Memories of an Unusual Man- Bill O'Hara Sr. (1915-2002)

Memories of an Unusual Man



Richard J. Garfunkel


March 19,2002



Many years ago I had the pleasure of growing up in the medium-sized city of Mount Vernon, New York. Mount Vernon is a relatively old community that had colonial settlers in the late 1600’s. It came of age as a municipality around 1853 and pretty soon it will be officially 150 years old as a city.


I came to Mount Vernon, not on my own volition but as a passenger in my parents 1946 Roadmaster Buick. I must have been about 10 months old, having been born on May 2nd, 1945 in that momentous final week of the European phase of the 2nd World’s War. So I came to 500 East Prospect Avenue, which was situated between Magnolia Avenue on the left and Sycamore Avenue on the right and spent the first few years being gently walked in my carriage under the leafy glades of our street’s magnificent oak trees. Eventually like all children I grew up, looked around my surroundings and started to venture out into the neighborhood. Our section of Mount Vernon was geographically bordered by East Lincoln Avenue to the north and the Lorraine Avenue Hill to the south. In between was of course the aforementioned Sycamore and Magnolia Avenues. Before long I entered kindergarten in the old and since departed Wilson School and therefore started to meet my neighbors. Before long I got to know them all, Jack Bromley, Joel Grossman, Lyndon Joachin, Sherman Robbins, and then Billy O’Hara, Paul Schneider, the Petrillos and the Taddey Brothers. It was a typical middle-class all-American neighborhood. A so-called melting pot of the old and older immigration groups, Protestant, Jewish, Italian and Irish. Did I know anything about these different groups? No, not really! I hardly knew that I was Jewish and somewhat different from other Jews and certainly different from non- Jews. We were all boys, in the street, playing stickball and touch football. We were too small for basketball, but one day a backboard was placed on a garage and that game became available for us to play.


I got to know all the parents. Some were older, and some were younger. Most were veterans of the big war. Ironically my parents were older and still are! My father is going on 98 and my mother is 94. They seemed to have outlived all of the other parents.


Along the way, as I was negotiating this arduous path of youth, I met the O’Hara family that lived a bit outside my natural territory. They lived up Lorraine Avenue somewhat farther than from where I would wander. Their eldest child was an older lad named William J. O’Hara Junior, who we would only call Billy. He had two sisters, Jane and Mary-Anne who were a bit younger than my friends and I. Billy was older, stronger and a better athlete then most of us. If anything he was a contemporary of the older boys Anthony Petrillo and John Taddey, and he attended parochial school. The rest of us were all public school boys. For sure that made him different. With our Italian friends, we thought of them more as Italian than as Catholic.


But religion never entered or affected our relationships. But with Billy, who attended St. Catherine’s, we knew there was a difference. With all that in mind, religion was rarely mentioned if ever.


Thereupon I came into contact with a most unusual man. Almost all of the parents of my friends, were reserved types. They were businessmen or professionals, and they seemed a bit remote. So when I met Billy’s father, Mr.William J. O’Hara he was much, much different. Not only was he a big man, but he was an active and demonstrative man. He not only talked to us, but also, played with us. He not only played with us, but he communicated with us. In other words he was different. He was a busy man, a lawyer and also a very popular member of the old Westchester Board of Supervisors now known as a Westchester County Board of Legislators. From that time on we started to hear him being referred to as the Commissioner. Well of course this was a long time ago, maybe over 50 years or so. I also learned that the Commissioner was associated with not only the Brooklyn Dodgers, but the New York Football Giants. Frankly I knew little of the Giants, but I still was aware of football, and I knew the names of Otto Graham, Dante Lavelli, and Elroy “Crazy Legs” Hirsch. But to all young red-blooded American boys, baseball was king, and when Billy showed me his genuine Roy Campanella mitt that the great Dodger legend gave him I was quite agog. Later on the Commissioner, who was Roy’s lawyer, was shocked and personally saddened by Roy’s car accident and disabling.


My first recollections of their Lorraine Avenue house were the gables and cornices. It was an interesting house with a bustling feeling about it. My second recollection was of the O’Hara’s unusual neighbors, the Herbst family. There were three sons, and the youngest, Roy, who was a very big fellow, was Billy’s contemporary. The other brothers were quite a bit older and much less sane. Roy Herbst had the most incredible comic book collection. The various editions stood in four foot high piles, like columns going nowhere, in the center of the floor of one room.


