Tag Archives: Sports History

Olympic Museum Changes Name to Reflect Collection


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What’s in a name? Take the 1932 and 1980 Winter Olympic Museum as an example. When guests visit the museum, located in the Olympic Center in Lake Placid, N.Y., they believe that they’ll only view and experience artifacts from both the 1932 and 1980 Olympic Winter Games, but there’s so much more. Not only does the museum feature items from the two Games held in Lake Placid, displays also include pieces from every Olympic Winter Games dating back to 1924. That’s why the museum worked with the U.S. Olympic Committee to obtain International Olympic Committee (IOC) approval to change its name to the Lake Placid Olympic Museum.



“Visitors to the museum often said the collection represented more than the two Games held in Lake Placid and we agree that the name should reflect that,” said New York State Olympic Regional Development Authority (ORDA) president/CEO Ted Blazer. “The museum’s collections have grown over the years to encompass representation from each of the Olympic Winter Games, as well as the Olympic Games. With that expansion we felt it was important that the name of the museum mirror the breadth of the museum.”

Established in 1994, the Lake Placid Olympic Museum is the only one of its kind in the United States. In fact, it holds the largest Winter Games collection outside of the IOC’s Olympic Museum in Lausanne, Switzerland. It’s also the only museum to have received the Olympic Cup, which is the oldest award given by the IOC.

“As the collections have grown and the presentations have become wider in scope, so has the need to change the name,” added museum director, Liz De Fazio. “As we move forward in getting this museum to be a full member of the IOC’s Olympic Museum Network, I feel this will bring us closer to that international look and feel.”

While touring the Lake Placid Olympic Museum, guests can view the first Olympic Winter Games medal ever won, a gold medal, earned by speedskater and Lake Placid native Charles Jewtraw during the 1924 Winter Games. Displays also feature athletes’ participation medals from every modern Olympic Games and Olympic Winter Games, as well as Olympic Team clothing and competition gear from several Games, including the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Winter Games.

The museum’s collection also includes costumes from Olympic figure skating legend Sonja Henie and several world cup and world championship trophies captured by U.S. bobsled and luge athletes, artifacts from the famed 1980 U.S. Olympic Men’s Ice Hockey Team, as well as Olympic medals.

The Lake Placid Olympic Museum is located at the box office entrance of the Olympic Center at 2634 Main Street and is open daily from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Admission is $6 for adults, $4 for juniors and seniors, while children six and under are free. For more information about the museum, log on to www.whiteface.com/museum.

New Yorker Named A National Sporting History Fellow


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The National Sporting Library and Museum (NSLM) in Middleburg, Virginia, has announced seven John H. Daniels Fellows for 2011-2012 including one to Judith Martin Woodall, a New York City writer and former manager of Claremont Riding Academy, for
“Witching the World with Noble Horsemanship: Riding in New York City, 1770-2007.”

The fellows program began in 2007 in honor of sportsman and book collector, John H. Daniels (1921-2006), a longtime supporter of the National Sporting Library. Since 2007, the fellowship has supported thirty-eight researchers-in-residence at the NSLM from all regions of the United States and ten foreign countries.

The full list of winners includes:

Marcia Diane Brody, Middletown, MD, writer and breeder of Cleveland Bay horses, “Alexander Mackay-Smith: Pioneering the Future of the Cleveland Bay Horse in North America.”

Michael Del Vecchio, Egmondville, ON, Ph.D. candidate, Univ. of Western Ontario, “The Scientific Angler: A Conservation Identity Forged through the Market.”

Carolee Klimchock, Ph.D. candidate, Yale University, “The Theatrics of Coach Driving in Late 19th-Century America.”

Andrew G.F. Lemon, Victoria, Australia, author of the three volume History of Australian Thoroughbred Racing, “The Steeplechasing Mind.”

Earl Parker, Ph.D., Orange, Texas, writer, “The U.S. Remount Service: Stallions Distributed Across America.”

Corey Piper, Curatorial Assistant for the Mellon Collections, Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond, Virginia, “The Cast and Characters of the British Sporting Ring,” a scholarly essay for “Catching Sight: The World of the British Sporting Print,” upcoming exhibition catalogue, VMFA.

