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Christopher Halajian New York Sports Legends: Babe Ruth

New York Sports Legends Player Profile: Babe Ruth by Christopher Halajian

To say that Christopher Halajian is a huge fan of New York’s sports teams would be an understatement. He remains loyal to his favorite teams even now that he has moved miles away from his home state of New York (he now lives in California). Like most fans, Christopher Halajian knows that behind every great team is a great player; someone who stands out among the rest, someone who carries the team to victory, and someone the team can rely on no matter what.

This is why Christopher Halajian deemed it only fitting to pay tribute to some of New York’s greatest players; they who have been written down in history as legends. And what better way to start this series than with one of the country’s greatest and best players of all time, Babe Ruth?

Playing History

George Herman “Babe” Ruth, Jr. was a pitcher for the Boston Red Sox before he became the New York Yankees’ outfielder. His career in professional baseball (for MLB) started on July 11, 1914, pitching for the Red Sox. But even before then, he was already playing in minor league baseball (for the Baltimore Orioles), and before that, for St. Mary’s Industrial School for Boys as a catcher, third baseman and shortstop.

Throughout his career, Babe Ruth would always praise and thank his mentor Brother Matthias Boutlier, the Prefect for Discipline at St. Mary’s. Boutlier encouraged Babe Ruth to pursue playing ball, and it was him who guided the young Babe Ruth during his time at the school. Biographers note that Babe Ruth’s running and hitting styles bore a close resemblance to that of his teacher’s/mentor’s.

One remarkable fact about Babe Ruth’s playing history with St. Mary’s, which Christopher Halajian shares, is that he was made to play using gloves and mitts designed for right-hand players (he was left-handed). But even with the ill-fitting and uncomfortable mitts and gloves, he displayed strong prowess on the field.

He won his very first game with the Boston Red Sox on his first day playing for the team. It was against the Cleveland Naps, with a score of 4-3. While his years with the Red Sox gave him a string of successes, it was with the Yankees that Babe Ruth truly shined, according to Christopher Halajian. He played for the Yankees from 1920 to 1934, and it was during these years that he showed his strength as an outfielder highly regarded as a “power-hitting outfielder.”

Quick fact: The Yankees Stadium was built with Babe Ruth in mind, where the design was developed in a way that would help the left-hand player make home runs, and the right field (Babe Ruth’s defensive position) doesn’t point in the afternoon sun (veering away from traditional design) to spare Babe Ruth’s eyes from the glaring sunlight.

Career Highlights by Christopher Halajian

Record recap

  • Batting average – .342
  • Hits – 2,873
  • Home runs – 714
  • Runs batted in – 2,213
  • Win-loss – 94-46
  • Earned run average – 2.28

Awards and Recognition

  • 2 All-Star (1933, 1934
  • 7 World Series championships (1915, 1916, 1918, 1923, 1927, 1928, and 1932)
  • AL MVP (1923)
  • AL Batting Champion (1924)
  • 12 AL home run leader (1918, 1919, 1920, 1921, 1923, 1924, 1926, 1927, 1928, 1930, and 1931)
  • New York Yankees No. 3 retired
  • Boston Red Sox Hall of Fame
  • MLB All-Century Team
  • MLB All-Time Team
  • Inducted to the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1936 with 95.13% votes

 

Christopher Halajian New York Sports Legends: Yogi Berra

 

New York Sports Legends Profile: Yogi Berra by Christopher Halajian

It’s true that between football and baseball, Christopher Halajian would pick football. But as a native New Yorker, his loyalty lies in all of the state’s professional sports teams, be it football, basketball or baseball. And so for this post, Christopher Halajian would like to continue his series on profiles of New York’s sports legends with another baseball Hall of Famer, Yogi Berra.

For those of you who are still wondering how Lawrence Peter Berra got the moniker “Yogi,” here is the short answer: Jack Maguire. The long version, says Christopher Halajian, is that Maguire, who is a long-time friend of Berra, nicknamed him Yogi as he resembled the sitting position of a Hindu yogi whenever he sat down with arms and legs crossed (usually while waiting for his turn to bat or after losing a game). The nickname stuck, and so for most of his baseball career, Lawrence Peter Berra became known as Yogi Berra.

Playing History

Yogi Berra began playing baseball with American Legion leagues. It was during this time that he learned the basics of the game and developed his skills. And in 1942, the New York Yankees signed him up. But it wasn’t until 1946 that he would play his first game with the Yankees.

