Hollywood Prize Fighter with Roots in Albion

Vol. 5, No. 3

The pages of the sacramental register at St. Mary’s Assumption Church in Albion contain an entry for the marriage of Antoni Stabenau of Buffalo to Marianna Gminska of Albion. The couple was married by Ks. Piotr Basinski on January 24, 1899 and removed to Buffalo soon after. Marianna’s father, Simon Gminski, remained in Albion where he worked as a quarry laborer until his death in 1920.

On July 23, 1901, Marianna gave birth to her first son, Anthony, in Buffalo. The young Stabenau’s early life remains somewhat of a mystery until May 14, 1923, when he made his debut as a boxer. That evening, Stabenau started his amateur heavyweight career facing Dixie Kid at the Broadway Auditorium in Buffalo. Although his first match ended in a draw, he went on to win eight straight fights; some newspaper articles claimed his win-streak extended to 17 with 15 knockouts.… More

The First Lady of American Football

Vol. 5, No. 2

Medina claims Frances Folsom Cleveland, an official First Lady of the United States of America, as her own and in 1952 apparently tried to claim the First Lady of American Football as well. Henry Clune wrote in a September 16th edition of the Rochester Democrat & Chronicle that he “…expressed the opinion that the wife of the former famous University of Chicago coach, [Alonzo Stagg], had come from Medina.” Fred Tanner of Albion quickly pointed out that Clune was incorrect.[i]

Another football season has passed and there is no playoff football for fans of the Buffalo Bills. Instead, I received a rather interesting message from Daniel Hurley earlier this week highlighting an old newspaper clipping authored by County Historian Arden McAllister in the early 1970s. In this article, McAllister notes that he held in his possession “a picture of the Class of 1891 of Albion High School which includes a young woman he says may be perhaps the only unofficial woman football coach in history.” So instead of watching the Bills push for the Lombardi Trophy, a quick read about Orleans County’s connection to one of the greatest football pioneers will fill that void.… More

Albion’s Baseball Club Played on Caroline Street Field

 

Volume 3, Issue 49

These two photographs show the baseball grounds in Albion located on Caroline Street on land now occupied by the ARC of Orleans. A popular pastime in Orleans County, baseball teams commonly played on fields located at the County Fairgrounds until this site was created in the early 1900s. The top photograph shows the grandstand, situated in the northeast corner of the lot. A 1911 map shows the grandstand situated at an angle and a small structure to the immediate west of the grandstand. Based on the bottom photograph, we can presume that the small building on the map is the structure occupied by Robert Clark, who is selling popcorn and peanuts to those watching the game. Behind the grandstand, the peak of a house on the north side of Caroline Street is slightly visible. One would venture to guess that this is 137 Caroline Street.

In addition to the field itself, the photographs show the 1905 baseball club consisting of Howard Kilborn, 1st base; James Craffey, 2nd base and team captain; Frank VanStone, 3rd base; Ralph Vick, Shortstop; Herbert Reed, left field; Homer Brown, center field; Walter Radley, right field; Robert Clark, Jr., pitcher; Pete Galarneau, catcher; Arnold Donovan, mascot.… More

Publishing History Engages Communities

Volume 1, Issue 37 suppl.

This week’s column for Old-Time Orleans is a supplemental issue connected to last week’s piece on the St. Mary’s Athletic Club baseball team.

On occasion, my weekly column flushes out a piece of related local history. New photographs, documents, records, and even artifacts have surfaced thanks to the willingness of the Orleans Hub and Batavia Daily News to publish the syndicated column every week. I greatly appreciate the feedback, both positive and negative, regarding the content of each piece and hope that the community continues to provide these responses.

Following the publication of my most recent article, I received several photographs from the Clarendon Town Historian of several baseball uniforms. The pieces, passed down through their family, were loaned to her by Larry and Brenda Swanger who graciously allowed her to clean and display them in Clarendon. Without a doubt, the uniforms are the exact style worn by the players from last week’s photograph so I thought it would be fitting to not only share images of these amazing artifacts, but provide some additional insight into the formation of the St.… More

Albion Saints Reigned as County Baseball Champs in 1920s

Volume 1, Issue 37

In the spring of 1933, the St. Mary’s Athletic Club players posed for this team photograph on opening day at the club’s home field on Moore Street in Albion. The 1933 and 1934 seasons would be some of the worst seen by the team in the two decades prior, bringing about an end to their run as league champions.

The organization was established just 9 years prior in February of 1924 amidst the height of Prohibition. It was in the spring of the same year that the club’s first baseball team was organized and consisted of Chester “Chisep” Avino, Frank “Peppy” Avino, Ted “Charcoal” Avino, Tony Button, Stanley “Flip” Furmanski, Ed “Wimpy” Furmanski, Casimer “Guz” Friday, John Lewandowski, Max Lubawy, John Mager, Max “Showboat” Mager, Stanley “Panama” Radzinski, Joe “Crow-foot” Rice, Stanley “Sandy” Sadowski, Casimer “Spizek” Stucko, Stanley “Sea Dog” Telga, John Wieczorek, and Stanley “Kuba” Wieczorek.… More

Medina Big Leaguer Strikes Out The Bambino

Old-Time Orleans, Vol. 1, Issue 16

Sports enthusiasts from Medina will recognize the name Carl Fischer from his time as a major league pitcher in the 1930s. Albion residents are familiar with his newsstand, which retains his name to this day. Yet all of Orleans County can appreciate the contributions that Fischer made to this community after his years in the big leagues.

A native of Medina, Charles W. Fischer was born on November 5, 1905 and graduated from Medina High School in 1924. Following graduation he started his professional career with various minor league teams throughout the east coast before he transitioned into the limelight. Selected by the Washington Senators, Fischer debuted on July 19, 1930 in a 5-2 loss against the Cleveland Indians.

In 1932 the “Medina Mauler” was sent to the Detroit Tigers where he would experience his best days as a hurler. It was in that year that Fischer was said to have struck out Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, and Sam Byrd consecutively in a game against the New York Yankees.… More