Tag Archives: Sports History

Yankee Stadium Negro League Anniversary Event


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The Museum of the City of New York will present a program celebrating the 80th Anniversary of the first Negro League baseball game played at Yankee Stadium on Monday, July 26th, at 6:30 pm.

Join Negro League players Bob Scott and Jim Robinson, Dr. Lawrence Hogan, professor and author of Shades of Glory: The Negro Leagues and the Story of African-American Baseball (National Geographic, 2006), and baseball historian John Thorn for a conversation about the game, the times, and what the anniversary tells us about how America has, and hasn’t, changed in the last 80 years.

On July 5, 1930, the first Negro League baseball game was played at Yankee Stadium, ushering in a new era in American professional sports. In addition to its historical importance, the game was also a benefit for the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters, the first African-American labor organization to receive a charter from the American Federation of Labor.

Reservations required. $6, Museum members; $12, non-members; $8, seniors and students.

Photo courtesy the National Baseball Hall of Fame, Cooperstown, New York.

Warhorse’s Olympic Bronze at Olympic Museum


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The Lake Placid 1932 and 1980 Winter Olympic Museum has added another piece to its collection of artifacts from last February’s 2010 Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver, Canada, Andrew Weibrecht’s men’s Super-G bronze medal.

Weibrecht’s bronze medal helped spark the U.S. alpine ski team to a record eight medals in Vancouver. Overall, the U.S. Olympic squad celebrated its best Olympics ever, claiming the overall medal count with 37.

“The medal was turned over for display and for safe keeping between appearances,” noted museum curator Liz Defazio. “It’s so nice for these athletes to have a place where they can share their accomplishments with others… sort of their home away from home.”

Nicknamed the “Warhorse” on the international alpine ski tour, Weibrecht began skiing at the age of five at Whiteface Mountain and began racing with the New York Ski Educational Foundation (NYSEF) program by the time he was 10. He had only been on the World Cup circuit since 2006 and Vancouver was his first Olympic Winter Games.

There are quite a number of artifacts on display in the museum from the 2010 winter games donated by several of the 12 area athletes who competed, as well as coaches and officials. The artifacts include race gear, Opening Ceremony clothing, official U.S. Olympic team clothing, event tickets, programs and pins.

Lake Placid’s 1932 and 1980 Winter Olympic Museum features the largest collection of winter Olympic artifacts outside the International Olympic Committee’s museum in Lausanne, Switzerland. Some of the artifacts include the first Winter Olympic medal awarded, gold in 1924 in Chamonix, France, to Lake Placid native and speedskater Charles Jewtraw, equipment worn by U.S. goalie Jim Craig during the 1980 winter games, parade clothing from the 1932 winter games, athletes participation medals and Olympic medals from every winter Olympics.

Admission to the museum is $6 for adults and $4 for juniors and seniors. Admission is also included when purchasing an Olympic Sites Passport. The Passport gives visitors access to each of ORDA’s Olympic venues—from Whiteface Mountain to the Olympic Sports Complex and everything in between. Sold for $29 at the ORDA Store and all of our ticket offices, the Passport saves you time, money, and gets you into the venues at a good value. For more information about the Olympic Sites Passport, log on to http://www.whiteface.com/summer/plan/passport.php.

Photo: Andrew Weibrecht’s Super-G Bronze Medal. Courtesy 1932 and 1980 Lake Placid Olympic Museum, Lake Placid, NY.

Books: Silver Seasons of Rochester Baseball


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Taking us back to the early nineteenth century, when baseball was played in the meadows and streets of Rochester, New York, Silver Seasons and a New Frontier: The Story of the Rochester Red Wings retraces the careers of the players and managers who honed their skills at the city’s Silver Stadium and later at Frontier Field. The many greats who played for the Rochester Red Wings—Stan Musial, Cal Ripken, Jr. (who provides the book’s forward), Bob Gibson, Boog Powell, Jim Palmer, Eddie Murray, and Justin Morneau are among those brought to life in this story rich with quirky performances and poignant moments.

This updated version of Silver Seasons: The Story of the Rochester Red Wings, first published in 1996, includes three new chapters covering the team’s record-setting tenth International League championship, being named top minor league franchise by Baseball America, and their new affiliation with the Minnesota Twins.

