Footnote Athletes


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Re: Footnote Athletes

Postby kuha » Mon Apr 29, 2013 8:10 am

A curious problem--defining "footnote" athletes. For me, someone like Tommy Fulton is a true footnote athlete, not an Olympic medalist and consistent competitor like John Carlos. Wes Santee doesn't qualify either, as he had at least 4 "normal" years as a competitor--in an era when that often represented a full career.

A quote I came across years ago and have always really liked has some relevance here. These are the words of a 1950s literary critic (F. W. Dupee), describing an interesting but obscure writer: "a wonder, a precious anomaly, at once great and small, easy to forget but delightful to remember."

I like that sentiment a lot.
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Re: Footnote Athletes

Postby TN1965 » Mon Apr 29, 2013 8:21 am

Henry Rono and Daniel Komen.

Rono was a victim of two Olympic boycotts. Komen was probably as talented as Geb, but did not have the focus or discipline.
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Re: Footnote Athletes

Postby kuha » Mon Apr 29, 2013 8:25 am

TN1965 wrote:Henry Rono and Daniel Komen.

Rono was a victim of two Olympic boycotts. Komen was probably as talented as Geb, but did not have the focus or discipline.


Really? If so, I have no clue what the concept of "footnote athletes" actually is. These guys were giants who simply didn't win Olympic medals. That category, in itself, hasn't anything to do with being a "footnote."
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Re: Footnote Athletes

Postby Conor Dary » Mon Apr 29, 2013 8:31 am

TN1965 wrote:Henry Rono and Daniel Komen.

Rono was a victim of two Olympic boycotts. Komen was probably as talented as Geb, but did not have the focus or discipline.


Come on. Give me a break. Rono and Komen? Okay, they didn't run in Olympics. Big deal and so what? Sure they didn't have terrible long careers, especially Komen, but 7:20 is a footnote? Also 12:39 and the WC 5000 champ in 1997. So he didn't have a career like Geb. Who does?

And Rono, with 3 NCAA CC titles, 4 WRs in the magnificent 1978? Plus another 3 years later. A giant of his time. Almost like calling Ulysses S. Grant a footnote in the Civil War.

I am starting to wonder if anyone really knows what a footnote is.

If you want a footnote Kenyan I would go with someone like Simeon Kigen.
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Re: Footnote Athletes

Postby TN1965 » Mon Apr 29, 2013 12:32 pm

If Vines, Hoad and Campanella qualify as "footnotes" then certainly so do Rono and Komen.

Okay, a "real" footnote. Brien Taylor in baseball. I remember this guy making the local news headline, as I was living in NC when he was drafted.
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Re: Footnote Athletes

Postby Conor Dary » Mon Apr 29, 2013 12:57 pm

TN1965 wrote:If Vines, Hoad and Campanella qualify as "footnotes" then certainly so do Rono and Komen.

Okay, a "real" footnote. Brien Taylor in baseball. I remember this guy making the local news headline, as I was living in NC when he was drafted.


I have no idea who Vines or Hoad are. But yes, Campanella is definitely NOT a footnote.

http://www.amazon.com/Campy-The-Two-Liv ... +capanella
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Re: Footnote Athletes

Postby TN1965 » Mon Apr 29, 2013 1:29 pm

Conor Dary wrote: I have no idea who Vines or Hoad are. But yes, Campanella is definitely NOT a footnote.

http://www.amazon.com/Campy-The-Two-Liv ... +capanella


If you have no idea who Ellsworth Vines and Lew Hoad are, then that really proves bambam's point that they are "footnote" athletes. :wink:
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Re: Footnote Athletes

Postby Conor Dary » Mon Apr 29, 2013 1:35 pm

TN1965 wrote:
Conor Dary wrote: I have no idea who Vines or Hoad are. But yes, Campanella is definitely NOT a footnote.

http://www.amazon.com/Campy-The-Two-Liv ... +capanella


If you have no idea who Ellsworth Vines and Lew Hoad are, then that really proves bambam's point that they are "footnote" athletes. :wink:


Yes, if I the All Powerful Wizard of Sport Knowledge don't know who they are then they are footnotes...

