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This Day in Buffalo Sports History: Quarterback swap

   August 16, 1962 -- Player-for-player trades in the National Football League have become quite rare over the past few years. Back in the early days of the American Football League, though, the teams didn't know any better.

   That helps to explain a trade of starting quarterbacks by the Bills and the New York Titans.

   The Bills thought they needed help at the position, so they sent quarterback Johnny Green and defensive back Billy Atkins to the Titans. In return, Buffalo received quarterback Al Dorow.

   Green had been an occasional starter for the Bills in their first two seasons, guiding his team to a 5-6 record in his starts. Atkins made 10 interceptions for the Bills in 1961, which led the AFL and got him into the All-Star Game.

   Dorow was the Titans' starter in 1960 and 1961, and helped them go 13-14 in his 27 starts. He hadn't been paid for the last few games of the '61 season, and when he complained to AFL Commissioner Joe Foss he was traded.

   However, Dorow's fortunes turned sour in Buffalo. Dorow only started four games with the Bills, and lost them all. Arm and shoulder injuries were the problem, and he never played again. Meanwhile, Green started for the Titans in 1962 and was a backup for a season after
that.

 --- Budd Bailey

Monday live from Watkins Glen: Ambrose earns first Sprint Cup win in wild finish

Marcos Ambrose celebrates with the checkered flag in one hand and a sack of (fake) money in the other in victory lane. (Keith McShea/Buffalo News)

Here we go again :-) 

 We are back at Watkins Glen International for our second shot at the Heluva Good! Sour Cream Dips at The Glen, which was postponed to 10 a.m. today after yesterday's rain.

9:11 a.m. Setting up in the media center after a drive from Corning, and a walk from the parking lot, under very grey skies. 

There remains a 60 percent chance of rain today according to weather.com, but the hour-by-hour forecast looks very good as the higher chance of showers is in the late afternoon. Hopefully the race can get enough laps in early before the weather -- but we were saying the same thing yesterday.

9:44 a.m. Just back from a brisk walk to the infield for an annual souvenir purchase -- can't believe I forgot to do that yesterday. 

The good news is that, while the sky remains grey, there is no rain. 

Snapshot of a Monday at a Sprint Cup race: There are far fewer campsites, and there were fans packing up and leaving as I was entering the facility (you have to think their schedule had them leaving Monday morning regardless and they just can't afford to spend the time here today), there are far fewer fans walking around today and a lot less foot traffic overall. The media center looks to be cut down by at least a third.

It was semi-surreal to see a field that was filled with merchandise trailers for the weekend emptied out. 

9:49 a.m. Reporters analyzing radar again. It appears that an afternoon shower could come along, but right now it looks like it wouldn't sit on top of us for a while like yesterday's did. I guess most people don't believe meteorologists on TV -- so I'm not sure if anyone would put a whole lot of stock in sportswriters' weather analysis. :-)

9:53 a.m. We're going to the live chat window below.

 

12:45 p.m. Top 10 via the scoring monitor:

Ambrose, Keselowski, Kyle Busch, Truex, Logano, Harvick, Montoya, Allmendinger, Burton, Johnson.

12:59 p.m. Some crazy stuff going on post-race, with Boris Said involved in an altercation wtih the No. 16 Valvoline team of Greg Biffle. Said appeared to be trying to get to Biffle's hauler but was pushed back two or three times by team members.

Said just went off on Biffle during an interview that just aired on ESPN. Wild. 

It is Ambrose's first Cup win, which came in his 105th start. It is his 11th career top five and his sixth top 10 of the season.

It's also the first win for crew chief Todd Parrot since Oct. 2, 2005 at Talladega with Dale Jarrett. First win for owner Richard Petty in a while as well. 

Just for the record, this might be the first time I've correctly predicted a winner. 

---Keith McShea

(@KeithMcSheaBN on Twitter)

This Day in Buffalo Sports History: And still champion

   August 15, 1950 -- Heavyweight boxing championships don't come to Buffalo very often, so the first time was a noteworthy event.

