Among the many celebrities that participated in the tournaments over the years include, former President Ronald Reagan, Jimmy Stewart, Frank Sinatra, David Janssen, O.J. Simpson, Jim Brown, Lou Rawls, Dean Martin, Arnold Palmer, Jackie Gleason, Joey Bishop, Danny Thomas, Robert Wagner, Magic Johnson, Richard Long, Bill Bixby, Robert Stack and many others.
Those injuries didn't stop Chuck from loving baseball. While filming the movie Geronimo, a baseball game was organized to raise money for a children's charity in Mexico. The Apaches played in their costumes as did their opponents, the U.S. Cavalry. Chuck played hard even for a charity game, he cut his knee open sliding into base and had to have stitches.
Chuck Connors was an athlete his entire life. He played sandlot ball as a youngster in Brooklyn and his big dream was playing for his home town team, the Brooklyn Dodgers. He did eventually achieve this dream but his sports career took a lot of turns. At the same time he was playing baseball, he played basketball and he was one of the first players in the NBA.
The Bay Ridge Celtics, circa 1936, a local boys club coached by John Flynn.
This photo was submitted to us by George Waters.
My dad was two years older than Chuck Connors. He was born in 1919 and also went to OLPH. He was inducted into the Army in 1941 serving with the 304th Infantry and participated in the Battle of the Bulge and the Battle of the Rhineland. I wish I had known about this photo while my dad was alive. It would be nice to know if I would have known any of the other players from the neighborhood. I am glad that this can be added to the collection of pictures for the Connors' family. Standing 4th from the right is my dad George James Waters.
Standing 1st on the right is Chuck Connors.
Chuck's baseball career wasn't without some injury. In 1940, Chuck broke a finger and only played a few games because of it. In 1948, he was hit in the mouth with a ball and needed 5 stitches. Then in 1949, he was hit in the head, knocked unconscious and had to be carried off the field. In March 1952, he hurt his right hand and in April he tore muscles in his left shoulder. In July of the same year, Chuck injured his right shoulder in a play at 3rd base. When Chuck announced he would retire from baseball in February 1953, he stated that his back muscles that were badly injured in 1952 hadn't completely healed.
The Chuck Connors Invitational Golf Tournaments raised thousands of dollars for charities for over 15 years. The Tournaments were held at the Indian Canyons Golf Resort, formerly known as Palm Springs National, located in Palm Springs, California. The generous donations received from these events and his personal appearances, went to charities that were very close to his heart, including Angel View Crippled Children's Foundation, United Way and to officers that were wounded in the line of duty.
November 5, 1970 was the 25th anniversary of the Celtics first game and they celebrated the opening game with the 76ers. Chuck was the only original Celtic and he received two presentations and a surprise, which was a hoop and net. It was given to him because he was the first player ever that broke the backboard. The festivities were pre-game and Chuck was also the "official" for the tip off at the start of the game. Chuck also received a set of silver cufflinks to commemorate the 25th Anniversary of the NBA and he was given 3 chances to make a basket. He missed the first two and then just kicked the ball up in the air and laughed. He scored 8 points in the Celtics opener in 1948 and they lost by two points.
Chuck's baseball career ran from 1940 - 1952 and he played for both minor/farm and major league teams such as the Newport Dodgers and the Norfork Tars in 1941,
the Newport News Dodgers in 1946 and the Mobile Bears in 1947. After that he moved to the Majors. He did play for the Dodgers' organization, the Montreal Royals for several years, a short stint with the Brooklyn Dodgers, his childhood dream; the Chicago Cubs and then back to the minors. He played for the Chicago Cubs for one season and ended his career with the Pacific Coast League Los Angeles Angels until he retired in 1953. Los Angeles was the perfect stepping stone to his next career as an actor. Even during his military service (1942-1945) Chuck played both basketball and baseball on weekends. During the winter of 1949 Chuck played baseball on the American Team in Cuba and was chosen for the All Star team.
Chuck played basketball for two teams: the Rochester Royals and the Boston Celtics. He was one of the original Celtics at the formation of the NBA. Chuck is one of only of 12 athletes to play both professional baseball and basketball.