Actually I use to follow baseball a lot, back in the 60's when Wrigley Field would have crowds of 800 and wouldn't open the Upper Deck on weekdays. Not much anymore.

PS. Brien Taylor. I had to look him up. Now there is a real footnote guy. Perfect example of what we want here.....

PPS. I read the whole wiki article. What a knucklehead. Sounds like he is on his way to do a Danielson-type comeback in the footnote category.
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Re: Footnote Athletes

Postby bambam » Mon Apr 29, 2013 2:16 pm

TN1965 wrote:
Conor Dary wrote: I have no idea who Vines or Hoad are. But yes, Campanella is definitely NOT a footnote.

http://www.amazon.com/Campy-The-Two-Liv ... +capanella


If you have no idea who Ellsworth Vines and Lew Hoad are, then that really proves bambam's point that they are "footnote" athletes. :wink:


I think that is my point - they have to be known primarily to the true cognoscenti in their sports, and not to the general public or basic sports fans. I don't think Rono qualifies, given his feats of the 4 world records in 1978(?)
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Re: Footnote Athletes

Postby Conor Dary » Mon Apr 29, 2013 2:50 pm

bambam wrote:
TN1965 wrote:
Conor Dary wrote: I have no idea who Vines or Hoad are. But yes, Campanella is definitely NOT a footnote.

http://www.amazon.com/Campy-The-Two-Liv ... +capanella


If you have no idea who Ellsworth Vines and Lew Hoad are, then that really proves bambam's point that they are "footnote" athletes. :wink:


I think that is my point - they have to be known primarily to the true cognoscenti in their sports, and not to the general public or basic sports fans. I don't think Rono qualifies, given his feats of the 4 world records in 1978(?)


That is a rather vague definition. So vague that it is meaningless. By that definition Paavo Nurmi is a footnote. I think I would be hard pressed to find many basic sport fans or the general public know who he is anymore. Or Derek Ibbotson or even Herb Elliot for that matter.
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Re: Footnote Athletes

Postby kuha » Mon Apr 29, 2013 5:34 pm

Conor Dary wrote:That is a rather vague definition. So vague that it is meaningless. By that definition Paavo Nurmi is a footnote. I think I would be hard pressed to find many basic sport fans or the general public know who he is anymore. Or Derek Ibbotson or even Herb Elliot for that matter.



Yes. The genuinely interesting "footnotes" have nothing to do with what "the general public" knows or remembers. By that standard, the entire sport (minus Bannister, Fosbury, Lewis, and maybe Al Oerter) is relegated to a footnote.

Here's a definition for you: Real t&f footnotes are athletes that close followers the sport would have paid attention to and been impressed by at the time--but who then fell out of "the sport's" collective conversation/memory absolutely entirely or effectively so. And why did they fall out of our collective memories? They had talent; in many cases remarkable talent. But they aren't remembered because they did not have long careers and never won the right races (or enough of them). This is a matter of talent, luck, persistence, and sometimes pure happenstance. As noted above, I nominate Tommy Fulton as one (of many) perfect examples of this category.

But NO one of the stature of Santee, Rono, Komen, etc., is remotely in that category. These guys are in the "athletes who perhaps weren't as great as we might have expected, or who got shafted one way or another in the Olympics." But that's something else entirely, and a category we've dealt with in the past.
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Re: Footnote Athletes

Postby Conor Dary » Mon Apr 29, 2013 6:01 pm

Deciding who is a footnote or not by what the public thinks is a rather self defeating prophesy.
It would be similar to showing family photos to perfect strangers and deciding which to keep by what they thought of your pictures.

As noted elsewhere the public doesn't know or care about track much anymore. To give an example, at our local Park District I run into Tom Sullivan often and have introduced him to quite a few people I know who I think might be interested in his track background. People in their 50's, 60's etc. who follow sports quite a bit. When they find out he once held the HS mile record at 4:03, they are usually pretty astonished. When I tell them Ryun broke his record most of them have a vague memory of the guy. And if I ever tell them Sullivan broke Elliot's WJR for 1500, well...you might have as well be talking to the moon. I have never had anyone remember who was.
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Re: Footnote Athletes

Postby Dutra5 » Mon Apr 29, 2013 6:45 pm

DrJay wrote:Basketball-Sam Bowie. Fought injury far more often than healthy.

