Charlie O'Connell (roller derby)

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Charlie O'Connell.jpg

Charlie O'Connell (May 7, 1935 – February 9, 2015) was a New York City roller derby skater, considered the premier male star of his sport.[1][2][3] He was inducted into the Roller Derby Hall of Fame in 1967, after his first retirement.[1][4]

A native New Yorker, at 6 ft 1 in (1.85 m) and 200 pounds (91 kg), he was one of the larger and speedier players, considered a "prototype pivotman".[5] He made an immediate impact in his 1953 debut season with the New York Chiefs and was named rookie of the year.[2][5] Nicknamed "Mr. Roller Derby", he went on to win the league's Most Valuable Player award eight times.[2][3]

He initially retired in 1967, but soon returned to the sport and played until 1978, before finally hanging up his skates for good.[6] He estimated he had played "well over 3000 games" during his career.[6]

He was one of the focal points of the 1971 documentary film Derby.[7] He died aged 79 on February 9, 2015.[8]

Sporting positions
Preceded by
Ken Monte
International Roller Derby League Male MVP[9]
Succeeded by
Bob Hein
Preceded by
Bob Hein
International Roller Derby League Male MVP
joint with Buddy Atkinson Jr., Bob Hein and Bob Woodbury[9]

Succeeded by
Buddy Atkinson, Jr.
Preceded by
Tony Roman
International Roller Derby League Male MVP[9]
Succeeded by


  1. ^ a b "HOME". Roller Derby Foundation. Retrieved June 20, 2010.
  2. ^ a b c "Charlie O'Connell: From the 1969 Roller Derby Program Yearbook". television station KTVU. Retrieved June 20, 2010.
  3. ^ a b "O'Connell Top Star Of Roller Derby". Abilene Reporter-News. February 22, 1970 – via open access
  4. ^ "Original HOF members". Retrieved June 20, 2010.
  5. ^ a b Frank Deford (March 3, 1969). "The Roller Derby". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved June 20, 2010. p. 4
  6. ^ a b Frank Deford (March 3, 1969). "The Roller Derby". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved June 20, 2010. p. 11
  7. ^ Roger Ebert (June 15, 1972). "Derby". Retrieved June 20, 2010.
  8. ^ "Local sports digest: Kentucky Derby hopefuls to run at Golden Gate Fields". San Jose Mercury News. February 13, 2015.
  9. ^ a b c Keith Coppage, Roller Derby to RollerJam, p. 123

External links[edit]