track and field historians


Forum devoted to track & field items of an historical nature.

track and field historians

Postby bhagwan » Wed Oct 28, 2009 12:23 pm

with the passing of mr. nelson, i am wondering who are the sports leading historians?

and how easy are they to contact?

thank you.
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Postby dukehjsteve » Wed Oct 28, 2009 12:55 pm

R L Quercetani
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Postby bambam » Wed Oct 28, 2009 1:16 pm

Richard Hymans
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Postby gh » Wed Oct 28, 2009 2:51 pm

I don't think for a moment that Cordner would have considered himself an historian, other than perhaps having written a definitive work on the history of the mile. He was a hard-core fan who absorbed a ton of stuff over his long lifetime, but the history of the sport wasn't his passion or his calling.
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Postby tandfman » Wed Oct 28, 2009 3:34 pm

dj
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Postby gh » Wed Oct 28, 2009 3:50 pm

dj is incomparable on the U.S. side.
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Postby Marlow » Wed Oct 28, 2009 4:17 pm

That Mallon dude ain't no slouch!
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Postby bad hammy » Wed Oct 28, 2009 4:21 pm

Marlow wrote:That Mallon dude ain't no slouch!

Don't know how bambam missed him . . .
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Postby tandfman » Wed Oct 28, 2009 4:50 pm

Maybe bambam recognized that as a t&f historian (rather than an Olympic historian), Hymans has Mallon beat.
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Postby bambam » Wed Oct 28, 2009 4:55 pm

tandfman wrote:Maybe bambam recognized that as a t&f historian (rather than an Olympic historian), Hymans has Mallon beat.


Most of my work is now on the Olympics, for all sports. I defer to Richard and DJ. But I have some plans for T&F stuff down the road. Will have to cut back a bit on the day job, first.
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Postby Marlow » Wed Oct 28, 2009 4:59 pm

bambam wrote:But I have some plans for T&F stuff down the road.

**SMACK** . . . **SLOBBER** . . .
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Postby Avante » Thu Oct 29, 2009 8:42 am

Hmmmm?
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Postby Gordon18 » Thu Oct 29, 2009 10:27 am

Avante seems to know his trackandfield history, just pm him.
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Postby dj » Thu Oct 29, 2009 10:31 am

tandfman wrote:Maybe bambam recognized that as a t&f historian (rather than an Olympic historian), Hymans has Mallon beat.


I think bambam is missing something. I'm not certain there's anyone in the U.S. more knowledgeable about 19th century U.S. track than Mallon.

Other names:
Worldwide 19th century, Dave Terry (GB). Easily the best.
U.S., Hal Bateman.

I know bambam would like to cut back on his day job to write more. If someone would step forward and show me that there is a reasonable living to be made writing t&f history I'd cut back on my day job!
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Postby kuha » Thu Oct 29, 2009 11:22 am

dj wrote:Other names:
Worldwide 19th century, Dave Terry (GB). Easily the best.


There are several true history NUTS in Britain, including Dave Terry, the venerable Peter Lovesey, and others...
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Postby Avante » Thu Oct 29, 2009 11:52 am

Gordon18 wrote:Avante seems to know his trackandfield history, just pm him.


I do believe I could stump any track historian with a little trivia contest.
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Postby bambam » Thu Oct 29, 2009 3:41 pm

kuha wrote:
dj wrote:Other names:
Worldwide 19th century, Dave Terry (GB). Easily the best.


There are several true history NUTS in Britain, including Dave Terry, the venerable Peter Lovesey, and others...


Both absolutely great on 19th century history. I know Lovesey better. Dave Terry sort of retired from this after the 1980s.
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Postby BillVol » Thu Oct 29, 2009 5:39 pm

Who's Mallon? Does he/she post here?
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Postby gh » Thu Oct 29, 2009 7:38 pm

Avante wrote:
Gordon18 wrote:Avante seems to know his trackandfield history, just pm him.


I do believe I could stump any track historian with a little trivia contest.


trivia and history aren't remotely the same thing
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Postby BillVol » Thu Oct 29, 2009 8:52 pm

gh wrote:
Avante wrote:
Gordon18 wrote:Avante seems to know his trackandfield history, just pm him.


I do believe I could stump any track historian with a little trivia contest.


trivia and history aren't remotely the same thing


Why do you say that, G?
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Postby dj » Thu Oct 29, 2009 9:44 pm

BillVol wrote:
gh wrote:
Avante wrote:
Gordon18 wrote:Avante seems to know his trackandfield history, just pm him.


I do believe I could stump any track historian with a little trivia contest.


trivia and history aren't remotely the same thing


Why do you say that, G?


Not wanting to speak for GH, but history isn't trivial. Call the background and history of the sport esoteric if you must, but that's what helps make the sport and thus isn't trivial.

