Local sports in February 1947

The Enterprise of Feb. 4, 1947, obviously looked different than it does today … different advertisements, different local sports stories and photos decidedly different — hardly ever a local photo. I won’t bore you with the details, but even 10 years later it was a long process to publish a local photo … from Bill McLaughlin’s darkroom to the “Scan-a graver” to a wooden block in the composing room to … see what I mean?

Big headline on the sports page

“WILCLOS DEFEAT T. F. FINNIGAN’S” — local businesses sponsored basketball teams. “Wilclos’ was Wilson’s Clothing Company; T.F. Finnigan’s is the only business mentioned that is still around. Bernie Wilson’s [then at 4 Broadway, every teenager’s favorite hangout] and the American Legion had games scheduled.

Following are excerpts from the big game played at the Olympic Arena in Lake Placid:

“A twenty-three point lead, built up in the first half by the Wilson Clothing company basketball team proved to be too large an assignment for the T. F. Finnigan Shamrocks in the final two periods and, as a result, the wearers of the green were forced to take the small end of a 49-31 score in the preliminary game of the double-header staged on the Lake Placid Arena boards last night.

“When a final census was taken, not only had the lads in Kelly Green lost the ball game, but also the services of Mike Shatraw.

“The young guard suffered a dislocated right shoulder early in the second period in a scramble for a free ball in Shamrock foul line territory, and as a result, will be forced to hang up his basketball togs for the remainder of the season.

“The Clothiers managed to win the ball game in the first two periods. Wasting few scoring opportunities, they contrived to pile up a grand total of thirty-five points, most of which were garnered on driving-in plays under the Shamrock basket. While the Haberdashers were on their scoring spree, the Finnigan’s were able to gather only twelve markers.

You Know What Else? “SECOND PLACE ended in a tie with the Tupper Lake team of Pam and Charlie Hoffer (left) and the Saranac Lake team of Tim Reilly and Debbie Hanlon finishing with 68 points apiece. Howard Munn, president of the chamber of commerce, is presenting the medals.” That was the only information in The Enterprise caption, no date or event mentioned, so I called Tim Reilly to get the “rest of the story.” Tim recalls that it was 1979 when the Saranac Lake Chamber of Commerce organized a two-day Winter Pentathlon — Alpine and cross-country skiing, snowshoeing (an obstacle course), tobogganing and ice skating. He also remembered that there was no first place and that he challenged Charlie to do a “run-off” in snowshoeing to determine first place but he declined. Tim believes that it turned out to be a one-year event, suggesting that it was a tremendous amount of work to organize. This conversation was all on the telephone, but the facts were all verified by Tim’s teammate, who just happens to be Mrs. Debbie Hanlon Reilly.

“Despite that unimpressive performance in those two periods, the Finnigan’s were able to come back strong in the latter stanzas and when the final buzzer sounded, they had outscored the Wilsons, 19-14, for those periods.

“Gunch Hall and Stu Shatraw gave creditable performances for the Shamrocks. Carl Miller, for the second successive game in as many days, proved to be the big cog in the Wilson machine with a total of 12 points. Tommy Oddy and Fritz Van Voorhis tied for runner-up honors with ten markers each.”

Basketball league is a big deal

The above game was played on Monday night, and scheduled for the following consecutive nights at the Harrietstown Town Hall court were games between Wilson’s and Bernie Wilson’s, and Finnigan’s and the American Legion.

“For Thursday night beginning at 7:30 there will be a special court twin bill for the benefit of the Polio Fund and all proceeds of the program will be tuned over for that worthy cause.

“In the preliminary of Thursday night’s offering the Paul Smith’s Collegians will meet the Paul Smith’s Electric basketeers while the second game will pit the Saranac Lake girls’ team against a girls’ quintet from Long Lake Village.”

[Gee, I wonder if my friend and town board colleague Tracy Folmsbee Schrader was on that team?]

National sports headlines

Ted Williams signed a contract with the Boston Red Sox for $75,000 — “one of the best contracts ever signed by a big league player.” Red Sox General Manager Eddie Collins said “Williams wrote his own ticket and I agreed to it.”

“Middleweight boxer Rocky Graziano goes before the state athletic commission today to explain why he failed to report a $100,000 bribe offer to throw a fight that was never held.”

“With Outfielder Pete Reiser and Pitcher Kirby Higbe signing on the dotted line and Outfielder Dixie Walker ‘agreed to terms,’ President Brach Rickey of the Brooklyn Dodgers, aka ‘The Mahatma of Montague Street,’ often ridiculed for pinch penny tactics, has offered a pay boost to every regular except one, Third Baseman Cookie Lavagetto, who was offered the same pay.

“Walker, who usually spends spring months painting his home in Birmingham, Ala., and waiting for more cash from Rickey, says he is ‘very happy’ about the biggest raise he ever got — reportedly promising him a 1947 income of nearly $24,000.”

Local talent for musical

The Lions Club was finishing the selections for its annual show, “Headin’ Hollywood,” which was to be presented in the Harrietstown Town Hall on Feb. 12 and 13.

“The final cast will include approximately 100 persons and will be all local talent. Thomas Stainback is chairman of the talent committee and Richard F. Seaward is director of the production.

“Leading musical roles will be played by Thomas LaVallee and Margaret Buckley. Supporting them will be Harland Branch, Mrs. Edward M. Kerr, Edward Lewis, Joan Ryan, Peter Broder, Laurette Hill, Stanley Wojciak, Neil Wojciak, Martin Otis and William Strack.

“Also Rogene Vosburgh, Doris Martin, Nancy Lynch, George Muegge, Joyce Darrah, Patricia Commo, Genya Grabowski, Betty Lou Skeels and Robert Naslonski.”

Probably not available today

Headline on the tiny ad: “FRETFUL CHILDREN.”

“Many Mothers rely on east-to-take ‘Mother Gray’s Sweet Powder’ when a laxative is needed by the little ones. Equally effective for grownups … has 45 years of country-wide approval. At all drug stores. 35c. Caution: Use only as directed.”

“Blood-iron tonics”

“This is one of the greatest tonics you can buy … if you have simple anemia. … The girls and women who suffer so from simple anemia that you’re pale, weak, ‘dragged out’ — this may be due to lack of blood-iron. So try Lydia E. Pinkham’s TABLETS — one of the best home ways to build up red blood to get more strength — in such cases. Pinkham’s Tablets are one of the greatest blood-iron tonics you can buy.” [Does not mention price or where it’s available.]


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