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Monday, August 19, 2019
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  • Evolution of Basketball Uniforms – Part 6
    Wednesday, May 29, 2019 2:59 AM
    Since Title IX became the law of the land, the game of basketball for the ladies has undergone a cataclysmic change, but if you Google the words “Granny Ball”, you can still see girls basketball being played in Iowa and Kansas the same way it was played in the early days with grannies wearing replicas of the original uniforms. 
    The uniforms for girls began to look just like the boys after Title IX. 
    I hope you enjoy the pictures of the early basketball uniforms for girls. Most are from my home county of Montgomery County, Indiana, where basketball really started. Here in Crawfordsville, we firmly believe that the first game of organized basketball was played right here in the old YMCA on March 16, 1894. 
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  • Wednesday, May 8, 2019 2:54 AM
    The short shorts era changed drastically when the Fab Five came on the scene. The Fab Five was a nickname given to the 1991 University of Michigan men’s basketball team. They were considered to be the greatest recruiting class ever. The class consisted of Jalen Rose, Chris Webber, Juwan Howard, Jimmy King and Ray Jackson. Rose, Webber, and Howard all had distinguished NBA careers. 
    King played for a couple of years and Jackson never made it to the “Big Show.” None of the five was ever on a team that won an NCAA or NBA championship. However the Fab Five changed the face and the appearance of basketball forever when they brought a popular “Hip Hop” style to the game complete with trash talk, shaved heads and most importantly, longer, baggier pants. It was the longer, baggier pants that set the style for the present basketball uniform. Oddly enough, without the shaved heads, they looked like the Wingate Spartans of 1913 and 1914. I guess it's true that “whatever goes around comes around."
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  • Evolution of Basketball Uniforms – Part 2
    Wednesday, May 1, 2019 9:55 PM
    So the uniforms reflected the place where they games were played. Teams started out playing outside on the dirt or on cinders as the early Linden teams did and the uniforms had to give the players some protection. Again, “Butch” Dale reported that the uniforms of those days consisted of the more-or-less standard athletic shorts and a sleeveless shirt which was much like a man’s undershirt, gym shoes, wool stockings, some ankle length and sometime knee length as you can see in the early pictures of the Wingate and New Richmond teams. The pants were below-the-knee baseball or football pants. Once again Leland Olin recalled with a chuckle that his team of the early 1900’s wanted to switch to the standard basketball shorts, but was talked out of it by Jack Blacker, a fellow member of the team, because he didn’t want all the girls making fun of his bare legs.
    Kobe Bryant must have felt the same way about short shorts. One year the Lakers wore retro uniforms in honor of Jerry West when they played the Celtics. Bryant said the shorts made him feel “naked,” and he felt “violated.” He commented, “I don’t know how it feels to wear a thong, but I imagine it feels something like what we had on the first half.” Proving that you are what you wear and that clothes make the man, the Celtics beat the Lakers 110-91 with Bryant shooting 6-25 from the field.
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  • Evolution of Basketball Uniforms – Part 1
    Wednesday, April 24, 2019 4:00 AM
    This article has been percolating in my mind for several weeks and the titles have been thoughts like “What Goes Around Comes Around,” or “The More Things Change, The More They Stay the Same,” but I settled on the Evolution of Basketball Uniforms. As you look at basketball uniforms from the early 1900’s when the game really took off to the present, the uniforms for the most part reflected the places where the teams played. For example, look at the uniforms worn by the early Wingate teams and the other early Montgomery County teams. They guys look like they are dressed to play football and there was good reason for that type of protection. At first they needed extra padding because they played outdoors or if they were fortunate enough to have an indoor court, the walls were the out of bounds lines and the bleachers were two feet from the playing floor. There were posts in the corners or the court and sometimes along the sidelines. (There were also pot-bellied stoves in the corners to provide the only heat on the cold winter days and nights).
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  • Tuesday, April 16, 2019 10:44 PM
    Baseball exploits this summer, like the recent perfect game, bring to mind Oren Edgar "Eddie" Summers. He created a legend on the diamond and a niche in history for Ladoga, his hometown. He was the only known baseball pitcher to successfully pitch in the major leagues with either arm.
    One July day in 1909, Summers was pitching right-handed for the Detroit Tigers. Facing a left-handed pinch-hitter, Summers tossed his glove into the dugout and called for a glove for the right hand. Donning it, he hurled a strike with his left arm.
