02/04/2020 6:13 AM
Article By: Paul Galop
John Altobelli arrived on Cape Cod for the 2011 season as an assistant coach for the Brewster Whitecaps. He had the unique honor and privilege of coaching his own son JJ, who played that summer for the Whitecaps. After the 2011 season, “Alto” was promoted to Field Manager, a position he held for the next three years through the 2014 season.
I happened to be Commissioner for Alto’s full CCBL tenure and, as in every summer in the Cape Cod League, the Commissioner interacts heavily with the managers and general managers. The turnover in the CCBL field managers is historically low and thus the coach’s “fraternity” is very tight. They fight tooth and nail through every game as competitive professionals, but once the final out is recorded, they are extraordinarily close.
Having been Commissioner for fifteen years, observing how the “new guys” are adjusting has always been a concern and of keen interest. Some struggle and some succeed. John Altobelli soared! He immediately was embraced, especially by the eastern division managers of Schiff, Pick, Stevie and Kelly. The western division managers made up of Chad, Jeff, Mike, Harvey and Coop also accepted the new guy with open arms. When you receive such an overwhelming endorsement as the new guy on the block, especially from your peers which I believe to be the ultimate compliment, there is clearly something to it. It doesn’t work like that often, but it sure did with Alto.
From the start, it was as if Alto had been here for twenty years. The players loved him, the Brewster organization was overjoyed with his professionalism and demeanor, coaches and league officers noticed what a positive affect Alto had on everyone around him, and we could not have been more impressed and grateful for our good fortune of having Alto such a positive part of the CCBL family. Yes, he was an excellent coach, but he was an even better person. He was always smiling, coaching and teaching and thoroughly enjoyed his summers on the Cape to the fullest. Players left here as better players, better students and better citizens, thanks to Alto! He always seemed to feel lucky that he landed in Brewster for those four years, but it was all of us here in the CCBL who were the lucky ones!
We will always have the Altobelli family in our hearts. There really are no words at a time like this, other than thanks Alto for all you taught us. Godspeed John!!
Paul A. Galop
CCBL Commissioner 2004-2018
CCBL Commissioner Emeritus 2019