His MLB debut was delayed because he had to serve in the U.S. Navy. He was a gunner’s mate on the USS Bayfield during the infamous D-Day invasion of France. During an interview, Berra mentioned that he was “fired upon” multiple times, but he never got hit. His bravery earned for him quite a few commendations.

Finally, on September 22, 1946, he played his first game with the Yankees. During his years with the Yankees, he played in over a hundred games (for 18 seasons). Leading the team to 14 World Series championship games and winning ten of them, Yogi Berra was considered as the Yankees’ lucky charm.

It was during his time with the Yankees, too, that the team participated the most in World Series games, says Christopher Halajian; further proof that Yogi was indeed the team’s lucky charm.

His professional baseball career was spent mostly with the Yankees; playing for them for 18 seasons, from 1946-1963), and then as team manager in 1964, and then again in 1984-85. He was also the Yankees’ coach from 1976 to 1983. In-between these years, he played for the Mets (1965), served as their coach from 1965-1971 and then as their manager from 1972-1975.

Yogi Berra appeared in 22 World Series games, 13 of which were on the winning team—one of the most notable records in the history of MLB.

Awards and Recognition

  • 18-time All-Star (1948-1961 and 1962)
  • 13-time World Series champion (1947, 1949-53, 1956, 1958, 1961, 1962, 1969, 1977, and 1978)
  • 3-time AL MVP (1951, 1954, and 1955)
  • New York Yankees no. 8 retired
  • MLB All-Century Team
  • Inducted to Baseball Hall of Fame in 1972 with 85.61% votes

On September 22, 2015, the world of baseball mourned the passing of Yogi Berra, shares Christopher Halajian. The Yogi Berra Museum and Learning Center and the Yogi Berra Stadium were established in honor of him. If you wish to visit, Christopher Halajian shares that both are located inside the premises of Montclair State University. Yogi Berra is known for catching “the only perfect game in World Series history” (Game 5, 1956 World Series).

 

Christopher Halajian Top 3 Sports Camps for Kids in NYC

Top 3 Sports Camps for Kids in NYC by Christopher Halajian

When Christopher Halajian was growing up in New York, one of the things he looks forward to come summer are the sports camps. He has made lifelong friends through these camps, and he learned quite a few life skills that help him get through tough times. So for this post, Christopher Halajian would like to share today’s current sports camps in NYC. Specifically, those that he deems will be great for kids.

With summer just around the corner, now’s the best time for parents to start looking around for sports summer camps for their kids. To help you get started, Christopher Halajian shares his top three summer sports camps for kids.

Here are his three recommendations:

1. Kids in the Game (KING)

Kids in the Game offers sports activities, fitness programs, sports instruction, summer camps and sports clinics. Their mission is to develop NYC youth through their programs, focusing on three core values: positive coaching, healthy lifestyle, and teaching sports to empower the youth. Christopher Halajian shares that the programs help instill in children an “I can!” attitude. Summer camps are offered in five locations: Upper West Side, Park Slope, Inwood, Riverdale, and Upper East Side. Programs are suitable for children between 4 and 14 years old.

2. Chelsea Piers

Chelsea Piers is considered as the go-to sports facility in Manhattan. Boasting of a wide range of sports and fitness facilities, Chelsea Piers offers year-round sports programs for kids and adults. For summer, they offer 15 summer sports camps, each designed for specific age groups (from 3-17 years old). Summer sports camps include such exciting sports as ice hockey, ice skating, gymnastics, golf, soccer, basketball and outdoor sports like kayaking and rock climbing.

3. Kids in Sports

For parents with younger kids (2.5 to 8 years old), Kids in Sports summer camps could be a good option. An indoor camp designed for kids 2.5 to 6 years old includes such sports as baseball, football, soccer, basketball, floor hockey and volleyball. Apart from these, says Christopher Halajian, there are also arts and crafts activities, and story time. For outdoor fun, the outdoor camp (for kids 4 to 8 years old) offers exciting activities like relay games, cooperative learning games and more. These are on top of the sports activities (baseball, football, soccer, basketball, and volleyball).

Honorable mentions

For other options, Christopher Halajian shares his honorable mentions. You can also check out these summer sports camps for your kids:

  • Asphalt Green Summer Day Camp, Upper East Side and Battery Park
  • Tiger Strong Summer Camp, 500 E 77th Street, New York
  • KoKo NYC, Soap Box Summer Workshop, 17th Street, Brooklyn
  • McBurney Multi-Sports Camp, 116 W 11th Street, New York

Check out these summer sports camps for your kids or do your own research to find the best one for them. The important thing is to introduce them to sports (if you haven’t already) and maybe, they will learn to love it, says Christopher Halajian. Who knows? You might be raising the next Giants or Knicks legend!

