(FORTRESS OF SOLITUDE, HAPPY NEW YEAR’S EVE, 2018) — THE PLANET is thrilled to announce the winner of this year’s coveted ORBIT AWARD.

Before we announce the victor, let us thank the Selection Committee (SC) for their stalwart work, taking the time as they did from their attentions both prior to and after the Syracuse Orange’s football pummeling of the West Virginia Mountaineers, 34-18. The Orange rose to the occasion when it mattered the most in a clutch 4th quarter that belong up there in the ‘Cuse’s storied football annals. In a way, the win in its own way glorifies the SC’s choice, for he himself faced the-then Orangemen several times in old Archbold Stadium.

And the winner is …

… Chuck Garivaltis.

The SC selected Garivaltis on the basis of his cogent remarks on this board. They also gave weight to his past decades of service to the city of Pittsfield, going back to the 1950s. In the mid-1950s, Chuck first made his name on the playing fields and sandlots of the city. THE PLANET still rates him as the best all-around pure hitter ever to come from the Berkshires, a group that includes major leaguers Gene Hermanski, Dale Long, and Tommy Grieve. He starred in the outfield for the Generals of PHS, with his future Colgate roomie Larry Bossidy anchoring the rotation. At Colgate, Chuck played baseball and was a two-way starter, playing halfback on “O” and defensive back on “D.” He’s probably the only man (one of the few, at least) to bring down Jimmy Brown with an open-field solo tackle.

The tackle on Brown has ascended into myth. A few years back, we asked CG to recount the moment while we both looked at the photo [EDITOR’S NOTE: TECHNICAL REASONS PREVENTED US FROM REPUBLISHING THE PHOTO HERE; WE TRIED BUT THE GREMLINS SAID “NO”]

“Everyone who sees this photo asks me if I got him. Indeed I did. Notice the caption says he gained 11 yards. I was defensive left halfback and if he got by me he would have gone 70 yards for a touchdown. Notice his look of determination. I got him in the knees and he went down. One of the few times he [ever] went down with a single tackle.

“If I had hit Jim above the waist he would have carried me forward for another 10 yards or plowed me over and went for another 70 yards. I saw many pros wind up on their backs when they hit him above the waist. Notice the blocking. The play was designed for Jim to take the inside route. I was to be blocked to the outside and the route cleared to the inside. Notice other Syracuse blocks. Jim made his move to the inside expecting the blocker to take me out. I had to wave the blocker off and watch Jim, who expected his blocker to take me out clearing his way to the end zone. He was now a step away coming full speed. That’s 6’2″ 220 pounds at full speed. So it was get rid of the blocker and take a step forward in a crouch so I could hit him in the knees. Talk about split second timing.”

Chuck was a two-time (consecutive) selection to the prestigious Heart New England All Star Game, played at Fenway Park. Each year, the Hearst team chose the top 38 ballplayers from all of New England. How do you top that? By winning the batting crown two years in a row at the nationally acclaimed AABA Tournament, hitting an otherworldly .483 in 1952 and following it up with a .625 average. His lifetime .533 mark in the tourney, played to this day, still stands. No other hitter has won two battings crowns. And by the way, playing with him during those years was an outfielder named Al Kaline. Maybe you heard of him.

———- ooo ———-

More than a collectible.

After college, Chuck spent two years in the New York-San Francisco Giants organization, playing with future Jint stars Felipe Alou and Jose Pagan. Then it was off the Chicago then Boston as a rising marketing executive for Revlon. But as fate would have it,  family matters called him home, and there he stayed, taking over management of the old Pickwick Hotel on West Street. He would go from there into real estate and city politics, serving as a councilor, member of the school committee, parks commissioner, and mayoral candidate. For many years, just as with Peter Arlos, nearly all of the city and county’s would seek his advice. Including THE PLANET. We’ve had four local political mentors: The Aging Greek God, the redoubtable Mary Flynn of Stockbridge, and Chuck.

If this sounds like hero worship, well, it is.

THE PLANET fully agrees with the selection of Chuck as this year’s ORBIT winner. We shall be having the pleasure soon of hosting him for breakfast at the Red Lion Inn in Stockbridge, a venue fit for this man of distinction, a man we are proud to call a long-time personal hero (that word again) and — more importantly — friend (one of the English language’s best words).

We thank all those who participated not only in this year’s ORBIT but also contributed through their readership to the popularity of this site. Won’t you join me in extending congrats and good wishes to this solid, decent man.