Silver Stadium opened in 1929, as Red Wing Stadium, in the middle of a thriving urban residential neighborhood which later fell into decline. In late 1956, the St. Louis Cardinals, then the major league affiliate of the Rochester Red Wings considered abandoning the franchise. In response, Morrie Silver, a Rochester businessman, spearheaded an effort to purchase the team and the stadium was renamed Silver Stadium in 1968. Although renovated in the 1980s, the desire for corporate suites and better parking led to the construction of Frontier Field, a new stadium located in downtown Rochester, which opened in 1996; Silver Stadium was demolished the following year is now an industrial and office park.

Silver Seasons tracks the history of the two stadiums and the teams that played there and in the process recalls moments like the longest game in pro baseball history, a thirty-three-inning affair between the Red Wings and the Pawtucket Red Sox that stretched from April to June. Highlights also include one of the greatest teams in minor league history, the 1971 Junior World Series champion Red Wings, homers hit by Estel Crabtree in 1939 and Jim Finigan in 1961 and the unlikely Red Wings championship in the first season at their new park in 1997.

About the Authors
Jim Mandelaro has covered the Rochester Red Wings for the Democrat and Chronicle since 1991. He has twice been honored as Sportswriter of the Year by the Rochester Press-Radio Club. He was inducted into the Frontier Field Walk of Fame in 2007.

Scott Pitoniak is the author of ten books, including Memories of Yankee Stadium. He was inducted into the Frontier Field Walk of Fame in 1999 and the Newhouse School of Public Communications Hall of Fame in 2000.

Note: Books noticed on this site have been provided by the publishers. Purchases made through this Amazon link help support this site.

Long Lake Antique and Classic Boat Show Slated


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Long Lake is gearing up to host its first Antique and Classic Boat Show on Saturday, July 10th, 2010 at the Long Lake Waterfront from 10am – 5pm. With so many antique and classic wooden boats hiding along the shorelines of Long Lake a group of wooden boat aficionados have decided to showcase these treasures of yesteryear.

Organizers have scoped out a diverse group of boats including: an original 1945 Garwood, having only graced the waters of Long Lake, a 1949 Chriscraft and a 1958 Speedster. These are just a sampling of the few boats slated to be on display. Other boats on the lake that will hopefully be on scene include Chris Craft’s from 1924, 1962, 1947 as well as original handcrafted guideboats.

The day’s festivities kick off at 10am and run until 5pm with a Boat Parade “at speed” leaving the town beach at 4pm. A cocktail reception and cash bar will be held at the Adirondack Hotel at 5pm and a trophy will be awarded to “Spectator’s Choice” by fans visiting and touring the boats.

Photo: The “Best Garwood” Winner at the 2007 Clayton Boat Show (Provided).

Free Baseball E-Book from Univ of Chicago Press


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In celebration of baseball’s Opening Day the University of Chicago Press, is offering a free e-book, Nice Guys Finish Last, the baseball classic by Leo Durocher.

Durocher started with the 1928 Yankees, but hit so poorly that Babe Ruth nicknamed him “the All-American Out.” Soon he hit his stride: traded to St. Louis, he found his headlong play and never-say-die attitude a perfect fit with the rambunctious and renowned “Gashouse Gang.”

In 1939, Durocher he became player-manager of the Brooklyn Dodgers—and transformed the underachieving Bums into contenders. Then he managed the New York Giants, sharing the glory of one of the enduring moments of baseball history, Bobby Thomson’s 1951 “shot heard ’round the world.” And finally Durocher learned how it felt to be on the other side of such an unforgettable moment, as his 1969 Cubs, after holding first place for 105 days, blew a seemingly insurmountable 8-1/2-game lead to the Miracle Mets.

To get your free copy of the Nice Guys Finish Last e-book, go here.

The 1920s: America’s Golden Age of Sports


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A new book by Michael K. Bohn, Heroes and Ballyhoo: How the Golden Age of the 1920s Transformed American Sports, profiles the great American sports heroes of that era and highlights their roles in turning their sports into the kind of large spectator events they are today. Among them are the standards like Babe Ruth, Bobby Jones, Jack Dempsey, and Knute Rockne, but also those from the fringes of modern sport.

