Lee Joseph Scalisi

September 10, 1922 ~ December 23, 2010

Lee Joseph Scalisi, 88, passed away peacefully on Friday, December 22, 2010. Mr. Scalisi was the last survivor of 8 siblings born to Thomas and Josephine Terranova Scalisi. Lee was on the Landry boxing and football teams before graduating from Landry in 1939. From there, Mr. Scalisi served in the army and was stationed in Victoria, Texas. He then graduated from McNeese Junior College in 1948, and then received a Bachelor of Science degree from LSU in 1950. He went on to coach two winning football seasons at Plaquemine High School in Plaquemine, Louisiana. Mr. Scalisi returned to Lake Charles in 1952 to work in his family's grocery business and opened his own business in 1953 with his brother Frank Scalisi.

With Mr. Scalisi's avid interest in sports, he happened to take notice in a group of boys who seemed to display an above average talent in fast pitch softball. While many of the boys could not afford uniforms or appropriate equipment, Lee gathered sponsors and began intense coaching throughout the mid to late fifties. After winning several consecutive state fast pitch tournaments, these boys becoming men were named "The Goosport Phenomenon" by the Lake Charles American Press. The players included Buzzy Brunot, Mike Yennie, A.J. LaRacca, Norman Dartez, Don Newler and Johnnie Sydam. In 1962, "The Goosport Phenomenon" competed against teams from New York to California to win the National Softball championship in Hartford, Connecticut.

Mr. Scalisi joined the city of Lake Charles in the early sixties as assistant recreation commissioner under James Sudduth and served as recreation commissioner under Mayor Watson. Upon retiring, Lee's life was devoted to a passion for LSU and extensive travel throughout the U.S. and Europe. He was always found close to home during the LSU football season.

The city of Lake Charles has designated a space in the Lake Charles Civic Center (second floor) to "The Goosport Phenomenon". Most of them have been inducted into the National Softball Hall of Fame. Their pictures and softball memorabilia can be seen when visiting.

After developing an illness in 2003, he was cared for by his nephew, Tommy Scalisi. In the last few months, Lee was moved to Resthaven where he passed away.

He is survived by his nephews, Tommy Scalisi with the Calcasieu Parish School Board, Tony Cinquemano of Cinquemano's State Farm Insurance in New Orleans, and two nieces, Fran Swanson of Metairie and Joie Lang of Missouri.

Visitation will be held at Johnson Funeral Home on Monday, December 27 from 9:00 AM to 12:30 AM. Burial will be at 1:00 PM at Highland Memory Gardens.

In lieu of flowers, donations are asked to be made to the LSU Athletic Association.

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Memories Timeline


  1. i grew up in the second ward of lake charles, graduating from LCHS in 1955, playing ball against the boys of LEE'S teams and in particular his softball teams. LEE was top notch and his teams always tops in every way. he was a fine sportsman.

  2. I never knew how much I wouldmiss my Uncle Lee. He shared his softball ventures and travels with me. He also taught me the how to enjoy the high of winning. He was a winner. I will miss you greatly, Uncle Lee. Thank you!Tommy

  3. Lee was a blessing for so many youngsters, me included, that so many continues to benefit from his friendship through the years. The young men he helped with local teams and leagues (beginning in the 50's) and ASA for 60 or so years, have continued to share his love and passion for softball with two or three generations of area youth.He was loved and will be missed.

  4. Mr. Lee, WAS the moving force in the development of ASA slowpitch in Cameron Parish. I am proud to have served as a director with him. Mr. Lee was a true champion in the eyes of all the children his efforts reached. He will be remembered by all the Wild CATS.

  5. While playing Football at McNeese, Lee and I became friends. During my years of Coaching, he helped me in many ways. He was always there when I needed a friend.My thoughts and prayers go out to all of his family.

  6. With Love and memories Uncle Lee. Tommy and I spent the summers together with the family. We sold snow cones and sodas at the games. Really good memories of the summers I spent in Lake Charles. Love Joie.

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