Sunday, September 11, 2011

Vol. 1 No. 55 March , 1959

MARCH 1959
This is a transitional issue containing the last meets of the indoor season and the first results of the outdoor season, mainly Texas and California.
The cover features stories on javelin records. On March 26 Kansas’ Bill Alley breaks the NCAA record with a toss of 258-4. But wait, he is just getting warmed up. The following week he improves to 270-1½, breaking the American record by 1½ inches, but nowhere in the story is there mention of whose record it was that was broken. (It was Bud Held’s.)
Let’s get the indoor meets out of the way. World records in the mile and two mile highlight the NY Knights of Columbus meet in the Garden. Ron Delany keeps his unbeaten indoor string alive, but just barely, holding off the great Hungarian, Istvan Rozsavolgyi, 4:01.4 to 4:01.8. Aussie Al Lawrence, bronze medalist in the ’56 Olympics and now a student at the University of Houston, breaks Bill Dellinger’s indoor 2M WR by more than three seconds with a 8:46.8 in what was essentially a solo race as second place is 9:05.
Two days later Lawrence takes a beating from Max Truex who nearly takes his record as well, running 8:47.1. Lawrence isn’t close enough to see the finish, as he runs only 9:03. Oh, and Delany slips by Rosa again, this time 4:05.4 to 4:05.7.
Two weeks later the Cleveland Knights of Columbus put on their own meet and Al Lawrence loses by a second to Lazlo Tabori’s 8:47.8. Purdue freshman and local boy, Dave Mills, edges Josh Culbreath in the 600 in 1:11.8. You have to give Rozsa credit for showing up. Once again he is close, but no cigar: Delany 4:06.6, Rozsa 4:06.8.
The next week the action is in Chicago at the Daily News Relays. This time Navy ensign Lew Stieglitz (6’5”?) and Max Truex (5’5”?) put on a Mutt and Jeff Show in the 2M with Stieglitz just edging Truex 8:54.1 to 8:54.5. Hayes Jones ties Milt Campbell’s WR in the 60HH at 7.0 to defeat Lee Calhoun and Willie May. With Rozsavolgyi having said screw it and gone home, Ron Delany runs 4:06.4 for his 40th consecutive indoor mile victory.
Penn State wins the ICAAAA by 17/36 of a point over Manhattan in a clusterfuck so confusing that the meet isn’t decided until eleven days later. I couldn’t explain this if I wanted to…and I don’t. Someone’s term paper awaits.
The long awaited rematch of Bobby Morrow and Dave Sime takes place in of all places, Odessa, Texas in the West Texas Relays 100. Morrow wins in “an ‘official’ 9.35”. Sime, who had been training only three weeks, “lost at the start, but was gaining on the Olympic champion at the finish and was timed in 9.4”.
There is a photo of five very large healthy looking guys, all kneeling. The two on the outside are 58 foot shot putters Charley Butt and Bob Humphreys. The inside three, Dave Davis, Perry O’Brien and Dallas Long, have all thrown over 61 feet. The definition in O’Brien’s arms speaks to his years of weight training, not that you would kick sand in the face of any of the others.
Speaking of O’Brien, he, Don Bragg, Ira Davis Josh Culbreath and Bob Gardner are leaving on a month long good will tour of Africa. Tom Courtney has become an assistant coach at Harvard. John Thomas caught his foot in an elevator shaft (?) and will be out of action for three months.
A personal note, if I may be allowed. On the penultimate page there is a photo of four young men who have just set a national record of 3:30.7 in the high school sprint medley. The significance is that they represent Bellflower High School and the race was run on this very track in the second annual Bellflower National Record Relays, a meet that was certainly the most important on the west coast before the Arcadia Invitational came along. The anchor, Larry Canova, ran 1:53.9. The uniforms the four are wearing were ratty looking in ’59. Fourteen years later when I took the reins at BHS, they were an embarrassment. The kids ran with bags over their heads. That year when one of our kids went to the state meet, 400 miles away, we staved off ridicule by buying a tank top and ironing on a “B”. My greatest coaching achievement at Bellflower was getting new uniforms. We were slow, but spiffy.
“Profiles of Champions” outlines Bill Alley’s unique javelin training. Seems Bill carries a 10 pound sledge hammer and a double-bladed axe in his car at all times. “Every day he spends 20 minutes banging 40-penny nails into any handy tree. The axe is used for wood chopping, done intermittently after practice.” He also practices throwing a 12 pound shot in a javelin motion. In the summer he throws golf balls, a practice he picked up from Bud Held. He also uses them in a more traditional manner as driving them helps him get his hip through first. Not sure how this came about, but he is credited with throwing a three pound hand grenade 298-6. Caution, kids, don’t try this at home. It must have been hard to be Bill’s next door neighbor. The banging of spikes into your trees would be irritating, but seeing the kid with an armload of hand grenades and I’m calling 9-1-1 or whatever you called in 1959.
The magazine still costs three dollars and Cliff Severn and Adidas….yadda, yadda, yadda.

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