Tuesday, May 22, 2012


When Irish Bats Were Burning.

The final score was Dublin 34, Sandersville 17. No, it wasn't a football score from the early 1960s. Nor was it the final tally of a basketball game back in the 1940s. What happened on the 6th day of June in 1954 was nothing less than unbelievable. For the 51 points on the scoreboard that day came not on the gridiron nor on the hardwood courts, but on the diamond of Lovett Park. In the near century and one half of the history of professional baseball, only a couple of games have ever seen more than fifty runs scored in a single nine-inning game. This is the story of one of those games.

The year was 1954. Dublin's entry in the Georgia State League, which had formerly played under the title of the Green Sox, was enjoying a fine early season as the Dublin Irish. The Irish, managed by George Kinnamon, were just a few games out of first place behind the Vidalia Indians, the eventual league champs. Dwelling in the cellar were the hapless Sandersville Wacos in the year 1 B.Mc. (Before McCovey). In the following season, the Washington County team would sign future Hall of Fame slugger Willie McCovey, who would help to elevate the team to a 2nd place finish in 1955.

The two teams met in a two-game weekend series in early June. In the first game on Saturday night, the Irish scored four runs in the top of the 10th inning to win, 6-2.

"It was a hot Sunday afternoon, one of the hottest I ever remembered," recalled Irish bat boy Thurston Branch. Ray Stefanik took the mound for the Irish. Manager George Kinnamon, wearing the tools of ignorance, gave regular catcher, Denton Lakatosh, a well deserved day off. The Wacos jumped out to an early 6-0 lead on the Irish starter with three runs coming on Rudy Warren's four bagger over the right field fence in the top of the first and another three runs in the top of the second stanza with three hits, three Irish errors, and two bases on balls.

Sandersville hurler Alfredo Diaz held the Dublin nine scoreless in the first; but ran into a bit of trouble in the home half of the second inning. The Irish came roaring back, sending an even dozen men to the plate. Diaz was relieved by Richard Schurrer, who could only retire one Dublin hitter. Willard Moore came on as the third Waco pitcher of the inning. Moore finally retired the Irish, but not before the men in green scored eight runs on five hits and four walks.

Stefanik shut out the opposition for the next four innings. But, it was hot, real hot. Bat boy Branch remembered it being so hot that the manager put some green liquid in the water bucket to keep his team from having a heat stroke. Branch remembered the pitchers putting cold towels over their faces while they rested on a coolest spot on the bench between innings.

In the bottom of the third, it was obvious that the havoc reeking Irish were not about to cool down. Another dozen men stepped into the batter's box in the third frame of the game. Seven crossed the plate behind two home runs, a double, two singles, two sacrifices, three bases on balls, a hit batter, and one Sandersville miscue. Moore, who was winless during the season and later picked up by the Irish, was yanked in favor of another Waco reliever, Dick Lazicky (Lazenby), who appeared in his first and last game of the season.

Leading 15-6 in the bottom of the fourth, the Irish poured it on with four singles, a walk, and yet two more Waco errors. Out of pitchers, Ray Garman, who started in the outfield, was sacrificed to finish the game for the boys from Sandersville. The Irish scored four in the fourth. Not to be outdone, the Dublin nonet scored ten coffin-nailing runs in the fifth with one homer, four doubles, five singles, two errors, one walk, and one wild pitch to take a 29-6 lead.

One would think with the blazing June sun bearing down on them, the Irish would go to the plate swinging at anything, just to get a cool, early shower. They did swing at anything. The trouble was they kept whacking and cracking and hitting the ball. Five more Irish runners stepped on the plate in the bottom of the sixth behind a double, two errors, one walk, and one final Waco wild pitch to run the score up to 34-6.

Thurston Branch remembered that plate umpire Forder, in succumbing to the horrendous heat, requested that Branch simply roll new balls out to him instead of running fresh clean white ones out to him. The bat boy had a rough day. The Irish started the game with four bats. Before borrowing bats from the Wacos, the Irish shared an old bat salvaged from the locker room. One of the borrowed bats was good for an even dozen hits. No one knew that the team had a dozen brand new ones in an unopened box in the front office.

