Towards/toward (UNCLASSIFIED)

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Mon Apr 14 23:59:40 UTC 2014

On Apr 14, 2014, at 6:43 PM, Wilson Gray wrote:
> St. Louis also changed the history of professional basket ball, because of
> worries about local Southern-ish mores. The old St. Louis Bombers of the
> NBA were the original owners of the rights to the even-then legendary Bill
> Russell. However, given the reaction of the local white population to
> Jackie Robinson and the fact that the team's stars were Slater Martin of
> the U. of Texas and Bob Petit of Louisiana State U., it was decided that
> discretion was the better part of valor and Russell was traded to the
> Celtics for local-hero "Easy" Ed McCauley, native St. Louisan, graduate of
> both St. Louis U. High School - my own alma mater - and St. Louis U., and
> the first Celtic inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame, plus a couple
> of once well-known, but now-forgotten players from the U. of Kentucky,
> keeping the team all-white.

To be picky, the Hawks got not only Ed Macauley (who wanted to be with his son in St. Louis) but Cliff Hagen, who played Robin to Bob Pettit's Batman for the team that perennially won the Western Conference (or was it Division?) in the subsequent years, before losing every year to Superman, a.k.a. Russell, and his Celtics.  I don't know if he's one of the now forgotten UK players, but I remember the Pettit-Hagan Hawks vs. the Russell-Cousy-Heinsohn Celtics.

Who I don't remember is Cleo Hill, whose story (courtesy of Wikipedia) more than bears out Wilson's suggestion of racism on those Hawks teams:

In 2008, Hill was profiled in a segment on the ESPN documentary Black Magic, which told the story of African Americans and basketball. The segment asserted that early in that 1961-62 season, St. Louis Hawks coach Paul Seymour was told by team management to severely diminish Hill's offensive role so that stars Bob Pettit, Cliff Hagan, and Clyde Lovellette (who were all white) would receive more shot attempts. Seymour refused and was fired, and Hill's scoring averaged dropped from 10.8 points per game to 5.5 points per game. Hill never played in the NBA after that season.
I, of course, was rooting for the mostly hapless Knicks, whose center, Ray Felix, was an alum of my junior high school.  (As was Frankie Lyman, who never did tell us why fools fall in love.)  Sweetwater Clifton, Richie Guerin, Harry Gallatin, set-shooting Carl Braun.  Ah, that was a team, even if it never won anything.  Où sont les Sweetwaters d'antan?

> The rest is history.
> Russell may well have liked StL better than Boston, had he been given the
> chance. He's been quoted as saying that he'd rather be in jail in
> Sacramento than be sheriff in Boston, a reasonable attitude, IMO.
> --
> -Wilson
> -----
> All say, "How hard it is that we have to die!"---a strange complaint to
> come from the mouths of people who have had to live.
> -Mark Twain
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society -

The American Dialect Society -

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