Discuss Niagara Sports


Postby efkay2u » Sun Jul 12, 2020 8:51 pm

Milt Northrup from the BUFFALO NEWS relates about the year CCNY won the NIT and NCAA, a presidential College World Series, the Mick and Waterbury Baseball

Greater Buffalo Sports Hall of Fame member Milt Northrop has seen a lot in his 52-year career at The Buffalo News and even before that. Occasionally he will share some of the events that have left a lasting impression on him. In this installment, a grab bag from as far back as 73 years ago when he was growing up.

I've been asked from time to time: Did you ever cover the NCAA Final Four?

The answer is no, but I've been to one, the most unique in college basketball history.

It was the 1950 NCAA championship game between the City College of New York Beavers and the Bradley University Braves at Madison Square Garden, the venerable old Garden on Eighth Avenue in New York City.

CCNY completed the only sweep of college basketball's two major championships having won the National Invitation Tournament 10 days before in the same venue. The NCAA field was limited to eight teams, one from each region. The NIT field was 12 teams. Niagara was one. So was Holy Cross with senior star Bob Cousy.

I was in seventh grade at the time and made the trip with my father and the Foreman's Club of New Haven. It was my second trip to the Garden. The first, I believe, was for a Ringling Brothers, Barnum & Bailey Circus in the 1940s.

The CCNY lineup: Irwin Dambrot, Ed Warner, Ed Roman, Al Roth and Floyd Layne. Dambrot was a senior. The other four were sophomores. The sixth man was Norm Mager. Warner and Layne were the first African American players to start for an NCAA championship team. Three of the top subs for Hall of Fame coach Nat Holman's team, Sonny Jameson, Joe Galiber and Leroy Watkins, also were Black.

They also were an ill-fated group. Dambrot, Warner, Roman, Roth and Layne were implicated in some degree in the 1951 point-shaving scandal that ended CCNY's time as a major basketball power and led to the same fate at Long Island University and eventually NYU. Most CCNY players went on to overcome the stigma of the scandal to lead successful lives.

Layne's basketball reputation was rehabilitated and he later became head men's basketball coach at CCNY. Dambrot practiced dentistry. Roman went on to earn a doctorate in psychology. Roth received his business degree from the college and became an insurance executive. Galiber, who was not implicated in the gambling scandal, became a longtime member of the New York State Senate.

Bradley had been ranked No. 1 in the final AP Poll that season. CCNY was not ranked in the top 20.

The 1950 Grand Slam is one of the items on my personal list of unique events that I covered or witnessed.

In 1947 at Yale Field in New Haven, Conn., I saw the East Regional of the first ever NCAA Baseball Championship involving Clemson, Illinois, NYU and Yale. Yale, with future president George Herbert Walker Bush at first base, won the regional and went on to lose a best-of-three championship series to future big leaguer Jackie Jensen and California in Kalamazoo, Mich. Andy Phillip, a future Boston Celtics guard who had been a star for Illinois' famous basketball Whiz Kids, played first base for the Illini. So were Julie Rykovich and Ruck Steger, who were in the backfield with Hall of Famer Buddy Young in the 1947 Rose Bowl game. Seeing those guys who I had only read about or heard about on radio broadcasts was a big deal for me.

In 1959, as a 22-year-old sports editor of the Willimantic (Conn.) Chronicle, I covered the first NCAA men's soccer championship between Saint Louis University and the University of Bridgeport at the University of Connecticut. It was the first of 10 NCAA championships the Billikens won or shared in the sport over a 15-year span.

In 1964, I covered the last two World Series games played at the old Yankee Stadium before it was renovated in the mid-1970s. The Yankees were coasting, 3-0, in Game 4 and seemingly headed for a 3-1 series lead on a Sunday afternoon in the Bronx until Ken Boyer hit a grand slam off lefty Al Downing. That was pure Downing. He could be overpowering, then suddenly lose his command and give up a big homer. The Cards won, 4-3.

The next day, Tim McCarver hit a three-run homer in the 10th inning to win Game Five for Bob Gibson and the Cardinals.

Game 3 in the Bronx? Brilliant decision. I passed it up to allow a junior member of my staff to cover it while I went to the Yale-Columbia football game at Baker Field. What did I miss? A monster home run in the 10th inning by Mickey Mantle off a first-pitch knuckleball from Cards reliever Barney Schultz for a 2-1 Yankees victory. One of the most dramatic homers of Mick's career. In fact, it was the only walk-off homer of the record 18 he hit in World Series play.

There have been Super Bowls, NBA and Stanley Cup finals, heroics by Gerry Meehan, Rene Robert, Dave Hannan, Gar Heard, Joe Ferguson, Jim Kelly, George Wilson, John Elway, Andre Reed and Jim McMillian to witness over the years, but the oddest game was a minor league game.

It was in the Eastern League between the York (Pa.) Red Roses and the Waterbury Giants on a Sunday afternoon in 1966 at Municipal Stadium in Waterbury, Conn. The Giants won, 8-7, in 22 innings, a 6-hour, 13-minute marathon that ended at 12:46 a.m. on Aug. 1. The Giants had shelled York starter and future big league no-hit pitcher and pitching coach Dick Bosman for five runs in the first inning. Bosman stayed in the game, however, and gained his control while his teammates rallied to tie the game. It was 5-5 after nine, and there was no scoring until York took a one-run lead in the 21st inning, only to have little infielder Julio Linares hit his only home run of the season to tie the game in the bottom half.

After York had scored again in the top of the 22nd, Waterbury brought in starting ace Dick Sparks, a basketball player from Indiana U., to pitch with one out and the bases full. One pitch and Sparks got a double-play ball to end the inning. Waterbury won it in the bottom of the 23rd inning when Bobby Holbert, a bonus-baby shortstop from Johnson City, N.Y., singled up the middle.

Sparks got the win for his one-pitch performance. To show that there sometimes is no justice in baseball, another Waterbury pitcher, Bob Bishop, pitched 10-plus innings of two-hit shutout ball in the middle of the game and got no decision.
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Postby MICKEY » Mon Jul 13, 2020 7:53 am

For those who are interested in the early fifties college basketball era there are a number of books by Charlie Rosen on the subject. In particular "The Wizard of Odds. How Jack Molinas Almost Destoyed The Game Of Basketbaal". A few interesting Niagara mentions, particularly our game vs CCNY @ MSG the year after they won the National Championship. Also "The City Game" by Matt Goodman.
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