Thursday, October 27, 2011

Vol. 1 No. 64 September, 1959

September, 1959
The front page is devoted the Pan American Games held in Chicago from Aug. 28 to Sept. 2. The headline reads, “U.S. Sweeps Pan Am”. Ray Norton cements his position as the favorite for next year’s Olympics with 10.3 and 20.6 marks, the second being submitted for a world record run on a curve. Whereas the US dominates the meet, there is an unexpected chink in our armor, specifically the event we traditionally dominate, the 400 meters. George Kerr (46.1), Basil Ince (46.4) and Mal Spence (46.6) run 1-2-3 for the West Indies. This does not bode well for our lads in the 1600 meter relay. In what was probably a moral victory, we come in half a second behind the West Indies’ 3:05.3.
Good marks are the exception. Hayes Jones edges Lee Calhoun, both 13.6. Al Oerter dominates the discus with a throw of 190-8 to win by 12 feet. Parry O’Brien completely dusts Dallas Long in the shot, winning with a throw of 62-5½, with his worst throw better than Long’s best, 60-8¾. Dave Davis can only manage 55-9½ but is never in danger of losing third as Latin America and Canada don’t bring much to the shot put table. Fourth is 50-8. Irv Roberson who had bested 26 feet for the first time a week earlier, does so again and hands Olympic champ Greg Bell a lopsided defeat, 26-1¾ w to 24-11¾.
Ernie Cunliffe, as is his wont, leads the field in the early going of the 800, but his splits of 27.1 and 54.5 are unCunliffelike. The field takes advantage of his fatigue from a long season and his Air Force duty and by the 600 mark, he is fifth, where he finishes. Tom Murphy takes control and has five yards on George Kerr as they enter the straight. Kerr finds an extra gear and gains all the way to the tape, but comes up inches short as the two run 1:49.4. Tony Seth of British Guinea and Michigan takes third in 1:50.0. There is no fourth place finisher listed, though by process of elimination, it had to be Mel Spence. Cunliffe runs 1:51.1.
Dyrol Burleson (3:49.1) leads a US 1500 sweep with Jim Grelle and Ed Moran in close attendance. Bill Dellinger edges 10,000 winner Osvaldo Suarez of Argentina by a tenth to take a slow 5000 in 14:28.4.
The hammer throw has an odd ending. World record holder and Olympic champion Hal Connolly throws 195-11½ to edge teammates Al Hall at 195-10¾ and Bob Backus at 195-6½. Close enough for you? Wait, it gets closer. After the medals were presented “to the clowning trio”, the marks are remeasured. Connolly’s throw landed over the crown of the field and a centimeter is subtracted for measuring over that small height. Now he and Hall have the exact same distance and Hall is the winner by virtue of a best second throw.
On page five there is a headline, “Yerman Runs 1:17”. In the Buffalo Firemens meet Aug. 23, Jack Yerman and Ernie Cunliffe tangle in a “handicap race” over 660 yards, the East Coast version of Cal vs. Stanford. No details are given, but they both break Mal Whitfield’s 1:17.3 American best for the distance with 1:17.0 and 1:17.2.
In Bert Nelson’s “of People and Things” column, the editor addresses the problem of being all things to all people. “Mrs. Grace Butcher, U.S. women’s champion at 800 meters, writes, ‘Where are your women’s results of the Russian meet? Oh honestly, I could just sit down and cry. There are few of us girls in this country who are trying to do the impossible job of putting the U.S. on the map in women’s athletics, and when the biggest meet of the year comes along you don’t even indicate we were there.’” (My note: “girls”?.....“sit down and cry”? This is obviously before “I am Woman, Hear me Roar”.) But then we come to another letter concerning this matter. “Henry Chase, a long time subscriber from Scottsville, N.Y., writes, ‘Now that they’ve started to make track and field meeting coeducational, my interest is dead. Send me your magazine until my subscription expires, then cancel me out. The baseball people may be pretty bad. But they’ve got too much sense to put on a women’s game during their world championship.’” Bert gives these diverse points of view full analysis and decides in Henry’s favor. “Personally, I can’t get very excited about girlish athletics. Maybe it’s the old fashioned streak in me. Or maybe it’s that I am so wrapped up in what the better known, more talented men are doing that there just isn’t emotional room for the ladies. Whatever the reasons, I seem to feel about the same as 99% of the track fans I know.” Bottom line, there will be no women’s coverage in Track and Field News.
Sweden’s Dan Waern’s photo graces the front page. Unfortunately it is reversed. His #7 is backwards and he is running the wrong way on the track. In spite of this, he is having a great season. In 45 days he has raced 23 times between 800 and 3000 meters and won 22, including Swedish records at 800, 880 and 3000 and two WRs at 1000 meters, 2:18.0 and 2:17.8. His only loss came when he was edged by Poland’s Stefan Lewandowski in a photo finish 1500 in 3:41.1.
This issue seems to include more ads than previous issues. There are ads for Puma, Gill hurdles, Allsport Training Weights, Bob Richard’s book- “Heart of a Champion” and Aluminum Athletic Equipment (hurdles, blocks, crossbars, standards, poles and batons). But most significantly, Cliff Severn’s monopoly on Adidas in the U.S. has taken a hit. On page 8 there is a quarter page ad alerting you to the fact that you can now buy Adidas, “The World’s Best Fitting Shoe” from Van Dervoort’s of Lansing Michigan. Somehow this just seems wrong.

1 comment: said...

I was researching information about my Uncle Ed Moran and came across your great article. Thank you so much for sharing.
Pat Moran

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