   Memorial Auditorium staged its first title bout as Ezzard Charles defended his championship belt against Freddy Beshore. Charles had stepped into the vacancy caused by the temporary retirement of Joe Louis, and beat Jersey Joe Wolcott for the vacant crown in 1949. Charles had fought in Buffalo three times on his way to the title shot, and won them all.

   Beshore represented Charles' third title defense, but he wasn't really in the champ's class. Charles dominated most of the fight, which was described as one-sided by one writer. Finally, the crowd of 6,298 saw the bout stopped in the 14th round.

   Beshore was said to be nothing if not game. He never took a step backwards despite taking a beating from the skilled Charles.

   From there, the champion stopped Louis from having a successful comeback. Charles defended the title five more times before he was knocked out by Wolcott.

   Beshore's title shot looks odd in hindsight. He had lost his previous two fights before the Charles bout, with both of them coming in Buffalo. Thus, his career record in the Aud was 0-3; he never came back. Beshore finished his career 35-17-2 including losses to Louis and Rocky Marciano.

 --- Budd Bailey

Sunday live from Watkins Glen: NASCAR race postponed to 10 a.m. Monday

Hello and a good morning to you on this race day.

8:35 a.m. First things first from our Corning hotel. The forecast is better now than it was yesterday.

The chance of rain is down from 80 to 60 percent. There seems to be significant rain headed our way on the weather.com map that I just checked on my phone, but it also looks like it will pass through. We might be looking at a rain-delayed or rain-shortened race rather than a rainout. We shall see. More to come from the track.

10:16 a.m. We're settled in here at the media center in the infield of the track -- located just behind pit road, close to the start/finish line. I breezed into the track via another favorite route, and no, I'm not revealing this one either.

Just after walking in, a huddle of about six reporters formed around a laptop and I actually heard one say, "well I think we might be OK after this low pressure here." You go to a sports event and a weather report breaks out.

Talk here is that the rain will come later in the afternoon, which is backed up by the weather.com forecast. We're optimistic here that we'll have a good chance to get at least 45 of the 90 laps finished before any delay occurs -- once a race goes halfway, it is official.  

11:22 a.m. Uh-oh. Hourly forecast now has rain coming earlier.

12:33 p.m. Uh-oh again. The map looks bad and we should be getting hit any minute now.

A very reliable source -- I'm getting married to her -- says Buffalo got hit hard by a downpour an hour or so ago. The chatter in the media center has hopefully a delayed race, hopefully not a postponed race until Monday, and hopefully (but looking at weather forecasts you can understand this) not a postponed race until Tuesday (!). We'll see. 

12:38 p.m. I'm going to get the live blog box ready although I'm not sure how much action we'll be tracking.

12:42 p.m. Check in the live blog box below for (hopefully) live updates of the race.

 

4:41 p.m. We closed out the live chat above. To recap: today's NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Watkins Glen International has been postponed to 10 a.m. Monday.

It is the second time in three years that the race has been postponed -- the 2009 race was the first to be delayed in NASCAR's history at the Glen.

Monday's forecast is not great either. Gotta love it. 

---Keith McShea

(@KeithMcSheaBN on Twitter)

This Day in Buffalo Sports History: A record at the track

     August 14, 1867 -- Dexter is one of the greatest names in the history of harness racing. His father was Hambletonian, and he is said to be the inspiration for the horse that is atop weathervanes across the country.

     As you may have guessed by now, one of his greatest moments came in Western New York.

     Dexter was born in 1858 and proved to be a free spirit. He was gelded to calm him down, and it worked. In 1865, Dexter only lost one start, a match race with Lady Thorn. The following year, the horse won 25 of 26 starts.

     Then in 1867, Dexter came to the Buffalo Fairgrounds on this date. He trotted a mile in 2:17.25, a world record -- breaking his own mark by almost two seconds.

     Yet that might not have been his most impressive mile. One time in 1868 Dexter ran a mile in 2:21.75 ... while pulling 319 pounds of weight between the wagon and driver.

