Teams Played For
- C.B.A. LaSalles (C.B.A. Alumni), Syracuse, NY.
- 1906-07 Crouse-Hinds, Syracuse, NY. (1 game)
- 1908-09 Pastime Athletic Club, Syracuse, NY.
- 1909-10 Syracuse University Freshman team (9 games)
- 1910-12 Dean College, Franklin, MA.
- 1913-15 Georgetown University, Washington, D.C. (23 games)
- 1915-16 Basloe's Original Globetrotters, Herkimer, NY.
- 1915-19 Assumption Catholic Union, Syracuse, NY.
- 1919-23 All-Syracuse, Syracuse, NY. (107 games)
Jim was one of the earliest premier athletes the city of Syracuse showcased. In his youth, Jim excelled at all the sports he played. He was a regular on the football field, the baseball diamond and especially the basketball court.
He graduated from C.B.A. in 1906, where he excelled in baseball, football and played on the De La Salle Junior and Varsity basketball teams. From 1906-1909, Jim played for local amateur basketball teams such as the Pastime Athletic Club and a team of C.B.A. alumni known as the LaSalles. While with the Pastime A.C. in 1909, he was part of the winning effort over the University of Notre Dame, 26 to 25, in an overtime game at the West Jefferson Street armory.
Barnstorming was common in the early 20th century and when the original Cuban Giants, one of the premier Negro League baseball teams, visited Star Park in Syracuse, Jim was selected to play center field as a member of Holihan's Pets.
In 1909, Jim enrolled into Syracuse University, where he played on the freshman football team and was elected captain of the Syracuse Frosh basketball and baseball teams.
In 1910, Jim enrolled in Dean Academy in Franklin, Mass. From Fall 1910 until Spring 1911, he would star on the football, basketball and baseball teams. With his contributions, all three teams were crowned New England Prep School Champions. Jim was named All-Scholastic center, the best in all of New England, both years he attended school there.
In the Fall of 1912, Jim transferred to Georgetown University. After many years as an athlete, his knees began to show wear. In the Fall of 1913, he was unwilling to take chances with his leg and focused on baseball and basketball. Jim had earned the starting center position in his first season with Georgetown, but a last-minute decision to rest his knee would sideline him for the four games. Overall, he played 10 games his junior season and scored 42 points total, enough to be selected to the All-South Atlantic Intercollegiate Team. In baseball, Jim would lead his team in hitting in 1914, and was scouted by the Washington Senators. On October 30, 1914, it was announced he was elected team captain for the upcoming 1915 basketball season, where he went on to play 13 games, leading the team in scoring with 85 points. Jim excelled on the basketball court, foreshadowing what fans would see for years to come. Before he graduated, Georgetown University awarded him a total of 7 letters.
After graduation, while simultaneously working for the FBI during World War I, Jim signed on to play basketball for Frank J. Basloe and his Original Globetrotters barnstorming team. He would travel throughout the Midwest with the team and help spread the game of basketball. The Basloe Globe Trotters were one of the most successful teams of the early 20th century. From 1915-1919, Jim would coach and play with the Assumption Catholic Union team in Syracuse. This team would consistently battle with other amateur teams such as the Young Men’s Hebrew Association (Y.M.H.A.) and the Cortland (St. Mary’s) Sodality on even terms. Jim also took to officiating Syracuse University varsity games, where his name appears as a referee or umpire in a few box scores.
In 1919, Jim signed on to play with the All-Syracuse basketball club, one of the most talked about teams in the northeast in the early 1920’s. Many of the top name players of the time who suited up in the red jerseys included former Syracuse University stars Joe Schwarzer, Wilbur Crisp, Johnny Barsha, Jim Casey and Billy Rafter. They won more than 80% of their games spanning from 1919-1924. Jim played center for this team for four years until 1923, the last three as player-manager. It would be his duty to book games, manage gate receipts and promote the games within the local newspapers. During this time, Jim developed a reputation as being one of the best dribblers and toughest defenders in the area.
Jim moved on from his athletic career and excelled at his law career. He was Corporation Counselor for the city of Syracuse from 1935 to 1945 and held the assistant attorney general post with the state for several years. He retired in 1962. Jim’s 2 sons, Jim Jr. and Tommy, went on to excel in athletics at Yale and Dartmouth, respectively, in the 1940's. James Jr. went on to be a stockbroker and Councilman-at-Large for Syracuse for several terms. Thomas was an insurance broker in the Syracuse area. His daughter, Constance Lucille (Tormey) Scalzo, was the Administrative Assistant for the English and History Departments of Northern Virginia Community College, Annandale Campus.
In 1969, Georgetown University awarded him their medal of honor for services and loyalty to the University, one of about 60 total awards given out amongst its thousands of graduates. On November 8, 1974 the Dean Alumni Association issued a citation to Mr. Tormey to “recognize sixty-three years of service to Dean” and further stated “he has never hesitated when asked to serve the school in any capacity.” Exactly one month later, James Tormey passed away after battling cancer.
In an article published ten days after his death on December 18, 1974, columnist Bob Kenefick called Jim “one of its ablest citizens and one of the greatest athletes in the history of this city.” He is buried in St. Mary’s Cemetery in Dewitt.
Throughout his athletic career, Jim estimated he participated in well over 1,000 basketball games spanning 21 years, most of which were in the Syracuse area.
- ↑ "Pastimes Are Fast " Syracuse Herald. 13 Feb 1909:8. Fulton History. Web. 2 Dec 2015.
- ↑ "Two Good Games To Be Played At Star Park." Syracuse Journal. 26 Jun 1909:8. Fulton History. Web. 30 Sep 2015.
- ↑ "Tormey Is Chosen Basketball Captain." Syracuse Post Standard. 7 Feb 1910:12. Newspaper Archives. Web. 23 Mar 2017.
- ↑ "Tormey May Join Georgetown Nine." Syracuse Post Standard. 24 Apr 1913:13. Fulton History. Web. 30 Apr 2013.
- ↑ "Name Officials." The Washington Post. 16 Oct 1913:8. ProQuest Historical Newspapers. Web. 19 Dec 2015.
- ↑ "G.U. Is Winner At Basketball." The Washington Post. 11 Dec 1913:8. ProQuest Historical Newspapers. Web. 19 Dec 2015.
- ↑ "Five Colleges Are Given Representation On All-South Atlantic Basketball Quint." The Washington Post. 15 Mar 1914:SP4. ProQuest Historical Newspapers. Web. 19 Dec 2015.
- ↑ "Former High School Star Chosen Captain." Syracuse Herald. 30 Oct 1914:27. Fulton History. Web. 16 Jan 2017.
- ↑ "Orange Quint Defeats Penn In Brilliant Game." Syracuse Herald. 4 Mar 1916:10. Fulton History. Web. 2 Oct 2015.
- ↑ "James C. Tormey Sr. Succumbs At Hospital." Syracuse Post Standard. 9 Dec 1974:9. Newspaper Archives. Web. 23 Mar 2017.
- ↑ Family sources, Kathy Tormey, Terry Tormey, Laurie Beauchamp, Joyce Turk & Janice Wojciechowski, descendants of Jim Tormey, via emails and phone conversations.