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So Long Jumpin' Gene

Posted by Radatz on July 6, 2017 at 1:30 AM


You don't remember him but I do. His name was Gene Conley, and he passed away at 86. Who was this guy, you ask?


He was an amazing athlete. To me, he was the sub center for the Boston Celtics at their peak, winning 3 rings. He was no small part of it. Russell called him the meanest player he ever played against, and he played against him every day in practice. Johnny Most dubbed him Jumpin' Gene. In the 1959-60 season, with probably the best team Boston ever put on the floor, he averaged almost 20 minutes at nearly 7 points and over 8 rebounds per game. He along with Sam and KC Jones and others were instrumental in keeping Boston's stellar starters fresh all season.


Not bad. But he also pitched for the Red Sox at the end of his baseball career, 1961-63. Prior to that he had come into the league with the Boston Braves and gone with them to Milwaukee where he won a World Series in 1957. The 6-8 righty was an All Star 3 times in the National League.


RIP Gene Conley.


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8 Comments

Reply vapor5
6:56 AM on July 6, 2017 
vaguely recall catching his name in some of those sports books designed for kids in the mid 1960s.
as an aside: wish kids were not focused on one sport 365
Reply the immortal scurds
3:58 PM on July 6, 2017 
i've never heard of him. one of those guys no fun to practive against eh? imagine how much fun he was when it was a league game!
Reply Radatz
7:36 PM on July 6, 2017 
And that was with Jungle Jim Loscutoff (as Most called him) on the same roster! He didn't start anymore with Ramsey and Heinsohn on the team, but Dolph Schayes, when asked who the best Celtic was, said Loscutoff. When asked why, he said he was the one guy he dreaded seeing come into the game because he knew every time he took his jump shot he was going to get hit in the windpipe.

Having a great 2nd team always makes the starters better. KC Jones guarded Cousy, Conley guarded Russell and Loscutoff guarded Heinsohn. Their 3 best players were immune to being hacked!

Sharman was apparently so tough nobody dared hack him, from what I've read from opponents like Chamberlain (who also called him the best shooter he ever saw; that from a guy who played with Hal Greer and Jerry West).
Reply Ferociousjane
8:13 PM on July 7, 2017 
the immortal scurds says...
i've never heard of him. one of those guys no fun to practive against eh? imagine how much fun he was when it was a league game!


We are the babies here , Scurds.
Pretty incredible achievements. I liked him the minute you said he was a mean basketball player, Rad.
Reply the immortal scurds
8:33 PM on July 7, 2017 
Ferociousjane says...
We are the babies here , Scurds.
Pretty incredible achievements. I liked him the minute you said he was a mean basketball player, Rad.


yeah i guess so. i didnt have the fortune to grow up in a sports city like boston, so a lot of the history goes past me especially in a sport like basketball. i liked rad's "hit in the windpipe" comment. i took a dog paw off the wind pipe once and its worse than a shot to the kiwis.basketball is underrated in terms of violence
Reply vapor5
6:40 AM on July 8, 2017 
Chuck Connors TV's Rifleman had an NBA cup of tea with the Rochester Royals (now Sac Kings) & Celtics.also brief stints in the MLB with Dodgers, Cubs, and Angels
Reply Radatz
12:31 PM on July 8, 2017 
And Otto (Matic) Graham won an NBL title with those Royals in 1946 (it became the NBA after a merger the next year). Just read he and Conley are the only 2 to win titles in two of the 4 American major sports.
Reply Ark_Razor
5:55 PM on July 8, 2017 
I remember him. I have his 1961 Post Cereal BB card and knew of his Celtic days also.