Sports 07-23-2015

From the Press Box

Lights Out

By Jim Lederman

Do you remember when basketball was the “number one” sport in town? Can you name the location of the three basketball courts down the Center? The ‘lights’ are out in 2015!

What happened to the Winthrop Summer Basketball League? I can remember when just a few years ago, the high school hoop tem had two teams playing in the league! Yes, Winthrop has won more NEC basketball titles than Marblehead, Swampscott, Danvers combined!

Let’s travel back to 1960 when the league was starting to travel along Brookfield Road and remember the ‘old courts”.

I had my team in the 1960 league. I worked for the Park Department as my summer job. Hoops were ‘number one’ in town.

Three pro football players on the DeFelice Club: Artie Graham (Matignon, Boston College and the Boston Patriots), Jack Concannon (Matignon, Boston College) number one NFL draft choice (Chicago Bears) Don McKinnon (Matignon, Dartmouth, Boston Patriots. Coach Bob DeFelice’s team lost in the finals to the ‘Squeeze Inn’ Club from Beachmont. 1,000 fans watched the final game. Tony Morgan (Revere) was league MVP. The team had many standouts from Immaculate Conception in Revere. 1,000 fans cheered for the Revere team!

The league was open to outside teams. The best players on the North Shore played in the Winthrop Summer League. Winthrop High won 10 NEC title in the 50’s – 60’s. The 1963 team “The Greatest” team in WHS hoop captured Class B State Championship. The ‘Boston Garden’ was filled to capacity to watch the best players play in the legendary Tech Tourney.

Bobby Krute, Lenny Riley (WHS Hall of Fame), the late Robert ‘Truck’ McKenna, Frank Donahue, Bobby Chambers and Charles ‘Chuck’ Mullane (Holy Cross Division One player) was a sensational team coached by John P. Sheehan.

Let’s go back to the 70’s – WHS was King of the North Shore. The Tsiotos brothers – Nick and Chris led their teams to two NEC title and two trips to championship games in the ‘Tech Tourney.” Chris (28.5 NEC scoring record) and Nick both played at Suffolk and both played professionally in Greece.

The Winthrop Summer League had three divisions and 32 teams. The late Hugh Treanor – Doctor Hugh (DMD) was the ‘Commissioner’.

The ‘City Team’ lost to Bentley College (Chuck Mullane, Ray Anderson, Mike Driscoll). In the final MFP (Kevin Dowd, Pete Grimes, Mike Eruzione and Joe DeLorey) crowd swelled to 300 in big games.

This year marks the 40th anniversary of a championship team. Swett’s Sways, sponsored by Mr. Lucerto of Swetts Liquors. Jackie Fagan, Pat DeGregorio, Pudgy Kneeland, John Parilla, Paul and Lou Lucerto, the late ‘Tanka’ Donovan and Jimmy Macken, have fond memories of 1975.

We can talk about all the great high school and college players form the ‘Summer League’.

Will Winthrop return to the talk of the North Shore? Football and hockey are number one in town!

I will let you decide a year from today; will Winthrop basketball rebuild the reputation of coaches John Sheehan, Henry McCarthy, Peter Grimes and David Brown? ‘Around the Rim’ is on vacation!

11 Rings

Tom Brady and David Ortiz have led the New England Patriots and the Boston Red Sox to 7-World Championships. We are fortunate in Boston in the 21st century to be the ‘Championship City in the USA”!

The greatest athlete in Boston sports history is William Felton Russell. Number 6 – Bill Russell has 11 rings, yes, I consider Bill the greatest player in NBA history.

The Boston Celtics have 17 world championships. Bill Russell won 11 NBA titles as a player and coach.

Russell revolutionized the word ‘defense’. He would block 15 shots in a game and score 20 points and have 18 rebounds.

I watched “Big Bill” win the first NBA title for the Celtics in 1957. I watched Larry Bird win 3 titles in the Garden. Bill Russell is the greatest player in NBA history. Lebron James is the face of the 2015 NBA – The King has two, yes, two NBA title!