Pure pride took over. Garmon, who played for Dublin in 1955, held the Irish scoreless in their last two at bats in the seventh and eighth innings. Suddenly, Sandersville's hitters came alive. Exhausted Dublin starter Stefanik faltered and left the game in the seventh. Bob Vanassee came into the game for the Irish and held on. The Irish southpaw reliever gave up four runs in the seventh, six in the eighth, and a single run in the ninth, when the game ended in a 34-17, three-hour-five-minute slugfest. Ironically, Sandersville's Schurrer was saddled with the loss although he only gave up four of the thirty-four Irish tallies, while Garmon, who was left to the wolves, surrendered sixteen, not so sweet, Irish runs.

Left handed hitting Bill Shires led the Irish for the second game in row with a round tripper, a two-base hit, and three single safeties and scored six runs (one short of a modern day record) in his seven trips to the plate. Third baseman Gil Meekins, left fielder Bill Causion, and shortstop Milt Morris had four hits apiece. The Irish, in fifty-two at bats, had twenty-nine hits. Both teams combined for 11 errors on the sweltering diamond. In the words of Courier Herald sports reporter Dwight Smith, "The Irish tied the Wacos and then poured on the tar and the feathers."

League president Bill Estroff, who was in attendance and not at all happy with the result, remarked, "That was too much baseball in one day."Manager Kinnamon, the team's leading hitter, wrote in his Courier Herald column, The Pepper Box, "Someone asked me why I just didn't tell my boys to go to the plate and strike out. If I did so, I would be telling them not to do something I want them to do. So I just let the frolic ride as such. It was a big enough farce without helping it out." The veteran Kinnamon concluded, "When the ball bounces your way there's nothing one can do to stop it."

An extensive search of the Internet revealed that the most runs ever scored in a minor league game came way back on June 15, 1902 when Corsicana defeated Texarkana by the score of 51-3. The 54-run game can easily be discredited by the fact that Sunday Blue Laws forced the teams to play on a non regulation field. It was also reported that the cracker box field had no fences, while others said that the right field fence was a mere 210 feet from home plate. On April 30, 1983, El Paso defeated Beaumont, 35 to 21. Both teams were aided by nearly tropical force winds gusting out to right field. The Irish-Waco total of 51 runs in a minor league game was eventually matched on June 29, 2009 when the Lake Elsinore Storm defeated the High Desert Mavericks in a California League game, 33-18. In the big leagues, the most runs scored by both teams in a major league game came on August 25, 1922 when the Chicago Cubs outlasted the Philadelphia Phillies, 26-23 for a total of forty-nine runs.

In a sport where arguments always abound, I make the argument that the most runs ever scored in a professional game on a regulation field, not aided by 35 mph winds, came on a scorching Sunday in June at Lovett Park, right here in Dublin, nearly 57 years ago. Now when the skies are bright blue and the grass is fresh and green once again, it's time to play baseball.

I dedicate this column to my son Scotty, who taught me to love the game all over again, the memory of my good friend, the late Millard Whittle of Dexter, who loved and enjoyed an entire century of baseball and now sits in the grandstands watching his heroes play on the fields of his dreams and to my barber, Thurston Branch, who was there on that sweltering Sunday when the Irish bats were burning.


The Great Races of 1911

It wasn't exactly the Indianapolis 500. That would start twenty days later. It was more like the Dublin 1.6. It wasn't run on a circular tract, and the participants didn't race each other. They raced against the clock. But, to the thousands of locals and several hundred visitors, they were the first car races, the Great Races of 1911.

Automobiles had not been around long. The first one came to town nine years earlier, fascinating bystanders and terrorizing horses tied to the hitching posts. Five more years passed before Dublin's first automobile dealers set up shop. The thrill of the "horseless carriage" captivated the well to do men of the city. Cars became status symbols. They have always been status symbols. Bigger was better. Faster was even better.

The allure of racing charmed more than seventy five Dubliners who traveled to Savannah in 1908 to watch the international 400 mile car races. Most of the people in Dublin had never see a car race of any kind before. By the time of the 1911 races, there were an estimated 150 cars in the city.

The precursor of the Great Races came in late April 1910, when a group of men staged a hill climbing contest on Turkey Creek Hill near Dudley, from the west side of the creek up to the top of the hill. Charles Eberlein, driving a White Star car, finished first with a 35-second run. Coming in a close second was Noble Marshall, who opened the first Chevrolet franchise in town, and L.W. Miller, who owned the first car dealership in Dublin. Another hill climb was staged on the day before the Great Races, just to get everyone in the mood for speed.

