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With The Greats

Art Asquith Recalls Golfing With The ‘Say Hey Kid’ And Other Legends

Cassadaga resident Art Asquith golfed with several sports legends in the 1982 pro-am in Jamesburg, New Jersey. Pictured, from left, are: Willie Mays, Brooks Robinson, Gordie Howe, Asquith, Johnny Unitas and Joe DiMaggio. Photo courtesy of the Chautauqua Sports Hall of Fame

Displayed on a wall inside the Chautauqua Sports Hall of Fame on West Third Street in Jamestown is a framed color photograph of six golfers who played in a pro-am in Jamesburg, New Jersey in 1982.

In the middle of the group is Art Asquith.

More than four decades later, the 2010 CSHOF inductee still recalls that day fondly.

And why not?

His “friends” in the photo need no identification.

From left to right are: Willie Mays, Brooks Robinson, Gordie Howe, Johnny Unitas and Joe DiMaggio.

Hall-of-Famers all.

Mays, in particular, has been on the mind of the former Cassadaga Valley Central School teacher and coach quite a bit in the last few days. Arguably, Major League Baseball’s all-time best player, the “Say Hey Kid” died Tuesday at 93.

“There’s no question about it, he was one of the greatest,” Asquith said. “One great thing about Willie Mays was he never tried to make himself above everybody else. He was easy to talk to. Obviously, he had tremendous talent and it came to bear, of course, when he was playing.”

Asquith, 95, said he doesn’t “remember too much” about how Mays and company performed on the links all those years ago, but he allowed that they were “better than the average person.”

There’s been little that’s been “average” about Asquith’s life.

He was a teammate with Bobby Richardson when they played for Olean in the New York Yankees’ organization, and he competed against Ernie Banks, another Hall-of-Famer, while he was stationed in Germany during the Korean War. And when combined with his decades-long CVCS teaching and coaching career (the school’s gymnasium is named in his honor); his role as an officer of the Chautauqua-Cattaraugus Athletic Association and as a founder of the area’s Senior Golf Tour that now bears his name; his membership in the National Ski Patrol; and his induction into the Western New York Baseball, the CVCS District and the Grape Belt Sports halls of fame, it’s been quite a journey for the Little Valley native.

But that summer day in central New Jersey 42 years ago also shares a prominent place on Asquith’s impressive resume.

“I really enjoyed it,” he said. “I felt so fortunate to be there and to be able to play with all those guys. It was a great experience. They were easy to be around. … I fit right in and enjoyed it.”

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