In that first house on Lorraine Avenue, the Commissioner was always changing his plants around. He seemed to never make up his mind, and even though I was still quite young in 1954, I can still remember being dragooned in to help with these various plantings and trans-plantings. With his gardening work, it seemed like he would be there forever. I remember the year 1954 quite well, because the NY Giant baseball team won the World Series. Even though our neighborhood was equally divided between Dodger and Yankee fans, the Giants proved quite engaging and players like Willie “Say Hey” Mays, Don “Mandrake the Magician” Mueller, Johnny Antonelli, Alvin Dark and Monte Irvin electrified all of us. I watched game after game at the O’Hara’s home. That baseball season was like a breath of fresh air to the Yankee haters who had just withstood five straight agonizing World Series victories. No doubt it was the “golden age“ of New York baseball. The Giants always had a romantic air about them unlike “Dem Bums” from Brooklyn and the corporate, cold and efficient Yankees.


Meanwhile it was in that year, that I was taken to my first football game ever with the O’Haras. It was the Giants versus the Baltimore Colts at the old rusting antiquated Polo Ground. This famous hulk of obstructed views was the legendary home of both the baseball and football Giants. It was situated below and near the 158th Street viaduct that crossed the Harlem River and under the legendary shadows of Coogan’s Bluff.


My few recollections of the event were the trip past Woodlawn Cemetery, where the Commissioner posed that famous question to me, “Richard, how many dead people are buried in Woodlawn Cemetery?” Of course I was stumped, and the Commissioner quickly answered “all of them!” According to the Commissioner, Woodlawn was so popular a final resting place that “people were dying to get in!”  Get it! Pally!” This was even before the legendary Johnny Unitas laced up his black high-tops and made football history for the Colts. Their big star was the peripatetic scat-back Buddy Young, one of the first great black stars in the NFL.


Before long, in 1956, three seminal events started to unfold. One was that the O’Haras moved down the block, to a wonderful Tudor home called “Fair Oaks”. Two, the Giants vacated the ramshackle Polo Grounds for the Yankee Stadium and three, a second son, named John Patrick O’Hara, instantly nicknamed “JP” arrived.


In regards to importance, at least from my perspective, the move to “Fair Oaks” was amazing. I had never known anyone who moved, no less than four houses, or so, away. Also, our family almost owned “Fair Oaks”. My parents had been encouraged to move to Mount Vernon right after the war. They were originally Manhattanites, who lived in Brooklyn from the time of their marriage in 1935 through the war. With my arrival in May of 1945, they started looking in Westchester. My Mother’s friend wanted them to buy a house in Scarsdale, and my Mother’s Father, had a friend who recommended Mount Vernon. That friend, one Sam Miller lived in “Fair Oaks”.  Sam Miller was a prominent lawyer and a partner in the firm of Scribner-Miller. Some time in 1948, Mr. Miller came to my Father and asked him if he wanted to sell our house at 500 East Prospect and buy his house on Lorraine. My Father asked him why he wanted to sell and where was he going? Sam told my dad that he had originally hired Thomas E. Dewey when Dewey was a young lawyer, and that they were still friendly. In other words, after the election he was going to move to Washington D.C. and have a new job in the Justice Department. My father, though not clairvoyant, suggested that he would be better off to wait until November before making such a decision. Mr. Miller must have taken his advice because he never moved until he sold his house to the O’Haras.


Of course the Giants became the second New York team to vacate the Polo Grounds. In 1922 the Ruthian Yankees, who were a tenant of the baseball Giants, were forced to move out by their fiery manager John McGraw. They built their famous ballyard in the Bronx right across the river from the Giants, and went on to win their first World Series. Well lightning struck twice! The football Giants in their first year at the Stadium won their first NFL championship, in many, many years with a thorough thrashing of the Bears.


Also, last but not least, was the arrival of “JP” O’Hara. JP was the first baby I had seen in quite awhile. My neighbors, the Oshmans had three daughters and nine grandchildren, but they were no longer babies. Here came this special new package with his own nanny Ms. Middleton. I can recall distinctly asking Billy what did he think of this startling new development. I was afraid that Billy would be assigned to watch this new creature. I also wondered whether any of us would be expected to take on new responsibilities. To my relief, young JP was well taken care of and out of sight for many years. Somehow I just missed his growing up. By the time I was in college he was probably in first grade and somehow he never was around Billy and his “late owl” compatriots. There was quite an age gap between the two boys, and JP seemed to be brought up quite differently than Billy.


