With its season ending, college basketball—which was played by 438 teams in 59 conferences this year, and by more than 300 independent schools as well—has once more approached the point where it is incomprehensible to the average customer. As usual it is holding not one but three national tournaments, two of which have been preceded by innumerable elimination games from one end of the country to the other. The least important of the national tournaments (but the biggest in point of teams involved) is already over and East Texas State, as a result, has won the championship of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics. The two biggest are currently in operation and will end this week—the National Collegiate AA tournament in Kansas City (where the NAIA tournament was also played) and the National Invitation Tournament in New York at Madison Square Garden. San Francisco and La Salle—which must play Colorado and Iowa respectively in semifinals—are favored in the NCAA tournament. Duquesne is favored to win the NIT, but at the weekend Louisville, Cincinnati, Niagara, Dayton, St. Louis, Holy Cross and St. Francis were still in the running. In all the tournaments the best of teams miss a championship shot if they suffer just one loss in the play-offs. The three tournament winners do not meet, and none of them will necessarily be the team picked as the best of the year by the AP sportswriters' poll. (Final standing: 1) San Francisco, 2) Kentucky—already eliminated in the NCAA—and 3) La Salle.) In 1955, furthermore, a new note will be added: the U.S.S.R. (have a care, Ivan) will later send a team to the U.S. to prove that the steppes of Russia, rather than the campuses of the U.S., breed the best basketball players of all.
This is an article from the March 21, 1955 issue
The ladies strike back
Like the corner saloon, the golf course has long since lost its security as a male refuge. The Manchester (N.H.) board of recreation forgot this fact a while back and passed a resolution: henceforth, women and children could no longer use the municipally owned Derryfield golf course on Saturdays, Sundays and holidays between the hours of 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. The board was not long in hearing from insulted woman hood.
Mrs. Mildred Sullivan (handicap 20), Miss Mildred Allen ("about 25") and Miss Ruth Jennings (35) went to court, claiming the order deprived them of their constitutional rights. The other day came the ruling of the New Hampshire Supreme Court, and the court—a distinguished body of five men, no women—magisterially sided with the town board. In its most cutting passage the court ruled that the board was merely acting "to protect the playing public as a whole. Women are separately classified with children, not because of sex, but because of a manner of playing golf."
Somehow, peace did not descend. On the contrary.
At this point, Colonel Charles G.Y. Normand has appeared on the scene with what looks like a happy solution. Col. Normand, who is chairman of the town recreation board, was ill and inactive when the ban was imposed. Now he is back on the job and has passed the word: the ban is rescinded. In fact, said Col. Normand, the board changed its mind even before the court handed down its decision, but they hadn't gotten around to telling anyone.
Milo of Toccoa
When word flashed around the weight-lifting world a couple of weeks ago that Paul Anderson, the Hercules of Toccoa, Ga., had established himself as the world's strongest man—he had hefted 1,100 pounds in three lifts at the National Capital championships—Anderson was described, as usual, as a "dairy farmer."
This identification rises very clearly from the legend that, as a young boy, Paul lifted a calf every day until he was able to lift the full-grown cow. But:
"I never lived on a farm in my life," Anderson says mildly. "I never lifted a cow, either, though I dare say I could."
The brown-eyed, curly-haired hulk is not one to be more than lightly impressed by the feats of a predecessor, Milo of Crotona, who in the sixth century B.C. carried an ox through the stadium at Olympia. Paul of Toccoa looks confidently forward to the day in 1956 when, he firmly believes, he will win the Olympic weight-lifting title for the United States.
At 22 he holds the world's record for Olympic lifts, the record for deep knee bends and now the "strongest man" title which, though unofficial, is not likely to be disputed by anyone who studies his 310 pounds of bulging, purposeful muscle. With hip belt he can lift 3,500 pounds, more than 10 times his weight, from a crouching position.
Anderson first crooked a finger around a bar bell at Furman University, which he entered on a football scholarship. He left at the end of a year, partly because "a football lineman works too hard and never gets any recognition." He now works not at all and is full of recognition. That first bar bell belonged to a campus friend who worked out devotedly. But Anderson, with no practice, was able to lift far more than his hard-training companion.
Home from Furman for good, Anderson made his own bar bell of scraps. Then, one day in May, 1952, he loaded the bar with 635 pounds and unofficially broke, by 35 pounds, Canadian Doug Hepburn's world record for the deep knee bend. That October he attended the "Mr. World" contest at Philadelphia and, under AAU auspices, made his record official by lifting 605 pounds, which was "all they could get on the bar."
Hepburn beat him the only time they met (at Cleveland in May, 1953), but on the very night Hepburn was winning the world's championship at Stockholm that fall Anderson competed unofficially and at long range in his family's temporary home at Elizabethton, Tenn. Hepburn lifted a total of 1,030 pounds at Stockholm; Anderson lifted 1,055 pounds at Elizabethton. On Lincoln's Birthday last month, Anderson officially broke the 1,074-pound world record held by Norbert Schemansky of the United States. He lifted a total of 1,100 pounds.