     General Ulysses S. Grant got to drive Dexter in 1868, and was so taken with him that Grant immediately offered to buy the horse. Owner Robert Bonner turned the deal down.

     Dexter died in 1888 and was buried near Tarrytown. The Dexter Cup is still held at Freehold Raceway in New Jersey.

--- Budd Bailey

Saturday live from Watkins Glen: Kyle Busch takes Cup pole; Kurt Busch wins Nationwide race

Entering the Glen. (Keith McShea/Buffalo News)
Hello from NASCAR weekend at Watkins Glen International. 

Today the big stuff going around the 11-turn track is Sprint Cup qualifying for Sunday's Heluva Good! Sour Cream Dips at The Glen (11:40 a.m. scheduled start) and the Nationwide race (2 p.m.). The Grand-Am Series also races this evening at 6.

I'll have updates throughout the day.

Gravel roads are a part of my alternate route to the Glen. And no, I'm not telling you what it is. (Keith McShea/Buffalo News) It was a smooth drive here. After many years of coming to the Glen, I've settled that the Thruway to Route 14 directly south along Seneca Lake is the best way. I have a alternate route that I take to get to the track, but it is a semi off-roading route that I'll keep to myself, thank you very much.

To complete our traffic & weather report, there is a lot of muttering about what tomorrow's weather will bring. The weather.com forecast is calling for 80 percent chance of rain. Yikes. That's not good news for the auto racing/high school reporter with high school football practice opening Monday.

Here's Larry Ott's report from the track on Friday.

11:51 a.m. Powered up and ready to go here in the media center as qualifying laps have started for the Sprint Cup. 

During yesterday's practice sessions, the top laps were posted by Kyle Busch (first practice) and Marcos Ambrose (second).

Nationwide qualifying was held earlier, with Kurt Busch taking the top spot ahead of brother Kyle. That race is usually a blast to watch here.

Kurt Busch has been in the middle of a lot of talk here so far as Jimmie Johnson carried over their feud from last week in Pocono with lengthy comments about Busch during his media session on Friday, including sound bites which were in heavy rotation on Sportscenter.

Busch had his regular weekend media session early Saturday morning. He was asked about Johnson's comments and -- as he usually does -- he had some good quotes. The one that jumped out to me: "I means that I'm in his head and if I'm in his head, he's got to worry about us running through this Chase." 

12:22 p.m. Regan (pronounced REE-gan) Smith, the native of Syracuse-area town of Cato, posts the top time on the grid with 19 drivers having run laps. I wrote a story on Smith that was published on Thursday.

That's a good lap for him. Normally he's not good on road courses, but a good performance at Sonoma, Calif., this year, along with his other successes, has him fired up for this year's visit to his home state.

12:31 p.m. Just had a short visit from Chuck Howard, who many Western New York sports fans will remember as a member of the WIVB Ch. 4 sports team. Howard, a native of South Dayton and a Pine Valley grad, was part of a Ch. 4 staff which included Van Miller, Brian Blessing and Paul Peck. I know those names well since I was an intern for Ch. 4 during my University at Buffalo days. 

Howard is now working for NASCAR and Larry Ott will catch up with him as part of his story in Sunday's paper.

12:33 p.m. Denny Hamlin goes for a surprising spin exiting Turn Nine. Smith still on top of the charts.

12:41 p.m. Jimmie Johnson surges to the top of the speed chart, nearly a half-second faster than Smith. Not a big surprise there. Lots of big guns yet to come so we'll see how long that holds up.

It would be interesting if Johnson is in the top three, which would mean he'd have another opportunity to talk to the media -- and possibly respond to Kurt Busch's comments this morning. 

12:51 p.m. Kurt Busch and Johnson won't be neighbors on the starting grid. Busch had a wiggly lap here and there and currently stands 14th to Johnson's first. 

1 p.m. Marcos Ambrose, who is extremely perturbed that he doesn't have a ride to defend his Nationwide title this afternoon, has put himself on the pole. Not much of a surprise there. The Tasmanian is a superb road racer who is getting better overall (23rd in points).