Let’s ring out 2018 with thanks.

Let’s ring in 2019 with the determination to improve.

Go forward.

Make it new.


I can spin on a nickel and spit out the change” — Sir Tiberius Fruitjuice.



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68 Responses to ““AND THE WINNER IS …””

  1. Cicero
    December 30, 2018 at 9:38 pm #

    I do not know Chuck at all (beyond a few comment exchanges here) and did not know much about his background before this column. But I am always moved to learn about lives that have been well lived and Chuck’s certainly qualifies.

    You made a wise choice, Dan.

    Chuck, congrats and all the best in 2019.

    • danvalenti
      December 31, 2018 at 7:47 pm #

      Thanks CIRCERO. And let us say we appreciate your input to this board. It presents a much needed perspective.

  2. Johnny99
    December 30, 2018 at 9:43 pm #

    Mr. Garivaltis,

    Congratulations on your selection as The 2018 Orbiteer Awardee.

  3. dusty
    December 31, 2018 at 1:34 am #

    Congratulations Chuck. You stand tall among us.

  4. Magic
    December 31, 2018 at 4:20 am #

    Congratulations Chuck – Happy New Year to you and yours

  5. Chuck Garivaltis
    December 31, 2018 at 6:25 am #

    I want to thank the Selection Committee and The Planet for honoring me with this years ORBIT AWARD.

    To those who have sent congratulatory messages to me, Cicero, Johnny99, Dusty, and Magic, I thank you very much.

    I am thrilled to be the recipient of this coveted award. I do look upon it as an award and I am thrilled to be chosen.

    HAPPY NEW YEAR to all.

    • Juicy Lucy
      December 31, 2018 at 9:06 am #

      GREEK GOD.

      • Chuck Garivaltis
        January 2, 2019 at 7:24 am #

        Wow! Maybe used to be, not sure about now.

        Nice nickname, “Juicy”.

    • Thomas More
      December 31, 2018 at 11:39 am #

      Congrats Chuck – If Hammerin’ Hank was still with us I’m sure he’d be thrilled.

      • Chuck Garivaltis
        January 2, 2019 at 7:26 am #

        Wasn’t Hammerin’ something,Tom? We miss guys like him. It was Pittsfield in another day.

        • danvalenti
          January 2, 2019 at 8:38 am #

          And guys like Touchdown Tony Ferdyn. I miss my days talking to him over at the guard shack in the Berkshire Bank parking lot behind old city hall. Great stories. Guys like Touchdown Tony, Joe Zavvy, Donny Morehead, Art Ditmar, Ray Wojtkowski, and so many others, some living and some gone. They were SOLID men, men’s men, who made the city a clean, well-lighted place.

    • danvalenti
      December 31, 2018 at 7:48 pm #

      Our pleasure ENTIRELY. From Peter Arlos, I learned strategy. From Mary Flynn, determination. From you, decency and strength.
      Well deserved, my man!

  6. The school committee
    December 31, 2018 at 6:30 am #

    There could be no other choice. Congratulations to Chuck and Happy New Year to all.

  7. Barbados
    December 31, 2018 at 8:47 am #

    Great choice DV and Planet. Ive never met Chuck but have heard much about him. I congratulate him. He’s the kind of solid guy that made the city what it was. Amazed to learn about his abilities as a footballer and baseball star.

  8. Joe Pinhead
    December 31, 2018 at 10:53 am #

    Congratulations to Chuck and the SC on such a wise choice.
    Good news is we here on the Planet have all been the benefactors of his wisdom via his posts.

    Congratulations Chuck

    Happy New year to All

  9. Jonathan Melle
    December 31, 2018 at 2:18 pm #

    Congratulations, Chuck! You’re one of Pittsfield’s best people! I admire people whose hearts are in the right place.

  10. dusty
    December 31, 2018 at 2:40 pm #

    Just checked the website for Pittsfield. Your mayor is not likely to be talking about what you will see on this site at her state of the city address next week. But be aware Pittsfield is a dangerous, scary place to live. And make sure you lock your shit up because the walking dead are roaming about at all times looking to steal your stuff. The odds are increasing every day that you will become a victim yourself. Stay alert.

