During the first half of the 20th century, traveling basketball and baseball teams were part of America’s social fabric, providing great entertainment for millions of appreciative fans. Mostly visiting cities and surrounding communities, the famous and near-famous made the rounds each year. Their competition consisted of locally organized squads that often recruited one or more talented college or semi-pro players. [Read more…] about Nonpareil Athlete Babe Didrikson’s North Country Visit
During the years of the War of 1812, winter ice played an important strategic role between the combatants on Lake Ontario. At the eastern end of the lake, decision makers at both Sackets Harbor, the US military headquarters, and Kingston, the center for Upper Canada forces, anticipated invasion opportunities across the frozen lake, and each spring anxiously waited to commence naval operations after the ice left their harbors.
In March 1815, at Sackets Harbor the US Navy commander extended a cordial invitation to a former War of 1812 British adversary, but the lake needed to be ice free: “Commodore Chauncey presents his Compliments to the Marquis of Tweedale, will feel extremely [sic] happy to see the Marquis and his friends at Sacketts Harbor and will with pleasure send them to Kingston the moment the ice will allow a passage.” [Read more…] about Some Sackets Harbor Ice Boating History
He also recounts issues with the Fulton County poor house in the 1800s. Peter Betz is the author of a history column in the Leader Herald newspaper. [Read more…] about A Fulton County Marbles Champion
The National Sporting Library & Museum (NSLM) in Middleburg, Virginia, has appointed Elizabeth von Hassell as Executive Director. She will join NSLM in December 2018.
Elizabeth von Hassell previously served as the Director of Development at James Madison’s Montpelier. [Read more…] about Sporting Library, Museum Director Has NYC Connections
This week on The Historians podcast, Julian Shabazz is author of the book Black Stars of Professional Wrestling: Second Edition He has collected the stories of African American athletes and entertainers who have participated in one of America’s most popular sports entertainment events — professional wrestling. Listen to the podcast here. [Read more…] about Black Stars of Professional Wrestling (Historian’s Podcast)
This appears to be the easiest North Country riddle ever, but humor me and give it a try anyway. What is very tall, very hairy, probably didn’t smell very good, and set tongues wagging when it was seen in the northern Adirondacks several times in early 1933? Just to be safe, take a moment and think about it. Hey, you never know — it could be a trick question. But if you’re still stumped or not certain of your answer, here’s another clue that might prove the clincher: it was known for having very large (OK … BIG) feet.
If you answered anything other than Gil Reichert, you’ve been successfully misled. No apologies here, though, for the description above fits both Reichert and your likely choice (Bigfoot) to a T. [Read more…] about Something BIG Was Once Afoot in the Adirondacks
Baseball is our innocent pastime. Marked by stateliness and decorum, the game largely excludes the messiness and cruelty of the outside world. Saturday, July 25, 1959, was one of those rare occasions when history intruded on the grassy diamond. That evening, the simple game of pitching, hitting, and fielding became entangled with revolution, gunfire, and cold war politics.
The game took place in the sweltering atmosphere of Havana, Cuba. The Rochester Red Wings were playing the home team, known as the Sugar Kings. Along with the Syracuse Chiefs and Buffalo Bisons, Rochester was an upstate member of the triple-A International League, which included teams from Havana, Montreal and Toronto. [Read more…] about Rochester, Baseball and History
In this episode of the Ben Franklin’s World podcast, Kenneth Cohen, a curator at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History and the author of They Will Their Game: Sporting Culture and the Making of the American Republic (Cornell University Press, 2017), leads us through an exploration of early American sport and sporting culture. You can listen to the podcast here: www.benfranklinsworld.com/187
From 1959 to 1973, the Long Island Ducks brought their signature style of hockey to the Long Island Arena in Commack. Aggressive, hard-nosed, and always entertaining, they remain a point of local pride. They’ve also entered the popular culture. Paul Newman’s character in the 1977 movie Slap Shot was based on Duck’s captain John Brophy.
Chris Vaccaro, director of the Sufolk Sports Hall of Fame, relates the history of the Duck franchise within the context of the Eastern Hockey League and the sports cutlure of the time. As an added bonus, Connie Currie shares her own first-hand experiences attending Ducks games in the 1960s. [Read more…] about A Tumultuous History of Long Island Ducks Hockey
In a stellar career which lasted thirteen years (1948-1961), Canastota boxing champion Carmen Basilio established himself as a multiple world title holder in two different weight classes, and he competed against some of the greatest fighters ever to step inside of a boxing ring: Kid Gavilan, Tony De Marco and Sugar Ray Robinson to name just a few.
Basilio endured truly humble beginnings (his family were poor onion farmers who lived in upstate New York) and long work hours to establish himself as a top-notch athlete. [Read more…] about Boxer Carmen Basilio: Thunder from the North