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Aristotle George (Harry) Agganis (Αριστοτέλης Γεώργιος Αγγάνης) (April 20, 1929 – June 27, 1955), nicknamed "The Golden Greek", was an American athletic star in two sports. His family origins were from Longanikos near Sparta, Greece. [1]

Harry Agganis - Topps baseball card - 1955 Series, #152

Career

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.
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
Legacy

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 m2) 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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