A “ROYAL” CONNECTION

In the onsite exhibition, the contents of this  case examine connections between basketball players from RIT (formerly Mechanics Institute) and the Rochester Royals (formerly the Seagrams and Eber Brothers). At least two players are associated with the city’s first professional team: Stanley Witmeyer, class of 1936 and Francis (Frank) Beaty, class of 1941. Witmeyer and Beaty were inducted into the RIT Athletic Hall of Fame in 1971 and 1981 respectively. Plaques commemorating these achievements may be found in the foyer of Clark Gym on campus. Yearbooks, clippings, and associated memorabilia tell their stories.

The following brief timeline shows the overlap of Witmeyer and Beaty with the Seagrams and Royals:

1940 Stanley H. Witmeyer played for the Rochester Seagrams
1944 The Mechanics Institute changes its name to Rochester Institute of Technology
1945 The Rochester Seagram’s and Eber Brothers combined to make the Rochester Royals
1946 Stanley H. Witmeyer began working as an instructor in the Applied Art Department at RIT
1946-47 Frank Beaty played for the Rochester Royals

To hear Stanley Witmeyer talk about his basketball years, click here. Courtesy RIT Archive Collections.

The following items are on display onsite (on view through April 22, 2016):

SWEATER
This type of sweater, which dates to the early 1930s, was worn by athletes at Mechanics Institute, including Stan Witmeyer. Notice the similarities between this garment and the one shown in the clipping nearby.

“THEY’LL HAVE TO JUMP HIGH” NEWSPAPER ARTICLE
The photograph depicts Stanley “Storky” Witmeyer, the center for the Mechanics Institute’s basketball team, successfully winning at the jump ball. At the time of this newspaper’s publication, RIT was called the Mechanics Institute and the Rochester Royals were known as the Seagrams.

YEARBOOK FROM 1936
This yearbook is from Stanley H. Witmeyer’s final year, as a student, at the Mechanics Institute.

RIT SPORTS HALL OF FAME PAMPHLET, 1971
On October 22, 1971, Stanley H. Witmeyer was inducted as part of the third class into the RIT Sports Hall of Fame.

YEARBOOK FROM 1941
This yearbook is from Frank Beaty’s final year as a student at the Mechanics Institute.

ROCHESTER ROYALS TEAM PHOTO 1946/47
This photograph was taken during 1947, the season that the Rochester Royals reached second place in the National Basketball League with help from RIT’s Frank Beaty.

RIT SPORTS HALL OF FAME PAMPHLET, 1981
On October 16, 1981, Frank Beaty was inducted as part of the thirteenth group to enter the RIT Sports Hall of Fame. .”

Photo credit: Royals teammates undated photo. Courtesy private collection.
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