Posts Tagged ‘sports history’

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

William C. Geer, North Country Inventor, Had A Ball

Whether you’re a fan of golf or sports in general, you’re probably aware that Tiger Woods recently won the Masters. His impact on golf history has been tremendous, but the latest chapter in his saga has been inspirational for several reasons: through lengthy, rigorous effort, he overcame physical obstacles that would have ended most sports careers; as an old man, he defeated all the best young players on the planet (he’s only 43, but athletes in their forties seldom win the biggest events); and overall, it was a rare comeback effort that most experts dismissed as impossible because of the factors just cited — and we do love comeback stories.

But this isn’t about Tiger Woods and it isn’t a comeback story. It’s about a remarkable North Country man who affected in a positive way untold millions of people around the world through his inventions, including one of his lesser creations — a new and improved golf ball that was the industry standard for decades. » Continue Reading.


Saturday, February 2, 2019

Nonpareil Athlete Babe Didrikson’s North Country Visit

During the first half of the 20th century, traveling basketball and baseball teams were part of America’s social fabric, providing great entertainment for millions of appreciative fans. Mostly visiting cities and surrounding communities, the famous and near-famous made the rounds each year. Their competition consisted of locally organized squads that often recruited one or more talented college or semi-pro players.

In New York, the most popular routes for traveling teams were from New York City north to Albany, and west to Buffalo. It was uncommon to find nationally known stars straying from those paths to visit the state’s northernmost regions, but in 1934 — 85 years ago this week — Plattsburgh and other lucky sites played host to sports royalty in the person of Mildred “Babe” Didrikson. At the very least, she was the equal of most men in several sports. Invariably, she is listed among the greatest female athletes of the 20th century. Compilations, like this one by Sports Illustrated, usually place her at the top among athletes who specialized in single disciplines, but when it comes to all-round talents and achievements, there are few if any challengers to Didrikson. » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Something BIG Was Once Afoot in the Adirondacks

This appears to be the easiest North Country riddle ever, but humor me and give it a try anyway. What is very tall, very hairy, probably didn’t smell very good, and set tongues wagging when it was seen in the northern Adirondacks several times in early 1933? Just to be safe, take a moment and think about it. Hey, you never know — it could be a trick question. But if you’re still stumped or not certain of your answer, here’s another clue that might prove the clincher: it was known for having very large (OK … BIG) feet.

If you answered anything other than Gil Reichert, you’ve been successfully misled. No apologies here, though, for the description above fits both Reichert and your likely choice (Bigfoot) to a T. » Continue Reading.


Thursday, October 5, 2017

Jack Lagree: Dannemora’s Bobsled Guru

Long before the 2015 escape of Richard Matt and David Sweat, the word Dannemora instantly conjured images of the prison. While the high wall dominates the landscape, the village does have other historical connections, some of them in the world of sports, including one through the person of John “Jack” Lagree. Jack was a native of Churubusco, a tiny hamlet in northwestern Clinton County.

Blessed with engineering talent, mechanical skill, and a strong, traditional, North Country work ethic, he rose to national prominence in the world of bobsleigh competition (referred to hereafter by the more popular term, bobsled). » Continue Reading.


Monday, August 22, 2016

Chateaugay Olympian Karl Frederick: Literally A Shooting Star

1KTFred1920St1The 2016 Summer Olympics have ended, and as usual, they were quite the spectacle. Folks in the Adirondacks and North Country are perhaps bigger fans of the Winter Olympics, for obvious reasons: the games have been held twice at Lake Placid, and a number of area natives have attained lifelong dreams by earning a place on the podium. But a man born in this region achieved summer Olympic glory long ago, one of many highlights in a very accomplished life.

Karl Telford Frederick was born in 1881 in Chateaugay (northern Franklin County), where his father was a Presbyterian minister, which required a somewhat nomadic existence (five relocations in 14 years). Before Karl was three, the family moved to Essex on Lake Champlain, remaining there until 1888—not a long time, but sufficient to establish a lasting connection between him and the Adirondacks. » Continue Reading.