For sure the O’Haras were older, more mellowed and JP’s sisters were able to help out with his needs. We always thought that JP was a bit spoiled, but who wouldn’t be with all those older siblings?


Not long after that period, I was able to go to the fabled Winged Foot with the O’Haras, and start my insipid caddying career. The Commissioner loved to golf. He had golf clubs and balls all over the house. I quickly realized that this was an important aspect to his being. He was a good golfer, and eventually Billy became a very good golfer. For a few summers I took the New Haven Railroad from the Prospect Avenue Station to Mamaroneck, and walked up either Fenimore Road or Old White Plains Road to Winged Foot. Gene Hayden, the gruff old caddy-master, let me sit in the back as the most junior of all the rabbits. Rabbit was an unendearing term used to classify the most junior and unsophisticated level of caddy. Once in a while I would caddy for Mrs. O’Hara when she played with the Commissioner. I can still recall him warning me, “profanity did not belong on the golf course”. Somehow I was given a break by the caddy-master and I was able to caddy for one Jimmy Coulo, who, prided himself on possessing the fastest golf cart that was affectionately named “Poor Jimmy”. The cart was aptly named because he never tipped terribly well. But all in all, it was better to carry a putter then a bag of clubs! By the way, the Commissioner hit a very long ball and was a wonderful golfer. He never liked to take a cart and always was striding down the fairway at a brisk pace. He never compromised safety and always told me to stand behind a tree an out of the line of fire. Though I do recall clearly that he was hit by an errant shot that bounced off his chest when he turned back towards the tee. It didn’t seem to bother him and I do not recall his reaction. From a purely aesthetic perspective, he also warned me not to follow golfers off the tee and into the woods. I am sure that issue does not need further explanation.


Mr. O’Hara golfed with some of the best in the world, and Winged Foot always was a special attraction for the pros. I remember vividly Sam Snead and Gary Player golfing with the Commissioner. Personally I caddied for Sandy Armour, Tommy’s brother, and Chi Chi Rodriquez.


The Commissioner was very much like Teddy Roosevelt. He was a bold man of action and possessed a sharp mind. He was cherubic in his looks, and therefore from my perspective he never aged. He had strong hands and arms from countless rounds of golf, and he had strong opinions from his interest in the law and politics.


From early on we debated about politics. I came from a Democratic Party background. My Mother always said she voted liberal, but as I learned later her concept of liberalism was more in the Al Smith mold then in the William Kuntzler variety. Though my Father rarely expressed any emotionally politic positions, they both voted Democratic. Therefore when I was a youngster I had staked out my political ground. As early as 1952, at age seven, I knew that my family was for Stevenson and I knew my Mother loved FDR and Truman. So by the age of 12 or 13, I was interested in the classic political debate. Quite often the Commissioner and I exchanged views from our differing political perspectives. Interestingly, I never got the impression that he was very conservative and I was never really very liberal. I certainly could understand his frustration with government and his trepidation about the civil rights movement. But frankly, with all our talks over the years, he seemed much more tolerant than the impression he sometimes gave. In 1960 when I was fifteen and John F. Kennedy was elected, I knew that he publicly supported Richard Nixon.


But he certainly seemed to convey to me a sense of pride in an Irish-Catholic Presidency. When JFK was killed, I felt that he had sustained a great emotional blow. I always felt that he became sickened with politics about that time. I remember clearly his prominently displayed picture of Robert F. Kennedy in his living room and even though I was not a great fan of Bobby Kennedy, I smiled inwardly with self-satisfaction that he had a democrat in the house.


Often the Commissioner was in a hurray to make a golf date at Winged Foot and Billy would drive his old Chevy, nicknamed the “Blue Bullet” at breakneck speed to get him there. Most of the time the Commissioner was encouraging him to “floor it” on the Hutchinson River Parkway. The Commissioner had a relationship with Colonel Curry of Curry Chevrolet and I bought my first car from Curry, a six year old beige 1957 Chevy for $540. I also caddied for the Colonel, who was quite large and imposing, and had an extremely heavy bag, filled with about 18 clubs, four above the regulation, and about 6 of those clubs were woods!


Eventually my career started to wane at Winged Foot, and I had other things to do that occupied my time. But in my last summer before starting college, the Commissioner recommended me for a summer position at Playland in Rye. I worked, with ten other young guys, for John “The Greek” who was head of the Playland painting department. Unfortunately the space here is too limited to digress on all my adventures. But on July 4th of 1963 I did get in trouble with a crazy couple that wound up attacking me in the parking lot while I was directing traffic. For my exercise in self-defense I was called on the carpet with the Park’s director. A timely and most appreciated word from the Commissioner kept me on the payroll.


