Westchester Sports: Events and Moments in Sports History in Westchester County
Our wide world of sports: What do curling, Seabiscuit, and Babe Ruth have in common? Westchester! Read our Top 40 County sports facts—and impress your friends at the next trivia night.
Joe Girardi photo courtesy of New York Yankees; Arthur Ashe photo by Rob Bogaerts/Anefo; Seabiscuit photo courtesy of Seabiscuit Heritage Foundation; Chris Berman photo by John Atashian/ESPN Images; James Blake photo courtesy of JamesBlakeTennis.com; Ray Rice photo courtesy of Baltimore Ravens
1. Hours after managing the Yankees to their 27th World Series title in November 2009, Joe Girardi of Purchase assisted a crash victim on the Cross County Parkway near Eastchester.
2. On October 25, 2012, Tony DeMatteo of Somers High School became the first coach to lead a team to 300 wins in New York State Section 1 football.
3. The legendary Seabiscuit won four thoroughbred stakes races at Yonkers Raceway: Ardsley Handicap (1935), Scarsdale Handicap (1936), Yonkers Handicap (1937), and Butler Handicap (1937).
4. Arthur Ashe, one-time resident of Mount Kisco, defeated Jimmy Connors in the 1975 Wimbledon final. Ashe is the only black man to have won tennis’ most prestigious title.
5. Monroe College’s Lady Mustangs won back-to-back National Junior College Division II basketball titles in 2011 and 2012.
6. The Hackley School in Tarrytown is the alma mater of ESPN Sportscaster Chris Berman and former ESPN, CNN, NBC, and Fox anchor Keith Olbermann.
7. Khalil Edney hit a 60-foot shot at the buzzer, giving New Rochelle High School a 61-60 win over seven-time defending champion Mount Vernon in the New York State Section 1 Class AA final on March 3, 2013. Edney was a guest on ABC’s Good Morning America the next day.
8. Yonkers native James Blake became the world’s fourth-ranked tennis player in 2006. He’s earned more than $7 million since turning pro.
9. In the “Massacre at Winged Foot,” Hale Irwin won the 1974 US Open in Mamaroneck at 7 over par. The average US Open winning score since 1975 is 3 under par.
10. The United States Tennis Association, the world’s largest tennis organization, with more than 770,000 members, is based in White Plains.
11. Baltimore running back Ray Rice of New Rochelle helped lead the Ravens to victory in Super Bowl XLVII.1
12. Yonkers Raceway drew roughly 317 daily visitors in 2004, the last year of operation before its conversion to Empire City Casino. Today, the casino attracts 12,000 visitors every weekday and 25,000 a day on weekends.
13. Bronxville High School junior Mary Cain set a national girls’ record in the mile (4:28.25) at the Millrose Games on February 16, 2013. She also holds US girls’ records at 1,500 meters and 2 miles.
14. Managed by Joe Torre, then of Harrison, the Yankees defeated the Mets in the 2000 World Series for their fourth championship in five years.
15. Knicks forward Steve Novak of Rye Brook made an NBA-best 47.2 percent of his 3-point shots in the 2011-2012 season.
16. Brothers Rodney and Scooter McCray became hoop stars at Mount Vernon High School and the University of Louisville before turning pro. Rodney played 10 seasons in the NBA (1983-1993); Scooter, three seasons (1983-1985, 1986-1987).
17. John Collins of the Badger Swim Club in Larchmont coached Olympic gold medalists Rick Carey (1984), Lea Loveless (1992), Cristina Teuscher Maurer (1996), Jenny Thompson (1996, 2000).
18. Mount Kisco native Bruce Jenner won the decathlon at the 1976 Montreal Olympics. He later married the matriarch of reality TV’s Kardashian clan.
19. The Yonkers Marathon, first run in 1907, is America’s second-oldest marathon; the Boston Marathon is 10 years older.
20. Babe Ruth is buried in Gate of Heaven Cemetery in Hawthorne. Yankees caps, baseballs, bats, and pennants are among the items left regularly at his grave.
21. Prior to moving to Greenburgh before the 2002-2003 hockey season, the Rangers trained at Rye Playland’s Ice Casino for 23 years.
22. Runner Alan Helffrich of Yonkers won gold in the 4 x 400-meter relay at the 1924 Paris Olympics. He later served as New York chapter president of the US Olympians.
23. Mariano Rivera of Purchase became Major League Baseball’s all-time saves leader on September 19, 2011, when he recorded his 602nd save as the Yankees defeated Minnesota 6-4.
24. Cyclist Marcus Hurley, a New Rochelle native, won four gold medals and one bronze at the 1904 St. Louis Olympics.
25. Richard Erenberg of Horace Greeley High School in Chappaqua began a three-year stint as a Pittsburgh Steelers running back in 1984.
26. After starring at Rye High School, B.J. Surhoff had a 19-year MLB career; he played every position except pitcher.
27. Horace Rawlins, head pro at Wykagyl Country Club in New Rochelle, won the first US Open golf title in 1895.
28. Olympic silver medalist Peter Leone, along with his horse Lincourt Gino, won the 2012 American Gold Cup equestrian event at Old Salem Farm in North Salem.
29. Ben Gordon of Mount Vernon averaged 15 points a game for the Chicago Bulls in the 2004-2005 season and won the NBA Sixth Man of the Year award.
30. Suzyn Waldman of Croton-on-Hudson debuted as a Yankees radio announcer in 2005. In 2009, she became the first woman to broadcast a World Series game on the radio.
31. Coach Mike Woodson of White Plains led the Knicks to an 89-87 victory over Miami on May 6, 2012. It was New York’s first NBA playoff win since 2001.
32. Gert Messing of Hartsdale and the Ardsley Curling Club led his four-man team to the 2013 USA Senior National Championship; the Ardsley Curling Club is 81 years old.
33. Carl “The Truth” Williams of Ossining was knocked out by Mike Tyson 1:33 into round one on July 21, 1989. Tyson retained his world heavyweight boxing titles. Williams died April 7 in Valhalla at age 53.
34. Academy Award-winning actor Jack Palance, boxing under the name Jack Brazzo, lost to heavyweight Joe Baksi at Westchester County Center on December 17, 1940.
35. White Plains native Gordon Sheer won a silver medal in men’s doubles luge at the 1998 Nagano Olympics.
36. Outfielder Dell Alston in 1977 became the first Concordia College graduate to play in the major leagues.
37. Former Yankees manager Billy Martin and former Giants owners Wellington Mara and father Tim Mara are buried at Gate of Heaven Cemetery.
38. Neil Clark of Manhattanville College suited up for the NHL’s Detroit Red Wings in the 2007-2008 season.
39. Donald Fehr of Rye Brook serves as executive director of the players’ union in both Major League Baseball (1986-2009) and the National Hockey League (currently).
40. Harrison native Gene Sarazen hit perhaps the greatest golf shot ever—a 4-wood for double eagle on the par-5 14th hole en route to winning the 1935 Masters.
Cecil Harris is the author of three sports books and hundreds of sports articles for newspapers, magazines, and websites. He lives in Yonkers.
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