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Harry Agganis

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Aristotle George (Harry) Agganis (Αριστοτέλης Γεώργιος Αγγάνης) ( – ), nicknamed "The Golden Greek", was an American athletic star in two sports. His family origins were from Longanikos near Sparta, Greece. [1]



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Born in Lynn, Massachusetts, Agganis was a star football player at Boston University, primarily at quarterback. After a sophomore season in 1949, when he set a school record by tossing fifteen touchdown passes, he entered the Marine Corps. Agganis played for the Camp Lejeune (N.C.) football and baseball teams. He received a dependency discharge from the Marines to support his mother and returned to college to play in 1951-52. Agganis became the school's first All-American in football.

Agganis set another Boston University mark by passing for 1,402 yards (1,282 m) for the season and won the Bulger Lowe Award as New England's outstanding football player. Coach Paul Brown of the Cleveland Browns thought he could be the successor to Otto Graham and drafted the college junior in the first round of the 1952 NFL draft, offering him a bonus of $25,000. Boston Red Sox owner Tom Yawkey outdid Brown, however, and signed Agganis to play Major League Baseball for the Red Sox as a first baseman for $35,000.

Following his 1953 college graduation, Agganis played with the Triple-A Louisville where he hit .281 with 23 home runs and 108 RBI. He made his major league debut on April 13, 1954. Agganis had a modest rookie campaign, though he did lead American League first basemen in assists and fielding percentage.

In 1955, Agganis was off to a good start, but on June 2, he was hospitalized with pneumonia after complaining of severe fever and chest pains. Though he rejoined the Red Sox ten days later, he fell ill again in Kansas City on June 27 and was flown back to Cambridge, Massachusetts, where he died of a pulmonary embolism. Ten thousand mourners attended his wake.

Agganis was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1974. Gaffney Street, near the former site of Braves Field in Boston, was renamed Harry Agganis Way in his honor on November 11, 1995. In 2004, the Agganis Arena on the campus of his alma mater was named in his honor.

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YEAR TEAM        AGE    G    AB    R    H  2B  3B  HR    HR%  RBI   BB   SO   SB  CS   AVG   SLG   OBA   OPS
1954 Redsox       25  132   434   54  109  13   8  11   2.53   57   47   57    6   3  .251  .394  .321  .715 
1955 Redsox       26   25    83   11   26  10   1   0   0.00   10   10   10    2   0  .313  .458  .383  .841 
     TOTALS           157   517   65  135  23   9  11   2.13   67   57   67    8   3  .261  .404  .331  .735 
     LG AVERAGE             518   67  137  21   5  11   2.15   63   59   57    5   4  .266  .389  .342  .731 
     POS AVERAGE            525   67  143  23   5  15   2.79   75   58   58    3   2  .272  .421  .344  .764
YEAR TEAM           RC RCAA RCAP   OWP   RC/G   TB  EBH   ISO   SEC   BPA IBB HBP SAC  SF GIDP OUTS    PA POS
1954 Redsox         56   -5  -11  .460   4.37  171   32  .143  .258  .442   0   0   7   5   6   346   493  1B
1955 Redsox         15    1   -1  .523   6.64   38   11  .145  .289  .500   0   0   0   1   3    61    94  1B
     TOTALS         71   -4  -12  .471   4.71  209   43  .143  .263  .452   0   0   7   6   9   407   587 
     LG AVERAGE     70    0    0  .500   4.63  202   37  .124  .240  .432   1   3   6   5  12   407   591 
     POS AVERAGE    76    7    0  .541   5.07  221   43  .149  .261  .458   1   3   5   6  11   407   597

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  • "No longer are we foreigners. Thanks to Harry we are the Golden Greeks once more." Those were the words of Harry Agganis' mother two years after her son's death. They are not the exaggerations of a proud parent. They are the words of a Greek woman who saw. - Harry Agganis' legend lives on, by Courtney Deveau, at The Daily Item of Lynn
Harry Agganis
Date of birth April 20, 1929
Place of birth Lynn, MA
Date of death June 27, 1955
Position(s) QB
College Boston University
NFL Draft 1952 / Round 1/ Pick 12
Honors College Football HOF
Retired #s Boston University #33
College Football Hall of Fame

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In 2005, Boston University opened their new athletic facility, Agganis Arena, at the intersection of Commonwealth Avenue and Harry Agganis Way on the Charles River Campus. The arena is arguably the crown jewel of the $325 million John Hancock Student Village complex, competing only with the 270,000-square-foot (25,000 m) Fitness and Recreation Center next door.

Agganis' legacy has been kept alive by the Agganis Foundation, which has awarded more than $1.1 million in college scholarships to 780 student-athletes from Boston and the North Shore, including Lynn, his hometown. Scholarships are awarded for academic and athletic achievement.

The Foundation was started in 1955 by the Boston Red Sox and owner Thomas A. Yawkey, the (Lynn) Daily Item newspaper and Harold O. Zimman, a mentor of Agganis for whom the football field at Tufts University is named.

The Foundation annually stages a series of high school All-Star games -- the Agganis All-Star Classics -- which feature the top high school seniors in Eastern Massachusetts competing in baseball, basketball, football, soccer and softball.

Every spring there is also an annual Harry Agganis Basketball tournament which takes place in his home town of Lynn, Massachusetts. It takes place at the St. George Church in Lynn and includes teams from Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York and even Greece. The tournament is a commemoration to Harry's love for sports and along with being an opportunity to showcase respect, competitiveness and fun, it also helps bring the Greek community together.

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