Alan Webb will eventually be on this list.


The American Record holder in the mile is a footnote or will be? :?:
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Re: Footnote Athletes

Postby Per Andersen » Mon Apr 29, 2013 10:01 pm

Conor Dary wrote:


Yes, if I the All Powerful Wizard of Sport Knowledge don't know who they are then they are footnotes...


How about Bil Tilden and Duncan Edwards, heard of them? Just testing :D

But let's go with Ivo Van Damme.
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Re: Footnote Athletes

Postby kuha » Tue Apr 30, 2013 5:12 am

Per Andersen wrote:But let's go with Ivo Van Damme.


A double Olympic silver medalist who has a major meet named after him? I think not. :lol:
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Re: Footnote Athletes

Postby Conor Dary » Tue Apr 30, 2013 6:34 am

Per Andersen wrote:
Conor Dary wrote:


Yes, if I the All Powerful Wizard of Sport Knowledge don't know who they are then they are footnotes...


How about Bil Tilden and Duncan Edwards, heard of them? Just testing :D

But let's go with Ivo Van Damme.


Edwards has been mentioned twice already.

And IVD? As kuha noted, I don't think so. What not Pre? :roll:
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Re: Footnote Athletes

Postby br » Tue Apr 30, 2013 8:28 am

How about Tony Waldrop?

http://bringbackthemile.com/news/detail ... _his_story

In the mid-1970s, American middle-distance runner Tony Waldrop was lighting the track on fire. As a University of North Carolina senior, Waldrop set the world record for the indoor Mile, running a blazing 3:55.0 on February 17, 1974 in San Diego. Earlier that same year, he became the first man to break 4 minutes at the fabled Wanamaker Mile (3:59.7), and later in the year, Waldrop also set the still standing Penn Relays Mile record in 3:53.2, also his personal record (right, courtesy Track & Field News). In 1975, after staying at UNC as an assistant coach, Waldrop won a gold medal at the Pan American Games in the 1500m metric Mile event. However, as the 1976 Olympic Games in Montreal approached, Waldrop, who used to wear a “Run for Fun” t-shirt at his post-race press conferences, abruptly retired, saying that he had met his goals as a runner. He subsequently went on to earn his PhD in physiology. Waldrop is currently the provost at the University of Central Florida. Bring Back the Mile’s Duncan Larkin spoke with Waldrop about his Mile career and the Mile.

And this from Runner's World...

http://www.runnersworld.com/college-run ... ny-waldrop

As a University of North Carolina senior in 1974, Tony Waldrop went on a run of a lifetime, posting nine consecutive sub-4:00 miles, setting an indoor world record (3:55.0) that would stand as the collegiate record until 2009 (when Oklahoma State freshman German Fernandez finally surpassed his mark with a technically superior 3:55.02 automatic clocking), and scorching the Penn Relays mile with a record 3:53.2.

Much has been made of how Waldrop, now Dr. Waldrop, Vice Chancellor for Research and Economic Development at UNC, "pulled a Herb Elliott" and, a year later, was out of the sport for good. I tracked him down to find how he became a world-beater as an undergrad.
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Re: Footnote Athletes

Postby kuha » Tue Apr 30, 2013 10:04 am

Waldrop was definitely a name that I had on my immediate "short list." His name is basically not mentioned at all these days.
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Re: Footnote Athletes

Postby TN1965 » Tue Apr 30, 2013 10:49 am

Elena Mukhinia (broke her neck two weeks before Moscow Olympics).

Olga Mosteponova (the only gymnast in history to score 40/40, except it was not at Olympics or World Championships).

Diane Durham (should have been the top American gymnast in 1984).

Dmitry Bilozerchev (could have been the GOAT if not for an automobile accident).
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Re: Footnote Athletes

Postby no one » Tue Apr 30, 2013 12:00 pm

Rick Dempsey ... ?
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Re: Footnote Athletes

Postby Dutra5 » Tue Apr 30, 2013 1:31 pm

26mi235 wrote:


He was not a footnote by any means, but think if Koufax had not had problems with his arm (problems that now would have been more easily addressed, and of course, he was throwing 300+ innings a year).