Car afficionados organized themselves as the Dublin Automobile Racing Association, Inc. H.G. Stevens, a hardware store magnate, was elected president. L.J. Bowyer acted as the group's secretary, while W.L. Branch was hired as general manager to run the day to day activities of the company.

Although this racing thing was new to everyone in town, organizers had an idea of what they wanted in a race track. The Laurens County Commissioners of Roads and Revenue agreed to furnish convict labor to grade the track since most of the course was outside the city limits, which at the time extended only to the Coney Street area. Newspapers reported that the organizers "got what they wanted." Boosters claimed their track was equal to any track in the United States.

The 1.6 mile races began near the home of J.R. Robinson on what was then known as "The Chicken Road," an old Indian trail running from Hawkinsville to the Oconee River at Dublin. The racers would cross the finish line at the Carnegie Library (Dublin-Laurens Museum.)

The races were divided into four events. Cars costing less than $650.00 were placed in the "A" Class. Those autos valued at $650.00 to $950.00 were assigned to the "B" Class. All cars above that exorbitant price would race in Class "C." Class "D" would be composed of an open class of cars.

Any good race needs prizes. So the people of Dublin who wanted to see the cars race chipped in. Handsome loving cups were purchased to go along with more useful cash prizes. Winners in Class A were awarded $15.00 in cash and a $25.00 cup up to $75.00 and a $100.00 cup in Class D. Any good race needs revenue too. The race itself was free. But, a special grandstand was built on the Burts property on Bellevue. Box seats cost a dollar a head, while regular grandstand seats went for a silver half-dollar. Entry fees ranged from $5.00 for Class A to $15.00 for the open class cars of Class D.

Races need rules too. Every car was required to be a gasoline-powered stock automobile, although drivers were allowed to remove certain parts to boost their speed. No professional drivers were allowed. Every car underwent an inspection thirty minutes before the starting time.

Cars began to arrive in town on Sunday. During the practice runs, several of the cars nearly topped the 75 mph mark. One racer was so excited he drew the attention of a Dublin police officer. The policeman admonished the driver for being a little too reckless and asked him to ease up a bit. The confident motorist responded, "If you can drive this car slow, you beat me. Get in and let me show you how she can fly!" His invitation was quickly declined.

The Great Races were set for 10:00 o'clock in the morning on Wednesday, May 10. All business houses closed early that morning. School kids got the day off. Inbound trains were crammed with hundreds of enthusiasts. The starting time was moved up to accommodate out of town visitors in meeting their afternoon trains back to their homes in Hawkinsville, Macon and other places. The night before the races, a crew was sent along Bellevue Avenue and the Chicken Road, known today as Bellevue Road, to sprinkle the dusty dirt avenue into ideal racing conditions. The Weather God came through with picture perfect skies. Traffic coming into town from the west was diverted at Captain W.B. Rice's home on the present grounds of the VA Hospital down to the Cotton Mill property on Marion Street. Members of the D.A.R.A. stood guard at every intersection along the track to prevent non-racers from entering the course.

Dublin's John F. Smith fell out of contention a third of the way down the course when his Maxwell blew a piston rod in the first sprint of the day. J.T. Coleman, of Hawkinsville, dropped out when his Buick 16 caught on fire and was completely destroyed.

With an obligatory 100-yard running start given to all contestants, A.M. Kea, of Dublin, driving a Maxwell A, captured first place in Class A, just ahead of J.L. Roberson, also of Dublin, at a slow poke average speed of 37mph. The two virtually equal Ford cars of the Laurens Automobile and Repair Company, driven by T.F. Dunnell and E.L. Porter, traveled 56 mph and finished 1-2 - a single second apart in the second race. Dominating the entire field was Herbert Wilson, of Hagan, Ga., driving his Cole 30 automobile. Wilson finished first in the third round of the day. In the open class, Wilson, traveling at an average speed of 65.6 mph, bested his own time with a course record of 1 minute and 28 seconds. Wilson took his second first place of the day twelve seconds ahead of F.S. Michael, of Baxley, driving a Buick 16, who took second place in the last two races. Thankfully, no one was injured.