Swimmers like Johnny Weissmuller, who turned Olympic success into a seminal role as Tarzan, and Gertrude Ederle, the first to swim the English Channel are profiled. Helen Wills is here, the winner of 31 Grand Slam tennis titles who the New York Times called “the first American born woman to achieve international celebrity as an athlete.” Heroes and Ballyhoo also considers the role of tennis player Bill Tilden and golfer Walter Hagen in bringing large audiences to their sports.

Arena sports became a cornerstone of modern American life in the 1920s, after Americans, freed from the burden of World War I and Victorian traditions, seemed to seek out everything that was modern, from bobbed hair, bathtub gin, jazz, Model Ts, movies and radio to fads of all kinds.

The author goes further to explore the people behind the scenes: press agents, and over-the-top sports writers and journalists that helped establish what the publisher calls “the secular religion of sports and sports heroes, and helping bond disparate social and regional sectors of the country.”

Reporters like Grantland Rice and Damon Runyon, are found here, along with modern era promoters like C. C. Pyle and Tex Rickard and agent Christy Walsh, a founder of sports marketing.

Photo: Parade for Gertrude Ederle coming up Broadway, New York City in 1926.

Addisleigh Park: Jazz Greats, Sports Stars & Politicians


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On Tuesday, March 2, 2010 (from 6:30-8:30pm) the New York City Historic Districts Council will offer a cultural resource survey presentation on Addisleigh Park, a little-known but culturally significant neighborhood in Southeast Queens. The event will be held at the Neighborhood Preservation Center, 232 East 11th Street, Manhattan.

In 2007 HDC began an effort to document Addisleigh Park, home to numerous major African-Americans figures such as James Brown, Roy Campanella, W.E.B. DuBois, Count Basie, Lena Horne, Jackie Robinson and Ella Fitzgerald (to name just a few). Once completed, they submitted all the material to the Landmarks Preservation Commission, who recently calendared a historic district, partially in response to our work. This free program will allow participants a firsthand look at the research and learn more about this neighborhood and its storied past.

The event is free to the public. Reservations are required, as space is limited. For more information, please contact Kristen Morith at (212) 614-9107 or kmorith@hdc.org.

Olympic Bobsled Track Named to National Register


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The National Register of Historic Places has listed the 1932 and 1980 Olympic bobsled track, located on Mt. Van Hoevenberg in Lake Placid, N.Y., on its national registry for historic places.

Clearing for the original one and a half, 26-curve course began in August 1930 and the track, specifically built for the 1932 winter games, was open to the public just 148 days later, Christmas Day 1930. More than 27,000 cubic yards of earth and stone were used for the straight-aways and curves, while 8,000 feet of pipe, laid four feet underground, was buried to carry the water used to spray the ice from a pond near the base to the top. A gasoline engine and pump forced the water to the top of the run, where a large storage tank guaranteed a continuous supply of water.


The United States’ bobsled team was right at home on the first track ever built in North America and the first-ever one and a half mile course used in Olympic competition. The team won two gold medals, one silver and one bronze. Billy Fiske, who four years earlier at the age of 16 became the youngest-ever Olympic gold medalist, claimed the four-man crown, while fellow American Henry Homburger of Saranac Lake, N.Y., claimed silver. Two brothers from Lake Placid, Curtis and Hubert Stevens, won the two-man race, while their teammates, John Heaton and Robert Minton, took bronze. That event also marked the first-ever two-man race in Olympic history and the first time athletes pushed their sleds at the start.

In 1934 the International Bobsled Federation (FIBT) established a one-mile standard for all tracks. To accommodate the change, the top one-half mile was shut down above the Whiteface curve and the number of curves was reduced from 26 to 16, making the upper portion of the run unusable.

Fifteen years later, the 1,537-meter long course became the first track outside of Europe to host a world championship competition and it was then that Belgian bobsledder Max Houben was killed during a practice run when sliding through the “Shady” curve, prior to the race. Today, the four-man world championship trophy is named in Houben’s honor.

As sled technology improved and speeds grew, changes were made to the course and it took 12 more years before world championship racing returned, in 1961. Throughout the decade of the 1960’s tracks throughout the world continued to try to keep up with sled technology as the request for speed knew no limits. From time to time crashes and tragedy would strike those tracks … even Lake Placid. In 1966, Canadian pilot Sergio Zardini (1964 Olympic silver medalist for Italy) was killed when his four-man sled crashed on turns 13 and 14, better known as the “Zig-Zag Curves.”

