Adding To McGuire History
Kevin Boyle’s memorial piece, in the February 3 issue of The Wave, on the late Al McGuire was superb in many ways. What I liked best was Boyle’s appreciation of how no matter how far he roamed McGuire’s heart remained in Rockaway.
A facet of Al McGuire’s early career not touched on was his important part in the St. Francis "Big Five" at the same time he was starring for St. John’s. In the mid 1940’s, every Sunday at 7 p.m. in a packed St. Francis De Sales parish gym, the "Big Five" took to court against outstanding collegiate and industrial league teams. I recall, for example, Niagara University and the O’Donnell Movers. The program, under the inspired guidance of the great Father Joseph Grogan, provided exciting basketball, income for the parish, and inspiration for St. Francis parishioners and Rockawayites at large.
I was not a big basketball fan but the impression Al and Dick McGuire, Normie Ochs, and other St. Francis players made on me in those Sunday night games remains a glowing memory. They were memorable evenings in the history of Rockaway.