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.


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.

At Cornell, McGuire studied mechanical engineering. In 1941, he was inducted into the US Army and later the US Air Force. After discharge from the service in 1945, he worked as a Field Representative for the GE Credit Corp. He then accepted a position as a Sales Rep for the National Union Radio Corp. until 1953 when he became a Manufacturer’s Rep in the electronics industry, and partnered with Gordon LeRoy to form LeRoy & McGuire Inc.

Mickey married M. Eileen Martin Pelneau in 1952, and they resided in Perth, where they raised 2 children, Mary and James.  McGuire lived in the same house for the remainder of his life and passed away May 27, 2008 at the age of 88.

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


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