Little Papi

There are many thrills for Little League players. Young Augie Cherico, his pinch hit grand slam last week, lifted his Winthrop team to victory.

The entire Martucci family was watching Augie in Lynn. Mom Toni Ann (Martucci) and proud dad Corey will always remember Little Papi hit the grand slam.

Let’s hope Big Papi can hit a few homers for the Red Sox the second half of the 2015 season!

Championship Visit

Saturday was an exciting day to be a football fan in Winthrop. New England Patriot championship player Jonas Gray (Notre Dame) visited Winthrop. Jonas and author Sean Stellato (No Backing Down) were at the Winthrop Book Depot and Café (Somerset Ave.). One hundred young fans and Patriot Nation watched Jonas sign copies of ‘No Backing Down’ and receive a Gray picture.

Jonas had his championship ring and spent Saturday afternoon and night in Winthrop.

At the Winthrop Lodge of Elks on Saturday night, a capacity crowd ad pictures taken with Jonas Gray and the Lombardi Trophy.

Saturday lunch at Rossetti’s Café on Winthrop Shore Drive, Jonas, Stellato and three of his pro football players filled the legendary restaurant.

Thanks to ex-Viking super bowl championship player Gus Martucci for sponsoring the memorable day.

Football is one month away!

Let the Games Begin!

The Second Half

The Boston Red Sox swan song continues. Hopes were high that the Sox would have a big ‘second half’ of the 2015 baseball season.

Last night I received a call from my brother in California. He is a huge baseball fan. Angels 11 – Red Sox 1. What happened to the Red Sox? In three games to begin the ‘second half,’ the Sox have scored one run.

A $200-million payroll, the worst pitching staff in baseball, a third baseman – Pablo the Panda 100-pound overweight and overpaid. Porcello – $82 million-one victory in his last nine game pitching.

They couldn’t afford a new contract for Jon Lester. They could not pay Andrew Miller (top notch) relief pitcher, now closing games for the Yankees.

A last place finish this year, should send Ben Cherington (GM) and John Farrell (manager) looking for new jobs!

Patriots open camp next week!

Let’s Go Pats!

On the Range with PGA Golf professional james bruce

This is the first part of a four-part instructional piece. We are going to start at the hole and work our way back to the tee. You have heard all the cliches “drive for show, putt for dough” and “a two foot putt counts on the scorecard the same as a 280 yard drive”. Well these sayings are true. The putter can be the great equalizer. These tips will help you make more putts and three putt less.

Lets start with those dreaded three footers. Usually the winner at a PGA tour event makes between 95 and 100 percent of putts three feet and in. If we can make 90 percent of putts three feet and in we will play good golf. My favorite drill is to place ten balls three feet from the hole in a circle. Concentrate on taking the putter back only four or five inches and accelerate the putter. Stay very still and use no wrist in the stroke. Do this until you make ten out ten putts. The next time you do this drill use twelve balls. Keep increasing the amount of balls you use. Maybe someday you can go 100 for 100 like Phil Mickleson.

Finally lets focus on lag putting. If you can roll a forty foot putt to within three feet you will hardly ever three putt. The first drill I like is to place three tees three feet from the hole. One tee behind the hole and two tees equal with the hole. Hit ten putts from thirty or forty feet and focus on getting the ball inside that triangle made by the tees. This helps by making sure the ball does not stop short of the hole and also improves distance control. Again no wrist in the stroke. Also allow for the putter to release through the ball. This will eliminate the “jab” stroke which causes the ball to come up short of the hole. The second drill I use is to start off by hitting a putt 15 feet. Hit the next putt 17 or 18 feet. Repeat this process until you get thirty or even forty feet away. This is training you to never come up short of the hole and also allowing you to take a “free” stroke without thinking about the hole.

If you do these drills once or twice a week I promise that your scores will go down. If you need help with your putting or any other part of your game please see me or any other PGA professional.

James Bruce is in his 16th season as PGA Head Golf Professional at Winthrop Golf Club. Winthrop Golf Club is currently offering a special membership deal. Please contact the golf shop at 617-799-1455 for details.

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