Sunday, April 16, 2017

V 7 N. 26 A Treasure from Chicago

April 16, 2017

One of the truly fun aspects of writing this blog comes when we find, stumble on, or get handed to us some rare, seldom seen photos or revelations of behind the scenes shennanigans and other things recalled by those who lived them.  Last week a gentleman in Framingham, MA, Ned Price contacted us and said he had some photos from  the good old days of the University of Chicago Track Club of which he was a member during his time there as an undergrad.  Ned now resides at the seven mile mark of the Boston Marathon and will be out there tomorrow to watch that event.

One might be reminded that this famous track at Stagg Field where many NCAA championships were contested in the 1920s and 30s had a more nefarious history.  Under the main grandstand was the site of the Manhattan Project where the world's first nuclear reaction was carried out in the early 1940s during the development of the first atomic weapon.  Today the stands are gone, and a statue is there to commemorate that event.

On a lighter note Ned related a story of how Ted Haydon, the coach of UCTC,  was pranked by his athletes during a meet inside the Fieldhouse.  Ted was set up ready to start a one mile event not knowing one of the club members had climbed up into the steel rafters of the building on a catwalk immediately overhead.  When Ted fired the gun to start the race, all the runners stood still, and at the same time the prankster overhead dropped a chicken carcass onto the track at Ted's feet.  The idea was that Ted had brought down the chicken with his starting pistol.   The chicken was probably served up at Harold's Chicken restaurant down the street after the meet.

These remarkable photos center around the UCTC taken by Ned and/or friends.  The first shows Ned outside the University of Chicago Fieldhouse with UCTC weightman Jim Brown  followed by a shot from an indoor race in the fieldhouse.  Then comes  a good picture of Gar Williams and Phil Coleman two UCTC members of the day  Williams was a well known road racer and Coleman represented the US several times as a steepler and also could run a pretty good mile.  Thereafter we have  a series of photos from 1962 at the time the University of Chicago hosted the USA Poland dual meet.   We can't identify the individuals in the group of Polish runners, but under the picture are mentioned their probable names based on who represented Poland in distance races in that meet.

This was the first international meet I ever witnessed.  I had relatives in Lombard, IL  and drove up from Dayton to stay with them and see the meet.

We hope that Ned can find some more pictures to send our way, and if he does we will pass them on to you.
Jim Brown, UCTC Weight Man with Ned Price, our photographer and storyteller.
Behind them the fieldhouse where many an indoor practice and
meet was held.

Bill Reyes (fart left) and Arne Richards #122  two stalwarts of
Midwest road racing in the 1950s and early 60s.

Gar Williams and Phil Coleman

John Gutknecht and Pat Traynor (both men now deceased)
prior to the  1962 US Poland dual meet at the
University of Chicago
Gutknecht was a  College Division runner, what we now call Division III,  from
Ohio Wesleyan who made the US team at 10,000 meters that year.
Traynor from Villanova was an NCAA champion steeplechaser and third placer in the National AAU meet in 1962,
 but he ran the 800 in the dual meet and came third in 1:51.5.

Members of the Polish team running on the Midway at U. of Chicago.  This meet was held just
three months before the Cuban Missile Crisis.  In the stands at the meet in Chicago there was more
Polish spoken than English due to Chicago's large Polish community that was very much in evidence.
I don't think anyone defected, but the guy in the back might be a KGB man.

Poles from another angle,  on the Midway on UC campus.
Probable names are Edward Szklarcryk (3:46 1500), Lech Boguszewicx (14:11 5000)
Jerzy Bruszkowski (1:50  800), Edward Motyl (9:06 Steeple).  We have no idea
which one is which.

Roger Sayers practices handing off to Paul Drayton coming onto the backstretch.
Sayers ran for the University of  Nebraska at Omaha and was the brother of Gayle Sayers, University
of Kansas and Chicago Bears football legend.

UCTC Coach Ted Haydon in a lighter moment
Keith Forman, U. of Oregon practicing at water jump.
Forman would finish 3rd in the Steeple.

Pat Traynor covering a  waterjump although he would run the 800 in the dual meet.

Max Truex and Jim Beatty doing run throughs several days before the
US Poland dual.  Truex was second in the 5000 in 14:08 and Beatty won the
1500 in 3:41.6.

Paul Drayton and probably Ray Saddler (Texas Southern U.)  on the ground.
Drayton ran the 4x100 relay and was second in the 200 to Marion Foik (POL).
Saddler ran on the 4x400.
In reading your comments, a mild caveat.  Enrico Fermi was among the nuclear scientists who actually preceded the Manhattan Project although he was heavily involved with it later.  He created the world's first nuclear reactor in late 1942 with his Chicago Pile I under the Stagg Field stands.  I've always thought of the Manhattan Project as the work done at Oak Ridge and Los Alamos from 1942-46.

