James Michael Downey graduated from Mount Morris in 1941. He was one of the early pioneers in our school’s history who helped lay the groundwork for future generations. James was one of the first three-sport athletes in school history, playing soccer, basketball, and baseball. In 1940, he was one of the driving forces who led to the very first Livingston County and Section V titles in boys’ soccer in school history. After winning the Livingston County title in 1940, it was off to sectionals where he scored the game’s only goal in the semi-finals to seal a 1-0 victory over Wolcott. This propelled the team to the finals where they pulled off a very dramatic 2-1 victory over Franklin to capture the Section V, Class A crown.
This athlete’s talents shined even more on the baseball field. James was a pitcher who played on the varsity team for four years and helped lead Mount Morris to four consecutive Livingston County titles during that time. In 1939, as a sophomore, James helped lead the Blue Devils to the sectional finals. As a junior in the 1940 baseball season, he was the league’s leading pitcher with a perfect 6-0 record. His best performance came on May 17, 1940, when he pitched a no-hitter with 11 strikeouts against league rival Geneseo. In the 1941 baseball season, James was again the team and league’s top pitcher. He was also a good hitter, and hit many homeruns and finished with a .363 batting average. In the 1941 sectionals, James tossed a four-hitter with seven strikeouts, but lost a very tough game to Corning Free Academy 2-1. James was such a talented pitcher, he received a baseball scholarship to Ithaca College. By accepting this, he was the first Mount Morris student to ever receive an athletic scholarship to college.