The Great Races were an unequivocal success. In the excitement of the moment, men began plans to establish a country club with a circular race track nearby. Every one wanted bigger and better races. It would only be two more months before the races returned on the 4th of July. The excitement proved too much to the public as Dublin Police Chief J.E. Hightower had to buy and use a stopwatch to catch the speeders still on a high from the Great Races of 1911.



On a warm, early spring Friday afternoon, a baseball game was played. Not just an ordinary semi-pro game for the folks in Eastman, Georgia, it was nine-inning game between the Detroit Tigers of the American League and the Boston Braves of the National League. Four thousand avid baseball fans filled every seat and lined the perimeter of the newly constructed ball field to see several of the grand ol’ game’s finest play America’s greatest pastime.  (LEFT-DICK RUDOLH, BOSTON)

In the days before routine airline travel and obligatory spring training sites in Florida and Arizona, many teams spent their pre-seasons in places like Macon, Augusta and Columbus, Georgia. Two of those teams, the Tigers and the Braves, planned a 17-game series beginning in Columbus, extending through the Carolinas, and ending in Maryland before the start of the 1920 season.

The Boston Nationals took the first three games of the series by good margins of the 3, 5, and 3 runs in Columbus, Moultrie and Valdosta. Eastman was the fourth stop along the way. Dublin, a much larger city, would have normally been on the list. The Braves scheduled games there in 1917, 1918 and 1919. The 1917 game with the Yankees was rained out. The 1918 rematch was unforgettable. The Braves’ 1919 game with the Tigers was canceled when Dublin promoters insisted that Ty Cobb  (LEFT) play in the game.

Nimbocumulus clouds rolling in from the west didn’t look so good for the game that day. But, that didn’t stop the fans from plunking down their hard earned, nearly pure silver coins for a fine bench seat or staking out a good spot along the fence.

Promoters of the game in Dodge County set out to improve their fairgrounds by laying out a permanent athletic field inside of the existing horse racing track. The planners, in anticipation of the newest sensation of the day, designed the field to accommodate the landing of the highly popular biplanes, which entertained old and young alike.

To maximize the fan’s view of the game, home plate was situated directly in front of the grandstand, which was divided into sections to optimize ticket prices. In the days and weeks leading up to the game, ticket sales, mainly held in three local drug stores as well as locations in other cities, were exceptionally brisk. Advertisements boldly proclaimed, “There is going to be a real, jam up, honest to goodness ball game with real, sure enough major league players.”

The teams, with a squad of sportswriters and photographers tagging along, were scheduled to arrive in five Pullman rail cars at 1:45 p.m. on the afternoon of March 26, 1920. The game’s first pitch was set for 3:00 p.m. sharp. Onto the field they came, real major league ball players. Eight thousand hands clapped. Four thousand mouths cheered. It was time to play ball!

The Detroit Tigers were led by the legendary Ty Cobb. Surviving newspaper accounts of the day never revealed whether or not Cobb was in uniform that day, but he was with the team and ready to play. Bengal manager Hughie Jennings (LEFT)  - himself a future member of the Baseball Hall of Fame - was tired of being drubbed by the Beaneaters from Boston. So, instead of trying to make do with a make shift lineup, Jennings sent his line up card out to umpire Finneran with his best players pencilled in. The Tiger lineup featured Harry Heilmann playing at first base. Heilmann, a four-time American League Batting Champion, was consistently among the league leaders in offense and defense. Named to the Hall of Fame in 1952, “Slug” Heilmann is still regarded as one of the top players of the 20th Century.

Six years earlier in 1914, they called Braves’ manager George Stallings’ team, “The Miracle Braves,” for their miraculous climb from the National League cellar on July 18 to a World Championship with their four-game sweep of the seemingly invincible Philadelphia Athletics in the World Series. Stallings  (LEFT) , a resident of Jones County, was the first to make Georgia the home of the Braves, when he brought them to Macon, Columbus, and sometimes even to his own home in Jones County for spring training.

Playing at shortstop for the Braves was Walter “Rabbitt” Maranville, (LEFT) a consistent fielder who retired as the all time positional leader at shortstop in put outs. Also present, but playing little for the Braves that year, was Hank Gowdy. Gowdy, who went on to play 21 seasons, played for the “Miracle Braves” and was forever known as the first major leaguer to enlist in the Army in World War I. Known more for his glove than his bat, Gowdy lost many bids for election to the Hall of Fame.