  11. CosbiesLadies
    December 31, 2018 at 2:55 pm #

    The following mechanism helps us understand what is happening

    Each time the code makes a function call, Python puts information on the “call stack”, including
    All values of parameters and local variables
    The location in the code where the function call is being made.
    Python then makes the function call, switching execution to the start of the called function.
    This function in turn can make additional (potentially recursive) function calls, adding information to the top of the stack each time.
    When a function ends, Python looks at the top of the stack, and
    restores the values of the local variables and parameters of the most recent calling function,
    removes this information from the top of the stack,
    inserts the returned value of the called function (if any) in the appropriate location of the calling function’s code, and
    continues execution from the location where the call was made.

    The Readers Chice Award goes to Art Seller..Congrats Chuck on the Orbit.

    • Mr. Fritz
      December 31, 2018 at 3:00 pm #

      Now you’ve resorted to giving yourself an award?! Pathetic.

      Congrats Chuck on the honors – you deserve it!

      • Shakes
        December 31, 2018 at 4:36 pm #

        It’s been almost a year since the g-man’s lawsuit against the eagle was thrown out of court because he admitted he was drunk just like the Eagle said he was. Unfortunately to have your character defamed you have to have some character to begin with.

        • H
          December 31, 2018 at 4:58 pm #

          Great for you Chuck, on the Award.Anyone who tackles Jim Brown in the open field and can still remember it deserves an award.Don’t think you were quite in the G Mans league though.

          • Shakes
            December 31, 2018 at 5:51 pm #

            We should give the G-man an award when his 30 month suspended sentence for breaking into a car is over.

      • Lokel Yokel
        December 31, 2018 at 8:26 pm #

        G Man got an award from former Mayor Charlie Smith. Saved us hundred million and more. Name an achievement the Mayor has, other than spending millions of tax payer dollars? Good job Chuck !

        • Shakes
          December 31, 2018 at 9:08 pm #

          Is that like when he threatened to kill a city employee?

          • H
            January 1, 2019 at 2:16 pm #

            Congrats to Chuck on the Orbit, and the G Man The Coveted Readers Choice Award. And of course, the Goldigger Award to Tyler.

          • Mr. Fritz
            January 1, 2019 at 4:13 pm #

            There is no readers choice award, you buffoon. Only a complete narcissist would award himself a non-existent title.

  12. H
    December 31, 2018 at 3:57 pm #

    Congratulations my man Chuck. You are in good company.,,Pete White et al. DOW DOWn biggest annual drop since 2008.Great job Scump.

  13. Shakes
    December 31, 2018 at 4:32 pm #

    Congrats Chuck.

  14. H
    December 31, 2018 at 4:48 pm #

    Where’s Pat,poor sport, ignoring the Orbit Winner.

  15. Minister of Intoxication
    December 31, 2018 at 7:15 pm #

    Nice try to the G Man And congrants to him on the Readers Choice Award.. And congrats to Chuck on his Orbit..we’ll Be at Taconic for the State of Pitty and cat calls will be the theme.

    • danvalenti
      December 31, 2018 at 7:50 pm #

      Yes, we will be there too … in the form of our spies, gumshoes, Secret Squadron, and Z-Agents. We’ll get the dope.

      • May Hemm
        December 31, 2018 at 8:11 pm #

        Yeah, she’ll be pointing her finger and telling us all how great it is. In the backdrop will be all the bootlickers, who should be ashamed of themselves…Again thanks for the Planet and can’t wait for the next story, should be an interesting month for sure. And of course great choice on the Orbit, the bar has now at its peak. Health to all in the New Year everyone.A d thanks to Dan for the best site I’ve ever read.

      • dusty
        January 1, 2019 at 2:12 am #

        Uh oh Dan. If the mayor reads that you are going to be there she will be rewriting her speech. Take note to see if she stutters a bit when her eyes roam over to the press section of the audience.

  16. Unwanted Carl
    December 31, 2018 at 7:58 pm #

    The new Taconic Dumpsters suck, it’s too far from downtown anyway,what a shit hole.Way to go Chuck, well earned and Happy Happy New Year to everyone. Don’t throw any fucking signs in my Crib tonight.

  17. mi
    December 31, 2018 at 9:10 pm #

    Dan, here’s the jig, new tenants at Beacon,wayfair,Tyler st.pickle ball,new canoe route,all money costs to taxpayer and rate payer, and St. Mary’s bullshit,no accomplishments.

  18. Halo
    December 31, 2018 at 9:20 pm #

    Happy New Year to dusty and spagirl, two of my favorites over the years.And congratulations on the Obit Chuck,love you.And Dan, simply put,you are the man,want to see the General come summer.