Gar Williams was a National AAU marathon champion sometime in the 1960s.  Phil Coleman, after  his great running career, I believe was head track and field coach at the University of Illinois.

As I remember, Peter McArdle, a trans-planted Irishman, won the 5,000 in the USA vs Poland meet.  Does that fit with your memories?  McArdle was pre-maturely bald and he looked to be 20-30 years older than his actual age.  As I recall he had a fine career running for the NYAC, was on the 1963 Pan Am Games team and the 1964 Olympic Team.  He retired from the sport and took up running again later in life only to die of a heart attack while out training one day in Van Cortlandt Park.

Take care,

Tom Coyne

Really enjoy all the UCTC poop......Keep em' coming. Arne Richards was a friend and kept in touch/paid visits to me and Dick Trace. Struggling through the last few miles at Boston in 1966, I looked around to see a thin figure in a WKTC singlet on my tail. It was Arne and he beat me. 

Steve Price

Here is how we reported this meet five years ago.
A week later, Jnne 30, July 1 to be exact, the teams meet in Chicago. This is the precursor for the Russian dual meet three weeks off. There is no doubt the US will win, but there are questions to be answered in several events.
The first day is a disaster for the Poles. The US goes 1-2 in all but two events, the 5000 where Max Truex and Charlie Clark run 2-4, and the high jump which Gene Johnson wins at 7-0½, but John Thomas can only clear 6-9¾ and loses second on misses. Long and Gubner throw 63-9 and 63-5 for a four foot margin over the best Pole. Remember Al Hall's upset of Hal Connolly in the hammer a week ago? Well, maybe that wasn't such an upset. Hall does it again, 214-11 to 211-2. This is the most competitive field event of the meet as the Poles throw 208-11 and 207-10. The most competitive track event also takes place the first day. Witold Baran of Poland takes the lead on the backstretch of the 1500 only to have Jim Beatty go wide on the turn to pass him and Cary Weisiger nip him at the tape. Beatty 3:41.9, Weisiger 3:42.5, Baran 3:42.7. The least competitive race from a team aspect is the 110 hurdles where Jerry Tarr once again edges Hayes Jones on the run in, 13.6 for both. They put on their sweats and warm down while waiting for the Poles who finish in 14.9 and 15.3.
The second day provides some solace for the visitors. They sweep the javelin and the triple jump and provide the big surprise of the meet in which Marian Foik edges Paul Drayton and Homer Jones in the 200, 21.0 to 21.1 for the Americans. The most controversial race is the steeplechase where Poland's Olympic champion and world record holder, Zdzislaw Krzyskowiak (“Krzys” from now on), locks up in a tight dual with George Young. On the Pole's heels on the final lap, Young takes advantage of Krzys running in the second lane by trying to squeeze by the Pole on the pole. Krzys cuts him off. Young retaliates by pushing him, but the moment is lost and so is the race. Krys wins 8:38.0 to 8:42.4, times that don't reflect how tight the race was as Young “had to stop and climb over the last hurdle”. Chicago has a large Polish population. At the awards ceremony Young is booed as if this were Warsaw. Aside from the 110 hurdles the other race that is a foregone conclusion is the 1600 (not yet 4x4) relay where Saddler, Cawley, Archibald and Williams run 3:03.7 to leave the Poles far behind in 3:11.3.
We've saved the best for the last. Remember last month's report of Russian Vladimir Trusenyev breaking Al Oerter's world record in the discus? Well, you can rest easy. Big Al has it back. On Sunday he spins one out 204-10½ to reclaim his record by over 2½ feet. In three weeks Trusenyev and Oerter will meet in Palo Alto and we will be there to cover the action.

This report would not be complete without a footnote. Ron Morris and John Cramer vault 15-3 and 14-11 to go 1-2 in the pole vault. The best Pole vaulter (sorry about that) is third at 14-5. But it is the mark of the second Pole that is the eye-catcher. A game chap by the name of Piotr Sobotta takes fourth at 9-0. Let me be clear: nine feet in an international competition. Sobatta is the Polish high jump champion. He finished fourth in yesterday's competition at 6-6¾. There must have been a injury and Piotr volunteered to embarrass himself in a replacement role to earn that fourth place point in the PV. The final score is 131-81 so it is not as if that point is important. Henceforth in this reporter's lexicon the word “Sobatta” means taking one for the team. Next time you see a batter lean in and get hit by a pitch he could have avoided, you can say to yourself, “That's a Sobatta”. When a point guard holds his ground to take a charge by a fast breaking Dwight Howard, that's a Sobatta. When your high hurdler volunteers to run the third leg on the 4x4 with the meet on the line, that's a Sobatta. You are now armed with a new word; go forth and use it well.

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