Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Vol. 2 No. 32 May , 1961

MAY 1961

May? Wait a minute, the last entry was March, what happened to April? Good question. I have all the issues organized in folders, but there is no April. Think my mom tossed it along with all my baseball cards. (Do you have any idea what a Mickey Mantle rookie card would be worth today? Don't get me started.) Anyway we are going to skip over April just like it never existed.
Here's your Mickey Mantle rookie card, Roy, that'll be $10,000 to my account.

That said, we have the West Coast, Drake, Penn, Mt. SAC and Kansas Relays and more. We will take them chronologically.

April 22 finds us in Lawrence, Kansas for the Kansas Relays where Baylor wins the 440 and 880 relays and takes five individual events. Jim Grelle runs a 4:07.4 mile, leaving Ernie Cunliffe and Jim Dupree in his wake. Cliff Cushman takes the 400H in 51.0 to beat 120HH winner Rex Stucker. The 10,000 is definitely not the event of the day. The winning time is 34:23 and there are only two finishers, probably better described as survivors.

The next weekend we have the three big relay meets. We'll start in Philadelphia and work our way west. Abilene Christian has come east for the Penn Relays, but things don't go as planned. Earl Young looks good anchoring the 440R to a meet record 40.9, but though he brings the stick home in 20.1 on the 880R, Frank Budd's 20.0 third leg for Villanova has created too much of a gap and the Wildcats win 1:24.8 to 1:25.0. Michigan takes the 2M and 4M relays while Yale wins the sprint and distance medleys. The big field event news is that Don Bragg is beaten by Villanova frosh Rolando Cruz, both at 15-0.

Des Moines and the Drake Relays is next stop on our trip across the country on this the last weekend in April.
Drake Stadium about 1907 (Click on picture for an enlargement.)

The big news here is the record breaking performance of the Western Michigan four mile relay team. Make that “records” breaking, as the Broncos' 16:50.4 effort breaks the Drake record of 17:15.2 by Oregon in 1959, the collegiate record of 16:53.2 by Occidental and the US record of 16:52.6 set in 1952 by the national team of Montes, Druetzler, Santee and Barnes. The 4:07.0 third leg by John Bork is the decider.
John Bork, Penn Relays?
John Bork Today
Bork's 1:48.7 split in the distance medley is instrumental in the Broncos winning that event also. Kansas, paced by Bill Dotson's 1:51.0 anchor, wins the two mile relay with the fastest time in the nation, 7:28.6. The best marks come in the field events where Ralph Boston leaps 26-1½ and George Davis, after two failures at the opening height of 13-6, vaults a personal best of 15-6 before failing at a world record 15-10.
Rex Cawley

And now to Walnut, California where the third annual Mt. SAC Relays provides a show that puts the two traditional meets to shame. It is a very good day if you are or were a USC Trojan. Indeed Rex Cawley and Bob Avant are named the outstanding track and field athletes. Avant becomes the fourth American 7 foot high jumper (and second SC 7 footer behind Dumas). Cawley outfinishes Eddie Southern in the 400 hurdles, 50.6 to 50.7 and splits 20.5 in the 880 relay as the Trojans win easily in 1:23.6, but the heroics are still to come. With the Trojans trailing Arizona State on the anchor leg of the mile relay,

Cawley takes the baton three yards down to Arizona's Mal Spence. Spence matches the 46.4 third leg split run by his twin, Mel, but it isn't enough to hold off Cawley whose 45.4 brings the Trojans home in 3:07.6 for a new collegiate record. A-State's 3:07.9 equals the old mark.

There is more USC flavor to the field events as current Trojan Dallas Long takes the shot at 61-9½ and former SC star Rink Babka takes over the world lead in the discus with a 194-7½. But the guy they beat in each of those events is the star of the day. Army lieutenant Jay Silvester produces a 61-1¾ PR in the shot and then PRs again in the discus with a throw of 192-5½ for the greatest weight double in history. Hal Connolly shows he is back on track in the hammer, as his 220-8 is 35 feet better than second.