Christopher Halajian on Carl Braun and Willis Reed

Christopher Halajian on Carl Braun and Willis Reed, Knicks Players That Made History

For any basketball fan following their favorite team for years, to choose a top five or even a top three would be a difficult task, says Knicks fan Christopher Halajian. There are so many factors to consider; from the era that they played in, the years they were active on the court, individual statistics and so on. You will also have to factor in the quality of the team at the time, says Christopher Halajian. For this post, Christopher chose to talk briefly about his top two favorites based not only on their performance but more importantly, their significance in Knicks history.

Carl Braun

For Christopher Halajian, Carl Braun deserves to be on top of the list because he was instrumental in putting the Knicks on the map, leading them to second place in the Eastern Division and securing for them a playoff game against the Baltimore Bullets. Although the team still struggled and never won any titles yet, they were nevertheless considered a worthy opponent. At the time of his retirement, Carl Braun was the Knicks’ leading scorer, scoring a total of 10,449 points. He played for the Knicks from 1947-1950 and 1952-1961. He was a 5x NBA All-Star, and 2x All-BAA Second Team in 1948 and 1954.

Willis Reed

Willis Reed joined the New York Knicks in 1964 as its center (he later played their power forward). It was during his time that the Knicks won their first and second NBA championship titles, in 1970 and 1973. His other career highlights include scoring a total 46 points during a game against the Los Angeles Lakers, which, according to reports, was the “second-highest single-game” score ever by a Knicks rookie. He was a 2x NBA Finals MVP in 1970 and again in 1973, NBA MVP in 1970, 7x NBA All-Star from 1965to 1971, NBA All-Star Game MVP in 1970 (first player to receive the award), and NBA Rookie of the Year in 1965.

These are only some of his accomplishments, says Christopher Halajian. But the main reason that Christopher picked him: his relentless spirit propelled his team to win games. In fact, one of the best Knicks games in history was during a game against the Los Angeles Lakers in the NBA Finals of the 1969-1970 season. Reed was injured during Game 5, and by Game 6, he was unable to play. The Knicks lost the game to the LA Lakers. As team captain, Reed knew what he had to do. He had to lead his team to win Game 7. Limping on the court, shares Christopher Halajian, he scored the team’s first two baskets, but he was unable to score more after that. However, it was his spirit that inspired his team to show the Lakers what they’ve got. True to form, they went on to win Game 7 with a score of 113-99.

There are, of course, several other Knicks greats on Christopher Halajian’s list, including Patrick Ewing, Larry Johnson, Allan Houston, and Charles Oakley. These players deserve their own post, too, says Christopher Halajian, so you can expect to read about them right here in the coming days.

Christopher Halajian Why Knicks’ KP Is the Real Deal

 

 

Christopher Halajian: 3 Reasons That Make Knicks’ Kristaps Porzingis The NBA’s “Unicorn”

Hi, this is Christopher Halajian! Thanks for joining me again today on my blog. With the news of power forward Kristaps Porzingis suffering a sore left knee in the Knicks’ game against the Nets last week, I’m desperately hoping he recovers and will remain healthy throughout his career. Make no mistake; KP is the NBA’s “unicorn” that has even got veterans like Kevin Durant nodding their heads in approval.

Christopher Halajian: KP is Real Deal

What’s a unicorn you might ask? In business or startup parlance, a unicorn is something or someone that is very hard to find. Because unicorns are mythical creatures, to call something or someone a unicorn is to praise their extraordinary qualities, as they seem almost too good to be true! In the case of KP however, I believe the kid’s the real deal. Here are three reasons that perfectly sums up why:

1. KP is beating records and will only continue to do so – Move over Bernard King; KP just set the new record for most points in the first 10 games of the 2017-2018 season with 300 points. King’s record came just shy of 2 points, standing with 298 points. With this record, KP is also in the running for most points in the league in scoring.

2. KP is one of the best rookies in NBA history – To prove just how much of a unicorn KP is, check out this stunning fact: KP is the first rookie in NBA history to record at least 1,000 points, 500 rebounds, 75 three-pointers, and 100 blocks. Where does he stand now you ask? Well, he is also the only player in NBA history with at least 2,000 points, 1,000 rebounds, 250 blocks and 100 made 3’s over his first two seasons. If that isn’t phenomenal progress, I don’t know what is.

