Rusty Vitallo, Roger Brown & Mel Allen

Rusty Vitallo – Vitallo was a basketball/baseball star for Linton High School from 1961- 1964,  and then the University of Massachusetts.  He signed a baseball contract with the Oakland Athletics, and in 1968 he finished the season with a 5-1 record for Bradenton, Florida of the Gulf Coast League.  The 23 year-old, 6’3″, 195-pound speedballer was the league’s earned run average leader with a 0.95 ERA for 64 innings pitched.  He also fanned 53 batters with a one-game, seven-inning high of ten.  His performance that year earned Vitallo a promotion to Birmingham of the Class AA Southern Association.  His roommate there was the very gifted pitcher, Vida Blue.

Roger Brown – Brown Of Wingate High School of New York, and one of the country’s top high school players,  came to Schenectady along with Connie Hawkins  in the late 1950s and played in a  game against some of the area’s finest players at the YMCA on State Street.  Brown was 6’5″ guard, and he tickled the twine on 20-foot jumpshots like they were layups.  Freddie Smith, the very animated Schalmont High School basketball coach, who was a pretty good defender in his own right, went head-to-head with Brown. It made for a very interesting matchup.

Mel Allen – The very well-known sportscaster did the national radio play-by-play of the final came of the Little League World Series in Williamsport when Schenectady took all the marbles in 1954.  Red Barber was the broadcaster when Schenectady lost the final game in 1953.  After winning the title in ’54, the Electric City champs received telegrams from Pee Wee Reese of the Dodgers, Stan Musial if the Cardinals, and Ralph Kiner of the Cubs.

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