    • Spagirl
      January 1, 2019 at 6:14 am #

      Thankyou, that is kind. Wishing you a very Happy New Year!

  19. Unwanted Carl
    December 31, 2018 at 9:47 pm #

    Stop throwing colt forty five cans and Harringbone signs in my crib, w t f? I’m just trying to survive in this box tonight.

  20. Jonathan Melle
    December 31, 2018 at 11:18 pm #

    I wish the lovely Linda Tyer a Happy New Year of 2019 where I hope she will be re-elected Mayor of Pittsfield! I believe the lovely Linda Tyer is the best Mayor of Pittsfield EVER! If I lived in my native hometown of Pittsfield, I would attend her speech on 1/7. I fully support her in Pittsfield politics! She believes in all the great ideals that I believe in, such as Human Rights, economic opportunity for workers, and a safe, inclusive, vibrant, and dynamic community that will progress forward in a positive way.3

    I dislike all of the Gaetani propaganda because it is all negative! Similar to the late Peter Arlos, he is a false savior for Pittsfield. Moreover, he only receives a couple hundred votes when he runs for local office. No one takes him seriously!

    VOTE for Linda Tyer in 2019!

    – Jonathan Melle

    • Johnny Absurd
      January 1, 2019 at 5:32 am #

      Well she sure believed in Mr. Stanley. They both have very itch free backs from all the mutual scratching.

  21. Spagirl
    January 1, 2019 at 6:10 am #

    Happy New Year to the Planet, and every one on this board. May you have good health, a little more wealth, and happiness in 2019.
    Congratulations, Chuck!

  22. The school committee
    January 1, 2019 at 6:55 am #

    Mayor Tyer is Ruberto handpicked next mayor.She is polite and she is happy She is smart and she is relentless,she like a lot of people show no discipline when it come to money.She has enough money ,my money ,your money and it all to easy to spend others money.We need McCandless to cut 3% from his budget.We need consolidation.We need a council that make disciplined money decisions at home to run.Our Seniors need relief so they can get their life back.She and this council will never show discipline in managing money.

    • Acute Angina
      January 1, 2019 at 10:14 am #

      Thanks Mario.

  23. Trump Fellas
    January 1, 2019 at 8:20 am #

    Wonder if he has a pre-nup?

  24. Ron Kitterman
    January 1, 2019 at 9:05 am #

    What an excellent choice for the orbit award, Congratulations to Chuck Garivaltis! A true gentleman for sure. He’s seen the sun orbit the planet since Guy Lombardo was wearing short pants, but looks younger than Dick Clark.

  25. Unwanted Carl
    January 1, 2019 at 9:36 am #

    Man what a rough night, wind howling
    kept me up,hopefully some food will be tossed my way at the state of the city.Will the Mayor be wearing her boots? Love those boots.

  26. Dr. Krafto
    January 1, 2019 at 10:18 am #

    Art Seller is the true weiner.

  27. u
    January 1, 2019 at 2:33 pm #

    Art Seller what a magnificent display of Sportsmanship by Not contesting the tally of the Obert,a great philanthropically dear,truly contratialeyou in the Reedes vgoide, the most prestigious awa d given in western mass and beyond.

  28. Cassie Altwalters
    January 1, 2019 at 2:35 pm #

    Sorry for not he Man spellIng.

  29. Trump Fellas
    January 1, 2019 at 3:04 pm #

    Nice try our is it ms. Alwaters. Aha.

