March 20: The First U.S. Figure Skating Championships

  Today in 1914, the first “International Style” Figure Skating Championship competition in the United States was held in New Haven, Connecticut.  While amateur ice skating had been a popular American pastime since the colonial days, modern figure skating — an artistic blend of dance moves and other technical feats performed on ice — was…

February 18: The Wiffle Ball Takes Flight

  One summer evening in 1953, David N. Mullany, a father, former college baseball player, and recently laid off salesman, was watching his son attempt to play baseball with his friends in the backyard of their Fairfield, Connecticut home when a curious idea came to him.  The boys were playing with a broomstick and tennis…

February 13: Dorothy Hamill Goes for the Gold

  On this day in 1976, 19-year-old ice skater Dorothy Hamill captivated audiences worldwide with her masterful, gold-medal-winning performance at the 1976 Olympic Games in Innsbruck, Austria.  Unbeknownst to her at the time, her routine would catapult her to international stardom and set her on a path to becoming one of the most beloved U.S….

January 23: A Pie in the Sky Idea Takes Off.

In 1871, a Civil War veteran and baker by the name of William Russell Frisbie opened the Frisbie Pie Company in Bridgeport, Connecticut, later building a large factory on the city’s east side to accommodate the growing demand for his pastries.  Little did he know that one day, several decades in the future, his name…

January 18: Hartford Civic Center Roof Collapses

  At 4:19am on January 18, 1978, downtown Hartford narrowly missed being the site of one of the deadliest disasters in American history when the entire roof of the Hartford Civic Center arena — covering an area of nearly 2.5 acres and weighing 1,400 tons — suddenly collapsed onto a coliseum of 10,000 empty seats. …

December 12: Battling “Bat” Battalino Scores A Comeback Win

  Today in 1930, “Bat” Battalino, cheered on by Governor John Trumbull and 1,500 Connecticut fans, battled back from a battering first round knock-down to defeat Cuban boxing sensation, Kid Chocolate, in a fifteen-round decision at Madison Square Garden. Christopher Battalino was born in Hartford in 1909, the son of Italian immigrants.  His boxing ring…

December 7: Civil War Veteran, Governor, and Baseball Hall of Famer

  Morgan Gardner Bulkeley, long-time Connecticut politician and successful businessman, was undoubtedly one of the most accomplished men to ever hold the office of state governor.  However, while many Connecticans are familiar with Bulkeley’s many namesakes in the Hartford area (including a school, a street, and the long, stone-arch bridge that carries Interstate 84 over…

November 21: The Yale Bowl Opens in New Haven

  Today in 1914, over 68,000 fans gathered in the largest sports arena the world had ever seen to watched Yale University’s football team lose to Harvard in a 30 – 0 shutout in the first game ever held at the Yale Bowl. The Yale Bowl was an architectural marvel upon its completion in 1914. …

September 10: Boxing Sensation Willie Pep K.O.s the Competition

  Today in 1942, Connecticut boxer Willie Pep began his meteoric rise to stardom when he when he knocked out featherweight Frankie Franceroni of New Jersey just two minutes into the first round, shocking a crowd of thousands at Madison Square Garden.  Just two months and five more wins later, the twenty-year-old Pep became the…

September 7: ESPN Goes Live from Bristol

  On this day in 1979, at 7:00pm Eastern time, the first cable channel devoted exclusively to sports and entertainment went live from its studio in Bristol, Connecticut. The Entertainment and Sports Programming Network (ESPN) was the dream of Bill Rasmussen, a former communications director for the New England (later Hartford) Whalers, who spent the better…

August 31: Glenna Collett Vare Wins Record 6th Golf Championship

  On August 31, 1935, thousands watched New Haven-born golf sensation Glenna Collett Vare win a record-breaking 6th U.S. Women’s Golf Championship at the Interlachen Country Club in Hopkins, Minnesota. Born in New Haven in 1903, Glenda Collett Vare was an active youngster, excelling at a variety of sports including swimming, diving, and golf.  She…