Niskayuna’s John Leonard to Draper’s Kathy Kaczkowski

John Leonard & Dan Terwilliger -In 1982 Niskayuna basketball stars John Leonard and Dan Terwilliger were on the Albany Patroon professional basketball team for their opening game in the Continental Basketball League.  Former Marquette star Dean “the dream” Meminger was the coach.  They won that game over the Maine Lumberjacks, 136-116.  The Patroons played their home games at the Washington Armory.

John Grabowski – The Schenectady native played for the New York Yankees in 1927.  It was the team that featured the legendary murderer’s row.  A second string catcher, he batted .277.  He also played on two world championship teams.  Grabowski returned to Schenectady and worked for the American Locomotive Company.  He died tragically in a fire in the 1940s.

Steve Baker – Arguably  the best goal keeper in the history of Union College hockey, Baker played for the Dutchmen for two years and their record for those two seasons was 46-5.  Baker and several other players , however, quit the team when their celebrated coach, Ned Harkness, was forced to resign in the program’s third year.

Tony Vellano – He was instrumental in bringing the Wrestling Hall of Fame to downtown Schenectady in 2003.  He did much hard work promoting the idea which eventually came to fruition.

Casper Wells – Wells first played major league baseball for the Detroit Tigers and most recently for the Seattle Mariners.  A very good outfielder with strong arm, he was in and out of the lineup all season.  He did hit a homerun off of Andy Pettit at Yankee Stadium on Mother’s Day, 2012.  Wells was a pitcher for Schenectady during his high school days.   He had an 11-1 record on the mound, and he won five-straight post-season games in 2002.  The Patriots finished 24-2-2 that year.

The Blue Jays – In 1952, the Schenectadfy Blue Jays finished the season with a 73-65 record.  The team drew 81,912 fans to McNearney Stadium, but 120,000 were needed to break even.  Joe Tesauro, a little dynamo, led the team in hitting with a .307 average.

Terrance Coppola – Terrance Coppola, who played for Scotia in 2004 and scored 1,072 career points, had a 40-point night.  The night he scored those 40 points, Coppola had eight three-point baskets, and he scored 20 points in the second quarter.

Pepsi Arena – Schenectady County sports fans have frequented the Pepsi Arena to see a variety of sporting events, but the Arena has also had a large number  of concerts featuring a wide array of talent.  Among those who have performed there are Elton John, Billy Joel, Neil Diamond, Frank Sinatra, Dixie Chicks, Tina Turmer, Britney Sears, Eric Clapton, Bruce Springsteen, Rod Stewart, and the Grateful Dead.

Fort Dix – Eddie Catino, the former Mont Pleasant basketball star, once played on the Fort Dix army team that went 40-0 and won the All-Army championship in 1956.

Kathy Kaczkowski – The former Draper basketball sensation was a very durable player for Siena College where she started in 40 consecutive games and hit 54.4 percent of her field goal attempts her first three seasons.  Kaczkowski was Siena’s leading rebounder her junior year, averaging 6.4 rebounds per game.

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