Hi Ya Small Fry – This was Howard Tupper’s greeting on Sunday mornings when he hosted TV Tournament Time on WRGB. Skip Vigars Sr., Johnny Walther, and Joey Schmidt often reigned as “King of the Hill.”
Super Potential – Steinmetz Junior High School, with jumpin’ jack Albert Johnson and a slew of other fine ballplayers, was the creme de la creme of Schenectady County’s junior high basketball teams in the 1970s. Van Corlaer on the other hand, was the perennial cellar-dweller. Johnson was being heralded as the next Barry Kramer by the local media and sports fans. He had a so-so high school career at Mont Plreasant under coach Dave Bleau, and he never really played to his full potential. He went on to UConn.
Big Black Bat – Jack Washington, a Linton High school basketball star in the early 1960s, was hitting tape-measure homeruns as a 12 year-old in the Northside Little League in 1955. I’m still not sure that big black bat he used was legal. Washington was one of the league’s top homerun hitters of all-time.
Punting a Dog – A Schenectady teacher, Dana Richardson, was once mentioned in Sports Illustrated for missing the football while attempting a punt and kicking a dog that was crossing the field. It was a great one for the bloopers tape.
Dishing it Off – Former Bishop Gibbons basketball star Dick Grubar had 19 assists in one game when he played for the University of North Carolina. Grubar was a two-time Schenectady County High School Player of the Year.
Sparring Partners – Tommy Giorgio, a heavyweight fighter from Schenectady, was selected to be one of heavyweight champion Joe Louis’s sparring partners for his South American boxing exhibition tour.
Super Feat – During the 2002 basketball season, Korey Collins of Schenectady Christian bucketed 22 straight points down the stretch and finished with 37 overall, in a win over Saratoga Catholic.
Quick Ejection – One of the quickest exits from a basketball game because of five personal fouls that I have ever seen, was when Mont Pleasant’s Wayne Campbell was given the thumb with a little less than three minutes left in the first half, in an all-out effort to corral Linton’s Pat Riley in 1963.
Call on Big Al – When a few yards were needed for a first down for the Mont Pleasant football team in the late 1950s, cerebral quarterback, Pat Maney, always seemed to call on big fullback Al Bojarski, who was so reliable in those crucial short-yardage situation. Bojarski was a punishing fullback who would rather run over a would-be tackler than try to side-step him. Woody Hayes would have loved him.
The Brawl – We congregated at Center City on State Street in downtown Schenectady in the early 1980s to watch what turned out to be a brawl between Marvelous Marvin Hagler and Sugar Ray Leonard on closed-circuit. It turned out to be one of the greatest fights of all-time. The two courageous ring warriors battled toe-to-toe for 15 magnificent rounds. Leonard won the decision.