By the next year I was off to college in Boston, and my Mount Vernon friendships became reduced to intersessions, letter-writing and holidays. But one distinct memory was of an evening in the summer at the O’Haras. While Billy and I watched baseball in their sunroom, we both loved baseball, Mr. and Mrs. O’Hara walked into their house with a younger and very striking couple. As the Commissioner stepped forward to introduce the legendary football player Hugh McElheny to me, I reached out my hand to him and said “The King”. I had recognized the former star college and Olympic hurdler who had been a top running back with the 49er’s. He now was playing out “the string” with the Giants and the Commissioner told me privately “he was broke”. The Commissioner was looking to get him hired by the Burns Detective Agency. They both got a big charge out of my recognition of the aging star. One thing was for sure, he had matinee idol looks and his wife was extremely attractive. She was wearing a bright blue or green taffeta flared gown that was quite in the fashion of those times.


The O’Haras hosted a number of the football Giants, at their house in those Jim Lee Howell and Allie Sherman days. Certainly the era from 1956 to 1963 was one of great excitement and interest in the Giants. Charley Connerly, Frank Gifford, Sam Huff, Kyle Rote, Jim Katcavage, Andy Robestelli, Roosevelt Brown and Roosevelt Grier graduated into the YA Tittle and Del Shofner Giants of the early sixties. After 1963 and the decline of Tittle, a dark age descended on the Giants, and I remember even Billy losing interest in the team.


The times were changing in the late 1960’s as the Viet Nam War started to heat up. Billy was drafted after college and I applied for Airforce Officer candidate’s school. I saw less and less of Billy, but I stayed in contact with the O’Hara’s. At the end of Billy’s hitch we would get together now and again for a trip or two to New York. Billy took me to the Westchester Classic in 1968, which was won by a pudgy guy named Bob Murphy. Along the way Billy introduced me to Jack Nicklaus, for whom he had caddied for in the 1959 US Open at Winged Foot. That was a great thrill. Jack was always my favorite golfer!


Eventually the O’Haras had moved from Mount Vernon to a house on Hillair Avenue in White Plains. One day I found the house, after an exhaustive search, and the Commissioner told me that he hated the location. He felt he was in the woods and away from everything. He was certainly right again. Not too long after that meeting in the woods of Hillair Circle, the O’Haras relocated to their beautiful house on Carriage House Lane. One night, after their move, I was invited to dinner at their new home. I have a number of distinct memories about that wonderful evening. I was a guest along with two “adult” friends of the O’Haras, and Billy, Jane and Mary Anne. I drank a lot of beer, always Heinekens, we had a terrific steak, and it rained not unlike a biblical event. Unfortunately the beer and good company dulled my senses a bit, and despite the thunder and lightning, I completely forgot that my convertible roof on my 1963 Chevy was opened. When I sauntered out after midnight, the summer rains had passed, and when I opened the car door the earlier deluge flowed out. Fortunately I was too numb to care, and with the wet seats (thankfully they were vinyl) and all I headed home.


Not long after that memorable evening, I became engaged to Linda Rosen from New York City and a recent Barnard College and Teacher’s College graduate. Just before our wedding on July 27th, 1969, I visited the O’Haras, and as I walked through their door, the Commissioner looked up from his phone conversation and said “Vince, Richard Garfunkel just walked in the door, and he’s getting married next week, he’s a great Yankee fan!”  Of course he was talking to the legendary Vince Lombardy. Wow, was I impressed. Not long after our marriage at the Carlton House on Madison Avenue, Linda and I moved to our apartment at 16 Lake Street in White Plains, and we often visited the O’Haras. On the occasion of one of those visits, I can distinctly recall a very interesting discussion. President Richard Nixon had appointed two Judges, Clement Haynesworth and G. Harold Carswell to the Supreme Court. Even though I was always known to be an active committed Democrat, politics rarely was confrontational with the Commissioner, except that visit. Billy was usually quite conciliatory, and Linda and I thought he was a closet Democrat at times. But this piece of current events really stirred the pot. The gloves came off and we really went at it. Those were very contentious days in America. The Commissioner stood his ground and made an impassioned case against Johnson’s previous Court and the Senate’s rejection of his dual appointments of Homer Thornberry and the elevation of Justice Abe Fortas to Chief Justice. Of course, the battle over Nixon’s appointments went on long after our little disagreement had ended. Eventually the Senate rejected both appointments. Haynesworth was sort of a mediocrity and Carswell was a downright incompetant, who was later arrested chasing young boys in a locker room. Ces’t la guerre!