With the improvements made and with the blessing of the FIBT, the course hosted Worlds three more times, 1969, 1973 and 1978. Other sports including luge and skeleton also began using the course before it was demolished and re-built in 1979, in time for the 1980 Olympic bobsled competition.

The re-construction included installing refrigeration piping and the building of a refrigeration plant at the base of the run, operated by electricity, with a stand-by generator for emergencies. Following the 1980 games, the track hosted the 1983 world championships before the current combined bobsled/luge/skeleton track was built in 2000.

Today, the track no longer hosts international competitions, but it remains in use. Summer bobsled rides are held on the course, where visitors can enjoy half-mile rides, while reaching speeds in excess of 50-miles-per-hour, while professional drivers steer their sleds through “Shady” and “Zig-Zag.”

Kathleen LaFrank of New York State Parks Recreation & Historic Preservation helped to direct the research. She gathered much of the data and pictures required for the nomination of New York’s historical sites and the additional honor of being named to the National Registry as well.

“The bobsled run is internationally recognized for its association with the 1932 games and the rise of the sport in the United States,” stated Olympic Sports Complex general manager Tony Carlino. “Athletes and visitors from all over the world know of this track, and there are very few worldwide that carry this kind of history. The creation of this track helped to make Lake Placid famous as a winter sports capital.”

Photo: Construction workers lay rocks as they build the Mt. Van Hoevenberg bobsled track, in 1930 in anticipation of the 1932 Olympic Winter Games in Lake Placid, N.Y. (Photo Courtesy of ORDA)

Atlatl Contest Highlights Chimney and Crown Points’ Festival Of Nations


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Vermont’s and New York’s annual shared celebration of Lake Champlain, The Festival of Nations, hosted by the Chimney Point and Crown Point, N.Y., State Historic Sites will be held Sept. 18-20 and will feature a wide variety of events, including the 14th Annual Northeastern Open Atlatl Championship at Chimney Point.

The event honors the Native American, French, and early American history of the region and includes music; food vendors; Native American and primitive life and craft demonstrations; exhibits; showings of the award-winning documentary film Champlain: The Lake Between; a colonial French encampment with re-enactors; tours of Crown Point’s historic forts; historic, cultural, educational, nature, and family activities; a ceremony re-dedicating the Champlain Memorial lighthouse; and fireworks on Saturday night. The nearby DAR (Daughters of the American Revolution) State Park will offer camping on a first-come, first-served basis.

The atlatl, a shaped wooden stick, acts as an extension of the throwing arm, so hunters can throw long, flexible darts with greater accuracy, energy, and speed. The atlatl was one of the earliest prehistoric weapons, pre-dating the bow and arrow, and was used by many cultures, including Native Americans.

On Friday, there will be a workshop held at Chimney Point at which participants can learn modern and ancient atlatl construction as they build their own dart-thrower and projectiles and learn how to use them. The fee of $65 includes instruction by champion atlatlist Robert Berg and all materials. Pre-registration is required.

On Saturday competitors of all ages test their prowess in using the atlatl to “hunt” wooly mammoth, bison, and other game targets; shoot at modern day bulls-eyes (International Standards Accuracy), and compete in a distance challenge.

The winners in each category compete in a shoot-out at the end of the event for the title of Grand Champion. At 5:30 p.m. and leading up to the start of the fireworks, enjoy lively music from Atlantic Crossing, well-known for their vast repertoire of music highlighting and honoring the history of the region. The Seth Warner Mount Independence Fife and Drum Corps will also perform.

On Sunday morning, from 7:30 a.m. to 8:30 a.m. one lane of the Lake Champlain Bridge between Addison and Crown Point, N.Y. will be open for pedestrian and bicycle traffic. The Sky Blue Boys, Banjo Dan and Willy Lindner, will be performing their lively music near the Vermont end of the bridge from 8:00 to 10:00 a.m.

On Sunday morning there will be another International Standards Accuracy competition at 10:00 a.m., followed by master coaching for youth and the young at heart, as well as conversations with Samuel de Champlain and wood carving demonstrations.

