100 years of sports - Centennial edition great source of trivia

Thursday, September 23, 2004

The centennial celebration of the Southeast Missourian kicks off Oct. 3 with a captivating, three-section retrospective inside the Sunday newspaper. The first section -- 100 Years of Sports -- went to press last weekend. My guess is even if you're not a sports fan you'll find the stories and historic photos fascinating. Along with features about some of the area's greatest sports achievements, there is an extensive chronology of good and bad sports milestones. The entries provide a social study about our area.

Sport, as we know, can be good for mind and body. It can help build lifelong friendships. It can inspire. And it can develop character. Reading about local athletic achievements over the years transported me back not only to eras before I lived, but to my own childhood. My congratulations go to the current Southeast Missourian sports department, with special credit to Missourian librarian Sharon Sanders for her assistance.

Meanwhile, it's not too late for area businesses to advertise in the non-Sports sections of the centennial publication -- all which promise to be avidly read. But you have to act fast. Space is running out. Call your advertising representative or Southeast Missourian advertising director Donna Denson at 573-335-6611 before the end of the day Friday.

As a sneak peek (of only a small portion) of the sports section, here are some trivia questions. How well-informed are you? (The answers are at the bottom of this column.)

Trivia questions:

1. Who was the Cape Girardeau hurler who won 99 games -- with 323 appearances -- as a professional baseball player for the St. Louis Browns and Detroit Tigers?

2. What's the head-to-head record of Cape-Jackson football? And why was the annual rivalry canceled for four years in the early part of the 20th century?

3. How dominant was Jackson football's undefeated 1935-season?

4. What school was the first in this region to win a state championship in basketball?

5. What was unique about the year when Central won its first state championship in sports?

6. Who was the first SEMO football player drafted in the NFL draft? What professional team did he play for?

7. The year after this professional ball team won a national championship, it played an exhibition game at a local arena. Who was the team and where did it play?

8. What 23-year old Cape Girardean won the U.S. Open in golf?

9. Who holds the state record for basketball assists in a high school final four, and to whom was he dishing them?

10. What area high school football player holds the NCAA record for receptions, receiving yards and touchdowns?

11. What makes Jess Bolen remarkable?

Answers:

1. Elam Vangilder, who began his professional career in 1919 at age 23, is the St. Louis Browns' record-holder in games pitched. After leaving professional baseball, Vangilder returned home to play for the Capahas.

2. Cape, 56 wins; Jackson, 34. A fight that started between two players, which nearly turned into a riot among spectators, led to the series cancellation from 1915-1918.

3. The Indians, who finished 10-0 on the season, outscored their opponents 311-0. Wow!

4. The Greyhounds from Fruitland High School, which no longer exists, won the first state championship in 1939.

5. In an impressive display of athletic prowess, the Tigers won two state championships in 1954: basketball and baseball.

6. Kenneth Dement, the school's only honoree in the College Football Hall of Fame, was drafted by the New York Giants in 1954. But he never played, joining the U.S. Marines instead.

7. After the St. Louis Hawks won the NBA championship in 1958 over the Boston Celtics, they played an exhibition game against the Philadelphia Warriors at Jackson High School.

8. Murle Lindstrom Breer won the U.S. Women's Open title in 1962, recovering from a six-stroke deficit after the first round.

9. Guard Ronnie Ressel of Notre Dame set the record in 1987 passing primarily to Danny Dohogne, the second straight year the Bulldogs won the state championship.

10. Perryville St. Vincent graduate Scott Pingle set the records, surpassing NFL-legend Jerry Rice, while playing at Westminster College in 1999.

11. There are many things that make Jess Bolen remarkable, including his unbelievable record as coach of the Capahas: 1,229 wins, only 314 losses. But they would be too long to list in this small space.

For more historical trivia about Jess and the entire sports scene, be sure to read the Southeast Missourian on Oct. 3. The newspaper is kicking off its 100th anniversary, and we invite you to be part of the fun.

Jon K. Rust is the publisher of the Southeast Missourian.

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