Schenectady’s Strongest Man to Olympic Coach Ben Becker of Albany

Nick Delefano – Delefano, who played semi-pro football for the Schenectady Nighthawks and Troy Bearcats, and also did some boxing, was voted Schenectady’s strongest man in the 1960s.  Delefano once owned the Redwood and Thunderbird Driving Ranges in the Capital Region.  He also owned the Webster Tavern, which was located in the Mont Pleasant section of the Electric City.

Joe Bruno – In 2000, New York state senator Joe Bruno announced that he had come up with sufficient funding for  new ballpark to be built in Troy.  Troy was best known as the home of the Uncle Sams and Troy Haymakers of the National Association (the first major League) in 1871 and 1872.  Most pro ball had been played in Schenectady and Albany.  Ground for the new park was broken in the spring of 2001 and was dedicated to Joe Bruno in 2002.  It is home to the Tri-City Valleycats.

Jeff Robinson – Robinson played his high school ball in the Capital Region and then for Siena College.  He graduated as Siena’s all-time leading scorer with 1,657 points.  He was named team MVP his sophomore year.  Robinson averaged 19.8 ppg. his junior year and scored 37 points against Maine. In 1989, he was named Chevrolet Most Valuable Player for his 23-point effort in Siena’s second-round game against Minnesota. Robinson holds Siena’s NCAA Tournament career record with 12 three-pointers in two games.

Al DeSantis – A sportswriter for the Schenectady Union Star decades ago, DeSantis also was a very successful promoter.  At one time or another, he promoted the Harlem Globetrotters, Jack Kramer’s World Pro Tennis Tour, Eddie Feigner’s King and His Court, The Flying Wallenda’s, Victor Borge, The Ice Capades, and Johnny Cash.

Shimeek Johnson – A graduate of Bishop Maginn, Johnson was named to the All-Heartland Conference second team for his stellar season on the St. Edward’s basketball team the 2012-2013 season.  Johnson averaged 17.8 points per game, and scored 30 or more points twice.  The 6’7″ forward had a career high 38 in his last game of the season.

Frankie Washington– Arguably the greatest softball pitcher ever produced in the Capital Region, Washington twirled 5 ho-hit games in the GE Works League in Schenectady and was consistently pitching no-hitters in the Country Inn Softball League, which was located on the corner of Curry and Carmen Roads in Rotterdam in the late 1950s.  Washington kept batters off balance by mixing up his pitches, and he threw some smoke.

Jack Edwards – Edwards, who had great hands,  was an All-American end for Mont Pleasant in 1959, and he wasn’t exactly a slouch on the defensive side of the football. In one game, Edwards intercepted three passes and returned all three for touchdowns.  He played collegiately at Boston University.

Ben Becker – Becker of Albany, was the 1960 Olympic boxing coach who guided Cassius Clay (Muhammad Ali) through the Olympic Games.

 

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