And yes, anyone could come up with trivia that doesn't indicate anything other than knowing an obscure fact which may or may not be consequential to anyone.

If I ask you what future politician once held the Tennessee school record in the discus, that's trivia. If I ask you what prominence he later obtained, that moves into history.
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Postby gh » Fri Oct 30, 2009 4:01 am

As an analogy think of the world's great Scrabble players. The ones who know all X 2-letter words that are acceptable, and all Y 3-letters (there are such lists; I've seen them).

Does that make them linguists?
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Postby TrackDaddy » Fri Oct 30, 2009 6:01 am

Okay, dj and gh have illustrated their points quite well.

Trivia and history may be related in some form, but definitely arent synonymous.

And having read Avante/ Brutal/Texas's posts for some time now on a couple of different message boards, I'd say he definitely qualifies as a historian IMO when it comes to the MEN'S sprints.

Kudos to you, friend.

I believe I read where he admitted before- maybe on the Sprintzone or TrackShark messageboards -that he has little to no interest in the women's sprints which for the life of me I can't grasp.
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Postby kuha » Fri Oct 30, 2009 6:06 am

Agree completely with the above comments by dj and gh. To know individual facts is one thing ("trivia"). To be able to make informed judgments about the relative importance of those facts, and to weave them together into a meaningful narrative is something else entirely ("history"). These two ideas are absolutely distinct.
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Postby BillVol » Fri Oct 30, 2009 6:31 am

Yes, points rammed home again very effectively by dj and gh. I'll go back to my corner now. :wink:

Assuming that would be Sen. Estes Kefauver.
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Postby gh » Fri Oct 30, 2009 6:36 am

Not that being a triviameister isn't an estimable skill.
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Postby Avante » Fri Oct 30, 2009 7:19 am

gh wrote:
Avante wrote:
Gordon18 wrote:Avante seems to know his trackandfield history, just pm him.


I do believe I could stump any track historian with a little trivia contest.


trivia and history aren't remotely the same thing


I disagree! All trivia is is a question pertaining to the history of something. Without the historical knowledge there will be no trivia. You wouldn't know what to ask. If I ask who was the first nationally acclaimed sprinter from a HBCU school you will need to know about Tuskegee and Mozelle Ellerbe. Who was the first national caliber sprinter from the SWAC? No not Stone Johnson from Grambling. You better know your history to get this one. Well?

Without historical knowledge you won't do too well in trivia.
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Postby Conor Dary » Fri Oct 30, 2009 8:47 am

I can say I have done well in the past in trivia contests with some respected people in the sport. But to take that knowledge seriously is silly.

A trivia fact is an epsilon of knowledge, and a lot of epsilons, as they say in calculus, still adds up to almost nothing.
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Postby Avante » Fri Oct 30, 2009 9:01 am

Marlow wrote:
Avante wrote: When high school boys can dust world class women.

That's why all college sports are so boring and stupid - the pros can beat them!


Wasn't Ato Boldon still at UCLA when he won his 96 Olympic medals? Didn't Richard Thompson win the NCAA and a World Championships silver in the 100m? College guys have been hanging with the pros for years.
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Postby bhagwan » Fri Oct 30, 2009 9:10 am

i am interested in the historians. the passing of mr. nelson caused me to think of the people who know the sport and see that value for all of us. trivia and contests of trivia are not the reason i started this thread.

are there other people who can be acknowledged?
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Postby noone » Fri Oct 30, 2009 9:12 am

gh wrote:As an analogy think of the world's great Scrabble players. The ones who know all X 2-letter words that are acceptable, and all Y 3-letters (there are such lists; I've seen them).

Does that make them linguists?


I know you were just trying to make an analogy, but your example is not very good. I am a tournament Scrabble player and am currently ranked 426th in North America. That hardly makes me a great player. Yet I (and every other top 1000 player) knows the 90+ 2's and 1000 3's cold, plus we know all the "hooks": For example ALA has the front hooks G, N or T and the back hooks E,N, R and S. A great player is one who knows the entire dictionary, and there are several who do.
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Postby Avante » Fri Oct 30, 2009 9:15 am

Conor Dary wrote:I can say I have done well in the past in trivia contests with some respected people in the sport. But to take that knowledge seriously is silly.

A trivia fact is an epsilon of knowledge, and a lot of epsilons, as they say in calculus, still adds up to almost nothing.


History is cool but if you don't learn anything.........
Last edited by Avante on Fri Oct 30, 2009 9:35 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Avante » Fri Oct 30, 2009 9:32 am

bhagwan wrote:i am interested in the historians. the passing of mr. nelson caused me to think of the people who know the sport and see that value for all of us. trivia and contests of trivia are not the reason i started this thread.

are there other people who can be acknowledged?


