Ridgefield SportsBeat: Best of the Rest

These athletes couldn't crack the Top 20 of the best to come out southwestern CT, but they deserve our honorable mention.

 [Note: Want your ]

NICK GIAQUINTO (Stratford) A tough, hard-nosed running back, Giaquinto still holds the single-game rushing record at UConn with 277 yards which he accomplished in 1976 against Holy Cross. A graduate of , Giaquinto was cut three straight years in the NFL before hooking on with the Miami Dolphins in 1980. Giaquinto played 24 games in Miami, catching a touchdown pass from Hall of Fame quarterback Bob Griese. He then signed on with the Washington Redskins and was part of the team that beat the Dolphins in Super Bowl XVII in 1983. Giaquinto played a total of four seasons in the NFL and has been the head baseball coach at Sacred Heart University for the last 24 years.

TIM TEUFEL (Greenwich) attended St. Mary's High School before taking his talents to Clemson University. After a stellar career with the Tigers, Teufel was drafted by the Minnesota Twins in the second round in 1980. He made his major league debut in 1983, but was traded to the New York Mets after the 1985 season. The hard-hitting second baseman split time with Wally Backman and helped New York win the 1986 World Series. In his 11 year career, Teufel played 1,073 games while hitting .254. He will return to the big leagues this season as third base coach with the Mets.

MAX PACIORETTY (New Canaan) NHL players born and raised in are extremely rare, but overcame the odds to make his dream come true. He played one year for the Rams before attending The Taft School in Watertown. Pacioretty went to the University of Michigan for one year and was the 22nd player chosen in the 2007 NHL draft. Pacioretty made his debut with the Montreal Canadians on January 2, 2009, scoring his first NHL goal on his first shot against the New Jersey Devils. In 2011, Pacioretty was on the wrong end of a suffering a fracture vertebrae in his neck. But he recovered and is a big part of the Canadians offense, scoring a hat trick for the Habs in early February.

BRAD AUSMUS (Cheshire) A two-time All-State selection at , Ausmus was drafted by the New York Yankees in the 47th round in 1987. He chose to attend Dartmouth College but played in the Yankees system during the summers. After being picked in the expansion draft by the Colorado Rockies and then traded to the San Diego Padres, Ausmus made his MLB debut in 1993. He enjoyed an 18-year career with the Padres, Tigers, Astros, and Dodgers. Playing catcher, Ausmus won three Gold Glove awards and was an All-Star in 1999. He hit .254 and played 1,938 games in his career.

JAMES BLAKE (Fairfield) as a child to put his signature on a very good tennis career. He attended Fairfield High School before going to Harvard where he left after his sophomore year to pursue a career in tennis. Blake rose to be the fourth ranked player in the world in 2006. In 2008, he received the prestigious Arthur Ashe Humanitarian award. Blake has won 10 singles and five doubles titles in his career.

DAVE PUZZUOLI (Stamford) Born in Greenwich, Puzzuoli attended Stamford Catholic (now Trinity Catholic) where he earned a scholarship to play football at the University of Pittsburgh as a defensive lineman. Puzzuoli was drafted in the sixth-round by the Cleveland Browns in the 1983 NFL draft. As a nose tackle, Puzzuoli played 76 games in a five year career that saw him play 76 games and record 15.5 sacks.

JOHN SULLIVAN (Greenwich) A two-time All-State selection at Greenwich High School, Sullivan was a team captain at Notre Dame and started 43 of 47 games on the offensive line for the Fighting Irish during his career in South Bend. in the sixth-round of the 2008 NFL draft, the 305lb. center has started 45 of the 61 games he's played with the team. In December of 2011, Sullivan signed a 5-year, $25 million extension to stay in Minnesota.

JULIUS BOROS (Fairfield) The Hall of Fame golfer recorded 18 PGA victories in 25 years on the tour. He won three major championships (U.S. Open, twice and PGA Championship. Boros, who also played baseball at Broward Community College in Florida, was the top money-winner on tour twice in his career. At age 48, he became the oldest player ever to win a PGA event.

PETE DEMMERLE (New Canaan) Considered one of the best football players in the history of Connecticut football, which still stands as a state record. Demmerle went on to Notre Dame where he helped the Fighting Irish to a national championship in 1973. A consensus All-American in 1974,  by the San Diego Chargers but never played in the NFL because of an injury. He was also an Academic All-American at Notre Dame and went on to become a lawyer. Passed away in 2007 at the age of 53 from Lou Gehrig's disease. Only player in New Canaan history to have his number retired (23).

FRANK "SPEC" SHEA (Naugatuck) served in World War II and played in the Major Leagues for the and Washington Senators. He made his debut in 1947 which was so big in Naugatuck, the high school suspended operations for a day so the student body could go see Shea pitch for the Yankees. season and won the All-Star game. He also won two games for the Yankees in the World Series that season as New York beat the Brooklyn Dodgers in seven games. Shea lost out in the Rookie of the Year voting to Jackie Robinson and finished his Major League career with a record of 56-46 with a 3.81 ERA.

AMFO March 30, 2012 at 03:42 PM
How about "Big Red"?
Paul Devlin March 30, 2012 at 10:09 PM
Maybe next year, Rich! :)


More »
Got a question? Something on your mind? Talk to your community, directly.
Note Article
Just a short thought to get the word out quickly about anything in your neighborhood.
Share something with your neighbors.What's on your mind?What's on your mind?Make an announcement, speak your mind, or sell somethingPost something
See more »