On the latest Long Island History Project podcast Stephanie Eberhard-Holgerson’s journalism class at Bayport Blue Point (BBP) High School in Islip tries to solve a mystery. At the suggestion of BBP’s librarian Pam Gustafson, the class has spent the last year looking into the school’s mascot, The Phantoms. The takeaway is that the straightforward question “where did the name come from” has yielded a very convoluted answer. [Read more…] about How the Bayport Blue Point Phantoms Got Their Name
Women’s Basketball History
This week on The Historians Podcast, the guest is Kate Fagan, author of HOOP MUSES-An Insider’s Guide to Pop Culture and the (Women’s) Game an Adventure through Basketball History (Twelve, 2023). Fagan is a native of Schenectady and writes for Sports Illustrated. [Read more…] about Women’s Basketball History
1947 Utica Blue Sox: A Baseball Season to Remember
The 1947 Utica Blue Sox laid the foundation for the team that would go on to become the 1950 National League baseball champion, the Philadelphia Phillies.
A new book, The 1947 Utica Blue Sox: A Season To Remember (self-published, 2022) is a detailed account of the players and personalities that captivated Utica, NY, a slice of life that takes the reader back to a nearly-forgotten time, viewed through a lens of reverence, respect, and a genuine love of the game. [Read more…] about 1947 Utica Blue Sox: A Baseball Season to Remember
Secretariat’s Triple Crown at 50
2023 marks the 50th anniversary of the racehorse Secretariat (March 30, 1970 – October 4, 1989) winning the Triple Crown in 1973, a feat that had not been achieved since it was won by Citation in 1948.
Secretariat, also known as Big Red (a nickname shared with Man O’War), was the ninth winner of Triple Crown, setting and still holding record fastest time in all three races – the Kentucky Derby, the Belmont Stakes and the Preakness Stakes. He spent much of his career in New York State, and was notably beaten at Saratoga Race Course in 1973, but the only three races he ever lost were in New York State. [Read more…] about Secretariat’s Triple Crown at 50
Baseball’s John Milligan: A Saratoga County Legend
When people think of Schuylerville, in Saratoga County, they think of history. The region is known for the 1777 Battles of Saratoga, but people are typically less aware of it’s baseball history.
For many years however, the community was known for pitcher John Milligan, one of the finest athletes in the county’s history. He hurled for the Philadelphia Phillies of the National League and the Washington Senators of the American League, among other teams. [Read more…] about Baseball’s John Milligan: A Saratoga County Legend
An 1896 ‘Old Timers’ Boxing Event in New York City
The following essay was published in the “The World Of Sport” column in The [Troy] Daily Times on December 15, 1896.
Pugilistic champions of other days and of the present time passed in rapid review before a crowd of 2,500 sports in the Broadway Athletic Club last night. There was a rare galaxy of them. [Read more…] about An 1896 ‘Old Timers’ Boxing Event in New York City
The Buffalo Sports Curse: 120 Years Of Disappointment
Buffalo’s long, storied professional sports history runs back to the early 1900s. Despite a century of opportunity, none of its four major sports teams ever won a universally recognized championship. Not for baseball or basketball; neither football nor hockey.
On the other hand, Buffalo teams experienced numerous close calls and blown calls. As well, there have been injuries and deaths, nefarious back-office dealings, and just-plain-weird happenings, each at just the wrong time to deprive city teams from winning championships. Just bad luck? Or is there something more sinister at play, like a Buffalo Sports Curse? Greg D. Tranter’s new book from RIT Press, The Buffalo Sports Curse: 120 Years of Pain, Disappointment, Heartbreak and Eternal Optimism, chronicles thirty-two cursed events. [Read more…] about The Buffalo Sports Curse: 120 Years Of Disappointment
The Capitol Region’s Race Course: Island Park
The Hudson River in New York’s Capital Region has always been a vital transportation link, and it also provides a conduit to undertakings of the past. The area presently occupied by Interstate-787 and its connectors to NY-378 were constructed on what had been a cluster of islands in the Hudson River, near Menands, between Albany and Watervliet.
Even in the 1820s, the road here became noted for unofficial, and illegal, horse racing. [Read more…] about The Capitol Region’s Race Course: Island Park
Babe Ruth, Sports and 1920s Identity Politics
The Roaring Twenties saw the collision of an emerging culture of celebrity with the established popularity of sports, creating one of the twentieth century’s most enduring personalities — baseball hero Babe Ruth.
In 1928, Ruth not only led the New York Yankees to their third World Series victory, he also threw himself into politics, campaigning enthusiastically for New York State governor and Democratic presidential nominee Al Smith. Smith’s liberal and progressive platform appealed to diverse, working-class Americans, often marginalized by the policies of other politicians. [Read more…] about Babe Ruth, Sports and 1920s Identity Politics
Joe Gingras: A Major League Baseball Career Thwarted By War
In 1870 Francois Dieudonné Gingras left his native Canada for Manhattan where he met and married Mary Roohan. By 1896, now with three children and another on the way, this couple had settled in Saratoga Springs where they opened a grocery store.
Their oldest son, Frank, was soon brought into the family business and the store was renamed, F. D. Gingras & Son. Their youngest son, whom they had named Joseph Elzead John Gingras, was looking to pursue a far different life: baseball. [Read more…] about Joe Gingras: A Major League Baseball Career Thwarted By War