GREATEST COMPETITORS IN HISTORY
Yesterday (SI, Mar. 21) about the great days of the old Irish-American Athletic Club took me back to my boyhood when we lived within a few blocks of the clubhouse on 59th Street, and I was a very junior, noncompeting member whose chief value, with others of my ilk, was to swell the cheering sections at Celtic Park or Madison Square Garden.
I think your article errs in two details. The big weight throwers of the Irish were never called "Whales" in their or my day. This term must be the later invention of sportswriters who were not contemporary with the athletes in competition; Arthur Daley's column in the Times used the word recently, and I believe he is comparatively young. As I recall them, these Irish giants would probably have taken umbrage at a name which might be mistaken for a country foreign to their native sod.
Further, you include Matt McGrath as being a member of the Irish-American AC. He properly belonged there, of course, but my recollection is that the New York AC in some way got him signed up first, and Lieut. McGrath competed under the Winged Foot, not the Winged Fist, except when, like all the others, he had the shield of the U.S.A. on his Olympics jersey.
I hope no casual reader will think of the IAAC as being all weight and brawn in field events. They had an equal number of track greats. Martin Sheridan was second only to Jim Thorpe as the greatest all-round athlete of his day—he could do the hundred in 10 flat and jump high and broad with the best specialists; he really popularized the discus throw in this country, and threw it Greek-style as well as the free-style which has become standard; we kids used to imitate his gyrations in PSAL field games. In their track men, Mel Sheppard was, of course, pre-eminent, but they had track speedsters galore; and in two Olympics I recall this single club of the U.S.A. had a greater point total than all the rest of the nations competing combined. Much of the credit for this was due their great coach, Lawson Robertson, who assembled in the old brick building on East 59th Street what was probably the greatest aggregation of competitors in athletic history.
EDWARD B. EGAN
ALLOW ME TO MENTION
In answer to Mr. R. J. White's question as to when the one-handed basketball shot was first used—asked in Mar. 21 19TH HOLE—allow me to mention the fact that Glen Killinger, All-America Quarterback of 1921 and a basketball player of great ability while a student at Pennsylvania State College, used a one-handed shot with great effect in 1919, 1920, 1921 and 1922. Professor B. M. Herman coached the basket ball team at Penn State during those years and Killinger is now athletic director at, I think, West Chester Teachers College in Pennsylvania.
I organized and coached the first basketball team at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, N.C. and on that team of 1910 I had a center, Marvin Ritch, who used the one-handed shot once in a while. Ritch is now a lawyer in Charlotte, N.C.
Then, too, the shot was being used by players at West Virginia at Morgantown, W. Va. in 1921.
It is a most natural shot and would have been used much sooner had coaches not been against it.
NAT J. CARTMELL
Advisory Track & Field Coach
West Point, N.Y.
I ALSO RECALL
I recall seeing a member of the Carlisle Indians basketball team use the one-hand fadeaway shot about 1912 playing against Swarthmore College at Swarthmore, Pa. and he used it successfully too. (I was a student then.)
HOWARD M. BUCKMAN
George School, Pa.
HISTORY MAINE STYLE
A delayed reaction to check facts to state that, while Mr. Rickey is a wonderful man and has done a lot for baseball, here are the facts.