In June he hopes to win the Senior Nationals at Cleveland and predicts that by the time he gets to Melbourne for the Olympics he will be lifting 1,200 pounds. Turned down by the Army because of his size, the strong boy looks forward to a Soviet invitation match in three Russian cities this spring. He regards competing on the U.S. team as an opportunity to serve his country.
An apocryphal story of Anderson's departure from Furman has it that he left because "they're starving me to death" and that a Furman coach told the Anderson family, "That boy's eating us out of house and home." The fact is that his appetite is dainty. He eats only two meals, breakfast at noon and dinner at 7, with the evening meal consisting of, for choice, a tuna sandwich or, for variety, a medium-sized steak, tossed salad and unflavored gelatin ("for protein"). No dessert.
"I do drink four quarts of milk a day," he adds.
He works out three or four afternoons a week, two or three hours at a time, spends the rest of his day watching television or palling about with young hero-worshippers of Toccoa. His 170-pound father, a TVA foreman, helps pay expenses to weight-lifting contests when they are not defrayed in full by contest sponsors.
Anderson cannot accept money for exhibiting his muscles and reluctantly turned down a West Coast promoter's $6,000-a-month offer to tour Australia. But he knows that after the Olympics, with even greater feats behind him, he should be able to tour the world long and lucratively enough to live comfortably the rest of his life. He has no steady girl but expects to marry when the money rolls in.
"Lots of women are getting interested in weight lifting these days," he notes hopefully.
Cheering with a mouthful
Latest innovation for the convenience of race track patrons—a closed-circuit television setup—was unveiled at Maryland's Bowie track the other day. The installation of an enormous screen in the clubhouse dining room made it obvious that the experiment, for the moment at least, was more for the benefit of the hungry than for the dissatisfied-in-general losers. While the television cameras relayed viewings of the first four races into the room, lunch went on as usual. As usual, that is, with the exception of a few chow hounds discovered pausing between mouthfuls in order to cheer their horses on. Other tracks are kicking the idea around, however, and at least one of them—the Detroit Race Course—has let it be known that this summer closed-circuit television will replace the film patrol as the policing force to help cut the ways and means of track shenanigans to a minimum.
The show's the thing
The last days of winter may be counted on to produce, as surely as the first robin, a rash of sports shows up and down the country. New York concluded its annual show at a Bronx armory just as St. Louis was getting its exposition under way at Kiel Auditorium. Similar productions were under way from coast to coast.
It is likely that sportsmen are never able to recapture exactly the same degree of happy anticipation in the real outdoors that is theirs in the fascinating world of make-believe that a sports show represents. Everything seems so wonderfully clear, so astonishingly simple as salesmen demonstrate guns that cannot miss and rods and reels that never fail. At a booth devoted to golf equipment, the most inept duffer in the world can see what he has been doing wrong. Indeed, at the St. Louis show, Joe Kirkwood's trick shot exhibition demonstrated beyond all possible doubt that the ancient game, properly understood, is child's play. As for this business of skin diving, Richard Ferg proved at the Bronx armory that there is nothing to it. He stayed underwater for 24 hours, 21 minutes, consuming 19 tanks of compressed air the while and setting a new world record.
Looks like the greatest year ever for sportsmen. But then, it always does.
Tip from Casey
Thrift, as Benjamin Franklin advised, is a sensible trait, and baseball players as a group have taken the advice to heart. Working in a profession that usually terminates with youth, they soon learn the wisdom of salting away a few dollars for the later years. However, as the tradition of thrift has grown among ballplayers, it has been practiced with almost too much enthusiasm. Noting this, Manager Casey Stengel decided to give his New York Yankees a few pointers.
In the dressing room of the Yankees' spring training headquarters in St. Petersburg, Stengel posted a new scale for tipping: breakfast—25¢, dinner—50¢, $1 a week for the hotel chambermaid. Thus ended one more hallowed baseball tradition—the dime tip.
Accentuating the positype
For centuries, at least in the minds of poets, playwrights and novelists, the ideal athlete has been a tall, broad-shouldered, straight-backed, long-legged fellow—strong-chinned, clear-eyed and good to look upon. In that ringing, if rather dated, literature relating to the great days of the Ivy League, in fact, the hero was not only handsome in a manly way but apparently certain of a career in Wall Street or the law. All this, according to the Athletic Build Analyzer, issued by Athletic Laboratories, 1417 W. 63rd Street, Chicago—is romantic nonsense.