Judith Martin Woodall, New York, New York, writer and former manager of Claremont Riding Academy, “Witching the World with Noble Horsemanship: Riding in New York City, 1770-2007.”

The National Sporting Library and Museum is dedicated to preserving and sharing the
literature, art, and culture of horse and field sports. Founded in 1954, the institution has over 17,000-books dating from the 16th-21st centuries. In the fall of 2011, the newly renovated and expanded historic building on the campus will open to house exhibits of American and European fine sporting art. Information is shared through exhibitions, lectures, seminars, publications, and special events. The NSLM is open to researchers and the general public. Admission is free.

Gerrit Smith Estate’s Family Day of Croquet


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Abolitionist Gerrit Smith liked to play croquet daily during the summer. In honor of Smith’s summer recreation, the Grounds Squad of the Gerrit Smith Estate National Historic Landmark plans to hold its second Family Day of Croquet on Sunday, July 17 from 2 – 6 p.m. on the grounds of Smith’s 19th Century home. The event will be attended by local croquet enthusiasts and a group dressed in croquet outfits. Croquet can be played by amateurs of all ages, and is enjoying a national resurgence. The public is urged to join in reviving this tradition. Croquet attire of the 19th – 21st Century or all white outfits are encouraged but not required.

During the afternoon, croquet courts and equipment will be available. Three buildings on the Gerrit Smith Estate with Heritage New York State Underground Railroad exhibits and the Peterboro Mercantile will be open. The National Abolition Hall of Fame and Museum will also be open from 1 – 5 p.m. The daily court fee is $2 per person. Gerrit Smith Estate tours cost $2 per person. Ice cream, beverages a 50-50 raffle, boxed lunches and baked goods will also be for sale.

Proceeds from the event support the preservation and promotion of the Gerrit Smith Estate National Historic Landmark which is a site on both the New York State Underground Railroad Heritage Trail and the National Park Service Network to Freedom. Family Day of Croquet is one of a series of programs provided by the Stewards for the Gerrit Smith Estate National Historic Landmark during 2011 and partially supported by a PACE grant from the Central New York Community Foundation. For more information on the croquet event contact Lisa Louisa Bryant at 917-578-9674 or at lisalouisabryant@yahoo.com. For a complete listing of programs, contact www.sca-peterboro.com or mail@sca-peterboro.com

Lake Placid Olympic Musum Establishes Endowment


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In memory of longtime Winter Olympic supporter and 1980 Lake Placid Winter Olympic Organizing Committee member Philip G. Wolff, the Lake Placid 1932 and 1980 Winter Olympic Museum announces the kickoff of its first endowment fund campaign in a public ceremony, Thursday, June 30. With the completion of the campaign in 2013, the endowment fund, named in Mr. Wolff’s honor, is hoped to allow the Museum to increase its pace of collecting, strengthen its extensive collection, and bring more artifacts of the Winter Games back to the region where America’s Winter Olympic movement began.

“Over time, this endowment will allow the Museum to add to its collection with such items as Olympic torches from the 1952 Oslo (Norway) and 1960 Squaw Valley (Calif.) games, which Dad would have loved to have seen in his lifetime,” said David Wolff, Phil Wolff’s son and now a member of the Museum’s board.

“The endowment fund will also provide continuous support for the Museum to enhance and increase its educational programming for visiting families, adjust to fluctuations in giving, and reduce dependence on overstrained public and private funding sources,” added MaryLou Brown, Museum Board president.

Philip G. Wolff, who died in February, was a founder of the Lake Placid 1932 and 1980 Winter Olympic Museum and a member of the 1976 and 1980 Winter Olympic bid committees. In 1978, he was appointed chief of staff of the Lake Placid Winter Olympic Organizing Committee, a position he held until its closure in 1987, volunteering his time during the last three years of that assignment. He also served as chief of the security committee for the 1980 Winter Games. Wolff was instrumental in the Lake Placid Winter Olympic Museum, being awarded the 2005 Olympic Cup by the International Olympic Committee (IOC). More recently, Wolff played a key role in getting the Lake Placid 1932 and 1980 Olympic Bobsled Track named to the National Register of Historic Places. Wolff spoke at a ceremony to mark that designation, which was also attended by Gov. David Paterson (D-New York), in June of last year. At the time of his death, Wolff was the oldest living licensed bobsled driver in the U.S.

