More Thoughts About Capital Region Sports Figures

**Bill Arsenault was an excellent sportswriter for the now defunct Schenectady Union Star and the Times Union.  He was a straight-shooter and not much of an exaggerator.

** I remember going to New York to visit Billy Connors when he was pitching for the Mets.  I recall that after the game we delivered a cheese cake to the ex-wife of Willie Mays who was a very good friend of Billy’s.  She operated a bar in the heart of the city.

** I miss Squeaky.  He lived on Lenox Road in Schenectady.  Squeaky would gather stray golf balls from around the area courses, take them home, spit shine them, and sell them for a few bucks a dozen.  He sure kept me in golf balls.  Squeaky probably kept finding my stray shots and selling the balls back to me over and over again.  He passed away not too long ago.

** When Mike Catino was playing basketball for Siena College, he was worth the price of admission for his court theatrics.

** Isn’t it true that a 5’7″ or 5’8″ kid who is a great football or basketball player at the high school level, often struggles just to make the team at the college level.

** Weren’t Chad and Chuck Dukes, the great running backs out of Colonie High, of the same ilk as Charlie Leigh of Albany.

** Don Blaha, the former Mont Pleasant/NYU baseball and basketball star, jumped like he had springs in his legs.  Not bad for a white guy.

** We all remember playing basketball at the Schenectady YMCA and trying to take a jumper from the corner with the running track right above our heads.  If you didn’t release a line-drive jumpshot, the ball was sure to hit the bottom of the track.

** How about playing basketball in the little old Albany High bandbox gym in the 1950s. Wasn’t it a huge advantage for the Falcons.

** I remember Don Pepper of Saratoga, the father of golfer Dottie Pepper, and big Ron Witherspoon hitting ropes and  rifling shots out of the ballpark, when they were playing in the Twilight League on the “A” diamond in Central Park in Schenectady.

** Remember when former New York Giant pitcher Johnny Antonelli ran a tire business on Mohawk Avenue in Scotia?  Pat Riley’s father Lee had a grocery store on the same street.

** Remember when Gary DiNola turned the Schenectady high basketball program around, and they lost nothing when Mark Sausville took over the reigns.  Both coaches won a New York State title.

** Former Schalmont basketball coach Freddie Smith was a clone of Nott Terrace/Linton coach Walt Przybylo.  Smith was Przybylo’s equal as a motivator.

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