Once Upon a Time in the Vest

Thursday, December 31, 2015

V 5 N. 123 End of Another Year

Roy , Steve , and George
outside the Silver Bar, Franklin, Ohio April, 1998
We're better looking now in 2016
Hello to all of our loyal and first time readers.  It's been a three week dry spell with postings on the blog.  I just hit a streak of laziness, I do confess.  Anyway we hope to pick it up in the New Year which will be the start of our 7th year of this 'hobby'.  It has become a big part of  our lives.  If we were a business we might be feeling a bit worried as our readershp is down by almost 30% from last year at this time when we peaked at 10,000 hits per month to around 7,000 this month.  Heads would be rolling in corporate America.  Some have suggested the average age of our readers may account for this.  They're dieing off or going to nursing homes.   Say it isn't so.  Anyway rest assured we will plod on trying to keep pace with fifty year old issues of Track and Field News.    TF&N doesn't seem to be offended by our use of their works, so we will keep at it, although we think we may stop when we reach 1970 (four years from now).

Roy decides what will be covered in each of those old issues.  We obviously can't review everything.  He writes the synopsis in Ukiah, CA, sends it to be proof read in Piqua, OH by our mutual friend Steve Price, then it is sent to me on Vancouver Island, BC to do photo searches, editing and posting onto the blog.   The photo searches tend to turn up other stories and incidents to add to Roy's and Steve's work and out of it comes Once Upon A Time in the Vest in its various and sundry formats.  This year I see we've posted 123 entries.  In July we were honored by the Track and Field Writers of America as the best Track and Field Blog of 2015.  This was entirely unexpected as were were neither aware of the organization or their annual award, but we will continue to do our best to serve track and field readers who remember those times and those who want to learn something about the period.

Interestingly our troikaesque relationship began about 1984.  Roy and Steve had known each other in the club coaching world of track and field from the late 1970s.  Roy coached a very successful high school runner Debbie Heald who held the national high school indoor mile record in 1972 until it was broken only two years ago by Mary Cain.  Steve had for years coached the Kettering Striders in Ohio and then  went on to the collegiate ranks at U. of Dayton, Bowling Green , and currently University of Findlay, all in Ohio.    In 1984 Steve got a coaching gig in Bahrain in the Persian Gulf and wrote regularly to both Roy and me.  At that time I was teaching in Zimbabwe for a few years when we met in Dayton, OH my hometown.  I had been a so so miler at the U. of Oklahoma.    So Steve started forwarding Roy's letters to me, and we began circulating all our letters between the three of us.  I finally met Roy about 1987 in Montreal after we had returned from Africa, and then once more when my family were on our way to Beijing for a one year teaching contract in 1988.  We continued our correspondences often via cassette recordings which became more popular than letters for several years.

I started a small blog in the 90s about U. of Oklahoma track and field alums of the 1950s and 60s and played with that for several years with the help of a cyber astute cousin living in South Korea.

Then one day in 2008,  Roy sent me his first synopsis of a couple of  TF&Ns from 1952 and 1953

To see this initial posting, go to the right side of your screen and begin scrolling down , down, down, to the first posting  Vol. 1 No. 1.   

The rest is  blog history now on our  494th  posting.

