March 31 – Happy Birthday Rocco Petrone

Just 18 months after he was born on this date in 1926, his father Anthony, a railroad worker, was killed on the job when he was struck by a train just east of of Amsterdam. There was no social safety net for a widow with two young boys back then and he remembers getting a job delivering ice as a young boy to help the family make ends meet. His Mom would eventually marry again, to Joseph Scaccia. They moved to his home at 24 Holly Street, where today’s birthday celebrant was raised with his brother John and stepbrother Anthony. When he was fourteen years old, he played baseball in an Amsterdam youth program called the Knot Hole League. He was a pitcher for the Hurricane’s and a few of his teammates were Bob Sise, Babe Stratton and Pete Labate. Two years later, he and big Ray Marciniec were the very good pair of starting tackles who anchored the defensive line of Coach Stan Machoskey’s Amsterdam Varsity football team. Though he was a fine athlete, he was an even better student, graduating as the Salutatorian of the 1943 class of Wilbur Lynch High School. With World War II still raging in both Europe and the Pacific, he secured one of Congressman Bernard Kearney’s appointments to the US Military Academy at West Point…

IYou can read the rest of my story about this Amsterdam native in my new book “A Year’s Worth of Amsterdam Birthdays.” To order your copy, click here.

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