John R. Mars
John R. Mars
Hometown: Milton, MA
Team: Baseball

John R. Mars '41
Hometown: Milton, MA
Sport: Baseball
Year Inducted: 1983
Other Sports Played: Football

John R. Mars '41 is believed to have hit the longest home run in Brown baseball history, a towering blast at old Aldrich Field that sailed over the head of Dartmouth center fielder, Gus Broberg, and finally came to rest against Marvel Gym, some 500 feet away. His teammate, Walt Jusczyk '41, remembers it well. "Dartmouth scored 11 runs in the first inning and the coach put me into the game to try and hold them down and give Brown a chance to catch up. We did. In the last of the ninth it was 11-9 Dartmouth and two men were on base when Johnny came up - and pow! We won it, 12-11, and I think if Marvel Gym hadn't been there that ball would still be rolling." John Mars had a distinguished baseball career at Brown, batting .408 with five home runs in 1940 and compiling a three-year batting average of .308. Defensively, he was a smooth fielder at first base, where his 6-0, 190-pound frame provided a good target. Johnny Marsolini (he changed it to Mars before going into the service because of its similarity to Benito Mussolini) came to Brown from Milton, Mass., where he had captained the baseball team and participated in football, track, and swimming. Even though Brown had one of the best end squads in the country in 1939, Johnny Mars broke into the starting lineup. His biggest thrill on the gridiron came at West Point's Michie Stadium in 1940 when he caught a long pass from Ernie Savignano and outraced the Army defensive back to the end zone to help the Bruins upset the Cadets, 13-9. He was All-east that year and earned All-American honorable mention. Although Mard was an easy-going man who never uttered a cuss-word, he was a fierce competitor. "He hated to lose," Jusczyk says, and when the team blew one he could bash in a locker with the best of them. Johnny Mars was president of his class for four years, president of the Cammarian Club, and winner of the Class of 1910 Trophy as the member of the football squad with the highest academic average. With an M.D. and a M.A. from Harvard, Mars settled in at Culver Military Academy, where he has served as teacher, counselor, athletic coach, academic department chairman, and endowed chair holder. In 1976, John Mars was named 10th superintendent of the Academy. Emery Walker '39, former director of admission at Brown before moving to California's Clarement Men's College and Harvey Mudd College, recently told Brown's vice president, Bob Reichley, how he felt about Mars. "Though I knew John as a student at Brown, I came to know him better through my admission visits to Culver, when we would sit up and talk into the night. He has a curious quality about him. He is a big hunk of a man who obviously was a good athlete. Yet, he has an endearing softness. Compassion. A humanness. His love for kids is genuine. He is not a hard-nose. He is a solid, nice, pleasant man who is easy to like because he operates on an even keel." Johnny Mars and Phyllis have two children, Anthony and Peter.