In these six years we've met, written to , or talked to a lot of nice people including three wonderful fellow bloggers, John Cobley, David Baskwill, and Gary Corbitt. The non-bloggers include Pete Brown, who keeps us supplied with missing TF&N issues,   Earl Young, Ernie Cunliffe, Jim Allen, Jeff Allen, Dick Trace, Bruce Kritzler, Steve Price, Geoff Williams,  Les Hegedus, John Lawler, Bill Schnier, Susan Asuaba, Phil Scott, David Rapp, Steve Fisher, Dennis Kavanaugh, Bill Flint, Michael Solomon, Neville Soll, John Lawson, Gail Hodgson, Marti Liquori,  Jerry McFadden, David Costill, Bill Blewett, Bill Fink, Arjan Gelling, Bill Dellinger, Rick Lower, Leif Bugge, Bob Tague, Ray Wyatt, Bill Dotson, John Bork Jr., Paul O'Shea, Grace Butcher, Rene Mathison, Web Laudat, Jim Perry, John Perry, Jim Metcalf, Al Lawrence, Billy Mills,  Tom Murphy,Bill Stone, Bob Roncker, Bob Schul, Bill Jacobs, Walt Mizell, Bruce Yerman, Chuck Frawley, Dan Laquerre, David Bailey, , David Webb, Dick Daymont, Gary Wilson, Dixon Farmer, Eric Tweit, Scott Epperson, J.D. Martin, Jeff Lucas, Jeremy Mosher, Jared Ashmore, Joe Swanson, Jose Sant, Kara Storage, Tara Storage, L.J. Cohen, Lars McGee, Lefty Martin, Matt Farmer, Michael Reneau, Orville Atkins, Pat Moran, Paul Ebert, Preston Davis, Rich Elliot, Rich Davis, Billy and Ras Calhoun, Ray Olfky, John Wilderman, Ricardo Romo, Richard Mach, Sheppard Miers, Stephen Morelock, Sylvia Gleason, John Coyne, Thomas Coyne, Tim Tubb, Tom Trumpler, Lee Smith, Woody Young, and John Mitchell.

All the best for a safe, healthy, and prosperous New Year

George and Roy

Sunday, December 13, 2015

V 5 N. 122 The 1948 Olympic Silver Medalist in 110 HH and the 1949 Little Rose Bowl. What's the Connection?

A few days ago, our friend Pete Brown sent me this query.  Even though this is a track and field blog, we reserve the right to drift  occasionally  from the cinders and forest paths and write  about the lesser sport of   'college football' when there is a track connection.

Backstory: Clyde “Smackover” Scott from Smackover, AR
Note: he won a SILVER medal in the 1948 OG in the 110 meter hurdles. Track was a mere afterthought to Clyde Scott who was a famous football player. He had a younger brother who was tiny and attended Little Rock JC.

This leads us to the infamous JUNIOR ROSE BOWL game which started in 1946 and eventually morphed into the Pasadena Bowl. It pitted the strongest JC from California vs. the strongest JC team from the rest of the nation. I attended at least five of those games in the first half of the decade of the 1950’s. One of the highlights I saw on TV in 1949 (as I recall) when Little Rock JC beat Santa Ana JC 25-19. I was age ten at the time. If memory serves me right, a kid from Little Rock JC fielded a punt in the fourth quarter on about his own 40 yard line and ran backwards from sideline to sideline all the way back to about his 5 yard line. His team finally set up a wall and he ran forwards something like 95 yards for a TD which won the game for his team. The big news stories were his weight (130lbs +-) and his brother being a silver medal winner in the hurdles in the London OG the year before.

Any info anyone can provide on this incident would be highly appreciated. The hurdler brother was the famous Clyde “Smackover” Scott of Arkansas. I cannot remember the first name of the Scott fellow who fielded the punt and ran for the long TD. It was a big deal in the Pasadena Star News, I remember that. The sports editor was Rube Samuelson in those days.

PS---A few years later Kilgore JC showed up with a chorus line of “Rangerettes”  who were a Texas version of the Rockettes---that was another highlight; I was agog.

Clyde 'Smackover' Scott' (14.0), William Porter (13.9), Craig Dixon (14.1)
London 1948

This is probably Smackover on the left.   Isn't there an equivalent in Oklahoma, called Slapout?   Want me to put this piece on the blog?  It's a good read.  And somebody might remember the brother's name.

Might be some old Pasadena Star News online with the story.    When did the Junior Rose Bowl die?
I think Lawton JC in Oklahoma may have played in that about 1961 with Joe Don Looney who then transferred to Oklahoma.  Bud Wilkinson's first JC transfer after which he said , 'never again'.   Joe Don was a 230 pound full back who led the nation in punting.  He ran a hand timed 9.7 100 yards and could squat 600 pounds.  One of the earlier football players who was into weight training.  You'll remember Billy Cannon at LSU was also one of the early lifters who was a football All American and a decent sprinter and 56 foot shot putter.  Joe Don didn't have a lot of respect for authority and was eventually kicked off the Oklahoma football team.  He ran track with us in 1963 and drew a big crowd when he and Gayle Sayers were paired off in a 60 yards in the OU  Kansas indoor dual meet.  Sayers clean house.   After that race early in the meet the crowd all left as the meet went on for another hour or so.

