Tag Archives: Sports History

Something BIG Was Once Afoot in the Adirondacks


By on

1 Comment

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. Continue reading

Rochester, Baseball and History


By on

0 Comments

Fidel Castro in his Barbudos uniform (provided by Agence Presse-France)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. Continue reading

A Tumultuous History of Long Island Ducks Hockey


By on

0 Comments

Long Island DucksFrom 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.   Continue reading

Boxer Carmen Basilio: Thunder from the North


By on

4 Comments

Carmen BasilioIn 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. Continue reading

Brooklyn Dodgers Lecture at Old Stone Fort Museum


By on

0 Comments

young Marv Parshall Sr. (front left) poses with the members of the 1950 Brooklyn Dodgers.The next lecture in the Old Stone Fort Museum Winter Lecture Series has been set for Sunday, March 25th at 1 pm, with “A Night with the 1950 Brooklyn Dodgers of Old”, presented by local attorney and former Dodgers ball boy Marv Parshall Sr.

Parshall will share his recollections, stories and anecdotes of his time sharing a dugout with baseball legends such as Jackie Robinson, Roy Campanella, Pee Wee Reese, Gil Hodges and Duke Snider. Continue reading

Historians: Baseball Players Turned Actors, Amsterdam Jewish Merchants


By on

0 Comments

The Historians LogoThis week on The Historians Podcast, film historian Rob Edelman discusses the new book he has edited From Spring Training to Screen Test: Baseball Players Turned Actors Rob’s wife and retired film professor Audrey Kupferberg has stories of Jewish merchants in the thriving downtown of the 1950s in her native Amsterdam, New York, where the couple lives.

Listen to the podcast here. Continue reading

Jack Lagree: Dannemora’s Bobsled Guru


By on

0 Comments

Long before the 2015 escape of Richard Matt and David Sweat, the word Dannemora instantly conjured images of the prison. While the high wall dominates the landscape, the village does have other historical connections, some of them in the world of sports, including one through the person of John “Jack” Lagree. Jack was a native of Churubusco, a tiny hamlet in northwestern Clinton County.

Blessed with engineering talent, mechanical skill, and a strong, traditional, North Country work ethic, he rose to national prominence in the world of bobsleigh competition (referred to hereafter by the more popular term, bobsled). Continue reading