    • Art Seller
      January 1, 2019 at 4:06 pm #

      Happy new year planet posters. Just returned from holiday. I can see some people missed me and some took the time to chastise me. Oh well. I spoke to the Gman and he plans to continue to kill the 74 million dollar over prised sewer project. Let’s recap what the Gman has done for the ratepayers of this city in the past 34 years. He saved us 116 million dollars when he built the water plants in the 80,s. In the past 34 years he has saved another 50 million dollars in reduced water and sewer rates. Today, he is trying to save us another 28 million dollars at the sewer plant. Why hasn’t he been able to realize this last 28 million dollar saving?? Well think shakes fritz still wondering Jonathan melle acute angina lachs lounge etc. For each of these ass holes there are many more like them in this city. There also is many good people on this board and in the city who truly appreciate the Gman’s efforts. When the Gman ran for mayor he had to fend off trumped up charges against him that were false in nature. He has turned one case over already when someone tried to say that he stole a title to a car that wasn’t his. He has the parties for perjury and he now has their fates in his hands. Two other baseless cases involving the fire dept and the eagle will be coming up soon. Runing for office was costly to the Gman but he just keeps on moving forward trying to help the taxpayer. The Gman was happy to hear that Mr. Garavaltis won the award and he himself was hoping Mr. Garavaltis would win it. The Gman and Mr. Garavaltis go way back and the Gman use to shine Mr. Garavalatis’s shoes in the Gman’s fathers barber shop 60 years ago. The Gman sends his regards Mr. Garavaltis. Mr. Gaetani told me to tell all of you that he will do everything in his power to insure you aren’t robed with these water and sewer projects. He says all of you can help yourself by contacting the mayor and council that you will hold them accountable if they do not look for less costly alternatives to these water and sewer projects happy new year everyone

      • Art seller
        January 1, 2019 at 4:14 pm #

        Dan I forgot to wish you and your family a happy new year and many more.

      • Lokel Yokel
        January 1, 2019 at 4:30 pm #

        Art,where did the G Man vacation? Nice achievements to you G Man. And Chuck, good for you. I think the Readers Choice comes with a cash award.

        • Art Seller
          January 1, 2019 at 5:30 pm #

          Local yokel. The Gman never takes a vacation. He is too busy. But He loves his work and that’s all the vacation he needs. He has traveled All over the world but not as much lately. He use to go to China regularly but his work there has wrapped up. He is happy to be home trying to save the city residents around 28 million dollars. He has a charter boat service on lake Ontario which runs seven days a week and whenever he can find time he likes to go fishing. Fishing is done until June. He ice fishes in pittsfield during winter. The Gman has very simple taste even though he could afford anything his heart desires. Ironically the city’s attorney Richard Dahoney plans to fish with the Gman this summer. I’ll bet that surprises some on this board.

          • Bill DeWahl
            January 1, 2019 at 6:30 pm #

            The G man and Daphony are master baiters.

          • Shakes
            January 1, 2019 at 8:45 pm #

            The polar icecaps aren’t think enough to support the weight of the waterboy’s ego. Guaranteed if he steps on a Berkshire frozen pond, he gets wet.

        • Two Cents
          January 2, 2019 at 12:07 pm #

          Thanks for the link Shakes….It was a timely reminder of just how unstable the Gman is and why we should forgive all of his angry name calling here,

  30. Johnny2Shoes
    January 1, 2019 at 4:00 pm #

    Congratulations Chuck on your well deserved and earned Orbit award. Now you can light up that Red Auerbach cigar.I can hear Johnny Most announcing your victory.

    • Halo
      January 1, 2019 at 4:18 pm #

      Really, you knew Most,cool. Fiddle diddles now daddles, fiddles again. Annnd now daddles,he shoots and scores. Icetohear from Art who did pick up two Awards.

      • Johnny2Shoes
        January 2, 2019 at 6:39 am #

        Actually I had a few Molson Golden Ale beers with him on a Celtic cruise a tad early in the am with him. He was great.

  31. Minister of Inoxicatio
    January 1, 2019 at 4:54 pm #

    Art,is the G Man going to the State of the City?

  32. Jonathan Melle
    January 1, 2019 at 8:11 pm #

    I am not an a-hole for not supporting Gaetani in Pittsfield politics. I find his supporters to be using propaganda, while also being very negative. He is a fringe candidate and everyone knows it!

    Peter Arlos was seen as a savior of Pittsfield. BUT, how did that turn out for Pittsfield? Like Arlos, Gaetani plays on Pittsfield’s problems.

    I support the positive and progressive messages from the lovely Linda Tyer!

    – Jonathan Melle

  33. u
    January 1, 2019 at 8:31 pm #

    Well give us some streets, then to close out New Year’s Day. Elizabeth Warren for Presiden.

  34. Harlan RinkleNutts
    January 1, 2019 at 9:07 pm #

    That defies all logic.

  35. Chuck Garivaltis
    January 2, 2019 at 7:38 am #

    Thank you, one and all, for your kind words. I appreciate it very much.

    To The Planet and Dan, once again, thank you for this honor.

    It is wonderful, and fun, reading these posts. Thanks to all.

    • danvalenti
      January 2, 2019 at 8:34 am #

      You are a man well respected and, more importantly, deeply loved by sooooo many.