By BUD BENJAMIN
Gee Primes For Big Time
WHEN six feet nine inches of humanity clutches a baseball in his left hand,
takes a hitch in his pants, rears back on one leg, and then shoots forward
with the express purpose of heaving thi spheroid, it travels.
Not only can it travel fast, but it may curve, hop, drop, or float de-
pending upon the intent of the massive gentleman on the firing end.
Last week, this reporter stood behind the cage and watched long John
Gee make a baseball talk in the Field House. John can do things with that
apple, and before long his name should be added to one of the 16 clubs
which makes up the two "class" circuits.
Gee, class of 1937, carme to Michigan with two attributes-a pon-
dercus stature and an urge to capitalize on it. First, Cappy Cappon made
a basketball player out of him. It took two years-a period which found
Gee stumbling, fumbling, and rumbling down the floor with the grace
of hippopotamus. But John learned, albeit the hard way. In his senior
year he registered 105 points in 12 Conference games to land a spot in
the Big.Ten's Big Ten, and while John was no Lady Godiva, he was
Ray Fisher, more than anyone else, taught Gee the rudiments of pitch-
ing. With his height, John was a natural physically. Yet he never was a
sensation. He lacked the zip. Watching him, you'd get the impression that
he was holding back, not trying too hard. Last week, Gee told me:
"In college I didn't give a darn. Conditioning was a laugh, and I played
around a lot. During my sophomore year I signed an agreement with the
Syracuse Chiefs giving them an option on my services after graduation.
Nobody showed any interest in my work when I was here, but I had a
connection and grabbed it."
In 1937, Gee pitched briefly and showed some promise. Then came
1938 and the long guy began to do things. He won 17 games and lost 11
with Syracuse in the double A International circuit, finished second in
the league in that'important earned run average column, and seemed read'
to go up. But instead John will spend another year getting ready:
"Those scouts are a bunch of phoneys," he told me. "They feed you fulls
of a lot of baloney until you don't know whether you're another Walter.
Johnson or just a punk.
"Syracuse put a ridiculous price tag of $50,000 on me," he explained,
"simply because the owner wanted me to be around this year. Scouts
from the Cubs ind Reds were interested, and while they talked plenty,
that much dough scared them away. Now I'll go to any club that buys
"Give me a crack at that American League," he added. "That's a fast
ball league, and that's what I've got. Up there, the good pitchers fog that
fast one in there in the clutch and waste their curve and change of pace.
In the National League, your best pitchers, except Bill Lee perhaps, waste
the fast one and shoot the curve or slow ball in there for the fooler."
Gee's trip to Ann Arbor was a conditioning excursion. Today, he's
training at Camden, S.C., undoubtedly in far better shape than his mates.
Along with teammate Herm Fishman, '38, also with the Chiefs, he went
through ,two strenuous weeks of stretching his kangaroo legs around the
Field House track, throwing in the cages, playing "pepper," and picking
up some new tricks from astute Mr. Fisher.
"The legs are the important thing in this racket," he commented.
"Ben Cantwell, the old Boston Braves' pitcher, was with our club last
season, and he kept the young pitchers running all the time. Bad legs
mean sore arms."
I recalled Dizzy Dean's tragic experience. Diz the incomparable was hit
in thetoe by a drive off the bat of Earl Averill in the 1937 all-star game.
For weeks, he was unable to walk. Anxious to pitch again, Dean started too
scon. He couldn't shift his weight properly on his follow through and began
throwing them "all-arm." He's never been right since.
Gee will tell you all about the New York Yankees' prize 1939 rookies,
Charley Keller and Buddy Rosar :
"A pair of sweet items," he reported. "Keller hits from the left side,
and never looked too tough against left-handed pitching in our league.
He likes to hit to left-center, but he doesn't pull his drives. I pitched
inside to him and never had much trouble. Two hits off me in two sea-
sons were all he got. That guy can run though. When he dumps one down
to third or short, it takes a helluva play to catch him.
"Rosar," he continued, "is a real major leaguer. He hits right-handed
and is he tough up there! Any guy who can go out there day after day and
hit around .400 against right handers, left handers, curve ballers, fast
ballers, and sidearm pitchers is all right. He can hit, he can receive, and
he's smart. He'll stick."
How do you like this night ball?
"Gotta like it," he grinned. "Get used to it after awhile. The trick
is to keep that fast one low at night, and that was hard on me. I'm strict-
ly a high ball pitcher. Some of those parks are easier to see in at night
than during the day."