1:20 p.m. A surprise here as A.J. Allmendinger goes all-out on his lap and takes the pole from Ambrose. Whoa. 

1:24 p.m. Two drivers later, the final driver in the qualifying lineup takes the pole. Kyle Busch, who was last in the lineup due to his top performance in practice, backed that up with a fast lap of 69.767 seconds (126.421 mph).

1:28 p.m. Kyle Busch's lap sets a Sprint Cup record at the Glen. The old record was by Jeff Gordon back in 2003, which was a 70.7979-second circuit at 124.58 mph.

And two NASCAR races here, two Busch brother poles.

1:30 p.m. Interviews going on now here in the media center.

1:41 p.m. The top 15 qualifiers surpassed that record of Gordon's. Fast cars, a lot on the line for the Chase, Johnson and Kurt Busch fueding, Ambrose and Allmendinger aiming for road course wins -- it all sets a fun stage for tomorrow. I'll run down all of those factors in the story for Sunday's paper. 

I'll also have a story on the Nationwide race, which is a bit away from starting. Timeout for me. 

2:32 p.m. The Nationwide is under way with pole-sitter Kurt Busch leading and brother Kyle in second through 15 laps. I'll be working on my stories -- actually I've got to put together a high school story as well -- but I'll chime in with anything worth talking about, and with this race there usually is no shortage of that. 

I watched the first few laps of the race at Turn One, down pit lane as far as we are allowed to go. It's a traditional stop. Just hearing -- and feeling -- the field dive into that first big turn is a must-experience deal here. 

3:53 p.m. I shifted gears (heh-heh) to update the Prep Talk blog with the news that East Aurora's Stan Wier has verbally committed to the University at Buffalo. Shifting back to auto racing ...

And right on time -- we're heading down the stretch of the Nationwide race with Kyle Busch leading brother Kurt with six laps to go. The brothers have dominated a race that has been fairly uneventful (thus the lack of updates).

3:57 p.m. Whoa. Kyle Busch goes to pit road! Apparently they were low on fuel. Bummer for that team. Now Kurt in the lead.

4 p.m. Another whoa. An accident with Eric McClure and Casey Roderick brings out a yellow. Kyle should have a chance to get back in it with a green-white-checkered finish. Only 10 cars on the lead lap thanks to just having one previous caution flag.

4:08 p.m. Should be a very fun finish. Kurt Busch leads Carl Edwards, Jimmie Johnson (!), Kyle Busch, Joey Logano, Ron Fellows, Paul Menard, Elliott Sadler. 

4:12 p.m. Kurt Busch speeds off the restart, then puts space in between himself and Johnson for the WIN of the Nationwide Series Zippo 200 after 85 laps (the green-white-checkered added on to the scheduled 82). 

Kurt Busch applauds the No. 22 team in victory lane. (Keith McShea/Buffalo News)


4:22 p.m.
In the picture above you can see Brad Keselowski, the usual driver for the No. 22, in a blue golf shirt to the left of the car as Kurt Busch celebrates in victory lane. 

Your top 10: Kurt Busch, Jimmie Johnson, Logano, Kyle Busch, Edwards, Menard, Fellows, Aric Almirola, Trevor Bayne, Sadler.

4:46 p.m. More writing time for me. I'll be back tomorrow for updates from the track on the race (or a weather report).

---Keith McShea

(@KeithMcSheaBN on Twitter)

This Day in Buffalo Sports History: First victory

   August 13, 1960 -- You only win your first game once. In the case of the Buffalo Bills, the first time they ever won a team as a professional team came in the 1960 exhibition season.

   Buffalo recorded a 31-14 victory over the Denver Broncos in a game played in Rochester. Only 6,195 turned out at Aquinas Stadium for the contest. The 20,000-seat facility was later known as Holleder Stadium, and was the home of the North American Soccer League's Rochester Lancers in the 1970's.

