Ron Oyer, the star player on the 1961 Linton High School football team, is a member of the Syracuse University Athletic Hall of Fame. Floyd Little, the sensational Syracuse and Denver Broncos running back, nominated Oyer for that honor.
New York Capital Region Sports Memories 1900-2013 is now available in softcover at the Open Door Bookstore on Jay Street in Schenectady & the Union College Bookstore.
September 13, 2014 – Schenectady High quarterback Brandon Gwinner threw three of four touchdown passes to the versatile Alex Rodriguez to lift the Patriots to a 46-6 manhandling of Albany at Bob Ford Field. Schenectady is now 2-0.
The Schalmont football team was a juggernaut the entire 2013 football season, blowing away opponents by substantial margins and annihilating Marlboro 66-0 in the state semi-final. In the state final at the CarrierDome in Syracuse, the Sabres jumped out to a 14-0 halftime lead. Their opponent, Maine-Endwell, came back and scored a third period touchdown, followed by a fourth quarter score with 5:56 left in the game. Speedy Trevon-Perez Tucker returned a punt for a score to put Schalmont on top, 21-14. Maine-Endwell got the football back on their own 25-yardline with 1:23 left in the contest. Three pass completions later, and they were on the Sabres’ six-yardline. A couple of plays later, with just six seconds left on the clock, they scored on a pass play, then won the game 22-21 on a two-point conversion. So close, yet so far, and a real bitter pill to swallow for a classy group of Schalmont players and coaches who didn’t know the word quit.
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September 9, 2014 - Mark Derenzo rolled a unique triple in the Galaxy League. Derenzo had three games of 258 for a 774 total.
September, 6, 2014 - Jay Diamond had the highest bowling average in the Vitallo Open Classic league last year, and he hasn’t missed a beat. Picking up where he left off, Diamond rolled a 279-1,091 four-game series on the league’s first night at Sportman’s Bowl.
September 2, 2014- Freshman star Alexis Canavally nailed three goals to lead the Mohonasen girls’ soccer team to a 6-0 whitewashing of Averill Park
On August 13, 1919, many area racing fans were on hand when Saratoga Racecourse earned its nickname “The Graveyard of Favorites,” when a horse appropriately named Upset beat the great Man O’ War by a half-length in the Sanford Stakes. It was the only loss in “Big Red’s” 21 races. There were no starting gates back then, and Man O’ War was not in the proper position when the race went off. His jockey rightened him, but since it was just a six-furlong race, he was at a great disadvantage at the start and was unable to get up to beat Upset at the wire. Man O’ War’s lone defeat was blamed on jockey Johnny Loftus.There was speculation that the race had been fixed, and Loftus lost his jockey license. Man O’ War went on to beat Upset six times after that lone defeat. One of those wins coming in the Travers Stakes at Saratoga in 1920, when he set a stakes record with a time of 2:01 4/5. He did not race in the Kentucky Derby, but went on to win the Preakness and Belmont Stakes.
I sit in my car and watch a lot of sandlot basketball being played on the Central Park Courts in Schenectady, New York, where Pat Riley and Barry Kramer honed their skills as developing young players. I’ve noticed that many of the players have all the moves, great leaping ability and ballhandling skills, but they finish the shot off only about 40% of the time. They’re probably not focused enough and too loose when they release the shot.
Calvin Murphy was under six feet tall, but his lightning quickness and great leaping ability helped to free him up for big point productions. At Niagara University, Murphy would dribble down the floor going full speed, stop on a dime and explode off the floor for his jumpshot. One of the most exciting players in college basketball history, little Calvin also was a talented baton twirler, and he performed at halftime of the Purple Eagles’ home football games. Murphy once scored an incredible 73 points against the Schenectady Wedekind Pros.
Lamar Odom, the 6’10″ NBA journeyman with great ballhandling skills, attended Redemption Christian Academy in Troy, New York for one year. Odom played many seasons with the Los Angeles Lakers and won an NBA championship with the Lakers.
Mike Meola’s new book, New York Capital Region Sports Memories 1900-2013 , a unique collection of more than 350 athetes, coaches and teams, plus trivia, can be ordered locally by calling (518) 210-0228.
Mike Meola’s new book, titled New York Capital Region Sports Memories 1900-2013, is now avaiable at the Open Door Bookstore on Jay Street in Schenectady.
Sugar Ray Leonard had the quickness, ability and charisma, and he filled the boxing void left when Muhammad Ali retired in 1981. Leonard won the gold medal in the 1976 Olympics, and he won the welterweight crown in 1979, when he knocked out Wilfred Benitez. Leonard was the Fighter of the Decade for the 1980s, winning world titles in five different weight classes. He was one of the best finishers in boxing history.
Schenectady jockey Mike Cafarella once rode the first half of a monstrous $1,602.30 daily double at Tanforan in San Bruno, California. Cafarella also booted home 16-1 and 27-1 longshots in one week.