There are some familiar faces in the open events and some not so familiar. Olympians Jerry Siebert and Ernie Cunliffe tangle in the 880 with Siebert winning by half a second in 1:50.7. Jim Beatty knocks off a 4:04.9 mile to easily dispose of Lazlo Tabori. The open 440 provides a couple pleasant surprises as Keith Thomassen edges Canadian Bill Crothers 46.1 to 46.2, but the real story is their improvement. Thomassen knocks half a second of his best, while Crothers lowers his PR by a jaw dropping 1.2 seconds.

Dennis Johnson, who has run 9.3 four times this season, finally gets his 9.2, well, sort of. There is an aiding wind of 11.2 mph and the notation that he had a rolling start. Remember the comment in the January entry that Bobby Poynter had left some personal problems behind at San Jose State and now was enrolled at Los Angeles State? Well, apparently things changed – perhaps explained in the missing April issue – because he runs the second leg of San Jose's winning 440 relay (40.5) and places fifth in the 100.

The following is information collected from columns. There were no meets at the LA Coliseum last year and there will be none this year. Something about the Dodgers playing baseball there.

In 1932 LA Coliseum

LA Coliseum for Baseball

By next year the team will have its own stadium and track can resume in the Coliseum. Bert Nelson makes two suggestions: “Make every effort to put in the fastest, best wearing all-weather track possible – - and protect it from desecration forevermore.” When that is done, he says it should be an oval with no extension running back into the tunnel for a 220 straightaway. Previously 220's were started well up the tunnel and spectators couldn't see the runners until the race was underway....Olympic 100 meter champion, Armen Hary, is retiring because of a knee injury.....Manhattan coach George Eastman says that ACC's Earl Young will run a 44.0 400 before he graduates. No pressure on Earl. .....
Bill Neider

Last we heard, Olympic shot put champion Bill Nieder had tested for the role of Jack Dempsey in an upcoming film. Bill, a big strong guy, apparently has all the qualifications except boxing ability. Obviously the fine line between boxing in a movie and real life has become blurred.

Name: Bill Nieder
Born: 1933-08-10
Nationality: US American
Hometown: Los Angeles, California, USA
Height: 6′ 3″ / 191cm
Boxing Record: click

1960 Olympic shot put Champion, after his only pro bout he observed "when you throw an iron ball it doesn't come back at you". A graduate of the University of Kansas. Bill was an all-round athlete; highjump 6-1, ran 100 in 10 flat. He has bowled a highgame of 224.

Amateur boxing record: 6 - 0 , All 6 wins by KO, no defeats, no draws.
Pro boxing record 0-1, he fought James Wyley (7-17-3 lifetime) on May 15, 1961 at the Alhambra A.C. in Philadelphia, PA. Neider was KO'd at 2:10 of the first round. Went on to announce his retirement from the ring 3 weeks later on June 10, 1961.

He tests the professional boxing waters and sinks like a rock as his first professional fight ends with big Bill on the receiving end of a first round knockout.....
Neider came to Kansas on a football scholarship , but injured his knee in his varsity debut against Texas Christian and never played again.
Steak dinner for the record: Blake Hocking, left, got to meet and have a steak dinner with former Olympic gold medalist and three-time world record holder Bill Nieder recently in Lawrence. Nieder had always said he would treat the person who broke his high school record to a steak dinner, and he flew here from California. Nieder called Blake several months ago to congratulate him on beating his high school record in shot put that had stood at Lawrence High School for 59 years. Hocking threw the shot put 62 feet, 9 inches — 2 feet further than Nieder's previous record. .

Loose lips sink ships and apparently Swedish milers as well. In a bylined article in a Swedish magazine, Dan Waern reveals that he has received under-the-table payments for running in meets.
Waern and Young Swedish Admirers

Now, thanks to those busybodies at the Swedish tax assessment board, he is facing a possible $10,000 fine. That no one finds out about secret under-the-table payments is sort of what the under-the-table part is all about, Dan.

Dan Waern, Percy Cerutty, Herb Elliot

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