Manager Jennings sent George “Hooks” Dauss  (LEFT) to the mound in an effort to prevent a fourth straight loss to their traveling mates. Dauss, whose 221 wins for the Tigers in 15 seasons is a franchise record, garnered 21 of his victories in the previous season. Stallings countered with his old reliable, Dick Rudolph. Rudolph, the sole remaining pitcher from the 1914 squad, started the first game of the 1914 World Series and baffled Connie Mack’s hapless Athletics with his elusive, and then legal, spitball pitches.

The Braves quickly appeared that they were going to run away with yet another game, jumping out to a two-unearned run lead in the bottom of the first inning. Dauss settled down. Going back to his 1919 form, the curveball ace held the Braves scoreless going into the top of the 4th stanza.

Ralph “Pep” Young, exceedingly efficient at getting on base, led off the top of the 4th for the Tigers with a base on balls. Sammy Hale, who hailed from Glen Rose, Texas, flied out. Bobby Veach, (LEFT) the all time Major League leader in putouts for a left fielder and the first Tiger player to ever hit for the cycle, doubled. Veach never stopped running. When a “dead duck” throw went wild, Veach followed Young home to tie the game at 2-2.

Dauss pitched one final inning until he was relieved by Ernie Alten in the 5th. Alten, who shut out the Braves for the rest of game, had little luck in the regular season when posting a pathetic 9.00 ERA in his only year in the Majors.

In the top of the 6th inning, Young once again led off, this time with a solid single. Sammy Hale, who led the AL in sacrifice hits that season, sacrificed himself, driving Young to second base. Not wanting a repeat of another Veach (2-3) hit, Boston pitcher, “Handsome Hugh” McQuillan, intentionally walked the Tiger outfielder, who stands alone in baseball trivia as the only player ever to pinch hit for Babe Ruth.

Harry Heilmann, (LEFT)  who sported a lifetime batting average of .342 and who along with Ted Williams were the last two AL batters to post a .400 plus batting average, disappointingly flied out. With two runners on and two outs in the inning, Babe Ellison, whose best playing days were ahead of him as a great player in the Pacific Coast League, doubled, driving in both Hale and Veach and sending the Tigers to a 4-2 lead, a margin which they would hold until the end of the contest.

Alas, the game came to an end. The exhilarated crowd scattered into the countryside. The Braves’ streak was over. The teams met in Macon on Saturday and again in Atlanta on Sunday. Both teams finished next to dead last in their respective leagues, each more than 30 games out first place. Ty Cobb, in the twilight of iconic career, suffered a leg injury and missed 40 games that year. It would the last of George “The Miracle Man” Stallings’ 14 seasons at the helm of a major league team.

All of that was lost on those four thousand fortunate baseball fans, who for the most part, saw their first and only major league game on that March day when giants played on their field.


He was big and tall - as strong as man could come. He could knock down any tackler, blast a baseball way out of the park and stuff a basketball into the net. Joshua Crittenden Cody had already proved himself as a three-sport athlete. It was time to prove himself as a coach. But, before taking the reigns as head coach of Mercer University’s football team, Josh Cody put his baseball uniform on one more time to lead the Dublin Irishers to a successful, albeit short, season in the summer of 1920.

Joshua Crittenden Cody was born on June 11, 1892 in the Nashville suburb of Franklin, Tennessee. At the age of twenty-two, Cody, a son of self employed house painter James Cody and his wife Elizabeth, enrolled in nearby Vanderbilt University and joined the football team. You see, although he was a grown man, Josh Cody was a very big man, as tall as 6'4" and weighing 220 pounds or more, characteristics that would have made him a giant in his day.

Cody, playing tackle on both sides of the line of scrimmage, made his mark early when in his second game, drop-kicked a 45-yard field goal against the always powerful Michigan Wolverines. Later that year, the towering tackle dropped back into the backfield and threw a 12-yard touchdown pass against Virginia.

The Vanderbilt Commodores reversed their fortunes in 1915, going 9-1. Cody, a big part of the team’s turnaround with his powerful blocking and quick tackling, earned his first selection to the All American team. Cody and the boys from Vandy (7-1-1) posted another fine season in 1916. Once again, Cody was named to the All American team.

