James Rafferty is a national AAU cross country champion (1944), winner of the Wanamaker Mile (1945) and the Baxter Mile (1945), and a 1987 NYAC Hall of Fame inductee.
Rafferty’s track and field career began at Fordham University’s campus at Rose Hill. In 1937, Rafferty, then a team captain, won the indoor mile at the AAU development meet at the 102nd Engineers Armory. He graduated later that year, and in 1978, the University inducted him into its Athletics Hall of Fame.
In 1944, Rafferty won the AAU national cross country championships in the 10km. This victory marked the beginning of the best five month stretch of his career.
He won seven straight indoor miles, sweeping the indoor season circuit. These included, among many others, the illustrious Wanamaker Mile of the Millrose Games, and the Baxter Mile, hosted by the NYAC. Rafferty accomplished a feat that only three other men had equaled, including the immortal Glenn Cunningham.
He was hailed as the “miler of 1945” by the New York Times. For his performance, the New York Track Writers Association unanimously selected him as the season’s outstanding athlete.
In 1967, Rafferty replaced fellow NYAC Hall of Fame inductee Joe McCluskey as coach of the Club’s track and field team.
For his success on the track and his devotion to the Club, Rafferty was elected into the NYAC Hall of Fame in 1987. He passed away on February 24th, 2002.