Making Every Athlete Special
by Cate Murway
Collecting sports cards has been a popular hobby
for decades. Additional cards are produced
every year, so more choices for enthusiasts
and another layer of history is added to the hobby.
The sheer number of cards and sets
that are presented and having so many things to learn,
can make beginning a new card collection a little intimidating.
For the personal touch, it's hard to beat a sports card dealer - a store that specializes in selling sports cards, often along with other sports memorabilia, comic books or collectibles. Good dealers should be happy to answer all of your questions, which can be a big help when you're just starting out.
It’s to the benefit of historic Bristol on the Delaware, that there is a dealer right in town.
James Paul Lutz, Jr., BHS ’66/BCCC/Murray State University would accompany his dad on treks to Connie Mack stadium, baseball's first concrete and steel stadium, at the corner of 21st and Lehigh Streets to watch the Phillies play. The park was named Connie Mack Stadium in 1953 in honor of the gentlemanly and modest Mr. Mack, who then was known as "The Grand Old Man of Baseball".
One thing that purely and simply characterized the 1950’s was the Whiz Kids, a lineup of young players that included future Hall of Fame athletes, such as Richie Ashburn and Robin Roberts who clearly left a lasting impression on young Jim, leaving abounding excitement for the sport.
The late Field Artillery Sgt. James Paul, Sr. and Fortunata Marie “Naida” [Minuto] Lutz met at a dance and they worked together for Kaiser-Fleetwings, manufacturing components for aircrafts. They raised their family of three children, Maryann Elizabeth Sleppy, BHS ’61 who currently resides in Bristol Township, Jim, Jr. and William Thomas, BHS class of ’74 in their Madison Street home.
Jim’s mother was born in Philadelphia in 1914, one month after her parents “came over on the boat” from Italy. His dad was a train conductor on the Trenton to NY run for the PA railroad and he died when Jim was only eleven. Naida was left to raise their children. She worked as a truant officer/ attendance officer/ and home & school visitor for 20 years in the Bristol Borough School District, retiring in 1980.
Jim was able to do his part to assist his widowed mother. He worked as a “helper on the truck” for Joseph Alessio Lanza’s Bakery at 220 Dorrance Street from the age of twelve. “I helped load the truck at 6:00 a.m. in the morning. I earned $4.00 bucks a day and a loaf of bread to bring home.”
Jim’s scholastic athletic career included baseball, football and track & field. With his powerful arm, he hoisted the shot put close to 50’, earning a 2nd place medal at Districts, qualifying him for States at PSU his senior year. One of his coaches was the late Anthony “Chic” D’Angelo, BHS ’42, who was inducted into the 1988 BHS Hall of Fame. Another coach, Ronald Harry Sherratt, a BHS business teacher until 1971, is currently the treasurer of the Bristol Alumni Athletic Association.
“I remember he was extremely competitive and a good team member,” he shared.
Jim played the defensive lineman/tackle positions in football and he earned an “All County Honorable Mention” standing.
Jim was the athlete of the family but he did play a percussion instrument in junior high. His brother played drums and his sister played the clarinet in the BHS band.
His original plans were to attend Millersville University to play football. He opted to give up that sport to devote his time solely to earn a teaching degree.
John “Junior” Field recruited him to umpire baseball for $4.00 a game at the bases and $5.00 a game at the plate for the very powerful Bristol League when he was 17 years old.
Jim managed and coached the Bristol Bunting Trucking team and his friend, Joseph C. Buzzato “Buzzie”, coached the All Star team in the Senior Babe Ruth League. “They won every game in the districts; they won states”.
Junior wouldn’t pay him every week. “He told me, ‘I’ll pay you the weekend before you go back to school. Then I had $100.00 bucks!’”
His first instructor position was as a 5th grade teacher in the Manor Park Elementary School in the Morrisville School District. The starting salary was $7,000 a year. He still worked at the Lanza bakery on the weekends.
He met his wife, Nancy Jean [Hall] at a faculty meeting while they were both teaching in Morrisville. Nancy grew up in Turtle Creek, PA, a borough in Allegheny County.
They have two children. Track athlete, high jumper James Paul, III “J.P.”, who works for the Eagles and teaches at Rutgers. He earned his Masters in Sports Management.
Amanda Jean is a Physician’s Assistant at Lower Bucks Hospital who graduated from the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine.
Jim and Nancy also have 3 nephews and one niece.
Jim started the Bristol Borough T-Ball League in 1978, his community involvement of which he is most proud. He secured a $5,000 grant from the Grundy Foundation to begin the League with four teams. There was no charge for the athletes as they were funded by the $125.00 donation from each sponsor and the money collected when they “passed the hat”.