Let me just add as well that KP is a young 22 years old, so one can only imagine how much more of a basketball beast he’ll become once he reaches his prime. I don’t know what Phil Jackson was thinking, entertaining the idea of a KP trade last June, but he needs to hold onto this unicorn with two hands.

3. KP is driven and ambitious – In the NBA, we learn early on that talent is common; we see that every year with each new rookie class that comes our way. What separates a talented player from a successful one is his work ethic, and KP has proven he is extremely driven to become the best player in the NBA. He knows it’s not an overnight event as well. As such, he has set his sights on low-hanging fruit for now. KP says he has his eyes on being named the NBA’s Most Improved Player this season, and the Defensive Player of the Year award and the All-Star team. Not bad, my man.

What do you think of KP? Is he the real deal or will he soon run out of steam? Drop me, Christopher Halajian, a line by commenting below.

Stay tuned to read more from Christopher Halajian about the New York Knicks. Christopher Halajian is a diehard Knicks fan.

 

Christopher Halajian | New York City Marathon: World’s Largest Marathon

 

 

Christopher Halajian on the New York City Marathon: The World’s Largest Marathon

When Christopher Halajian moved to California for his graduate studies, one of the things he missed doing was watching the New York City Marathon from the sidelines. Since he moved to California, he had been following the annual marathon on TV. Next year, Christopher Halajian hopes to visit New York City in time for the annual NYC Marathon, which happens every first Sunday of November.

From 127 participants to more than 50,000

Forty-seven years ago, Christopher Halajian shares, the first New York City Marathon was held. Established by Fred Lebow with the help of Ted Corbitt, it only had 127 participants, and the course only covered repeated loops around Central Park. This was in 1970, and only about a hundred spectators came to watch. Of the 127 participants, only 55 crossed the finish line.

Gary Muhrcke holds the prestigious distinction of being the first ever winner of the New York City Marathon. He clocked a total running time of 2:31:38, and as mentioned above, only 100 spectators witnessed what would become a historic event.

From 1976 up to the present, the marathon course now runs through the five boroughs of New York City, covering roughly about 42.195 kilometers or 26.219 miles. Over the years, participation grew from a couple of hundred to several thousand, reaching up to a record high of 46,795 official finishers in 2011.

Former professional athletes, celebrities, and other notable personalities have participated in the marathon. For Christopher Halajian, of note are Mark Messier (former NHL player), former Dutch soccer player Edwin van der Sar, and Alex Zanardi former CART champion.

The race isn’t without its own share of controversies too, shares Christopher Halajian. In 1979, Rosie Ruiz qualified for the Boston Marathon after finishing the New York City Marathon with a time of 2:56:29—a time that was mistakenly given as it was later determined she didn’t run the entire course. Both the NYC Marathon and Boston Marathon officials rescinded the runner’s time.

The most tragic and heartbreaking event, however, occurred in 2008 when three runners died immediately after completing the race; with one collapsing during the actual marathon and passing several days after. His name was Fred Costa; he was from Staten Island and only 41 years old when he died. All three participants died from an apparent heart attack.

Carlos Jose Gomes (Brazil) collapsed after completing the race. It was determined that he had a pre-existing heart condition before the marathon and died from a heart attack. He was 58.

Christopher Halajian shares that another participant who also died from a heart attack hours after the 2008 marathon was a 4-time NYC Marathon participant. Joseph Marotta (Staten Island) was 66.

If you are looking to participate in any kind of marathon, Christopher Halajian would like to remind you to undergo a thorough medical examination first and get your doctor’s approval before training for the marathon. It would also be best to have yourself checked again a day or two before the actual race just to be on the safe side.

 

Christopher Halajian | Robert Lipsyte, Sports Writer and My Hometown Hero

Christopher Halajian Talks About Sports and His Hometown Hero Robert Lipsyte

Christopher Halajian was born and raised in Shelter Island, New York. As a native New Yorker, he has gotten used to the hustle and bustle of city life even if he did live on the island. Being a huge sports fan, he is interested in all aspects of it; not only the teams and games, but all of it—from sports channels to commentators, sport writers/journalists, and the occasional sports novelists. Being a local of Shelter Island, Christopher Halajian is particularly proud of Robert Lipsyte, a fellow New Yorker who now lives in Shelter Island. Christopher considers Robert Lipsyte his hometown hero.

If you’re not a fan of sports, particularly professional sports in the country, the name Robert Lipsyte may not ring a bell; but for hardcore fans like Christopher Halajian, Robert Lipsyte is not only a familiar name, he is a good and decent human being who is in a league of his own.

