Joe Adelizzi was a throwback to a time when all a sports reporter really needed was a 4-by-8 inch notebook, a pen and a memory for names and numbers. It also helped to be a fan.

And Joe was. He loved covering high school sports from Matawan to Manahawkin, and if you wanted to debate how good a team or player was he was equal to the task. While he recognized that times had changed he was a staunch believer that football games on Thanksgiving Day were every bit as important as turkey and stuffing, and he rarely missed the one between his alma mater, Toms River South, and Lakewood.

(Townsquare Media)

Adelizzi was a big part of an award-winning staff that made the sports section of the Asbury Park Press a must-read for anyone who played or followed everything from football to track. He arrived there in 1976 after seven years at the Ocean County Observer in which he went from taking scores of high school games to managing editor.

By 1978 he was the sports editor of the Press and for the next 15 years was responsible for a sports section that was annually recognized as among the best in the country. Later he would become a columnist and, before retiring in 2008, spent some time as a news reporter carrying his notebook from story to story.

By now you probably know this is a tribute as Joe Adelizzi passed away Saturday following what had been a lengthy illness. A 1964 graduate of his beloved Toms River High School (before it was South) he was Brooklyn born and bred and retained a part of that even though 56 of his 70 years were spent in Pine Beach.

I will leave his obituary to provide greater details about his accomplishments but in 1982 he was New Jersey Sportswriter of the Year and I was the Sportscaster of the Year, and we had a lot of fun in Salisbury, North Carolina for a few days. I’ll remember that, our Thanksgiving Day football debate, his somewhat outrageous selections in the fantasy football and baseball leagues we both played in and the fact we were both Mets fans who simply hated those guys in pinstripes.

Joe leaves behind his wife Lee, daughter Jacqueline, son Joseph, many friends and a few of those who still possess an “I Beat Joe” tee shirt. Those wishing to pay their respects can do so tomorrow (Wednesday) from 2-4 p.m. and 7-9 p.m. at Mastapeter Funeral Home in Bayville with a Funeral Mass on Thursday at St. Barnabas Roman Catholic Church at 11 a.m.

Goodbye Joe, and in tribute to you I’ll find a way to get Yoenis Cespedes on my fantasy team this season.

 

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