One of the reasons the picture above is possible is the picture just below.  It shows Harrison Dillard pulling up on a hurdle in the Olympic Trials and not qualifying.   Dillard was a 'sure thing' to make it in the hurdles.  Nevertheless he qualified in the 100 meters and went on to win the gold medal in that event in London.

From Life in Sports 1985 edited by Richard Whittingham
Wallace Kirkland photographer


Four years later in 1952 Olympic Trials, Craig Dixon would hit the deck and Dillard would win the trials and go
on to a gold medal at Helsinki to add to his 100 meters gold.  Photo provided by Pete Brown.

If you look at this video at the 18:10 mark, you will see the punt and the runback by Benny Scott.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NWb1-vZJTQY  Also, this article mentions it—about half way down: http://www.aymag.com/historical-gems-little-rocks-junior-rose-bowl-champions/
I didn’t realize there was a Little Rock JC. Eventually it became Little Rock University. Jon Epperson and I went to a basketball game there once. And, I took a college course there while I was in the AF there. Now, it is University of Arkansas at Little Rock.
Dennis Kavanaugh

Smackover Scott at Arkansas

Smackover played two years at the Naval Academy in 1944 and 45, but transferred on to Arkansas after he escorted the reigning Miss Arkansas around the Academy during a publicity visit.  He ended up marrying her and transferring to Arkansas for another three years of eligibility.   That was quite common during and after the war as the eliigibility rules were relaxed, and some guys were able to  parlay up to six seasons of playing time.  You can see in this youtube clip that he had some great wheels.

Clyde Smackover Scott

Thanks to Dennis and George. Given I was 11 years old in 1949 and I’m 76 now my memory wasn’t too bad. Little Benny Scott was about 5’6” and weighed about 135 soaking wet. They said he covered 135 yards all told in his famous runback of a Santa Ana JC punt. He did not go back as far as his 5 yard line however---caught it on the 40 and circled back to the 15 before he turned upfield. Everybody was talking about it for days. I had to go the neighbor’s house to see it as we did not have a TV until three years later.

The final game in the series was in the mid-1970’s. It lasted on and off for about 25 years.

Benny’s brother Clyde Scott got the silver medal in the London OG high hurdles timed in 14.1. William Porter of the US got the gold in 13.9.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

V 5 N. 121 December , 1965

    The collegiate cross country season is over. The indoor season hasn't begun. What would seem like a dearth of competition is saved by those wild and crazy guys in New Zealand who have their track season in November and December.
        But before we take you down under, we would be amiss were we not to mention the last two US cross country meets of the season. The AAU and the USTFF have struck a bargain permitting unrestricted participation in all US meets. Collegiate athletes are free to run in AAU meets. But not this year as this agreement came about three weeks after the AAU and USTFF meets and even if it had been earlier, doubling would have been tough as the meets were held on the same day, Nov. 27, in New York and Wichita.
John Lawson

    John Lawson puts the cherry on top of his seasonal sundae in the USTFF meet. He adds this gold medal to those of the Big Eight, Central Collegiate and NCAA meets which currently occupy his sock drawer. Southern Illinois' Oscar Moore shows no fear as he goes out hard, building up an 80 yard lead in the first two miles of the six mile race. There is a fine line between courageous and fool-hearty as Oscar discovers in the third mile when Lawson begins to reel him in. 
Oscar Moore
The dual ends not with a bang but a whimper as the Kansas senior makes his move and assumes a 100 yard lead by the end of the fourth mile. From that point the question isn't who will win, but by how much. Lawson's final 200 yard margin, 28:51 to 29:25, almost allows him to put his sweats on and sign autographs before Moore finishes. Oscar has enough left in the tank to hold off NCAA six mile champ, Doug Brown of Montana, by eight seconds. Thirty-two seconds later Kansas freshman Jim Ryun crosses the finish line in fourth. The University of Kansas team is running as the Jayhawk Track Club so that Ryun, ineligible for the NCAA meet as a freshman, might be included. They take the team title easily, 38-65-69 over the Houston TC and Southern Illinois.
Ron Larrieu

