July 8 – Happy Birthday John “Mickey” McGuire

mcguire222Amsterdam High School football has certainly enjoyed a stellar reputation for the past half century, beginning with the Gene White-coached Rugged Ram teams of the late sixties and extending through and now beyond the head-coaching regimes of John Los, Brian Mee, Frank Derrico and Pat Liverio. But there were some great gridiron squads playing home games at Lynch Stadium long before this fab-five of coaching came along and none achieved greater success than the 1936-37 team coached by the late Axel Perman and led on the field by star quarterback John “Mickey” McGuire.

McGuire was born on July 8, 1919 and took over as Amsterdam’s QB during his Junior year. Perman’s squad won their last two games that year and then in 1937, became the first team in the school’s history to finish a regular season undefeated, winning six games and tying another. Other members of that great team included Anthony Liberis – End, Frank Laskowski (Lasky) – Tackle, Vince Dargush – Guard, Virgil Mason – Tackle, Donald Bellinger – End, Walter Gavrylczak (Gavry) – Halfback, Joseph Kuczek – Halfback, Stanley Litwa (Babe) – Halfback, Edward Michalski – End, William Schwartz – End, Richard Petril – Fullback, Edward Rutowski – Halfback, Thomas Kennedy – Center, and Robert Thomas – End.

1936Team

Jack Minnoch, the Recorder Sports Editor during that era loved McGuire’s game and predicted the kid would become a big-time college player. As the Lynch Class of 38’s Graduation Day approached, the rumor was that he was headed to Syracuse but instead McGuire accepted a scholarship to a pretty prestigious prep school in Manlius. The football coach there, a former Colgate football star named Winnie Anderson, specialized in turning great high school players into great college ones. McGuire would spend the next two years at Manilus, starring on Anderson’s team and ending up heading to Ithaca, to play major college football for Cornell University…

(This former Amsterdam-born US Congressman was also born on July 7)

My complete birthday post for Mickey Mcguire will appear in the new second edition of A Year’s Worth of Amsterdam, NY Birthdays, which will be available before the 2016 Holiday season. I also distribute an Amsterdam, NY Birthday Blog Monthly Newsletter that includes the full birthday posts for three of the twenty-to-thirty  people whose birthdays I recognize each month. Each newsletter also includes an Amsterdam Birthday Quiz that will test your knowledge and memory of people and events in your hometown.

The monthly newsletter is free. If you’d like to receive it, just make sure your name and e-mail address are included on this list.

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