The campaign kickoff for the Philip G. Wolff endowment fund will take place at a celebration of Wolff’s life to be held June 30 from 3-4:30 p.m. at the new Olympic Conference Center in Lake Placid. His many friends are invited to attend to honor this man who gave so much to the Museum and to the local area.

The 1932 & 1980 Lake Placid Winter Olympic Museum is an independent, not-for-profit corporation. Its mission is to collect and preserve artifacts and archival materials associated with Lake Placid’s winter sports and winter Olympic heritage; to interpret Lake Placid’s winter sports and winter Olympic heritage to the public; and to preserve and maintain the collection of artifacts and archives assembled by the Lake Placid Olympic Organizing Committee.

The only official Olympic museum in the United States, Lake Placid’s 1932 and 1980 Winter Olympic Museum features the largest collection of winter Olympic artifacts outside the IOC’s museum in Lausanne, Switzerland. The collection includes the first Winter Olympic medal ever awarded – for the 500 meter speed skating competition – won by Lake Placid native Charles Jewtraw in the 1924 Games in Chamonix. His historic medal can be viewed with other items in the Museum collection, including equipment worn by 1980 U.S. Hockey Team goalie Jim Craig during the historic Miracle on Ice, parade clothing from the 1932 winter games, athletes participation medals and Olympic medals from every winter Olympics.

Miracle on Ice Stories Sought


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It’s been called the greatest sports moment of the century. The Miracle on Ice, Feb. 22, 1980, when the U.S hockey team, made up of 20 college kids, upset the Soviets 4-3 during the 1980 Olympic Winter Games in Lake Placid, N.Y., on their way to winning the improbable gold medal. Now it’s your turn to tell your story—where you were during that historic day that united the nation? How did that win against the Soviets inspire you?

Do you have a story to tell about that day? If you do, submit your story to the United States’ goaltender Jim Craig, jimcraigbook@optonline.net, for your chance to tell your story in an upcoming book of the memories about that game with the Soviets.

What do you remember about the morale of the country at the time of the victory? Maybe you remember where you were and what you were doing. Or maybe this win served to inspire your life.

The two winning stories will receive a Miracle movie poster, personally signed by Craig. The deadline is May 31, 2011. By submitting your essay, you’re granting permission to publish your story.

Catskill Resident Named Baseball Historian


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Major League Baseball Commissioner Allan H. (Bud) Selig has announced that author and Catskill, NY resident John Thorn has been named the Official Baseball Historian for Major League Baseball.

Thorn is the author and editor of numerous baseball books, including the forthcoming Baseball in the Garden of Eden: The Secret History of the Early Game, which will be published on March 15th by Simon & Schuster. His other books include Treasures of the Baseball Hall of Fame and the Total Baseball encyclopedia series. Thorn, a member of the Society of American Baseball Research (SABR), was the senior creative consultant for Ken Burns’ Baseball series.

As Official Historian, Thorn will lead various research endeavors and special projects on behalf of Major League Baseball.

Thorn succeeds the late Chicago Tribune and Chicago Sun-Times baseball writer Jerome Holtzman, who served as Official Baseball Historian from 1999 until his passing in 2008.

The Woodstock Times has a profile of Thorn online.

National Sporting Library and Museum Grants


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The National Sporting Library & Museum (NSL&M) offers the John H. Daniels Fellowship to support researchers at the Middleburg, Virginia research center for horse and field sports, for periods of up to one year. Disciplines include history, literature, journalism, art history, anthropology, area studies, and history of sport.

Applications are due February 1, 2011 for the 2011-2012 fellowship year. Application criteria and instructions are included in the 2011-2012 fellowship brochure. Contact Elizabeth Tobey, Director of Research & Publications at fellowship@nsl.org or 540-687-6542 x 11 if you have further questions.

Located in western Loudoun County just 42 miles from Washington, D.C., Middleburg, Virginia is located in the heart of horse country and is a destination for shopping, dining, and equestrian events.

The program began in 2007 in honor of sportsman and book collector, John H. Daniels (1921-2006), a longtime supporter of the Library. Since 2007, the fellowship has supported fifteen researchers-in-residence at the NSL&M from all regions of the United States and four foreign countries.