    The last three AAU championships have been won by Mihaly Igloi's LATC , now disbanded. This doesn't stop Ron Larrieu, still coached by Igloi, from dominating the field for his first AAU championship. He is out early with Canadian Dave Ellis, Bill Morgan and Eamon O'Reilly. O'Reilly drops off at two miles. The remaining three stay together as they disappear behind Cemetery Hill on the Van Cortlandt Park course. With a mile and a half remaining, Larrieu makes his move on the course's steepest hill. Any doubt as to the winner is removed in seconds. Larrieu's time, 31:12, is 24 seconds off Bruce Kidd's course record, but is excellent for the muddy conditions. Ellis and Morgan are runner ups in 31:40 and 31:50.

    But the big news awaits us in New Zealand where Kip Keino and Jurgen May are enjoying the mild weather of the southern hemisphere. The headline in the September issue of Track and Field News proclaimed “1965 World Mile to 10,000 Record Revision Complete”.   Not so fast, Cordner and Bert, we got one more coming.
    In Auckland on Nov. 27 Keino warms up with a solo 3:41.9 1500. The big one comes on the same track three days later. Running alone after the first 120 yards, Keino is on a mission, one that ends with a 5000 meter world record, 13:24.2, clipping 1.6 seconds off Ron Clarke's mark. His half mile splits are given as 2:06.5, 4:16.0 (2:09.5), 6:28.7 (2:12.7), 8:33.8 (2:05.1), 10:47.0 (2:13.2) and 12:58.4 (2:11.4). His three mile time is only the second ever under 13 minutes (Clark 12:52.4).
    Ed note: Our more astute readers may notice a discrepancy in those splits. He ran his fastest split in the middle of the race? No one was with him – Bill Baillie was second in 14:01.2 - so there was no one he was trying to drop. There is no mention of a quickened pace. Hmmm. What if there was a misprint and the two mile mark was hit in the typographically similar 8:38.3? That would make the fourth half mile 2:09.6 and the fifth half mile 2:08.7. The error would have to have been made on the Auckland end of the communication, as T&F News made a point of the two mile time being 8:33.2, 6.8 seconds faster than Clark's split in his record race. Something for the more insightful among us to ponder.
    Keino says he could have gone faster if he had someone with him but that this is the fastest track he has ever run on.
    Jurgen May doesn't experience the same warm, cuddly New Zealand welcome as Keino. He loses the mile to John Davies 3:59.0 to 3:59.1.
    On Dec. 4 there is a meet in Napier which Keino and May attend. May takes the half easily in 1:48.9. Keino once again has no significant opposition and soldiers on by himself to a 3:56.9 mile.
Kipchoge Keino

Jurgen May
    Dec. 6 finds the two visitors in Tokoroa where Keino displays admirable consistency, cranking off another 3:56.9 to defeat Davies, 4:01.0. May strides through an unpressed half in 1:49.7. Two days later in Hamilton, Keino, suffering from a lack of competition, runs 3000 in 7:50.4, 10.8 seconds off his world record. It appears that he will have no significant competition on this tour.
    That assumption would be wrong. On December 11 on the 386 yard grass track in Wanganui, the site of Peter Snell's first mile world record, he tangles with May over 4.56 laps, yep, a mile. Maybe May can push Keino to the record. Keino welcomes the challenge. He leads through the quarters in 56.4, 1:55.6 (59.2) and 2:54.9 (59.3) with May close. The penultimate furlong goes off in 29.6 (3:24.5). The record, 3:53.6, is within range. But so is May who is now on his shoulder. As they enter the final straight May's 1:46.3 800 speed comes into play. Keino can't hold him off. May blows by enroute to the second fastest mile ever run. His 3:53.8 misses Jazy's WR by two tenths. Keino has to settle for 3:54.9.
    Their last meeting comes four days later in Auckland with similar results. Keino tries to shake May but succumbs with 40 yards left, 3:54.1 to 3:54.4. Merry Christmas, Michael Jazy. Your present is getting to keep your record.
    Our next report will take you inside for the start of the 1966 indoor season. Stay tuned.

