by Waite Forsyth
Leo Squinn Great In All Sports
Take a fellow who is only a few years past his 50th birthday anniversary. Add to this the reality that 40 of these were devoted to actual playing in team and individual sports. Then add several twelvemonths given over to a non-active devotion in matters athletic (managing, coaching and directing) and you, as a reasoning man will admit that it adds up to something extraordinary.
Some, there are, who would describe such a chap as an enthusiast - or even a zealot.
Since this writer has had the benefit of a friendship with Jamestowner Leo Squinn that has endured and flourished from his higher elementary grade span to the present, he likes well the noun "fervor" but would pursue further in his descriptive word-questing until he hits on the phrase, "a liking for his fellow man." Combine the noun and the phrase and you have one person's conception of the inner force motivating this product of the local playing fields and arenas.
A native of this city, Leo became enchanted with sports before he was old enough to play but he persisted in hanging around the perimeter of older boys until, at the age of 9, he was accorded a place and, from then on, he earned his baseball and basketball spurs.
Few were the games he did not like and in which he did not become a top-notcher.
Besides baseball and basketball, he took to competition in football, boxing, bowling, volleyball and golf. Since he did not attend high school but went to work as a Western Union messenger boy when the agency was located in the old Humphrey House in Brooklyn Square, he missed his chance at track and his preoccupation with other summer sports prevented him from playing tennis.
His zeal for baseball was unbounded and his diamond career dated from 1920 to 1950, playing first base most of these years and finishing with a lifetime batting average of 300-plus. His first team was the Junior Dampers and one of his mates was Sammy Greenburg, who later was an Ohio State netster. He played with the Twentieth Century kid nine, the roster including Andy and George Jackson. He was on the Holy Names roster with such as Joe and Sam Dye and Joe Muzza.
He was with the Noah's Ark Muny AA League team with Sam Marchiando, Lee Becker, Morrie Mistretta, Ange Mancuso, and Monte Paterniti. Then is was Col. Shepherd's club with Jim Kote, Jiggs Anderson, Don Klinginsmith, and George Goodell. With manager Thore Carlson's Vikings, his mates were Lyle Parkhurst, Vic Yanni, Hal Cochrane and Frankie Walker.
Squinn was one of the Jamestown Boosters Club nine that won the state amateur championship and a trip to the National Baseball Congress at Wichita, Kansas in 1944. He was a Jamestown Spider member and played with the Jamestown All-Stars, who vied in exhibitions mostly, the stars including Merlin (Rabbit) Peterson and Carl and Rudy Carlson. Then he was with Joe Nagle, Don Kofod, and Clem Redmond on Hope's Windows and with Ernie Mook, Len Sorenson, Cliff Sharp, Walt Black and Ken (Murph) Johnson on the Firestone Tires roster.
During these years, he managed five clubs including Mal's & Johnnie's and the Newberry Insurance teams, composed mostly of young players. He was with the San's Plumbing nine in 1938, which won both the Muny and County League pennants.
A 5-8, 165-pound halfback, he was a standout with Tex Dain's Liberties for three years and Ken Johnson's Crescents for two. The two squads alternated ruling the city for years.
His football teammates included Dick McVay, Dan Russo, Pat Paterniti, Rocky Malpede, Basil Raffa, Steve Stilwell, Buzz Angelo, Roy Meurer, Tommy Gretoris, Dom Scarry, Lou Stravato, Carl Danielson, Link Linder and Phil Johnson.
In 1931, during the heydey of amateur boxing in Jamestown, Leo was bitten by a desire to cope, which he did successfully as a 19-year-old welterweight, with a potent right-cross. Fights then were staged in the ancient bus station at the Boatlanding. Jock McDonald and Harold Beaustrom were the entrepreneurs.
The youth with the friendly smile became interested in bowling in 1933 when he joined a Jamestown MRC Shop League team. He mixed both participation and administrative duties here, serving as the Jamestown Bowling Association president for six terms, from '44 to '50, with the exception of '49. Other officers during this period included Colin Campbell, Rudy Lundquist, John Smolensky, Squire Kendall, Louie (Iron Arm) Mandzel, Les Lownsbury, Bert Kirchoff, Jiggs Zetterman, George Bergquist and Ernie Varmee.
Leo was a forward on the Spira Drugs, Landy Brothers and Shamrock basketball teams, tasting both City and Y League competition.
Softball came into the picture for Leo in 1934 when he played with the S. M. Flickinger team. He was with the National Worsted Woolies in 1951 and was with the Merchants in '52. He managed and played first base for the Marlin-Rockwell Rollers the following year, the team rolling up 96-straight victories, three of which were with the challenging Rec Open League Buffalo Grill nine.
After closing out his playing days, managed and coached the St. James Church kid football team, which lost a Milk Bowl game at Buffalo. He also coached the Catholic Youth youngsters' basketball, table tennis and volleyball teams in the early 50's. Dick Maher reached the table tennis single finals and the girls' team was a finalist in Buffalo.
Both Leo's boys' and girls' volleyball teams won at Buffalo one season and reached the basketball quarterfinals. His St. Peter and Paul cagers won the CYC title in the Roosevelt Division but bowed in the playoff semifinals.
"Squinny", as many of his friends call him, managed the Little League Barbershoppers in 1953, the K of C nine the following season and piloted the MRC Babe Ruth League all-star team to two district titles, losing in the state finals.
Squinn has been in the employ of MRC, which is now known as the Marlin-Rockwell Division of Thompson, Ramo, Wooldridge Inc. for 32 years and treasures a 25-year certificate of merit from the company, as he does a wristwatch that was presented to him by the bowling association in 1950.
Squinn married Helen Graham on October 5, 1935. Their daughter, Barbara Ann, now is a registered nurse and is married to Donald W. Johnson of Bemus Point.
The additional financial assistance of the community is critical to the success of the Chautauqua Sports Hall of Fame. We gratefully acknowledge these individuals and organizations for their generous support.