Connecticut Gridiron

Football Minor Leaguers of the 1960s and 1970s


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SKU: 9780786478330 Categories: ,

About the Book

This narrative history of minor league football teams in Connecticut in the 1960s and 1970s is based on extensive newspaper and periodical research and interviews with nearly 70 former players, broadcasters and journalists. Only a few players—like Marv Hubbard, Lou Piccone and Bob Tucker—made it to the NFL, but many more played for as little as $25 per game in their quest to make it big or just have fun. Wealthy men like Pete Savin and Frank D’Addario owned teams in Hartford and Bridgeport.
In the days before cable television saturated the media with live sports, small town fans turned out to support their local heroes, often men who worked on construction crews during the week and stopped by the diner Sunday morning to talk football. Now in their 60s, 70s and 80s, these men share their stories of a simpler era; the good times, like the Hartford Knights’ 1968 ACFL championship season, and the long bus rides and missed paydays that were as much a part of minor league ball as first downs and interceptions.

About the Author(s)

William J. Ryczek is a finance professional from Wallingford, Connecticut, who writes about early baseball, football, the Yankees, and the Mets.

Bibliographic Details

William J. Ryczek
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 388
Bibliographic Info: 24 photos, appendix, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2014
pISBN: 978-0-7864-7833-0
eISBN: 978-1-4766-1726-8
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments  ix

Introduction: The Twenty-First Century  1

1. A Minor League Town  13

2. One Big Step from the NFL  19

3. That’s What They Do in the Fall  24

4. A Football Crazed Town: The 1962–63 Ansonia Black Knights  38

5. The 1962 Stamford Golden Bears  62

6. A Hopeful Beginning and a Rude Awakening: The 1964–65 Hartford Charter Oaks  70

7. It’s Hard to Be a Major League: The 1966–67 Hartford Charter Oaks  97

8. Two Steps from the Major Leagues: The Meriden Shamrocks and New Britain Bees  116

9. An Unhappy Relationship: The 1966–67 Waterbury Orbits  138

10. A New Team in Hartford  161

11. The Championship Team: The Right Place at the Right Time  179

12. The Championship Season: The 1968 Hartford Knights  201

13. The 1969 Hartford Knights  224

14. The Snow Bowl: The 1970 Hartford Knights  239

15. Hi Ho, Hi Ho, to Bridgeport We Go: The 1968–70 Bridgeport Jets  260

16. A Four-Team ACFL: The 1971 Hartford Knights and Bridgeport Jets  287

17. A Perfect Season in an Imperfect League: The 1972 Hartford Knights  302

18. Back in the ACFL: The 1973 Hartford Knights and Bridgeport Jets  320

Epilogue  335

Appendix: Scores and Records by Season  351

Chapter Notes  359

Bibliography  365

Index  367

Book Reviews & Awards

Winner, Nelson Ross Award—Professional Football Researchers Association