Saturday’s and Sunday’s contests are $5 and $3 respectively to enter. Admission to the site on each day is free.

Photo: John Morris using an atlatl. Morris, along with Greg Maurer, will be offering master coaching on Sunday, as well as competing on Saturday. Courtesy Vermont Division for Historic Preservation

Lake Placid Sliding Sports Museum Proposed


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At the 1932 & 1980 Lake Placid Winter Olympic Museum Board of Directors’ April meeting, newest member Joe Clain donated $1,000 to kick-off the creation of an International Sliding Sports Museum in Lake Placid. Clain made the donation on behalf of his father Gus Clain and the Linney Family in the hopes that other prominent families in the history of sliding sports will come forward and meet the challenge.

Angus (Gus) Clain was the brakeman for the four-man sled piloted by Robert Linney, which qualified at the 1939 trials in Lake Placid for the 1940 Olympic Winter Games. Because of WWII, the Games were not contested in 1940 or 1944. The family of Gus Clain previously created and donated a very rare exhibit consisting of the sweater and jacket issued to the 1940 Olympic Bobsled team, and which is on permanent display in the Olympic Museum.

The Sliding Sports Museum at Mt. Van Hoevenberg will be an annex to the already existing Olympic Museum – located within the Olympic Center – and as such will come under the same chartering agency, the Board of Regents of the University of the State of New York on behalf of the State Education Department. The future museum will share the same 501(c) 3 not-for-profit status making all donations eligible for a tax deduction.

“The next logical step is to create an advisory board of interested community members who share the same passion for preserving, displaying and educating future generations on the rich history of sliding sports in this area,” said Olympic Museum Director Liz De Fazio in a press release issued this week.

For more information on the proposed International Sliding Museum, or to make a donation, contact De Fazio at (518) 523-1655, ext. 226 or ldefazio@orda.org.

2009 Ellis Island Family Heritage Awards


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Iconic quarterback Joe Namath; Nobel laureate Dr. Eric R. Kandel; comedian and producer Jerry Seinfeld; and music superstars Gloria and Emilio Estefan are this year’s distinguished honorees who will be recognized during the Ellis Island Family Heritage Awards to be held at 11 a.m. on tomorrow (Tuesday), May 19, 2009 in the Great Hall at the Ellis Island Immigration Museum. Candice Bergen, Emmy and Golden Globe-winning actress, will serve as Host.

In its eighth year, the Ellis Island Family Heritage Awards are presented by The Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation, Inc. to celebrate exemplary Ellis Island/Port of New York immigrants or their descendents who have made a major contribution to the American experience. The B.C. Forbes Peopling of America Award, sponsored by the Forbes Family, honors the lives of immigrants who arrived at another time or through another port of entry. The Foundation’s database of ship’s passenger arrivals available at the American Family Immigration History Center® and online at www.ellisisland.org documents the arrivals of 25 million immigrants, travelers and crew members who came through America’s Golden Door and the Port of New York between 1892-1924. For more information on the Awards, visit http://www.ellisisland.org/genealogy/2009_recipients_intro.asp.

Getting there:

From NYC: Check-in 9:45 a.m. Statue Cruises Event boat departs 10:20 a.m.

From NJ: Take Statue Cruises ferry from Liberty State Park. For schedule, call (877-523-9849) or visit www.statuecruises.com.

ORDA Creating New Sliding Sports Museum


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The New York State Olympic Regional Development Authority (ORDA) is looking to create the North American Sliding Sports Museum at Lake Placid’s historic Olympic Sports Complex. At this time, ORDA would like to call on all former bobsledders, lugers and skeleton athletes or family members of deceased athletes to come to Lake Placid during competition weekends in February. ORDA is calling on all former track workers or family members of deceased track workers who have kept their story and history alive. The Olympic Sports Complex is in the preliminary planning stage of creating a North America Sliding Sports Museum and ORDA would like to record the history, memories, stories and experiences of everyone affiliated with the Lake Placid tracks.

The goal of the North America Sliding Sports Museum is to tell the stories of athletes, to educate the public and inspire future athletes of these fast paced sports. Along with oral histories, ORDA is also accepting artifacts, programs, all images, uniforms, posters, club logos, club trophies, and more. By donating these items to the Olympic Museum, not only is the public memorializing special experiences but also contributing to a unique piece of history and everyone will be given a deed of gift to use at tax time.

