seventeen grandchildren, Garrett, Samantha, Leah, Isabella, Louis, Sarah, Megan, Cameron, Madeline, Owen, Henry, Terry, Courtney, Robert, Joey, Hannah and Abigail.
Friends are invited to meet directly in Our Lady of Grace Church, 497 Second Hill Lane, Stratford on Friday, September 29, 2017 at 11:00 a.m. for a Mass of Christian Burial. Interment with Military Honors will follow in Lakeview Cemetery, Bridgeport. Family and friends may call on Thursday from 4:00 to 8:00 p.m. at The Abriola Parkview Funeral Home, 419 White Plains Road, Trumbull.