The Gridiron Machine, Buck Ewing’s Death and More…

The Gridiron Machine – On October 12, 1962, Linton High School, led by All-American quarterback Pat Riley, beat perennial powerhouse St. Thomas Aquinas of Rochester, 20-0.  Aquinas came into the contest unbeaten, with recent wins over Bishop Fallon of Buffalo (48-0) and Jamwestown (43-0).  They were considered to be the best Rochester football team in the last 15 years.  After that game, Schenectady Gazette sportswriter, Marv Cermak, began referring to the Blue Devils as the gridiron machine.

Dave Santos – Santos graduated from Union College as the leading rebounder and scorer in Dutchmen history in the early 1960s.  Following a Union-RPI game, the six-foot former Amsterdam High star was honored.  He had scored 1,099 career points and was selected to the Small College All-East Team in 1962.

Dick Suprunowicz – Suprunowicz played basketball for Syracuse in the early 1950s, and one week he was named Athlete of the Week by the Syracuse Daily Orange. He was recognized for playing a sensational defensive game, going head-to-head with Holy Cross phenom Bob Cousy.  Suprunowicz played and coached at Mont Pleasant.

Dick Fitzgerald – Fitzgerald, of Curry Road, batted .354 to top all hitters on the St. Michael’s College baseball team in 1951.  The first baseman had 17 hits in 48 trips to the plate.

Jays Win Can-Am Title – The Schenectady Blue Jays won the Canadian-American League Class C Title in 1947 under manager Lee Riley.  Schenectady’s Charlie Baker was a pitcher on that team.  Hal McConvery, a catcher, was the other hometown player on that squad.  McConvery was moved up to the Phillies’ Class B team in Portland for the ’48 season.

Bobby Heinen – Bobby Heinen beat Schenectady’s Jimmy Chiara to capture the Capital District Billiards Championship in 1951.  Chiara was the great billiards player who owned the billiards hall on Broadway in downtown Schenectady.

Billy Masucci – Masucci caught the attention of Schenectady baseball fans for his heroics in the Little League World Series in 1954. Masucci pitched and played first base.  He was the team’s leading homerun hitter, and he is best remrembered for hitting some of the longest homeruns in Little League World Series history with some towering shots over the dike in right field. 

Buck Ewing Dies – Ewing played for the Mohawk Colored Giants and was arguably the greatest catcher ever to come out of the Capital Region.  He passed away in 1979.  In 1977, a special night was held in his honor at the Ramada Inn, and former New York Giant star, Monte Irvin, a member of the Hall of Fame, was the guest speaker.  In 1983, the A Diamond in Central Park was renamed William Buck Ewing Field.  Ewing displayed magnificent catching skills on that diamond decades ago.


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