Stanford was playing its first game under new Coach Clark Shaughnessy. The 1939 team, winner of only one game, was considered the worst in Stanford history. "We learned what it takes to be labeled a failure," said John Warnecke, a humble tackle then, now the celebrated architect of the Kennedy Memorial, among other striking projects. The 1940 Stanford team revolutionized big-time football with the T formation. In the opening game with San Francisco State, Stanford Quarterback Frank Albert tentatively called one of Shaughnessy's plays on one side, then one on another, and they went for big chunks of yardage. "He walked back to the huddle," Warnecke remembered the other day, "and said, 'Holy God, this stuff really works!' " It did, and an undefeated and untied Stanford team went on to defeat Nebraska 21-13 in the Rose Bowl.
Those opening games were played a month and a week before President Roosevelt defeated Wendell Willkie by a vote of 27,243,466 to 22,304,755 to become the first President to serve three terms. In the light of such historical developments even memorable games were forgotten. UCLA lost for the first time in 14 starts to Southern Methodist in a night game before 70,000. That was the game in which Jackie Robinson, playing safety, gave UCLA its only score as the Bruins lost 9-6. He fielded a punt on the first bounce, streaked straight upfield for 15 yards, darted to his left to evade a cluster of tacklers, picked up blockers and raced unmolested 87 yards for a touchdown. Tom Harmon's exploits in Michigan's opening game with California at Berkeley were even more extraordinary. He ran back the opening kickoff for a touchdown and scored with an eight-yard rush and runs of 72 and 86 yards to give Michigan a 41-0 victory. This was the game in which a California fan made a leap to the field, eluded guards and police and tried to stop Harmon with a grab for his legs as he crossed the goal line.
Harmon, Robinson, Rankin and the other 1965 Silver Anniversary Award winners—and probably most of the students who played college football in 1940—are not only still interested in the game, but often zealots, missionaries or propagandists for it. Dr. Harold Sponberg, once a guard with Gustavus Adolphus, put the matter succinctly. He is the new president of fast-growing (7,500 students) Eastern Michigan University at Ypsilanti, which almost never won games before he arrived. In a speech urging a new, positive approach Dr. Sponberg concluded, "Let us have a team the band can be proud of!" It caught on, and now the battle cry "Win one for the band!" echoes often in Ypsilanti.
Dr. Robert Jamplis, once a quarterback at Chicago, stated the nature of the enthusiasm even more vividly. He is an eminent authority on cardiovascular surgery and the author of articles with such titles as Circumscribed Pulmonary Lesions and Gunshot Wound of the Heart. He is the driving force behind the fine Palo Alto Medical Clinic which, with its staff of 110 doctors, he envisions as another Mayo Clinic. But he is, above all, a football enthusiast and sees every Stanford game, having wangled a job as assistant to the team physician. "Some fellows go duck hunting," he says. "I go with the football team. People don't seem to put college football in perspective. When I go to a party I hear conversation about the team that makes the players like robots or old pros. They're just kids. Each game is not the end of the world."
THOMAS B. ADAMS
Eight years ago Tom Adams was plucked from a group of promising young execs of the Campbell-Ewald Co. and made president. His job: to reorganize the management team of the ad company, infusing young blood and new ideas. Next year the job will be completed. "The past eight years have been a challenge," Adams says, "but less, I think, than the next eight." Will he succeed? Well, take the Buffalo game of 1940. It had been snowing for days and the end zone lines were hidden. Twice Adams scored for Wayne State, but the officials were not certain. Finally he went over with a vengeance, through the end zone and up to the wall of the grandstand. The touchdown was undisputed.
RICHARD L. BALCH
Things began solidly enough for Richard Balch. He went to Union College because his parents wanted it that way. They also wanted him to transfer to Harvard or Yale or Stanford after two years, but he liked the intimacy of Union, and that was it for doing what was expected of him. He quarterbacked an unbeaten team in his junior year and has spent the last 25 years leaving safe positions. Just last November he resigned as vice-chancellor of student affairs at the University of California's Irvine campus to join the Mental Research Institute of Palo Alto, Calif. specializing in family therapy. The reason, perfectly obvious to Balch: "It gives me the chance to work at the root of our society."
HUGH R.K. BARBER
It was quite a moment when his Columbia teammates elected him captain, but it did not sit well with Hugh Remegius Kilroe Barber. "To be judged by your peers for this position," he said, "seems unfair, because this is an individual honor in a team sport." Barber has sought no individual honors since, but they have come by the hundred to this authority in ovarian cancer. In a workday that is often 18 hours long, he dedicates himself to doing something about the disease he feels has become a serious threat to future generations. What gives an earnestness to his cause is the belief that facilities for simple tests to enable early diagnosis could lessen the danger. "We have the means today," he says, "to eradicate invasive cancer of the cervix and uterus which, together, constitute 40,000 new cases a year."