With some medical types on the board I'd be interested in hearing if they are aware of changes in medicine since 1966 which would have helped Koufax. He had Reynaud's Phenomenon which caused his left arm to blow up between starts. I don't know that another player of any great note has ever been said to have this nor whether it could be treated successfully enough for Koufax to have continued pitching...which he did anyway for some time before retiring.
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Re: Footnote Athletes

Postby bambam » Tue Apr 30, 2013 3:18 pm

Dutra5 wrote:
26mi235 wrote:


He was not a footnote by any means, but think if Koufax had not had problems with his arm (problems that now would have been more easily addressed, and of course, he was throwing 300+ innings a year).


With some medical types on the board I'd be interested in hearing if they are aware of changes in medicine since 1966 which would have helped Koufax. He had Reynaud's Phenomenon which caused his left arm to blow up between starts. I don't know that another player of any great note has ever been said to have this nor whether it could be treated successfully enough for Koufax to have continued pitching...which he did anyway for some time before retiring.


I don't think Koufax had Reynaud's. I've talked to Frank Jobe (the guy who did the first Tommy John surgery) about Koufax's arm. He developed osteoarthritis in his elbow. He may have had an ulnar collateral ligament injury that contributed to it - that is the thing that leads to Tommy John surgery (we don't call it that). So he may, emphasize may, have benefited from the UCL reconstruction but nothing we do now is very good for a pitcher with osteoarthritis. If its very mild, some arthroscopic techniques can remove some loose bodies from the arthritis, but it cannot prevent the progression of elbow osteoarthritis. Even the UCL reconstruction is no guarantee - it is a wive's tale that that surgery makes the arm stronger than previously, and pitchers will return better than they were before. Recent studies have shown that only about 70% of those having the surgery get back to their previous level of pitching.
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Re: Footnote Athletes

Postby gh » Tue Apr 30, 2013 3:35 pm

bambam wrote:...Even the UCL reconstruction is no guarantee - it is a wive's tale that that surgery makes the arm stronger than previously, and pitchers will return better than they were before. ..


I've long heard tales of javelin throwers (started in Europe, but supposedly some Americans have followed suit) intentionally having some form of shoulder surgery which realigns the muscle/connective tissue structure to better handle the abnormal stresses that the event places. That sound like it might have any basis in fact?

(ps—if Americans are having it done, they should ask for their money back :mrgreen: )
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Re: Footnote Athletes

Postby Dutra5 » Tue Apr 30, 2013 7:34 pm

bambam wrote:
I don't think Koufax had Reynaud's. I've talked to Frank Jobe (the guy who did the first Tommy John surgery) about Koufax's arm. He developed osteoarthritis in his elbow. He may have had an ulnar collateral ligament injury that contributed to it - that is the thing that leads to Tommy John surgery (we don't call it that). So he may, emphasize may, have benefited from the UCL reconstruction but nothing we do now is very good for a pitcher with osteoarthritis. If its very mild, some arthroscopic techniques can remove some loose bodies from the arthritis, but it cannot prevent the progression of elbow osteoarthritis. Even the UCL reconstruction is no guarantee - it is a wive's tale that that surgery makes the arm stronger than previously, and pitchers will return better than they were before. Recent studies have shown that only about 70% of those having the surgery get back to their previous level of pitching.


Well...I asked. It's probably been 30 years since I've read anything further on Koufax and the story has been updated apparently. At the time of retirement it was mentioned that the reason for his retirement was Reynaud's which blew his arm/shoulder up. Now a quick read implies much more of what you are saying and he was taking some pretty heavy painkillers to get through starts.