Over time as Billy’s work took him overseas, and Jane and Mary Anne got married, our lives became busier also. Our children Dana and Jon came along in 1973 and 1976. Of course the O’Haras were always anxious to see our progeny, and we made many visits to see them over the years. Linda and I were guests of Billy and the O’Haras at the US Opens held at Winged Foot in 1974 and again in 1984. I always tried to get over to see Billy compete in the Anderson Four-Ball Golf Tournament. Every round he played his parents were cheering him on. In fact, one year, I watched Billy and Craig Wood, the legendary golf star from the 1930’s and early 40’s, thrash another twosome. The Commissioner was always proud of Billy’s accomplishments on the golf course. After each round I was always invited back to the clubhouse and treated royally. Eventually young JP also took up golf and he was pretty darn good. I saw him win the Anderson a few times and was able to take some decent photos of him in action. Golf was always in the O’Hara blood. They all loved the game. Oh, how I remember when the Commissioner went on a great diet and looked like a Greek God. His stomach was like an ironing board, but his golf swing abandoned him! He was not very happy and often complained that his game had gone to pieces. Eventually the diet was forgotten, the old suits and pants came back and so did his swing. I am pretty sure he was happier with his old power from the tee.


One day while I was visiting, the Commissioner was working on all the season tickets for his super-box at the Giants Stadium. He asked me if I wanted to go to a game and never being one to turn down a nice offer, I readily agreed. The game turned out to be a unique one during the 1986 season. It wound up being a pivotal late season contest with Dallas, which not only the Giants won, in the fourth quarter, but propelled them eventually into their first Super Bowl. Football never really excited me, and I had drifted away from the Giants in late 1960’s with the emergence of Joe Namath. The Giants had been perennial loser’s and the fan’s treatment of Allie Sherman and his subsequent firing had left a bad taste in my mouth. So a Giant victory was not terribly important. Of course I would never say this in front of the Commissioner. We already had too many differences over baseball and politics. 


The most significant part of this game was that another guest in the booth was the former President, Richard Nixon. I felt pretty honored being included and brought my ten year old son Jon along. Since I collected political memorabilia, I brought along two Nixon inaugural cachet postal covers. I hoped that I would get the former president to sign them. Frankly I never liked Richard Nixon, but eventually most of us had pity for him more than hatred.


Nixon was Nixon, he was never out of character and anyone who had seen him on television could never mistake him for anyone else. He had a uniqueness of style or lack of it. But he was still a former President who was still famous and quite liked by many. When the crowd sitting in front of the glass enclosed box turned around and saw Nixon they gave him a warm hand. It hadn’t been quite the same in 1973. The Commissioner was quite anxious about the visit, and he wanted everything just right. Even Governor Tom Kean stopped by to pay his respects to the former President. It was all quite heady. Since I always bring a camera, the Commissioner warned me not to take pictures of the President. He didn’t want him to feel uncomfortable. But during the game I decided that it would be a shame not to record his visit with a shot of him with the O’Haras. So at the first opportunity I went up the President’s body-guard, a burly former policeman, and I asked him if the President would mind posing with the O’Haras He looked at me like I was either crazy or a dope. He told me that the President had been photographed millions of times and loved the camera. Wow! That turned out to be good news.

 I sauntered up to the Commissioner who was standing in the back of the box. He never sat once during the game. I told him that the President wanted to know whether I could take a picture of him with his hosts, the O’Haras. The Commissioner brightened up immediately, and we were quickly able to pose the President between the Commissioner and Billy. I was instructed; in a growl to get it over quickly and that I had one shot to take. I was still a kid to the Commissioner, even at age 41. Boy was I scared that the picture wouldn’t come out, but I actually took two exposures of the same pose. Later on, I brought out the two postal commemorative covers and asked the President to autograph them for the O’Haras and my son Jon. I have the cover with Jon’s name spelled “John” mounted on the wall with the picture of the O’Haras and the famous Richard Nixon!