I agree it does go far deeper than trivia. To have been there when dirt tracks were all they had and the high jumpers were doing the western roll....cool!
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Postby Avante » Fri Oct 30, 2009 11:46 am

Marlow wrote:
jhc68 wrote:Marlow assumes that there is a difference (aside from age) between college athletes and pros. Not a safe assumption, IMHO.

I was thinking football/basketball primarily. If Avante is not interested in women's sprints because they are 'inferior', he has no business following college ball, which is obviously inferior to pro ball.


You can't be serious! Give me the NCAA Div 1 Title Game anyday over the Superbowl. The college game is far more exciting.

I just don't get excited over 10.85 100's at the World Class level.
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Postby cullman » Fri Oct 30, 2009 12:12 pm

gh wrote:Not that being a triviameister isn't an estimable skill.

Being a historian requires a lot of time and hard work while IMHO trivia only requires beer.

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Postby Morten Aarlia » Wed Nov 04, 2009 7:19 am

BillVol wrote:Who's Mallon? Does he/she post here?


Bill Mallon is known as bambam here.
Back in 1992 Mallon and Kamper made the great "who's who" book about the Olympic history. Listing all the medalwinners. That's when I first noticed Bill. He has prodused several other great book about the Olympic history, and I have the pleasure to working together with him (amongst others) with the Olympedia olympic database. Take a look at the open database at this link:
http://www.sports-reference.com/olympics/
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Re: track and field historians

Postby Vault-emort » Wed Nov 04, 2009 12:28 pm

bhagwan wrote:i am wondering who are the sports leading historians?

isn't that a bit like asking 'who are the leading doctors?'??

what kind of specialist are you after? ie men/women/US/other/college/highschool/sprints/distance/etc/etc
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Postby BillVol » Wed Nov 04, 2009 2:54 pm

Morten Aarlia wrote:
BillVol wrote:Who's Mallon? Does he/she post here?


Bill Mallon is known as bambam here.
Back in 1992 Mallon and Kamper made the great "who's who" book about the Olympic history. Listing all the medalwinners. That's when I first noticed Bill. He has prodused several other great book about the Olympic history, and I have the pleasure to working together with him (amongst others) with the Olympedia olympic database. Take a look at the open database at this link:
http://www.sports-reference.com/olympics/


Thanks, MA, for taking the time to answer. I didn't know that was bam.
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Postby donny_rat » Thu Nov 05, 2009 7:56 am

History and trivia are totally different beasts. Knowing individual historical facts out of context does not make one a historian. Reading books and remembering facts also does not make one an historian. I listen to a lot of music but that does not make me a musician. Historians conduct research and create narratives that explore the meaning of those facts (facts--a concept that is far more fluid than most trivia experts would care to admit). Historians create narratives that usually explore particular questions about how and why things happen. This is not to demean history buffs, people that read history and remember particular bits of information. I know many excellent well published and respected historians who are terrible at trivia related to their historical topics. But that is really not the point to them at all. Understanding why things happen is. I know many people who know lots ot tiny bits of information but could not place them in any kind of historical narrative or context, or use them to make any kind of meaningful arguement. The reality is that most historians that write about sport do not write about who finished in what place and who won what medal. Most sport historians write about the meaning of sport in society and in our culture. The importance of Jackie Robinson is obviously not how many home runs he hit. The importance of Tommie Smith and John Carlos is not that they finished 1st and 3rd, but rather that the event tells us something about our society and culture far beyond the results. The importance of Dick Fosbury is not how high he jumped, but that his success transformed the event. (A transformation that would not have been possible if not for changes in the technology of jumping pits, somehting people rarely consider. There would be not Fosbury Flop if there was no foam padding to land on.)

donaldrat





Avante wrote:
gh wrote:
Avante wrote:
Gordon18 wrote:Avante seems to know his trackandfield history, just pm him.


I do believe I could stump any track historian with a little trivia contest.


trivia and history aren't remotely the same thing


I disagree! All trivia is is a question pertaining to the history of something. Without the historical knowledge there will be no trivia. You wouldn't know what to ask. If I ask who was the first nationally acclaimed sprinter from a HBCU school you will need to know about Tuskegee and Mozelle Ellerbe. Who was the first national caliber sprinter from the SWAC? No not Stone Johnson from Grambling. You better know your history to get this one. Well?

Without historical knowledge you won't do too well in trivia.
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Re: track and field historians

Postby bhagwan » Thu Nov 05, 2009 10:23 am

Vault-emort wrote:
bhagwan wrote:i am wondering who are the sports leading historians?

isn't that a bit like asking 'who are the leading doctors?'??

what kind of specialist are you after? ie men/women/US/other/college/highschool/sprints/distance/etc/etc


good point, thank you. my question is meant in the broadest sense so while
recognizing people who deeply love our sport we can then (i hope)
narrow questions to experts in different events.
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