For sportswriters and sportscasters alike, our area had plenty of memorable “sports of all sorts” moments during July 1974.
BASEBALL: THE ONEONTA YANKEES HAD MANY SURPRISES
“It has happened only nine times in the Major League history and just once in the 35-year history of the New York-Pennsylvania League,” The Daily Star reported on July 8.
“Oneonta Yankee righthander Greg Diehl accomplished a pitcher’s dream Sunday night in a perfect game — beating Newark, 9-0.”
The only other perfect game in NY-P history was thrown in Erie, Pennsylvania, in 1956.
If you couldn’t make it to Damaschke Field that night, you could hear it on the radio, over WONT, which we know today as WZOZ-FM. Program Director Dave Maurer provided the play-by-play at all home games that season. Away games were covered by opponent city stations that covered their local teams.
Also that month, a true Yankee legend came to town, as The Star of July 21 reported.
“If Joe DiMaggio leaves one impression behind, it has to be that he is a professional.
“Several of Oneonta’s media members and a couple of out-of-town reporters got to fire questions at the Yankee Clipper Tuesday afternoon amidst the unique setting of Sam Nader’s backyard.
“DiMaggio’s main occupation now is golf, playing tournaments when it’s for a charitable cause, besides making appearances such as last night’s autograph signing and hitting exhibition at Damaschke Field.” Three thousand attended the event.
FOOTBALL: ONEONTAN SHOWED PROMISE WITH THE NFL
“It doesn’t matter to Garry Scutt how he does from here on during his attendance at the Green Bay Packers pre-season workouts — as far as he is concerned it’s been well worth the effort,” Star readers learned on July 19.
“Scutt, a native Oneontan and late of the Empire Football League Oneonta Indians, has been in attendance at the NFL pre-season camp at St. Norbert’s College for over a week now and he feels it’s been a totally educational experience.
“‘Hey this is really fun,’ said the effervescent Scutt in a phone conversation…late Wednesday night. ‘I’m learning very, very interesting things and no matter what happens out here it’s been an educational experience for me.’”
Scutt was expecting to play in an exhibition game Aug. 2 against the Buffalo Bills. The NFL was in the midst of a players’ strike at the time.
ANOTHER ‘FOOTBALL’ PLAYED IN ‘ONEONTA ’74’
“One of the most wide open of the four divisions in an international soccer tournament — Oneonta ’74 — which is scheduled to open this weekend in Oneonta, is the one in which the host team Oneonta is a member,” The Star said on July 13.
In addition to Oneonta, this international junior soccer tournament had games played in Binghamton and Margaretville. There were a total of 15 teams from across America, as well as Canada, England and Scotland.
Not only was this a tournament, more than 2,000 children were in the area for the Oneonta ’74 soccer camp. The camp and tournament were directed by former Hartwick College players Francisco Marcos and Timo Liekoski.
A parade and kickoff event took pace on Elmore Field at Hartwick College on July 14, and the teams broke for their playing sites.
Oneonta’s entry in the tournament was called Oneonta United. With Pat Delello as goalkeeper, other local players included Mike Chipman, John Ulm, Joe Burns, Tom Austin, Rick Page and Bob Rowley.
While Oneonta didn’t win the overall tournament, the championship game was a nail biter, as described by The Star of July 29.
“If Walt Disney was given an assignment to write the script for the climax of the Oneonta ’74 tournament, he couldn’t have done a better job than did Possil Park YMCA of Scotland and St. Louis Sunday.
“The two teams etched a story on Hartwick’s Elmore Field that will last in the minds of nearly 2,000 fans forever. Possil and St. Louis battled for 120 minutes, 80 of which was regular time and four 10-minute overtimes, and finally through agreement of both coaches, settled for a 2-2 tie and a half share of Oneonta ’74.”
Star sportswriters called the tournament a big success and reported on July 31 that plans were underway for another next year.
This weekend: A rousing July Fourth for the troops in 1919.
Oneonta City Historian Mark Simonson’s column appears twice weekly. On Saturdays, his column focuses on the area before 1950. His Tuesday columns address local history 1950 and later. If you have feedback or ideas about the column, write to him at The Daily Star, or email him at email@example.com. His website is www.oneontahistorian.com. His columns can be found at www.thedailystar.com/opinion/columns/.
Have you ever had a question about a history-making event or a prominent person in our area and didn't know where to find the answer? Well, we've got an expert who might be able to help you. Historian Mark Simonson has spent many years chronicling major local happenings, and he's ready and willing to dive into The Daily Star archives for answers, which will appear in this newspaper and online at www.thedailystar.com.
Write to him at "Ask Mark," The Daily Star, 102 Chestnut St., Oneonta, NY 13820 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.