Mr. Frank speaks of meaningless statistics. I would like to ask him if this is one: Jack Yerman ran two two-turn 440-yard dashes in 46.6 as a sophomore last year, and I printed a story stating he thus became the fastest teen-age (he's 19) two-turn quarter-miler in world history.
My opinion is that any time a local athlete can be named the world's best at anything, he should be. This can't be too much to ask of a typewriter.
Is this a meaningless statistic? A few months ago Jack Mauger of Sacramento Junior College spoke here after watching the U.S.-Russian meet. A track coach, Mauger was known as the best left-handed pole-vaulter of his time and held the world's record in this capacity.
Announcing that he would speak here, I included Mauger's title as the onetime world's finest southpaw pole-vaulter. Is this wrong?
Here's another instance. While in the Army I served with former NCAA pole vault co-champion Dick Coleman of Illinois.
I told him he held the record for the highest vault by a left-handed Negro pole-vaulter, as he had reached 14 feet 7 inches. He got a kick out of it. Is this wrong? A meaningless statistic?
Here's another one for Mr. Frank. We had a sophomore high hurdler at Woodland High School by the name of Manuel Contreras, who ran 14.6 as a sophomore. Thanks to Dick Bank of the Track & Field News, I found out this was only one-tenth of a second off the national sophomore record set by John Smith of Maine High. School in Des Plaines, Ill. Thus our athlete, Contreras, is the second-greatest high school sophomore high hurdler in prep history.
Is it wrong to make such a claim via statistics?
Among my duties is to write pregame stories to draw fans to football and basketball games. With the aid of offensive and defensive statistics, the job is made easier.
It's more enjoyable to say and to read that "Joe Doaks, a 6-foot-1, 205-pound junior fullback, comes into the grid game with 800 yards gained rushing, 230 passing and nine touchdowns" than "Joe Doaks will start at fullback." Statistics help to describe—if nothing else.