Stahl-Harbert Tally Weissmuller Build Not Needed
Upseti GolfMeet ereatswimmer
ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla., March 16. _
-r)-The first round casualty listI By MEL FINEBERG
contained a generous quota of big E Almost a decade ago, when Johnny
golfing names today as 32 teams Weissmuller was burning up the
fought a battle of birdies in the Na- swimming pools, the notion became
tional Amateur Professional Best popular that Weissmuller's physique
Ball Match Play Tournament, was the ideal one for swimming. When
Among the victims were the 1938 kids wanted to become swimmers they
winners, Frank Moore of Mamaro- wondered if they had the "Weissmul-
neck, N.Y., and Bobby Dunkelberger ler Build."
of High Point, N.C., who were ousted Matt Mann is a little doubtful of
despite a gallant rally. the necessity of the Weissmuller build.
The medalist team-Marvin Stahl, He says "that while it is a good one,
Lansing, Mich., and Chick Harbert of it isn't a prerequisite to 'champion-
Battle Creek, Mich.,-prevailed on ship swimming. Walt Tomski is too
the 19th hole after Moore and Dun- tall and Tom Hayinie is too small.
kelberger fired three straight birdies But they're champions.
to square the match on the 18th. I "I suppose," Matt continued, "that}
The most blistering pace of the day Weissmuller's build gets results. Weis-
was set by Henry Picard of Hershey, smuller certainly got results from it.
Pa., and Frank Ford of Charleston, He was an inch over six feet, was
S.C.,--only former winners to sur- built straight up, had long legs to
give-when they scored an 11-under- get the drive and had the chest to
par 61 to polish off Paul Bell of give him the necessary float,
Torrington, Conn., and Mel Alexand- i "But you don't have to conform to
er of New York. those measurements to be a great
swimmer. Tomski, for instance, is
1939 TENNIS SCHEDULE three inches taller, is much thinner
April - and as a result swims entirely dif-
10, Washington and Lee at Lex- ferent. Tom Haynie and Ohio's Billy
ington, Va. Quayle are aecouple of inches smaller
11, V.M.I.aLeioV. and consequently all their other meas-
12, U. of V. at Charlottesville, Va. urements are different. But nobody
13, George Washington University ever accused any of them of being
at Washington. slow.
14, University of Maryland at "Personally, I'm a little inclined to
C4, Un rstPark ryndoubt this "ideal build" notion.
15, Duquesne at Pittsburgh. There's a kid out there (pointing to
15, Duquesn at Pittsburgh. a freshman swimming in the pool)
22, Michigan State Normal at who is only five feet six inches. And
Ypsilanti. s Cyet that little bug can step along
27, Chicago University at Chicago. plenty. TDon't ask me why he can
28, Wisconsin at Chicago. swim. I don't know what makes him
May- sgo. I wish I did though. I'd have
5, Northwestern University at ________ _____
something a lot more substantial to
Didn't Matt have any ideas of what
proportions he likes to have his swim-
"Sure," replied the Michigan men-
tor, "and I could name them from
swimmers I've had here in the last
two years. I'd like to have every man
come here with legs like Charlie Bar-
ker's (Barker is a sophomore back
stroker and free styler); the chest
and the float of Ed Kirar (Kirar was
the powerhouse who was Big Ten
and National Collegiate double sprint
champion two years in a row). Then
he could have the arms and the head
-f .Captain Haynie, Tomski's hands
and whatever makes him start fast.
R IDE R'S
302 S. State St.
MASON & MASON
in ANN ARBOR
IRW IN S. CLAMAGE
715 Hill Street
6, Ohio State at Columbus.
9, Western State Teachers, here,
11, Notre Dame, here.
12, Michigan, State, here.
16, Kalamazoo Pollege -at Kala-
18, Purdue, here.
20, Illinois, here.
24, Michigan State College a E.
27, Duquesne, here.
May 29, 30, 31, Western Confer-
ence meet at Chicago.
BA RGAINSR EFE R ENCE
will have their representa-
tive here FRIDAY and
SATURDAY at the AL-
LENELL HOTEL with a
special showing of the new
woolens in bolt lengths.
Come in and have your
suit tailored in your meas-
ure and personal require-
F. W. Gross
Priced from to
Gee wasn't looking forward to this Camden training grind.
"What a dump," he snapped. "Small town. No life. Nothing doing.
We were supposed to train at Miami Beach, Fla., but there weren't
enough ball clubs around there for us to play. Let these old guys go to
Camden, but give me a place with a little life."
John, it seems, is still just a little shaver looking for a good time.
At New Orleans-
Cleveland (A) 000 000 010-1
New Orleans 004 022 00x-8
International American Leagu
Hockey: Providence Reds 5; Syra
cuse Stars 3.
at Del Prete's
We invite you
to see our fine
S e L.OT
"Yes, I'd rather
to the LEAGUE!"
TONIGHT .. .
of all nights
and: Two couples to be selected for special invitation to
Swing Session II
9:00 - 1:00