Blogs > New Haven 200 at 200

The New Haven Register sports department is celebrating our 200th birthday by sharing 200 of the most interesting stories relating to sports in Greater New Haven over the past 200 years. Check back daily for historical updates.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Maurice Williamson's 78-point performance

Register File Photo


There was a genuine feeling of excitement before every Wilbur Cross boys’ basketball game in the winter of 1987-88. Fans knew Maurice Williamson would score a lot of points. The question on any given night was “just how many will he get?”

Williamson averaged 39 points over the course of the season. But on one magical night, Feb. 13, 1988, he set a state record by scoring 78 points in a 108-92 victory over Westbury, N.Y.

Read Chip Malafronte's complete story.

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Sept. 1919 visits from Mack, Ruth, Sisler and Johnson

This boxscore appeared in Register day after George Sisler and Walter Johnson visited.

Thanks to a Sunday baseball ban in several major American cities, fans in New Haven, which allowed Sunday ball, got to see a steady stream of visiting major league clubs in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

Whether the opponent was Yale, New Haven’s minor league outfit or one of several competitive semi-pro teams, some of the all-time greats once graced area ballfields, often on a regular basis.

Take September 1919, an especially exciting month. On four straight weekends, the New Haven Weissmen of the Eastern League took on big league opponents.

For recaps on each read Chip Malafronte's full story.'s stats page for 1919 Weissmen

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Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Bob McVey, 1960 Olympic Hockey Team

Associated Press File Photo

 From left to right are (first row): Jack McCarten; Herb Brooks, Weldy Olson, Paul Johnson, Richard Meredith, Harry Batchelder, Larry Palmer; (second row) Jim Claypool, manager; Rod Paavola, Harry Berg, Bob McVey, Roger Christian, William Christian, Ben Bertini, trainer, Jack Riley, coach; (third row) Tom Williams, Bob Owen, Dave Outerbridge, Bob Depuis; Gene Graziam; Larry Alm; Jakc Kirrane


The “Miracle on Ice” performance by USA Hockey in 1980 gets the notoriety. Often forgotten by the mainstream is the fact that the 1960 U.S. Olympic team pulled off the same feat first.

The Cold War between the United States and the Soviet Union was on the verge of disaster in 1960 when the countries met on the ice in Squaw Valley, Calif. Hamden’s Bob McVey was a second-line left wing that day, helping Team USA to a monumental 3-2 upset victory.
Read Chip Malafronte's complete story.

McVey's Olympic profile page

USA Hockey Magazine looks back to 1960 team (with photo of McVey)


Two videos from YouTube on the 1960 Forgotten Miracle team

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Monday, June 25, 2012

Tony Lavelli, Yale basketball

Yale Athletics / Register File photos

NOTE: A photo that was originally posted here was not Tony Lavelli. There were two notations on the photo that it was Lavelli in the Register files, however thanks to reader Joel Alderman, a Lavelli fan growing up who kept a scrapbook, he was able to find the original photo in a newspaper clipping, which was of Gordy Davis (more on Davis below).

We apologize for the error and have updated with Lavelli photos from Yale.


The multi-talented Tony Lavelli was a pure showman.

The first player from Yale to be drafted into the NBA, Lavelli was a scoring sensation who was named the College Player of the Year in 1949 when he averaged 22.4 points per game.

He was the fourth pick of the Boston Celtics and played three professional seasons.


Read Bill Cloutier's complete story.

The 1949 Draft

Below is photo and bio of Gordy Davis from Yale

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Pele at Yale Bowl, 1977

Associated Press, Register File Photo,

Selling the sport of soccer to Americans has been an ongoing project for over a century. But in the 1970s, thanks to the North American Soccer League and more specifically the New York Cosmos, soccer came within a whisker of becoming mainstream in the U.S.

The Cosmos signed Brazilian superstar Pele in 1975. Widely regarded as the greatest footballer of all time, he was well past his prime. Still, Pele’s very presence spurred a soccer frenzy.

In 1977, a struggling NASL franchise moved from Hartford to spend the season at Yale Bowl. Renamed the Connecticut Bicentennials, the franchise opened the season with a much-hyped game against the Cosmos and Pele, who at 36 was playing his final season of competitive soccer.
Read Chip Malafronte's complete story

Read more about the Connecticut Bicentennials at the FunWhileItLasted blog

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Brakettes: A softball dynasty

Bertha Tickey

A mere exercise of crunching numbers doesn’t seem to fully capture the legacy of the Brakettes softball juggernaut.

However, the statistics are somewhat staggering. Whether it is the 30 national championships, 21 former Brakettes in the ASA Hall of Fame, 11 Olympians, three world championships and more than 3,000 victories, it is impossible to write the history of women’s softball without paying homage to the Brakettes’ impact.

“The best played here at Stratford,” said Brakettes manager John Stratton.

Read Jim Fuller's complete story.

The Brakettes official website

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Sunday, June 24, 2012

Fay Vincent, Major League Baseball commissioner

Associated Press photo

New Haven’s Fay Vincent would go on to achieve great things in life, most notably a three-year stint as commissioner of Major League Baseball. But, quite frankly, he was lucky to get through college alive.

As a freshman at Williams College his roommate, as a prank, locked him in their dorm room. To escape Vincent climbed onto the roof. But he slipped on a patch of ice, falling four stories and crushing his spine. He would spend three months in traction; even longer learning to walk again.

Read Chip Malafronte's full story.

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Don Perry, New Haven Blades

Don Perry was the face of the wildly popular, oft controversial, and typically combative New Haven Blades of the defunct Eastern Hockey League.

Perry, born in Edmonton in 1930, began his stint with the Blades in 1954 as a player/coach and ended in 1972. In between the team won its only title, titillating its rabid fan base with large-scale brawls in the rowdy venue.

Read Bill Cloutier's full story.

Don Perry's Los Angeles Kings profile page.

Here's some videos on the Eastern Hockey League from YouTube.

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Naugatuck's Billy Burke wins 1931 U.S. Open

Associated Press photo

In a span of 10 years, Billy Burke rose from a full-time job as a mold caster at a Naugatuck iron foundry to the 1931 U.S. Open champion. It remains as remarkable a tale today as it was 81 years ago.

Burke — born Burkowski — was the son of a Polish immigrant blue-collar worker. He fell in love with golf when, as a frail 12-year-old, he caddied for the first time at Naugatuck Golf Club.

Read Chip Malafronte's full story

The write up and scores from 1931

GolfWeek's look back to 1931

Here's a video from YouTube that could include Billy Burke in 1931 at the U.S. Open.

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A closer look at the series

It was 200 years ago — Dec. 1, 1812 to be precise — when volume one, edition one of what would become the New Haven Register was published out of a one-room Church Street office.

Known as the Columbian Register (it would become the New Haven Evening Register in 1846), the paper got its start as a voice for New Haven shipping interests being squeezed by President James Madison’s trade embargo during the War of 1812.

As part of our bicentennial celebration, we today launch our “200 at 200” series as a tribute to Greater New Haven’s rich sports history.
Read Chip Malafronte's complete column on the series.


Friday, June 22, 2012

Celebrating our history

The New Haven Register celebrates its 200th anniversary this year.
In that time, Greater New Haven has been the site and home of some of the most influential people, places and events in American sports history.
Over the next two months we will share these stories with you.
Some stories you will know, others, we hope and believe, will amaze you as much as they amazed us.
The stories begin Sunday and we will store links to all 200 here in this blog.
So follow along as we take you back on a sports journey 200 years in the making.

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