The unconventional sports writer

For Christopher Halajian, what sets Robert Lipsyte apart from other sports journalists is the way he regards sports, especially professional sports. From his perspective, professional sports are a “grotesque distortion of sports,” to borrow his words. It glorifies and celebrates champions more than the sport itself, and this perspective has inspired his unconventional approach to sports writing. Truth to tell, this perspective is what keeps Christopher Halajian grounded, at least in terms of how he “adores” his favorite New York teams. It’s actually the attitude of the players and their respect for their teams and their respective sports that have kept Christopher a loyal fan.

He does not argue that victories should be celebrated and that deserving players be named MVPs; but he does share the writer’s perspective about the sport and how it’s played as being more important than victories and losses.

In a word, it’s how you compete that’s more important than winning or losing. This perspective gave Christopher Halajian a fresh take on professional sports. He admits that there was a time when winning was his only focus where his teams are concerned; but Robert Lipsyte’s view of professional sports made Christopher appreciate football and basketball, and all kinds of sports even more—from both sides of the fence.

This perspective has also helped Christopher Halajian through the ups and downs of his life—comparing playing, winning and losing to running his own life. He finds Robert Lipsyte’s dogged determination to remain true to his beliefs inspiring. In a world where conformity is expected and those who go against the norm are shunned and isolated, Robert remained true to himself. Nowadays, in this age of entitlement and instant gratification, staying true to yourself has become a rare commodity.

Christopher Halajian encourages everyone to take the time to read Robert Lipsyte’s autobiography, “An Accidental Sportswriter” as well as “The Contender” and “Free to Be Muhammad Ali.”

Robert Lipsyte continues to write for their hometown paper, the Shelter Island Reporter.

For more sports-related posts, including those about the New York Giants and the Knicks, kindly stay tuned to this page.

Christopher Halajian | Reliving the Glory Days of Super Bowl XLVI

 

 

Christopher Halajian Relives the Highlights of Super Bowl XLVI

For Christopher Halajian, the New York Giants (National Football League) and the New York Knicks (National Basketball Association) are two of the most famous professional sports teams in the world. Both are championship title holders, even if the latter hasn’t bagged an NBA championship title in the past couple of decades, and both teams have gained a strong and loyal following not only in their home turf but other parts of the country as well. For Christopher Halajian, being a fan means supporting your team through its ups and downs, cheering them on in victories and encouraging them in losses. And the New York Knicks needs fans like these, but that’s for another post. For this post, Christopher Halajian wishes to talk about the Giants.

A bit about the early years of the New York Giants

Before Christopher Halajian talks about his favorite moments of the Super Bowl XLVI championships, he’d like to share a few tidbits about the Giants first, particularly their early years. The Giants joined the NFL in 1925 and is one of the oldest teams in the professional league. They won their first championship title in 1927 (pre-Super Bowl era), followed by three more in 1934, 1938 and 1956, respectively. Thirty years after their last championship title, they won another, but this time, for the Super Bowl (Super Bowl XXI). This was followed by another title in Super Bowl XXV, one more in Super Bowl XLII, and another in the XLVI game.

They rank third in the NFL and hold the distinction of having the most number of appearances in championship games than any other team with 19 appearances to date. A feat that hardcore fans like Christopher Halajian never lets anyone forget whenever they are engaged in debate over the best NFL team.

Super Bowl XLVI

For loyal New York Giants and New England Patriots fans, Super Bowl XLVI was a game they have been looking forward to years. And when the Giants won, it was déjà vu for both teams and their respective fans. The air was thick with anticipation as both teams took the field, and fans were all out in their cheers and jeers. It felt like 2007 all over again, the year when the Giants defeated New England during the Super Bowl XLII championship game. Christopher Halajian was right there on the sidelines, cheering his team and engaging in a healthy albeit strongly competitive banter with the Patriots’ fans.

During the first quarter, Giants fans knew that the championship is theirs as the Giants had a 9-0 lead. But their hopes were dashed when the Patriots led the third quarter with a 17-9 lead. Of course, we know how this game ended: Ahmad Bradshaw scoring the winning touchdown with only 57 seconds left. To this day, Christopher Halajian remembers the exhilaration of witnessing that historical touchdown!

Christopher Halajian would also like to say that the halftime show was one for the books as well, with Madonna headlining the show and guests LMFAO, M.I.A., Nicki Minaj and Cee Lo Green completing the ensemble.