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September 21, 1955 - Image 48

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
Michigan Daily, 1955-09-21

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THE MYCMGAN DAILY

WEDNESDAY, 8 E14 BER 21.1"

THE MICHIGAN DAILY WEDNESDAY. SEPTEMBVR ~1. i~i~i

,--I --- RL1 1i/LiV N.4) idVV

F_

Iichigan NineFades atSeason s End

Onthe Spot.
with JACK HORWITZ
Associate Sports Editor

BY DAVE RORABACHER
A precipitous drop marked the
demise of the 1955 Michigan dia-
mondmen.
In an exciting Western Confer-
ence race, in which five teams re-
inained in contention for the crown
heading into the final day of
play, the Wolverines were able to
fare no better than fourth place.
The fatal blow came on that
final day when the Maize and Blue
dropped a double header to Ohio
State, the latter thereby gaining

the championship. But the deci-
sive downfall of the Michigan
squad came two weeks earlier.
League Leaders for over half the
season the 'Wolverines were feel-
ing proud and confident heading
into a three-game weekend series
with arch-rival Michigan State,
the defending champion which was
occupying fourth place at the
time,
Possessed 7-2 Record
The former were the proud
possessors of a fine 7-2 record

whereas the Spartans had only a
fair record of five wins and four
losses.
Such was the setting when the
men from East Lansing moved into
Ann Arbor for the first game of
the series. Michigan's ace pitcher,
Marv Wisniewski, who had been
undefeated in previous conference
play, and State's Walt Godfrey
held a scoreless pitching duel until
the seventh inning.
Then the invaders exploded for
three runs and came off with a,

victory before the disbelieving eyes
of Michigan fans.
The following day proved even
more dismal as the high-flying
Spartans took a doubleheader with
4-3 and 8-5 wins. The Wolverines
feeble attempt at a comeback was
foiled when the Buckeyes knocked
them off twice on the last day.
Bountiful Talent Available
A lack of talented players could
not be blamed for the not-too-fine
showing. The Maize and Blue were
blessed with men such as third-
baseman Don Eaddy, who has since
been signed by a major league'
club, shortstop Moby Benedict,
captain Dan Cline, and others of
greater or lesser value.
Eaddy was the brightest spark-
plug of the Wolverine squad. Fin-
ishing with a batting average of
.353 he led the league in that de-
partment for players who had been
at bat 50 or more times. He was
also tops in stolen bases with 11.
Some brilliant fielding marked
the play of captain-elect Benedict,
who also fashioned a .308 batting
average. Cline's greatest contribu-
tion to the team effort was his
steady confident play.
Branoff Hit .750
Pinch hitter Tony Branoff came
up with the most awesome clutch
hittifig in the league. He fashioned
a stupendous .750 average at the
plate, tops in the league, by
blasting a homerun, double and
single in four official times at bat,
sacrifices not included.
The Wolverines also had their
fielding star in Ken Tippery who
led Western Conference shortstops
with a .986 fielding average.
Nor could the local diamondmen
blame their troubles on an absence
of team balance. The team as a
whole placed second in the con-
ference in both batting and field-
ing with averages of .283 and .958
respectively.
If any one aspect of the teams
were to be singled out as the cause
of Michigan's failure it would un-
doubtedly be the pitching depart-
ment. Not that fine performances
were altogether lacking, but the
unpredictability of the hurlers
caused Coach Ray Fisher many a
headache.
"Pitching Folded"
In searching for a reason for
Michigan's end-of-the-season dive,
Fisher woefully lamented, "My
pitching just folded on me."
Declining to single out any one
pitcher in particular he elaborated
o nhis statement by explaining, "I
had expected to have a real good
ball club at the beginning of the
season. I knew we were going to
be near the top on defense.
"nWe had good hitting prospects
and I was sure we were going to
develop some stroig pitching. But
other than Wisniewski it turned
Try FOLLETT'S First
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OUT AT FIRST - Michigan firstbaseman, Jim Vukovich, making
the big stretch for the putout at first on an unidentified Wisconsin
player.

out there was no one I could
really depend on out there on the
mound."
Wildness was the thing that
grieved Fisher most. Michigan
hurlers gave up 16 walks in the
twin bill with OSU and 18 in the
last two games with MSU. "You
can't win ball games that way,"
Fisher sighed.
44 Strikeouts Posted
Wisniewski, whom Fisher has
acclaimed as tops, did indeed post
a fine showing. His 44 strikeouts
not only led the conference but
only five other pitchers were able
to garner more than half that
number. At the half-way point
in the season he had finished a
very fine 3-0 record. But even he
was affected by the downfall of
the staff and he sunk to a final
tally of four wins and three losses.
A converted first-baseman; Bill
Thurston at times pitched very
effectively foiling the opposition
with his fast, sharp-breaking curve
ball. However, at other times he
too was afflicted by ineffectiveness
and his earned run average of 5.28
placed him near the bottom of the
league.
Other notables on the hurling
staff were Glenn Girardin and Jim

Clark. Appearing in two relief
roles Girardin fashioned a remark-
able 0.00 earned run average.
Clark's 1-1 record tabbed him as
the fair-to-middling hurler that
he was.
It should again be stressed that
the Maize and Blue pitching was
not bad. It was just not good.
The Future Look
That the Wolverines will be bet-
ter next season is likely; that they
will win the conference is' ex-
tremely doubtful. This is not to
predict that they will not win the
championship - 'Michigan teams
have done surprising things in
the past - nor even fail to give a
battle.
However, such former stalwarts
as Wisiniewski, Eaddy, Cline and
Branoff will be sorely missed. And
while the returning players will
form a strong nucleus at the plate
and in the field the problem of
finding and developing a depend-
able mound squad still faces the
aging Fisher. With the prospects
presently available it seems doubt-
ful that any great amount of im-
provement will come in this de-
partment.
Still, at Michigan all things are
possible.

