STRATFORD, Conn. -- The Stratford Library continues its "Sunday Afternoon Talks," by inviting author Bill Ryczek as part of its monthly series of informative and entertaining talks featuring a prominent local guest speaker on Sunday, March 6.
The March topic is “Connecticut Gridiron”, the title of Ryczek’s book based on the world of professional football.
In the 1960s, Connecticut minor league football was a big deal.
On Friday or Saturday night, there were as many as 10,000 people at Bridgeport's Kennedy Stadium or Hartford's Dillon Stadium to cheer the Bridgeport Jets and Hartford Knights. Not many of the Jets or Knights made it to the NFL, but they played with spirit and enthusiasm for their local fans, for which the home team was more important than the Giants, Jets or Patriots.
There were a few players who realized their dream, including Hartford's Marv Hubbard and Bridgeport's Lou Piccone and John Dockery, who went from the Bridgeport Jets to Super Bowl III, where he played a role in the Jets' remarkable upset of the Baltimore Colts.
Ryczek will tell the story of the men (and one woman) who played, and the men like owners Frank D'Addario and Pete Savin, who made it all possible. Wallingford resident Ryczek has written seven books on sports history including two about the Yankees and Mets in the 1960s and two on professional football.
His first book, "Blackguards and Red Stockings, Baseball's National Association 1871-75," won the SABR/Macmillan Award for best baseball history of 1992. His second book, "When Johnny Came Sliding Home, The Post-Civil War Baseball Boom, 1865-1870, "was runner up for the Casey Award and a finalist for the Seymour Medal. Each of his football histories, "Crash of the Titans" (2000) and "Connecticut Gridiron" (2014), won the Nelson Ross Award for the best book on the history of professional football.
The talk will be held at 2 p.m. It is free and open to the public.