January 18: Where Were You When the Roof Caved In?

  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….

January 11: A Sell-Out Crowd Celebrates The New Home Team’s New Home

  Today in 1975, Hartford became home to a professional hockey team for the first time as the New England Whalers played their inaugural home game at the brand-new Hartford Civic Center. The Whalers had been organized in 1972 as one of the first teams of the World Hockey Association, an upstart professional hockey league…

December 12: Battling “Bat” Battalino Boxes Back Bigtime

  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 15-round decision at Madison Square Garden. Christopher Battalino was born in Hartford in 1909, the son of Italian immigrants. His boxing ring…

September 30: Babe Ruth’s Final Game

  Today  in 1945, a promotion-minded Hartford jeweler and a sports legend well past his prime joined together to make baseball history. Superstar Babe Ruth delighted 2,500 Connecticut fans by participating in an exhibition game between the semi-pro Savitt Gems of Hartford and the New Britain Codys. The Gems had been founded by successful local…

September 7: A Game-Changer in Both Sports and Television

  Today 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 part…

August 31: New Haven Native Wins US Golf Championship – for the 6th Time

  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…

August 30: The 92 Million Dollar Kickoff

  Today in 2003, the UConn Huskies football team kicked off a new era in Connecticut college sports as they played their first game in the brand-new, 92 million, 40,000-seat stadium at Rentschler Field in East Hartford. The stadium was the result of a decade-long search for a suitable new home for the university’s expanding…

August 6: Dale Earnhardt Smokes the Competition in Stafford

  For a small state sandwiched between two of America’s largest cities, Connecticut has enjoyed its fair share of exposure to professional sports. While Connecticut is best known for its association with professional hockey and baseball teams and for the many Olympic athletes who grew up in its suburbs, the state has also played host…

August 1: Hartford’s First Home Team Gets A Major-League Trophy.

  The Charter Oak Base Ball Club, founded in the summer of 1862, was the first baseball team to be formed in Hartford. Their stated mission was to “establish on a scientific basis the health-giving and scientific game of Base Ball, and to promote good fellowship among its players.” In the age before national professional…