The years passed quickly after that meeting. Both of my kids were growing up, and I had numerous other responsibilities. I continued to stop by and see the O’Haras. One fall day we attended the infamous Rutgers-Colgate football game in 1993 in the Meadowlands. Terry Toal Jr., the O’Hara’s oldest grandchild, played for Colgate, and our daughter was a senior at Rutgers. We stopped by their box, saw the whole family and were treated like long lost cousins. Again we were on opposite sides. Rutgers won 66-0 in a silly mismatch. The Commissioner was slowing down a bit. He had suffered a fall on the golf course a few years earlier and the effects of that fall started to change him slowly but surely. He was less patient, and more anxious about a lot of things. I recall that he was quite agitated about almost everything that went on in the box that evening.


Thankfully he was still healthy enough to come to our big 25th wedding anniversary party at our home in 1994. That was a real big year for us with Dana graduating Rutgers and Jon finishing White Plains High School and being admitted to Princeton. But the Commissioner continued to slip. It was wonderful seeing him again and I prayed that he would get no worse. The great smile and humor were still there. I showed him a framed letter that he had recently sent to me. It was a thank you for sending him some D-Day postal covers, and I had it mounted on my wall right next to the famous Nixon picture. He loved that! The O’Haras stayed awhile and they had a wonderful re-union with my parents, who they had not seen in decades. That was precious to witness.


In the next few years he continued to decline, and often when I visited I wasn’t quite sure he really knew me. Eventually he needed round the clock care, and the big empty home on Carriage House Lane was sold. I last saw the Commissioner in the King Street Home in Port Chester. He didn’t know me, and I realized a great chapter in my life had ended. I know that I wandered out in a daze. It was like a part of me was wrenched away. But, I was thankful that he had seen me married and had seen and met my children. He always was interested in them and he had a great time talking to my son Jon. I was glad that I had been able to reward his great faith he had in me over the years. I was doubly glad that my children had met this great man who had witnessed and had been part of titanic events. I thought back on his great stories of Walter O’Malley, and the old Ebbetts family who ran the Dodgers. I loved his football tales about the Giants and the Maras, who were his great friends, and the stories of the legendary Vince Lombardy. He had seen and experienced great times.


Ironically Linda’s cousin, Fred W. Rosen, a heroic PT boat commander in the 2nd World War, played against the Commissioner’s Fordham football team in 1937 and their tie game knocked that famous squad from Rose Bowl consideration. It’s still a small world. All of Billy’s friends from that era have gone on with their lives. I have not seen anyone from that old wonderful neighborhood in over 25 years. All traces of that neighborhood have disappeared into history. I was glad that I was last to see and enjoy the company of the Commissioner.


He was bigger than life itself. He was generous to all, he had the gift of humor and gab. He never ducked a fight or a battle that was worth fighting. His impression on me is everlasting. I can sincerely glow with pride in knowing a very special man. Where ever he is now I wish him only the best. I have been a better human for knowing him, and thank G-D for that opportunity.   







4 thoughts on “Memories of an Unusual Man- Bill O'Hara Sr. (1915-2002)

  1. Richard

    I just found your remarkable article about Billy’s dad and did some further searches to find you went to BU and you have had quite a career in Politics and Public policy. I went to BC and now after a career in City Planning in Boston and in California find my self teaching at BU. ( I also ran a campaign for then Mayor Kevin White in the late 70″s) Anyway I was recently in touch with John Knox who you may remember and we were trying to track down Billy. Might you have his contact info.?

    John Weis

  2. Richard,

    John Weis and I have been trying to find Billy O’Hara. In our efforts, John Weis stumbled across your terrific piece on Bill O’Hara Sr. You have brought back lots of fond memories. I too was invited by the O’Hara’s to attend Giants games over that period from 1958 through 1962. They took me to the championship game against the Packers on a frigid day in 1962. The last time I saw Billy was in the summer of 1972 when we talked over a beer on my parent’s front porch at 629 Hanover Place. At that time I was beginning a career as a college biology professor in Virginia and Billy was off to work with Coca Cola (I think?), having just finished law school (I think?). I look forward to reading your other blog entries. Warmest regards,

  3. Richard,
    I enjoyed reading your story and tribute to William O’Hara. I never met “the Commissioner” but was remotely connected with the group of kids that you mention. I was born in 1946 and lived on Hanover Place. You and most of the guys who you name played ball on the Wartburg field across the street from my house. It was probably Walt or John Knox who set-up the games. Billy O’Hara and Jack Bromley were regulars as was John Weis and the Murphy brothers. The field has changed, the neighborhood has changed, the world has change but we will always have the memories.
    Bruce Dewey

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