APPLICATION GUIDELINES for 2011-2012

Who is eligible

University faculty (both current faculty [tenure-track, tenured, as well as adjunct] and retired/emeritus) and graduate students; museum curators and librarians; and writers and journalists are encouraged to apply. U.S. citizens and legal residents may apply for fellowships for periods of 12 months or less. Citizens of Canada and Bermuda may visit for 180 days or less without a Visa. Citizens of countries that participate in the U.S. Department of State’s Visa Waiver Program may apply for periods of 90 days or less (see website for list of countries).

Fellowship on Field Sports and Conservation

The National Sporting Library & Museum is committed to supporting scholarship and research in the subject area of traditional field sports as well as the connection between field sports and conservation, and invites applications from both academic and independent researchers.

At least one fellowship award each year will be reserved for a topic exploring the intersection of field sports with the evolution of conservation thought, such as methods of game keeping, the role of the naturalist from the sixteenth century forward, or the origins of the modern principles of conservation prior to the mid-twentieth century. Recent scholarship in environmental history has demonstrated that historically, hunters and anglers were often at the forefront of efforts to preserve wildlife and the natural environment.

The procedures for applying are the same as for a regular Daniels Fellowship, although applicants should specify in their cover letter interest in the conservation fellowship.

Fellows will receive

• Monthly stipend (max. $2,000/month) and complimentary housing near the Library.

• Workspace and access to computer and photocopier..

To Apply

Applications must be postmarked by February 1, 2011. Applicants will be notified of a decision by late March 2011. Detailed descriptions of the book collections, including a full list of archives and manuscript collections (with box descriptions) and a partial list of current and historical periodicals and with instructions for searching and a link to the card catalog, can be found online. The website also contains a page with links to articles about highlights of the collections.

Two useful booklets, Treasures of the National Sporting Library and This is the National Sporting Library contain descriptions and essays about some of the most important individual works and collections, and free copies of the latter publication may be obtained by contacting Lisa Campbell, Librarian, at lcampbell@nsl.org or 540-687-6542 x 13 or the fellowship coordinator at fellowship@nsl.org or 540-687-6542 x11.

Boxing Hall of Fame Elects 2010 Inductees


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The International Boxing Hall of Fame and Museum has announced the newest inductees including three-division champion Julio Cesar Chavez (Mexico), junior welterweight champion Kostya Tszyu (Russia / Australia), heavyweight champion Mike Tyson (USA), trainer Ignacio “Nacho” Beristain (Mexico), referee Joe Cortez (USA) and screenwriter Sylvester Stallone (USA).

The 22nd Annual Hall of Fame Weekend is scheduled for June 9-12th in Canastota, NY. Over 20 events, including a golf tournament, banquet, parade and autograph card show, are planned. An impressive celebrity lineup of boxing greats of yesterday and today will attend this year’s Induction Weekend. The highlight of the weekend will be the Official Enshrinement Ceremony on the Hall of Fame Museum Grounds in Canastota, New York on Sunday, June 12th to welcome the newest members.

The Hall of Fame also released names of posthumous honorees: bantamweight Memphis Pal Moore, light heavyweight champion Jack Root and welterweight and middleweight Dave Shade in the Old-Timer Category; promoter A.F. Bettinson in the Non Participant Category; broadcaster Harry Carpenter in the Observer Category; and John Gully in the Pioneer Category. Inductees were voted in by members of the Boxing Writers Association and a panel of international boxing historians.

For more information on the events planned for the 2011 International Boxing Hall of Fame Weekend, call the Hall of Fame at (315) 697-7095.

Golf Tournament to Benefit the Cayuga Museum


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The Cayuga Museum will host its first ever golf outing on Sunday, September 19, 2010 at the Highland Golf Club. This is an added event to help with the severe financial challenges the Museum is facing this year. To register, sponsor a hole or for more information call 253-8051.

This will be a 4-person scramble with a shotgun start at 1:00 PM. The cost is $75 per person, which includes 18 holes of golf, cart, cocktails and heavy hors d’oeuvres. We are also selling hole sponsorships at $100 per hole. Entry fees and sponsorships should be sent to the Cayuga Museum at 203 Genesee St, Auburn, NY 13021. The deadline for entries and sponsorships is September 3, 2010.

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.