Sigmond “Ziggy” Strzelecki is best remembered for the impact he had on Bartlett High School students and others, whether it as a teach, administrator, and coach for 37 years.
Much has been written about him over the years, including his accomplishments as a basketball player. He is enshrined elsewhere, such as the Clark University Athletic Hall of Fame for his stellar Cougar basketball career; and the state Baseball Coaches Association Hall of Fame, for his 292-78 record at Bartlett. Earlier this month, on October 4, Ziggy was inducted into the New England Basketball Hall of Fame at the University of Rhode Island.
Ziggy came to Webster in 1945 after turning down an offer to play with the newly formed Boston Celtics. He coached coached Bartlett baseball from 1952 to 1974. Four of those teams lost only one game and 10 others lost just two. The 1973 team reached the state Small Schools final, and the 1964 and 1972 teams played in state semifinal rounds. Collectively, his teams compiled a .790 winning percentage.
Ziggy also taught discipline, fair play, humility, and sportsmanship. The policies, traditions, and philosophies paved the road for the fine reputation Bartlett High School has had for decades.
Trademarks many will remember – the cigar, Bartlett baseball cap, the dark eyebrows, and silver hair. His elongated “un-believe-able” and “I’d rather be lucky than good,” still are embedded in many minds. The friendships, the kindness, the almost supernatural magnetism that brought people to him are also remembered.
Former Red Sox baseball announcer Ken Coleman wrote a poem about this legendary, gifted man. A line near the poem’s end reads: “And also one of the best men that God has ever made.”
The late Sigmond Strzelecki’s wife, Dorothy, lives in Dudley. A daughter Joan lives in Toronto and a son Paul lives in Webster. A son John died two years ago.