    Summers was a workhorse with either arm. He lasted 18 scoreless innings against Washington in a game called by darkness July 14. Washington used two pitchers, but Summers went it alone. Summers had noteworthy help. The team in¬cluded the immortal Ty Cobb and Ownie Bush of Indianapolis, later a manager and the man in whose honor Bush Stadium is named.
    Summers pitched 31 consecutive scoreless in¬nings in July 1909, a record that stood for 22 years. He blanked Philadelphia in the last inning, then threw 18 scoreless innings against Washing¬ton. July 22, he held New York runless for nine innings, and July 27 he pitched three innings before Cleveland scored.
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  • Oren Edgar Summers – The Chief – Part 4
    Wednesday, April 10, 2019 4:00 AM
    For his five year career, from 1908 to 1912, Ed Summers pitched in 168 games and had a 68-45 record for a winning pct. of .602 with a 2.42 era. He pitched 999 innings and had 79 complete games. In his rookie year with the Tigers, he led the pitching staff with 24 wins, second in the American League and had an ERA of 1.64 fourth in the league. He was instrumental in the Detroit club going to the World Series in 1908 against the Cubs (the last time the Cubs won a World Series until they won it in 2016) and 1909 against the Pittsburgh Pirates. He had the misfortune of being the losing pitcher twice both years. 
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  • Oren Edgar Summers – The Chief – Part 2
    Wednesday, March 27, 2019 4:00 AM
    Eddie’s pitching was a major factor in the Tigers’ winning the American League Pennant in 1908 and 1909. He had a 24-12 record in 1908 as a rookie (still a record for rookies in Major League baseball) with the Tigers, where he was a teammate of future Hall of Famers Ty Cobb and Sam Crawford. The Tigers were managed that year by another future Hall of Famer, Hughie (Ee-yah) Jennings. Other American League rookies that year were Shoeless Joe Jackson of Black Sox fame, Donie Bush, Smokey Joe Wood who won 34 games for the Boston Red Sox in 1912, and Frank (Home Run) Baker.
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  • Oren Edgar Summers – The Chief – Part 1
    Wednesday, March 20, 2019 4:00 AM
    Oren Edgar Summers, nicknamed “Kickapoo” or “Kickapoo Chief,” because of his Kickapoo Indian ancestry was raised on a farm near Ladoga and attended the Ladoga schools. He was an outstanding athlete in high school and once competed in a track meet in which the Ladoga Leader of Mar. 27, 1903 reported that, “Edgar Summers stood first in the pole vault, running broad jump, running high jump, standing hop, step, and jump, and running hop, step, and jump, giving him a total of five firsts.” He is one of only three Montgomery County athletes to play Major League baseball. The other two were Dick Dietz, who played for the Giants, and Warren Darst Gill, another Ladoga boy who played for the Pirates in1908. He was nicknamed “Doc” and became a dentist after he left the Pirates. Ed attended Wabash College in 1903 and at the age of 19, played football and coached the team. He returned to Wabash after his playing career was over and coached the baseball team in 1916 to a 9-6 record. The Little Giants split two games with Purdue, lost to Illinois, Michigan, and Notre Dame, and defeated DePauw twice. According to the Wabash Magazine of the fall of 2008, “Students touted him for his baseball knowledge and leadership.” “The entire performance of the Little Giants reflected the highest credit upon the coaching of Summers,” wrote one student. 
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  • A look at Harold Hugh Gray – Part 8
    Wednesday, March 13, 2019 4:00 AM
    Being a true Hoosier basketball player and fan, Hugh Gray attended every game of the 1919 finals and recorded the final score of each game. How he ended up with a Jeff ribbon is anybody’s guess and is lost in the history of the final games of the Indiana Basketball tournament which took place nearly 100 years ago next March. Bloomington won the 1919 State Tourney by defeating Jeff 18-15. The Bloomington team was coached by Cliff Wells that year and had a record of 23-3.

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  • A look at Harold Hugh Gray – Part 7
    Wednesday, February 27, 2019 4:00 AM
    The souvenir program had pictures of the new Purdue library and the Memorial Gymnasium inside and out. Whenever a building is labeled as a memorial, it is always there to remember some person or event. I discovered that the Memorial gymnasium was built in memory of the 17 people who were killed in a train crash as the Purdue football team was on its way to Indianapolis to play Indiana University. Of the 17 killed, 14 were football players. There are 17 steps going up to the gymnasium in honor of the 17 people who were killed. One of the players on the football team that year was a 27 year old farm boy from Veedersburg, named Charles Furr.
