MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WREG) — For more than 50 years John Guinozzo, better known as “JayJay”, has dedicated his life to Memphis sports as a scorekeeper.
“You have to keep on your toes to watch every pitch, every game,” said Guinozzo.
Getting his score keeping start back in the 70’s with the old Memphis Blues, Guinozzo has also been on press row for the Grizzlies since they relocated to Memphis. He also works for the Tigers while helping out at the occasional area high school game.
His biggest accomplishment, though, is his work with the American Legion World Series. He was recently honored as their “scoring czar” after 50 years of service, 727 straight games.
“Most people do this to hold it up, I almost dropped it twice, but it’s rewarding. I would do it even if they didn’t give me anything.”
AutoZone Park is like home for Guinozzo, but back in 2007 he suffered a heart attack sitting in his favorite place, his spot in the press box.
He thought his days of scorekeeping were over.
“When I had the heart attacks, they immediately took me over to the hospital. I told the nurse I could walk across the parking lot to the hospital and they said I may not make it. I said, ‘woah.’ So, they took me over to the hospital, stabilized me and then they opened you up and did the triple bypass.”
After a month-long recovery, Guinozzo was able to return back to the place that had more healing power than he realized.
“For a while there, I had to check my blood pressure every day and it was lowest when I’m here. So, I guess this was medication for healing coming to the ballpark and going to games. One thing that I enjoy that the other people here do not like is extra innings and long games. This past week we had a four hour and 16 min game, Sunday a three-hour and 54 mins game and I was probably the only happy camper in the ballpark.”
And, Guinozzo doesn’t plan on slowing down anytime soon.
“I did the NBA Finals, not last year but in the bubble, and then I went from there to Texas for the World Series, and then I flew down to Tampa Bay for the Super Bowl which was fun.”
At 72 years old, there’s one burning question he’s always asked.
“When am I going to retire? When – at my funeral. And by the way being baseball related, when I die the funeral is going to be right here and the first 200 people get a free t-shirt.”