   Quarterback Tommy O'Connell threw for two touchdowns and ran for a third. Heralded rookie Richie Lucas had an 88-yard kickoff return to set up one of the Buffalo touchdowns.

   It was the only preseason win by the Bills in 1960. They lost the other two games to finish 1-2.

   Don't go looking for a plaque now. The stadium was torn down in 1985 and an industrial park sits on the spot of the small piece of Bills' history.

--- Budd Bailey

This Day in Buffalo Sports History: Rebounding from tragedy

   August 12, 1877 -- This was one of the worst days in the life of Dan Brouthers, a 19-year-old at the time who would go on to become one of baseball's greatest players as a player in Buffalo.

   Brouthers grew up in the Hudson Valley and was playing semi-pro ball with the Actives of Wappingers Falls. On July 7, he ran into catcher Johnny Quigley of the Clippers from Harlem in a home-plate collision.

   Quigley was knocked unconscious, having suffered a tramatic head injury. He died from that injury on this day. Brouthers was cleared of wrongdoing by authorities.

   Such an incident might have derailed the career of some players, but Brouthers went on with baseball. He joined the major leagues in 1879 with Troy, spending parts of two seasons with the team that eventually became the San Francisco Giants.

   Brouthers became a Buffalo Bison in 1881, and was an instant hit. He led the National League in both home runs and slugging percentage. Brouthers eventually won two batting titles, and set an all-time record in 1883 with 97 runs batted in.

   Brouthers eventually played parts of 19 seasons in the majors, finishing with a career .342 batting average. He was inducted into Cooperstown in 1945.

--- Budd Bailey

Running notebook: Night in, night out

   If you have been running in races lately, the calendar offers few excuses. This might be the busiest time of the year when it comes to night-time running, especially during the week. That usually stops as soon as school goes back into session, with the exception of Friday nights. So the odds are pretty good that there is a race right around your proverbial corner.

   It's a typical weekend around town, with the schedule provided by buffalorunners.com:

   * Cozumel 5K, 153 Elmwood Ave. in Buffalo, 7 p.m. Friday, 913-7115. This used to be a big part of the local running scene, but it disappeared for a while. So, it's nice to see this race back on the schedule.

   * Jason Raby Memorial 5K, Lew-Port High School in Youngstown, 7 p.m. Friday, 754-8281.

   * Erie County Fair 5K, Fairgrounds in Hamburg, 9 a.m. Saturday, 649-3900. This race also took a bit of a break, so it's nice to have it back. It's great fun to finish on the surface of the horse racing track.

   * Cameron Run 5K, Point Gratiot in Dunkirk, 9:30 a.m. Saturday, 366-9283.  

   * One Small Step for Prader-Willi Syndrome 5K, 10 a.m. Sunday, Chestnut Ridge Park in Orchard Park, 316-9344.

--- Budd Bailey

Post Time: Hall of Fame Day

By Gene Kershner

     SARATOGA SPRINGS -- New York State is the home of several Halls of Fame. The most famous being the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum located in Cooperstown. On the way to Cooperstown you can stop at the International Boxing Hall of Fame in Canastota, and pick up a few onions while you're there. In June, Iron Mike Tyson and Sylvester Stallone were inducted into the boxing shrine. You can also add the National Soccer Hall of Fame to the New York Halls, located in Oneonta.

I was also reminded by my colleague Michael MacAdam of the Schenectady Daily Gazette that the Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame is located in nearby Amsterdam. This Hall is not to be confused with the WWE Hall of Fame! We'll also add that the National Women's Hall of Fame is located in Seneca Falls for our non-sports Hall of Fames.

There is one more significant Hall of Fame in New York that I have yet to mention and I'm guessing you know where I'm going. On Friday morning, in Saratoga Springs, the National Racing Hall of Fame will enshrine its seven newest members at the newly renovated Fasig-Tipton's Humphrey S. Finney Sales Pavilion at 10:30 a.m. Delivering the keynote speech will be celebrity chef Bobby Flay, winner of one of last year's Breeders' Cup races with More Than Real.