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  • A look at Harold Hugh Gray – Part 6
    Wednesday, February 20, 2019 4:00 AM
    The early basketball games were played under rules that were a great deal different than today. For example: In 1910—11, there was a rule that stated that “No coaching is allowed during the progress of the game. A warning is given for the first violation and a free throw after that.” It was not until the 1948—49 season that coaches were allowed to speak to players during a timeout. When you see that a player was elected captain of the basketball squad, it was really an important position. The captain was the one who planned the strategy during a time-out. In 1923—24, the player fouled had to shoot his own free throws. Up until that time, there was a designated free throw shooter. In 1932-33, the 10 second line was introduced to prevent stalling. Also in 1932-33, the 3 second rule was introduced making it a violation if an offensive player stayed in the three second lane too long. In 1937-38, the center jump was eliminated, which called for a jump ball at the center circle after each basket, and in 1944-45, defensive goal tending was banned.
    We’ll wrap up next week!
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  • Wednesday, February 13, 2019 4:00 AM
    Jefferson, of Lafayette, won the 1916 championship by taking a thrilling five minute overtime contest from Crawfordsville by a score of 27 to 26. In 1916 the number of districts was increased from fourteen to sixteen, the following teams competing: Bloomington, Lebanon, Washington Township, Martinsville, Liberty Center, Elkhart, Hopewell, Jefferson of Lafayette, Cicero, Valparaiso, Brookville, Vincennes, Kokomo, Seymour, Jefferson, and Crawfordsville. It was a scrap between Jefferson and Crawfordsville. Jefferson downed Martinsville 29 to 17 in the semi-finals while Crawfordsville was winning the right to oppose Jefferson in the final by beating by beating Vincennes 33 to 17. At the end of the regular forty minutes of play in the deciding contest between Jefferson and Crawfordsville the count was knotted at 25 all. In the five minute overtime period Donald Tilson, now playing on the Purdue basketball team, threw the winning two points through the hoop and Grimes now playing with the Wabash College five, tossed a point through the hoop from the foul line. C.F. Apking coached the Bloomington lads to a 20-4 record that year.
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  • A look at Harold Hugh Gray – Part 4
    Wednesday, February 6, 2019 4:00 AM
    In 1914 the gates were again thrown open and seventy-seven teams participated in the annual event. The games began at 7 o'clock on a Friday morning and ran continuously on four floors until noon Saturday, when three teams were left to finish the fight. In the afternoon the championship was really decided when the 1913 victors, Wingate, beat Lebanon the 1912 champs by a score of 14-8 in a hotly contested game. Len Lehman coached Wingate that year to a 19-5 record. Wingate defeated Anderson 36-8 in the final game in the tournament held at Indiana University.
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  • A look at Harold Hugh Gray – Part 3
    Wednesday, January 30, 2019 4:00 AM
    The following year the state was divided into four districts and after the preliminary elimination meets were held Lebanon, Franklin, Orleans, and Culver competed in the final tournament. With little difficulty Lebanon took the opening game from Orleans by a 28 to 13 score and then trounced Franklin in the finals 51-11, thus winning the crown in 1912. Claude Whitney led the Lebanon team to a record of 16-3 that year. The tournament was again held at Assembly Hall on the campus of Indiana University.
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  • A look at Harold Hugh Gray – Part 2
    Wednesday, January 23, 2019 4:00 AM
    This has been the greatest season in the history of high school basketball in Indiana. More teams have advanced from the mediocre class to first rater than ever before and a classier brand of ball was played in all sections of Indiana.
    Three hundred and thirty-two quintets competed in the district tournament games and because of the large number of teams, it was necessary for the Board of Control to increase the number of district centers by two, making the total twenty-two. Accordingly twenty-two fast clubs, survivors of so many sectional tournaments, will compete at Purdue University in the Ninth Annual Tournament to decide the champion basketball team in all Hoosierdom, which by the way, is no mean honor since the brand of basketball displayed by the high school quintets in Indiana compares favorably with that shown in any other state of the union.
    With twenty-two fast teams entered and fans flocking to Purdue from all parts of the state it appears that it will be the greatest basketball tourney ever held in Indiana.
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