I had a discussion with a Little League dad who's son also played football with my son when they were maybe 12 and he mentioned to me that some kids were having Tommy John surgery at that early of an age because they felt it built there arm up. I never was positive he was on the up and up about that but, knowing too many parents in youth sports, it's somewhat believable. I just can't believe a surgeon would do it.
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Re: Footnote Athletes

Postby Per Andersen » Tue Apr 30, 2013 10:39 pm

Paul Wilson

Joe Jefferson Street Gilliam

Alex Olmedo

If Tom Weiskopf why not Tony Lema?
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Re: Footnote Athletes

Postby Pego » Wed May 01, 2013 3:18 am

Per Andersen wrote:Paul Wilson

Joe Jefferson Street Gilliam

Alex Olmedo

If Tom Weiskopf why not Tony Lema?


These two names sure bring back memories :D .
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Re: Footnote Athletes

Postby bambam » Wed May 01, 2013 9:20 am

gh wrote:
bambam wrote:...Even the UCL reconstruction is no guarantee - it is a wive's tale that that surgery makes the arm stronger than previously, and pitchers will return better than they were before. ..


I've long heard tales of javelin throwers (started in Europe, but supposedly some Americans have followed suit) intentionally having some form of shoulder surgery which realigns the muscle/connective tissue structure to better handle the abnormal stresses that the event places. That sound like it might have any basis in fact?

(ps—if Americans are having it done, they should ask for their money back :mrgreen: )


Hokum
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Re: Footnote Athletes

Postby bambam » Wed May 01, 2013 9:23 am

Per Andersen wrote:Paul Wilson

Joe Jefferson Street Gilliam

Alex Olmedo

If Tom Weiskopf why not Tony Lema?


Lema is a good choice. Not so certain about Alex Olmedo. I almost picked Whitney Reed as another tennis player but he wasn't all that great.

Nobody has even asked about 2 I had on the list that are somewhat obscure - Eddie Pearce (golf) and Billy Martin (tennis)
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Re: Footnote Athletes

Postby bambam » Wed May 01, 2013 9:23 am

Per Andersen wrote:If Tom Weiskopf why not Tony Lema?


Lema was my favorite active pro when I just starting to play golf in the mid-to-early 60s
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Re: Footnote Athletes

Postby KDFINE » Wed May 01, 2013 10:31 am

Bambam. The best tennis match I ever saw in person was a fourth round 5 setter that Whitney Reed lost to Rafael Osuna at Forest Hills in 1961.
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Re: Footnote Athletes

Postby gh » Wed May 01, 2013 10:58 am

the best tennis match I've ever seen in person.... oh, wait! there's one for the bucket list. I don't think I've ever had occasion to watch a tennis match in person.
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Re: Footnote Athletes

Postby TN1965 » Wed May 01, 2013 11:05 am

bambam wrote:Nobody has even asked about 2 I had on the list that are somewhat obscure - Eddie Pearce (golf) and Billy Martin (tennis)


So what happened to this Martin guy after his early success?
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Re: Footnote Athletes

Postby bambam » Wed May 01, 2013 1:32 pm

TN1965 wrote:
bambam wrote:Nobody has even asked about 2 I had on the list that are somewhat obscure - Eddie Pearce (golf) and Billy Martin (tennis)


So what happened to this Martin guy after his early success?


Drugs apparently. He was supposed to be the next great American player after Connors/McEnroe and he was virtually undefeated as a junior, but never panned out in the pros for that reason.

Sidenote: when I was an orthopaedic resident there was a resident a couple years ahead of me named Chip Davis who had been a top junior player and played tennis at Duke. He played Martin in a match in Florida once and beat him in the first set. Some reporter came up to him and told him something like "You know, he hasn't lost a match or a set now in 3 years". Chip quickly got his clock cleaned in the last 2 sets.
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Re: Footnote Athletes

Postby bambam » Wed May 01, 2013 1:37 pm

TN1965 wrote:
bambam wrote:Nobody has even asked about 2 I had on the list that are somewhat obscure - Eddie Pearce (golf) and Billy Martin (tennis)


So what happened to this Martin guy after his early success?


Pearce, by the by, was considered the greatest junior golfer of the 20th century, until Tiger Woods came along. He was considered a sure bet to become one of the great ones, and was called the next Nicklaus multiple times.