When the clamor and excitement of the football season begins,
the new student attending the University of Michigan will get the
thrill of his lifetime.
His own personal feelings, his emotion at seeing the Maize and
Blue clad players trot out onto the gridiron of the Michigan stadium,
will be heightened in recalling the memory of one of the greatest
football personalities the collegiate gridiron competition has ever
know, Fielding H. Yost.
Many speak of the tradition that is Michigan. They recall the
Little Brown 'Jug, The Victors, and the fast step of the Michigan
Marching Band. Yet, the full depth of these scenes are not visualized
when one can look back to the days of the Yost era with little
knowledge of the man and his "hurry-up" life.
To many, "Hurry-Up" is just a nickname pinned on a famous
Michigan sports personality, but to Fielding Yost it was a way of life,
The little man form the West Virginia Hills who grew to be a
tyrant of the sports world, packed more into his 75 years than most
people could put into three lifetimes.
Looking Back.. .
To recall his 15 conference championships, his point-a-minute teams,
his Rose Bowl victory in 1902 in the first of the famous Pasadena
clashes, would just be statistics, but the Yost era was more than
that. It was a pattern of football and sports life in which only the
greatest could fit.
From the time he came to Ann Arbor in 1901, Meeshegan, as he
referred to the University, was his life. A young man, just thirty; he
was said to be as capable as any experienced military strategist.
To him the Michigan eleven stood as Napoleon and would never meet
its Waterloo. There were the ups and downs but the Wolverines
were never out.
After fielding the point-a-minute teams in his first few years
of coaching at Michigan, Yost was faced with a crisis in 1908. J. Fred
Lawton, author of "Hurry-Up" Yost, relates this incident. This year
proved to be a testing period for those who had followed Yost through
the point-a-minute era. He was short of material and the schedule
was highlighted by a famous Pennsylvania squad, the pride of the East,
All the experts said that this was to be the Wlverine downfall. To fans
it was, but not to Yost. The tale of the between-halves talk goes
something like this.
Penn was leading 6-0 when the "Old Man" took his boys into the
locker room at halftime. Although Michigan didn't have a squad
which compared to the previous ones, there was still Germany
Schulz and Albert Benbrook, two All-Americans, and Dave Allerdice,
who was a pretty fair kicker and passer. Schulz and Allerdie
were badly hurt in the first half; the former with a hip injury and
the latter with a cracked right collarbone. The fans knew those
two wouldn t be able to continue and the players knew it also.
There was a fear among the Michigan supporters that the Wolver.
ines would be soundly trounced into humility.
Yost paced up and down in front of his boys for a few moments
and then began to talk in the low drawl, which he was famous for.
"Listen yere, naouw, all o' ye! Ye're a fine Meeshegan team, ye are!
They're a-playin' all raound ye! Haven't I warned ye about all these
things?" he crusaded. He continued showing mistakes until finally
he looked at Benbrook and said, "God intended ye to be a football
player. He made ye bog." He compared him to Hercules and then
told him he looked like a cigar store Indian on the, field.
Then he continued with quiet and earnestness, "Folks are yere
from all over; they came from the North and from the Saouth, and
from the East, and from the' West, y'know. And what do they come
yere for? To see a Meeshegan team, and with Meeshegan fight, with
Meeshegan spirit and tradeetion, y'know! And what do they see?
They see the Maize and Blue aoutplayed by these Eastern boys with red
sweaters, y'know!" He concluded by saying, "Who are they, that should
beat a Meeshegan Team? .. . Naouw boys, I want ye to go aout there
and fight, as a Meeshegan team should! Get down low, and charge
'em, low, and hard - and fight 'em boys, fight 'em ... " And remark-
ably, the Wolverines held Penn to 29 points in the true Michigan and
Yost tradition. They were great, even in defeat.
Takes the Reins ..
Yost continued coaching football and in time assumed the duties
of the Athletic Director, also. He was an expert on every sport and
practically everything else. He would spend time telling of his
knowledge of war, trees, and construction, to name a few. But football
was his life.
Lawton tells of the time when "Hurry Up" rounded up complete
strangers sitting in a Minnesota hotel lobby and lined them up as an
eleven on the field. And when a lady protested that he was using the
bellboy who was carrying her luggage and wanted to see the manager,
Yost quipped that the manager was playing quarterback.
He loved to win and hated to lose. He would go off by himself and
(Continued on Page 11)

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4

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,9

Grid Squad Has Depth, Speed
(Continued from Page 1)-

considerable action. Two other re-
turnees qre Stan Knickerbocker
and Chuck Matulis. With six can-
didates for the wingback spots,
there is little room left for any
newcomers.
The tailback slot is wide open
with several fine prospects fight-
ing for the starting berth. Tom
Hendricks and Terry Barrare both
returning veterans with great
speed and throwing ability. One
newcomer, Jimmy Pace, has been
another sensation of spring prac-
tice and should be in the thick of
the fight for the starting assign-
ment. Hendricks is a sprinter on
the track team but has some trou-

ble hanging on to the pigskin
while running. Barr has the most
experience of the three. With a
target like Kramer to receive, all
three will be sharpening up their
passing arms.
The fullback question may be
solved by using Baldacci as the
regular with Hill to back him up.
However, Baldacci is a good sig-
nal-caller and a fine defensive
strategist, which may mean he will
be more useful as a quarterback.
Robinson will then have to look
for a crew fro mamong Mike Baa-
ford, Earl Johnson and Don
Johnston, who were reserves last
year. Newcomers Zeno Karcz and
Jim Byers may also help.

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