The dates will be February 6-8, 20-22 and Feb. 26- March 1. Each person who donates or records an oral history will receive free admission to the world championships.
For more information on how to donate historical memorabilia, or to schedule an interview, please contact ORDA Corporate Development Assistant Alison Casey at (518) 523-1655 ext. 343 or email her at acasey@orda.org.

Camp Santanoni Historic Ski Tour with AARCH


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Adirondack Architectural Heritage (AARCH) will kick-off their 2009 educational series Sunday, February 8th with an interpretive cross-country ski into the 19th-century, Adirondack Great Camp, Camp Santanoni. Participants will learn about the history and architectural significance of the camp that make it a National Historic Landmark. The 10-mile round trip ski, along the preserve’s gently sloping historic carriage road, leads us into the majestic wilderness estate. Those taking part will visit the camp’s three complexes (the Gate Lodge, the Farm, and the Main Camp), and view the massive log retreat at the Main Camp, the work of architect Robert Robertson. Skiers will also see first hand, authentic Adirondack rustic interiors and learn about the restoration of the camp.

Steven Engelhart, AARCH Executive Director and John Friauf, former AARCH Board Member, will lead the tour. The group will depart Santanoni Preserve parking area, off Route 28N in the hamlet of Newcomb at 10AM, returning around 3 PM. This is a remote site. All participants are encouraged to bring a trail lunch and plenty of hydration. The fee is $10 for members and $15 for non-members. Advance registration is required by calling AARCH at (518) 834-9328.

Adirondack Architectural Heritage (AARCH) is the private, non-profit, historic preservation organization for the Adirondack Park region. AARCH works in partnership with the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and the Town of Newcomb to preserve and interpret Camp Santanoni. This tour is one of over fifty events in our annual series highlighting the region’s vast architectural legacy. For more information on AARCH including membership and a complete 2009 program schedule contact AARCH at (518) 834-9328 or visit our website at www.aarch.org.

Laurence M. Hauptman to Speak at Iroquois Museum


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The Iroquois Indian Museum will present “More than Games: Iroquois Indians and Other Native American Athletes at Carlisle Indian School”, a lecture by Dr. Laurence M. Hauptman on Sunday, October 5th at 1PM. The Iroquois Indian Museum is located 35 miles west of Albany, New York, near the intersection of highways 7 and 145. Take exit 22 from Interstate 88 and follow signs. For information and detailed directions call the Museum at (518) 296-8949 or visit our website at www.iroquoismuseum.org. Continue reading

Brooklyn College Aquires Boxing History Collection


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The New York Times is reporting that the Brooklyn College Library has acquired an outstanding collection of boxing history materials from boxing historian Hank Kaplan. According to his obituary (he died at 88 in 2007), Kaplan served was “founder and editor of Boxing Digest magazine, editor of Boxing World and served as consultant to such media outlets as Sports Illustrated, London Times, Der Stern and HBO.” According to the Times:

As yet unavailable to researchers, the collection — so far publicly confined to a small exhibition area in the library — consumes a 10-foot-high chamber in the Archives and Special Collections Division.

Crammed into the space are 2,600 books, 200,000 rare prints and negatives, 790 boxes of newspaper clippings from 1890 to 2007, 300 tapes of fights and interviews, reams of correspondence and hundreds of items of memorabilia, including belt buckles, trading cards and signed boxing gloves. Among the treasures is a heavy punching bag pounded by Cassius Clay in Miami before he renamed himself Muhammad Ali.

Although it might seem incongruous for an academic institution to devote space to a boxing collection, Professor Anthony M. Cucchiara said he hoped the Kaplan collection would be “a valuable archaeological dig” for scholars. “I suppose some people would want to turn their noses up at a boxing collection,” he said. “But the story of America is in this archive. Boxing is a prism for our cultural history, and is important for its associations with immigration, ethnicity, class, race and nationalism.”

Hank Kaplan received the James J. Walker Award from the Boxing Writers Association of America for “Long and Meritorious Service to Boxing” in 2002. In 2006 he was elected to the International Boxing Hall of Fame.

A number of his recent feature pieces are available online at The Sweet Science.