Saturday, December 5, 2015

V 5 N. 120 Stanford's Top Running Back Has a Great Lineage - Dave Sime

Rome 1960   100 Meters Final
Hary 1st, Radford 3rd, Figueroa 4th,  Budd 5th, Norton 6th, Sime 2nd
Christian McCaffrey

Subject: Christian McCaffrey's (Stanford All American running back) grandaddy

Just found out this morning that  Christian McCaffrey's maternal grandfather is Dave Sime.  Kinda gives the kid a leg up on the rest of the world.  Roy

The following article appeared recently in Newsweek discussing the incredible athletic heritage of Christian McCaffrey back to his grandpa Dave Sime, Olympic 100 meter silver medallist in Rome 1960.   Not just grandson and grandfather but all those in between the two have an impressive set of athletic credentials.   Why this was not a Sports Illustrated piece
we'll never know.

Sime McCaffrey linkage  from Newsweek Nov. 20, 2015

This came from a friend of a friend:

 I see you just sent this to me. Had I mentioned that Sime's daughter Lisa, McCaffrey's mother, went to Ransom where I taught and coached? Early in her 9th grade year I went down to the outside basketball courts where some of the kids were running line drills, challenging eachother. And this young blonde girl was right with the best male sprinter on the track team. I asked who she was and someone said, "Lisa Sime".  Oh! 
This recent Newsweek article tells all about Sime - especially his opthalmologist career in Miami. He was my opthalmologist for years. But it barely mentions Lisa Sime's own athletic accomplishments. She was good in Track but best in Soccer. Good enough to make SI's Faces in the Crowd feature as a high school junior after scoring 9 goals  in a game and 52 in that season. 

Lisa Sime    Faces in the Crowd  Sports Illustrated  1986

Back in the late Sixties I was running in a Track meet at Dade South. The Gold Coast AAU Championships, as I recall. Looked up during the 100 prelims and this mid-30s white guy was beating some of rhe best Miami area sprinters. And I knew I recognized the stride. Dave Sime had just showed up. I think I still have a newspaper clipping somewhere with both our names in the results.   Geoff Pietsch

Here is Bud Greenspan's bit on the 1960 sprinting debacle in Rome.    You even get a bit of Melbourne and some Ohio St. Michigan St. football in this clip.   Apologies.

Rome Sprints Greenspan

Thursday, December 3, 2015

V 5 N. 119 African American Long Distance History from Gary Corbitt

Here is some more reasearch from Gary Corbitt:

African American Running History in November
Summary Edition

1921: 11/19 R. Earl Johnson –Edgar Thompson Steel AA wins AAU National Cross Country in Pittsburgh. 

1922: 11/30 R. Earl Johnson finishes second to Ville Ritola – Finland in the Berwick Marathon (9 miles).

1928: 11/18 Gus Moore- Brooklyn Harriers wins AAU National Cross-Country title at Van Cortlandt Park.

1929: 11/28 Gus Moore becomes the only African American to win the Berwick Marathon.

1940:  11/28 Ellison “Tarzan” Brown the Narragansett Indian wins Berwick Marathon.

1942: 11/1 Frank Dixon-New York University wins IC4A Cross-Country Championship at Van Cortlandt Park.

1942: 11/29 Frank Dixon-NYU wins AAU National Cross-Country title at Newark NJ. 

1949: 11/28 Bill Lucas – Manhattan College places 4th at NCAA Cross Country Championship.

1955: 11/28 Charles Deacon Jones-Iowa wins the NCAA Cross-Country Championship at East Lansing.

1958: 11/17 Ron Gregory-Notre Dame takes second place in the IC4A Cross Country Championship at Van Cortlandt Park.  .

1961: 11/21-61 Steven Machooka-Cornell the first great Kenyan U.S. college champion wins the IC4A Cross-Country Championship at Van Cortlandt Park.

1962: 11/26 San Jose State wins the NCAA Cross-Country team championship with an integrated team.
Top African American finishers in the 1962 NCAA race:
6th Ron Davis – San Jose State
11th Harry McCalla – Stanford
18th Ben Tucker – San Jose State
30th Horace Whitehead – San Jose State

1964: 11/23 Elmore Banton – Ohio University wins NCAA Cross Country title in 20:07.5 at East Lansing.