When checked carefully against the Athletic Build Analyzer chart, the hero described above comes out a definite "negatype." One might almost conclude that he would be in danger of his life if he so much as engaged in a bout of Ping-pong. Those cursed with the "negatype build," the Analyzer explains, "can never become national ball-playing champions or excel in any of the skill sports" (though there are indications that they may be able to swim). "The positype" build, on the other hand, is just the thing for "sports that require accurate body movements in relation to an object in flight, like a baseball, while running at top speed" and for body-contact sports.
The ideal positype has narrow, sloping shoulders—although he is gifted with a big chest and general body bulk. His torso is long and his lower legs are short. He has curvature of the spine and his pelvis tilts, giving him "protrusion of the buttocks." His knees are large and knobby and well overhung. His feet are large and so are his hands; if his finger joints are big and lumpy and if he has "thumb isolation," i.e., a thumb that juts out at an angle from his palm, so much the better. The positype's facial profile recedes from brow to chin. "Motor horns," or protrusions, are present above his ears. His head is small—and pointed in back. The Athletic Build Analyzer does not explain (but then, pshaw) whether he is capable of speech.
Finland over Norway
Senators and Congressmen—on the whole a sedentary group given to talking about exercise—should have special interest in the news from Oslo and Helsinki. The Norwegian and Finnish parliaments, reports Reuters, have settled a skiing rivalry by bucketing over equidistant cross-country courses. The Finns won when 79 of their 200 MPs managed to finish. The Norwegians were relatively downcast. Only 37 of their statesmen lasted the route.
Boxing's big men
Two more chapters in a continued story:
Chapter One: Budd Schulberg, SI's special contributor on boxing, has been chosen to receive the 1955 Bengal Bouts Award at Notre Dame University as "the man who has done the most for boxing in the last year." The Bengal Bouts, in which Notre Dame students box intramurally, are an annual event, with the finals traditionally held on or about St. Patrick's Day. Receipts go to a mission in Bengal, India, maintained by CSC (Congregation of the Holy Cross), the religious order which founded Notre Dame.
Schulberg's award was based on his coverage in SI of the Kid Gavilan-Johnny Saxton bout at Philadelphia, in which Gavilan's welterweight title was lost and seems, in fact, to have been stolen. Schulberg wrote then of boxing's undercover, underworld direction by men like Blinky Palermo, Saxton's owner, and Frankie Carbo, syndicate plenipotentiary for boxing.
In later issues SI developed the facts more fully with the disclosure (SI, Dec. 13) that James D. Norris, president of the International Boxing Club, had been involved in fixing fights.
Chapter Two: One of the witnesses who gave evidence of Norris's fight-fixing was Sig Hart, now 83 years old, a veteran of a half-century as bantamweight boxer and fighters' manager, a man whose most jealous possession is his reputation for rigorous honesty and devotion to the best interests of the boxers he managed. Sig had refused to attend the meeting at which the Max Schmeling-Harry Thomas fight was fixed and had urged his young friend, Jim Norris, to stay away from it. Norris ignored the advice.
For 32 years Sig Hart has lived on Chicago's North Side in an apartment which, when he moved into it from a cold-water flat, represented a long upward step for Sig and his "missus." Sig and Mrs. Hart prospered there and, since Mrs. Hart died 14 years ago, he has continued to live in the big-roomed apartment filled with mementos of happy times—a huge Circassian walnut bedroom suite, a set of gold-trimmed Haviland china, a five-foot-high mahogany monster of a radio (one of the first big sets ever made) for which Sig plunked down $69. He likes to sit in an enormous, high-backed chair, in which his bantam body rests incongruously, and look around the room at a collection of huge Chinese vases—Christmas presents from On Leong, the Chinatown chamber of commerce. For some years Sig added to his income by collecting rents in Chinatown and by breeding prize-winning Pekingese dogs. Every Wednesday and Sunday afternoon, following an old man's clockwork routine, he still takes a bus to the Kai Kai restaurant in Chinatown for a visit with his many old friends there.
On his way to the kitchen refrigerator for the insulin he needs to treat his diabetes, Sig passes another ornate old memory—the heavy crystal vase for which he paid $135 as a gift to his wife. For visitors interested in boxing he plows through nests of yellowed clippings and comes up with a gold medal souvenir of the Jim Jeffries-Jack Johnson fight. Johnson gave it to him, engraved with the inscription: "Sig Hart/ Mgr. Jack Johnson, Reno, July 4,1910."
Now Sig has one more memento of his years in boxing. It is a letter from the big Chicago real estate firm of Wirtz, Haynie & Ehrat, Inc., informing him that his lease on the apartment, into which Sig and his wife moved as its very first tenants, would expire on April 30 and would not be renewed.
There was no explanation in the curt note but Sig did not particularly feel the need of one. The Wirtz in the firm of Wirtz, Haynie & Ehrat, Inc., is Arthur Wirtz, partner of Jim Norris in the International Boxing Club.
Our entry is out
Of the hammer throw;
In a practice try
He didn't let go.