Cesare’s team sponsored the red shirted athletes, the Lions’ team wore purple shirts, Cunningham Fence donated white shirts and the HIBO’s provided green shirts for the excited young players.
“Each kid got their own trophy at the team picnic. They played and had fun. The last game was played under the lights.” He directed the association for twenty years.
As the Director of the Bristol Borough T-Ball League, Jim organized 2 teams for children with physical challenges, offering them a unique chance to play on the Bristol Lions special team. They would receive trophies, participate in the fun exercise and have an opportunity to be part of a team. Parents commented that their children’s balance and coordination had improved as well.
"Improving the quality of life of these kids was most gratifying."
With the extra teams, Jim needed a manager.
Charlie Gallagher had been a shortstop on one of his teams and Charlie’s brother, James would come to watch all of Charlie’s Babe Ruth games. James Gallagher overcame physical difficulties and became the manager of the team, at Jim’s request.
The Umpire was Junior Field, dubbed “Mr. Little League”, who had overcome enduring physical adversities himself after being afflicted with polio, the most dreaded childhood disease of the twentieth-century, before the age of one.
They let the kids play, try to win and enjoy the game.
“Kids were running down to first base in walkers.”
Jim was also the promoter of sports memorabilia conventions in the 1980's. His shows were always well run, well attended and always held on a Sunday. Jim added a little something extra that made his promotions more exciting. He arranged, for a very nominal fee of $15, a Sunday morning breakfast for the attendees and the shows guests before the doors opened.
Richard Alan “Dick” Sisler [1920 —1998] once shared the story about his pennant winning home run.
Jim also ran the first A’s Reunion Breakfast in March 1996 at the Ft. Washington Holiday Inn where more than 100 eager old time Philly A's fans turned out to reminisce with the former athletes Jim was able to secure.
Now another seat on the Borough Council East Ward is part of Jim’s game plan.
He began his Council run in 1973 for the 6th Ward.
He was defeated.
Jim was appointed to the Planning Commission, a sub-committee of Council.
He successfully ran for Council again and started his position in 1978.
In 1981, he ran for Mayor. Defeated again.
In 1986, he won a Council seat.
After being defeated again, he decided to sit out.
His last successful race was in 2007.
Jim, the life long Democrat lost the primary. He is running on the Republican ticket.
Often times when groups assemble, personal decision-making is relegated to the control group and those in charge of it.
Standing up for what we believe is right, and not going along with the crowd requires self- confidence and personal integrity and decorum.
The Bristol Borough Council members need to be united as one solidified team of individuals in a true collaborative setting, working toward each goal.
“Coming together is a beginning; keeping together is progress; working together is success.” Henry Ford
Vote. It is your responsibility to vote your confidence in the Borough’s governing body.
Recommend a “Spotlight”. E-mail email@example.com
Naida Minuto Lutz, age 96 of Yardley, PA, passed away Saturday, August 27, 2011 at St. Mary Medical Center. Born in Philadelphia, and raised in Burlington, NJ, Mrs. Lutz lived in Bristol, PA for most of her life. She had worked for Fleetwings in Bristol and retired from the Bristol Boro School District in 1980 working as an attendance officer for 20 years. She was a member of the Golden Marks and loved to knit, cook and play bingo.
Mrs. Lutz was preceded in death by her husband James P. Lutz, Sr., her parents Dominick and Mary Minuto, her sister Jean Paglione and her brother Paris Minuto. She is survived by three children, Maryanne Sleppy (Wendell), Jim Lutz, (Nancy) and William t. Lutz (Nancy), 6 grandchildren James and Jody Sleppy, J.P. and Amada Lutz and Adrienne and Jeffrey Lutz, 6 great grandchildren, Anthony, Hunter, Evan, Madison, Emma and Noah, her sister in law Jeanette Minuto and her daughter in law Jennie Lutz and several nieces and nephews.
Family and friends are invited to attend her viewings on Wednesday eve. August 31st from 6-9pm and Thursday Sept. 1st from 8:30-9:15am at the Molden Funeral Chapel Inc. 133 Otter St. Bristol, PA a funeral mass will follow Thursday 10am at St. Ann Church in Bristol with interment in Beverly National Cemetery. In lieu of flowers contributions may be made to the Naida Lutz Scholarship for Attendance at Bristol High School C/O Fidelity Savings To sign the online guestbook or send a condolence visit www.moldenfuneralchapel.com