Eddie was a freshman at Wake Forest when I was a sophomore at Duke and we played together multiple times. He is the only golfer I ever played with who made me feel inadequate playing with him. He simply played a different game than I did. By the time I got on the PGA Tour I had improved enough that even when I played with the top players, I felt competitive with them. They usually beat me, but it was competitive. Not against Pearce. I felt overwhelmed by his ball-striking ability and his length off the tee. It didn't seem fair.

Pearce came up against two problems. He could not putt that well and that caught up with him. And he was a partier - and drank a lot for a few years. But I've never seen anybody hit a golf ball like he did.

Strange sidenote - when we played, I beat him more often than he beat me. But it was almost unfair. I always seemed to chip and putt great against him and it drove him nuts, and he would miss putt after putt against me. But take it from me - there was no comparison in our abilities from tee-to-green.

Greatest junior golfers of all-time, in order:

1) Young Tom Morris
2) Tiger Woods
3) Eddie Pearce
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Re: Footnote Athletes

Postby Per Andersen » Wed May 01, 2013 4:19 pm

bambam, about Ellsworth Vines. How good a golfer was he really? I have heard various things. I think Bud Collins rated him as the best golfer of tennis players.
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Re: Footnote Athletes

Postby Per Andersen » Wed May 01, 2013 4:24 pm

KDFINE wrote:Bambam. The best tennis match I ever saw in person was a fourth round 5 setter that Whitney Reed lost to Rafael Osuna at Forest Hills in 1961.

Quick trivia question: Name Rafe Osuna's doubles partner? They won at Forest Hills in '62
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Re: Footnote Athletes

Postby bambam » Wed May 01, 2013 4:24 pm

Per Andersen wrote:bambam, about Ellsworth Vines. How good a golfer was he really? I have heard various things. I think Bud Collins rated him as the best golfer of tennis players.


He was pretty good but not great at the tour level. He did play in the Masters once or twice. The best golf/tennis player was either him or a guy I played with/against in the 1970s named Frank Conner. Frank was a pro tennis player - played at Wimbledon once or twice and then turned to golf. He was a journeyman pro tour player - about the same level as me. Vines was a far better tennis player.

One anecdote re Conner - at a tournament in the 1970s John Brodie, former 49er Q-back, was in the locker room - he was a pretty good golfer who played briefly on the senior tour. Obviously a great athlete, he was telling some of us that he was also quite good at tennis and considered himself the best golfer/tennis player in the world. Conner was at his locker around the corner and heard that boast and came around and challenged him. Brodie did not take up that challenge. Conner would have beat him at both sports.
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Re: Footnote Athletes

Postby bambam » Wed May 01, 2013 4:26 pm

Per Andersen wrote:
KDFINE wrote:Bambam. The best tennis match I ever saw in person was a fourth round 5 setter that Whitney Reed lost to Rafael Osuna at Forest Hills in 1961.

Quick trivia question: Name Rafe Osuna's doubles partner? They won at Forest Hills in '62


Too easy - Antonio Palafox

I first got interested in tennis in the early 60s watching the US Doubles at Longwood Cricket Club in Boston (I grew up in a suburb). It was on the PBS channel back then and the announcer was Bud Collins - its how he got his start in broadcasting. I well remember Osuna/Palafox playing Chuck McKinley and Dennis Ralston - they were the two best doubles teams in that era on the amateur circuit.
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Re: Footnote Athletes

Postby bambam » Wed May 01, 2013 4:28 pm

gh wrote:the best tennis match I've ever seen in person.... oh, wait! there's one for the bucket list. I don't think I've ever had occasion to watch a tennis match in person.


One nice thing about pro golf tour is you always get tickets to other sporting events in town at the same time - MLB, NFL, NBA, etc. I got to see Martina play Chrissie in Los Angeles in the 70s (before Martina got buffed), and got to see Borg play Connors in Dallas in 1978 at the World Championship of Tennis (WCT) finals.
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Re: Footnote Athletes

Postby KDFINE » Wed May 01, 2013 4:31 pm

Does anyone remember who Osuna's doubles partner in college was? I guess I'll have to look it up but I think he also played with Ralston (or did Ralston go to Yale?)
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