The coming of World War I took Josh Cody away from football to serve his country as an infantry lieutenant. Lt. Cody took off his Army uniform and put his football uniform back on for one final season in 1919. The Commodores lost only a single game. Cody topped off his collegiate career with his third selection to the All American team. He was one of the first and the very few persons ever to be named first team All American three times.

Josh Cody wasn’t just a superlative football player. His letterman’s jacket was covered with a lucky thirteen letters in football, basketball, baseball and track in his four seasons at Vandy.

“When I think of Josh in his college days, I get a mental picture of this great big fellow playing catcher in the spring and between innings running out beyond the outfield to throw the shot or the discus in his baseball uniform. He was unbelievably skillful and nimble for a big man in basketball, and in football where he’s a legend, said sports writer Fred Russell about Cody.

Mercer University hired the multi-sport star to coach their athletic teams beginning with football in the autumn of 1920. But before beginning his duties in Macon, the owners of the Dublin Irishers semi-pro baseball team hired Cody, along with then current Vanderbilt baseballers catcher Mims Tyner and third baseman Woodruff, to play on the team.

Cody did quite of bit of managing from behind the plate, catching the Irishers’ first game and garnering two of the team’s four hits in a losing effort against Millen. After going an outstanding 16-7 in five weeks of baseball, the Irishers surprisingly disbanded due to lack of financial support and attendance.

After several lackluster seasons at Mercer, Coach Cody was easily lured back to Vanderbilt as head basketball and assistant football coach under his mentor and former coach, the legendary Dan McGugin, on the gridiron. During his tenure at Vandy, the gridiron Commodores were just mediocre at best. Cody’s hardwood five (20-4) won the Southern Conference championship.

Clemson University was the next stop on Cody’s climb to the top of his game. In four seasons with the Tigers, Cody’s footballers never lost more than three games in a season, beating South Carolina four straight times and in the process, making Coach Cody the only Clemson coach with more than two seasons who never lost to their hated intrastate rival.

Josh Cody desperately wanted to return to Vanderbilt as the head football coach. He did return in 1931, but when another coach was chosen to lead the team, Cody looked elsewhere. His Florida Gators suffered through four losing seasons. Once again Cody was on the move.

The Tennessean wound up at Temple University in Philadelphia as line coach under Ray Morrison, the former Vandy alumni who had taken the head job at Vandy away from him in 1934. The highlight of his basketball coaching career (1942-1952) came in 1944, when Temple made it to the Elite 8 of the NCAA tournament. A football assistant, Cody became the university’s athletic director in 1952.

The unforseen resignation of the school’s football coach in 1955 gave Joshua Cody one final chance to coach football. His team lost every game.

Joshua Cody, known as “Big Man” to his friends and fans, was known far and wide as a champion eater. Fred Russell once said, “When he was at Clemson he had a contest with Herman Stegman, the coach at Georgia. Josh weighed about 260 then. He out stripped Stegman by 11 chickens. He wasn’t satisfied just to win. He just went on to a decisive victory.” Said Cody on the eating contest, “I got two chickens ahead of him early and just coasted.”

A teammate of Cody in 1919, Atlanta Constitution publisher Ralph McGill said about Cody, “He was a great big fellow and one of the most seriously dedicated fellows I’ve ever met. He was a farm boy and he didn’t have any polish but he was very honest and sincere. He didn’t have scholarship——we had none in those days——but he had a real job. He literally cleaned the gymnasium every day, cleaned up the locker rooms and the showers, and tended to the coal furnace after practice.”

Nearly two months after his death on June 17, 1969, Joshua Cody, along with Wilbur Henry, was selected as the tackles (both ways) on the All Time 1869-1918 Early Era All American NCAA Football team.

Cody was posthumously enshrined into the National College Hall of Fame in 1970 and the Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame in 1999. He remains Vanderbilt’s only three-time (1915, 1916, 1919) All-American football player.

On a personal note, Coach Cody was my grandfather Howard Irving Scott’s football and basketball coach at Mercer University in the 1920-1 seasons. It will also be noted that a decade later, another quite legendary coach, Wally Butts of the University of Georgia, played for Dublin’s semi-pro team, only to see his season cut short when he injured his leg in the second game of the season.

But it was in those bright, warm, twenty-three summer days, the days of Joshua Cody, when Dublin’s baseball team was led by one of college football’s greatest linemen.