SI Vault
August 18, 1958
Bridge and Ethics
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August 18, 1958

Events & Discoveries

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If this wasn't real funny, it was at least brave. For Rupp was talking in the territory of North Carolina's coach, Frank McGuire, who is a very fast man with the comeback. Asked, at a question-and-answer session following a banquet, if there was any place for the small man in basketball, Frank said, "Yes, selling score cards." Asked what could be done to improve the quality of officiating, Frank said, "Give 'em faster sneakers."

The other day, at a meeting of Missouri Valley coaches, George Blackburn of Cincinnati told his colleagues how he planned to resolve the quandary over whether to kick the point after touchdown or go for two points on a run or pass play.

"I'm going to have a big white card that reads 'kick' and a big red card that reads 'pass-run.' After we score a touchdown, I'm going to hold up both cards, and the one that gets the most response from the fans will determine what we do."

Pete Elliott, California's young (31) football coach, says he plans to use a "countdown" in signal calling next season. "It should have a psychological impact," said Elliott. "We're hoping that when the quarterback starts by shouting, 'Count down,' and then calls decreasing numbers, it will result in an explosive line charge and allow our guided halfbacks to fire up into orbit."

Nothing? Well, remember it's only August and the show is still on the road.

Printers' Baseball

Two hundred of the best baseball players in the union printing trades assembled in New York last week, and, as one of them observed, "For one week we were in the big leagues." For one week each year for the past 50 years the top printers' baseball teams of the country have been meeting for an annual tournament, the first one opening on a bright September Sunday in 1908 at Sheepshead Bay, N.Y. with the 75-piece 23rd Regiment Band providing music and the picnic dinner including Boston brown bread, Rhode Island clams, sea bass, lobsters, Philadelphia chicken. The entertainment was featured by a fat man's race for printers weighing 200 pounds or more. (Boston beat Pittsburgh.)

Fifty years have made hardly a dent in the hallowed traditions of the printers. Last week they arrived in New York (as Jehovah's Witnesses were checking out) with their families, the defending champions from St. Louis traveling in two cars assigned to them by the Pennsylvania. They put up in an air-conditioned hotel, visited Ruppert's Brewery, enjoyed a cocktail party for the wives and spent evening after evening singing old songs. Each morning the 10 teams raced to Ebbets Field and various other playing fields around town for another elimination round starting at 11 o'clock. They were alert and eager, the general festivities of the night before rarely involving the players. As Eddie Moran, the St. Louis manager, observed, "You never drink when you're winning."

The Union Printers International Baseball League is the oldest amateur baseball organization in the country, and its members claim they play the best amateur ball to be seen anywhere. A player must be 1) a printer; 2) the son of a printer; 3) an apprentice printer. Many are former professional ballplayers.

Nevertheless, all printers plainly were not athletes. Games were spotty, a few innings of good minor league quality play, followed by tragic disorder. The New York Union Printers trailed the Boston Typos 7-0 in the third inning, piled up six runs and then, in the fifth, let three runs come in on a wild throw from third. The ball arched so high over home that John Licato, managing the New York team, said in a voice of mild wonder, "How can a man throw a ball straight up in the air?" In general, the games looked like exhibitions by former professional ballplayers who were surprised to find they had become printers, or of printers who were surprised to find themselves in a ball park. After six days of play, Washington, most of whose team is employed in the Government Printing Office, won the championship for the 22nd time.

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