The Hall's voters inducted two trainers, a jockey and four horses into the 2011 class.
Trainer Jerry Hollendorfer headlines the elite group and currently has one of the best horses in training, the champion mare Blind Luck. Through 2010, Hollendorfer ranked fourth all-time in wins with 5,863 and eighth in all-time purse earnings. He has finished in the top 10 for wins for the past 24 years and had not showed any signs of slowing down. Major wins by Hollendorfer-trained horses include three Kentucky Oaks, a Santa Anita Derby, Haskell Invitational, Hollywood Futurity, Delaware Handicap, Alabama Stakes, Humana Distaff Handicap and the Ohio Derby.

Leading the horses being inducted is Sky Beauty, who dominated New York racing in the early 199s. At age 2 in 1992, she won four of five starts for owner Georgia Hofmann and Hall of Fame trainer Allen Jerkins, including the Grade 1 Matron and the Grade 2 Adirondack. The only loss of her 2-year-old campaign was a disqualification in the Spinaway Stakes. At age 3, Sky Beauty won five consecutive races including a sweep of the New York Filly Triple Crown, which consisted of the Acorn, Mother Goose and the Coaching Club American Oaks (CCAO). After a successful 4-year-old season and a brief campaign in 1995, she retired with a record of 15-2-2 from 21 starts and earnings of $1,336,000 and nine Grade 1 victories.

Inductee Open Mind was one of the sport's major stars early in her career, earning the Eclipse Award as Champion 2-year-old Filly. As a 2-year-old, Open Mind won two Grade 1 stakes, the Breeders' Cup Juvenile and the Demoiselle, elevating her to the division's highest honor. Open Mind continued her early success by running her win streak to 10 after reeling off eight consecutive races as a 3-year-old. Among those victories were wins in the prestigious Kentucky Oaks, Acorn, Mother Goose, CCAO and the Alabama Stakes. She won her second consecutive Eclipse Award as Champion 3-year Old Filly and completed her career with a record of 12-2-2 from 19 starts.

Maryland-bred Safely Kept was the dominant 3-year-old sprinter in 1989, winning eight of nine and winning the Eclipse Award for Outstanding Sprinter. Her only loss came in the Breeders' Cup Sprint, finishing second to Dancing Spree. She won the Grade 1 Test and two Grade 2 events, the Genuine Risk Handicap and the Prioress Stakes. She came right back at age 4 to stay atop the sprint division, winning eight of 10 tries, including seven stakes wins. She redeemed herself in the Breeders' Cup Sprint in 1990, winning over the very tough Black Tie Affair, and avenging her defeat to Dancing Spree from the prior year. Safely Kept finished her career at 24-2-3 in 31 starts, resulting in more than $2.1 million in earnings.

The other inductees include Duke of Magenta, who finished with 15 wins in 19 starts racing in the 1870s, jockey Shelby "Pike" Barnes and trainer Matthew Byrnes.

The feature race at Saratoga on Friday is the Grade 2 National Museum of Racing Hall of Fame Stakes for 3-year-olds to be raced on the inner turf course at 1-1/16 miles. Street Game is the 8-5 morning line favorite, but we'll look for Crimson China, who has faced very good competition this year, to upset the favorite and apprentice jockey Ryan Curatolo. Big Blue Kitten has won four in a row and the Kitten's Joy colt will enjoy a 7-pound weight break from the favorite.

Post Time Outlook -- Grade 2 National Museum Hall of Fame S. (Race 7):

1 -- Crimson China; 2 -- Street Game; 3 -- Big Blue KItten.

     Good luck and let's go cash some tickets!

Gene Kershner is a Buffalo-based turf writer and handicapper who blogs at equispace.blogspot.com and tweets @EquiSpace.

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About Sports, Ink

Budd Bailey

Budd Bailey

Budd Bailey has served in a variety of roles in Buffalo sports in the past 35 years, including reporter, talk-show host, baseball announcer, public relations staffer and author. He covers the Bandits and running for The News when not working as an editor.

@WDX2BB | bbailey@buffnews.com

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