1966: 11/21 Oscar Moore – Southern Illinois places 10th in NCAA Cross Country Championship

1968: 11/28 Ted Corbitt age 49 became the oldest American to win a U.S. running title with a win at 50 miles.

For more running history go to the following:

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

V 5 N. 118 More on Adolph Plummer,seldom seen photos and teammate comments

Yesterday we announced the passing of Adolph Plummer.  In the few hours since that release,  Adolph's teammates have been communicating with each other and some of these comments and especially these exceptional photos have surfaced from those conversations.  Planning is already underway to erect a statue in honor of Mr. Plummer.  Thanks especially to Rene Matison and Pete Brown for the photos below.

At the age of 19/20 years , I ran the  220 yard dash against Adolph. He was in the third lane ,I was in the fourth lane. I thought as I was running the curve that I  was doing pretty good.....UNTIL Adolph pulled along side of me at the top of the curve and said "Rene let's go". It seemed as for every 2 strides I took, Adolph took one. Here is how I describe his running...smooth as silk, cheetah, gazelle.  
I won the race...There is no doubt in my mind he allowed me to win.

Here are some pictures from my files.

Rene Matison

Adolph Plummer and Earl Young     Wow!!!  Ever see two more relaxed quartermilers?
supplied by Rene Matison

Repeat Performance, this time against  Dennis Richardson (or Earl Young?) waiting for confirmation
supplied by Rene Matison 

Adolph Plummer, Ed Lloyd, Jim Stewart, Joe Garcia, Art Carter
supplied by Rene Matison

Arizona State vs. University of New Mexico Ulis Williams holding off Adolph on the Mile Relay
supplied by Rene Matison
Holy Cow 6850 spectators for a dual meet?  I bet the basketball coach was jealous.

supplied by Pete Brown

Supplied by Rene Matison
220 on old Zimmerman Field March 25, 1962
New Mexico v. Brigham Young
Plummer Lane 4,  Jim Whitfield Lane 2 Larry Kelly Lane 3
Zimmerman Field was last used in 1962 for Track and Football
supplied by Ray Mathison
Supplied by Pete Brown

 L to R: Joe Garcia, Ed Lloyd, Pete Brown and Adolph Plummer on the way from Abq to Los Angeles for the Coliseum Relays.

On Friday, May 17, 1963, Adolph blew the crowd of 35,000 away with a 44.7 mile relay split. Freshman Art Carter led off in 48.8, Joe Garcia 47.1, freshman Ed Lloyd 47.5 and Adolph Plummer 44.7 for 3:08.1. This was eight days before Adolph broke the world record in the 440.

Hi Pete,

Just read your story on Dolf. Well done. In respectful humor I say — He beat me again. He was awesome when he wanted to be.
Be sure and let me know when the memorial will be.


Earl Young

Adolph was a great man.  I'm flooded with memories of so many races I had the privilege to watch.
We will gladly support a memorial to him.
Thank you Pete for sending his track bio.

Jon Epperson 

From Ed Lloyd
Thank you for these photos, they bring back a lot of memories.  As young freshmen from Boston, Art Carter and I had some great experiences with Dolph  and learned an awful lot from him concerning the mental aspects of running, stride length and pace through the first 330.  There is so much one can say about him, but nothing speaks louder than his plain natural ability and kindness.


Great photos Rene. Thanks for sending.

I just remembered something from Adolph’s record run.  I was a sophomore in high school at the time. The day after the run, I was reading the sports page, and there was a great quote. I wish I could remember the writer, but I have to plead old age and poor memory on that one.

Anyhow, the writer was explaining that records are normally lowered by pecking away in small chunks. However, he said on this one,  “Plummer blew this record away into unrecognizable smithereens.”

I thought that was a good description.

Chuck Schuch

V 11 N. 3 "Quicksilver: The Mercurial Emil Zatopek" by Pat Butcher, a Book Review by Paul O'Shea

When we come across books to review, we know that there is a particular skill set needed to be fair and honest and at the same time literary...