Monday, April 24, 2006

All I've Got To Say Is It Must Be a Slow News Century. And Didn't We All Know That Frank Leahy Didn't Really Resign As Notre Dame's Football Coach?

Bud Appleby of Des Moines, who has written and edited plenty of news stories over the years, didn't think much of the Sunday paper.

Unless I'm mistaken, he's referring to the Des Moines Register.

Here's his e-mail:

"There was one -- count 'em, one -- byline news story in the 10-page Iowa News section of the Sunday paper. There were also three columns. Everything else was either AP or a handout."

[RON MALY'S COMMENT: I guess National Public Radio knew what it was talking about, Bud, with that recent critique of the Register. I'm figuring it's been a slow news century so far for what once was The Newspaper Iowa Depends Upon].

* * *

Igor from Independence sent this e-mail to Buck Turnbull and me:

"Hi, Buck & Ron --

"You guys should volunteer to edit Keeler's column. Sunday he writes in the last graf -- 'If throwing away a year of eligibility makes he and Degand happy . . . '

"Unbelievable! Did they change that in your edition? Just curious."

[RON MALY'S COMMENTS: Nothing changed in the city edition, Igor. I'll check with Turnbull to see if he wants to be the volunteer editor for sports columnist Sean Keeler. I've got more important things to do].

* * *

Meanwhile, a few of us are trying to figure out the Register's obituaries.

In the obits last week was one for Louise Bote Pack.

Just one problem. A man -- a smiling man -- was pictured in the obituary.

The next day there was a much larger obit for Louise Bote Pack in the paper. That time, a woman was pictured.

She was smiling, too.

We're wondering if that was the way the Register handled correcting the photo of a man in a woman's obituary the day before -- or if the family of the deceased person had to pay for two obituaries, one of which had the wrong photo.

Hey, folks, these are crazy days in the newspaper business.

* * *

Longtime Iowa fan Al Schallau sent an e-mail regarding a book written by retired football coach Lou Holtz:

"If you have not read the Notre Dame biography of Lou Holtz -- 'UNDER THE TARNISHED DOME,' -- you can buy a used copy for a couple bucks. I read it from beginning to end. It is a full biography of the Lou Holtz [middle left] saga at Arkansas, Minnesota and particularly Notre Dame.

"The book also confirms something that Jim Zabel has been telling me for many years--that Frank Leahy [lower left] did NOT resign as head football coach at Notre Dame. Zabel has always pointed out that after the Fainting Irish game against Iowa in 1953, Leahy never coached another game for Notre Dame.

"The next week, Notre Dame journeyed to Los Angeles for their season-ending game against USC. Leahy did not make the trip -- reportedly for health reasons. In January, 1954, Leahy reportedly 'resigned for health reasons' and Terry Brennan was named Notre Dame's new coach.

"Zabel has always said that Father Hesburgh escorted Leahy out the door as football coach because Notre Dame's administration (particularly Father Hesburgh) were incensed by Leahy having taught his players to fake injuries to stop the clock. Many national columnists (particularly Grantland Rice) hammered Notre Dame brutally after the Fainting Irish game, and Father Hesburgh said, 'No more.'


Al Schallau

[RON MALY'S COMMENTS: Leahy paid a stiff price for ordering his Notre Dame players to flop on the field, faking injuries to stop the clock that enabled the Fighting [or Fainting] Irish to tie Iowa, 14-14. Before each half ended, assorted Notre Dame players collapsed so the officials would stop the clock. Consequently, the Irish scored touchdowns in the final seconds of each half. Iowa coaches, players and fans thought the phony injuries robbed them of an opportunity to score a huge upset. When he returned to Iowa City, Hawkeye coach Forest Evashevski [lower right] pounced on the Fainting Irish theme by paraphrasing the words of sportswriter Grantland Rice with these words:

"When the One
Great Scorer comes
to write against our name,
He won't ask that we won or lost,
But how we got gypped at Notre Dame"

* * *

I'm starting to think there might actually be a man named Dick Pole who sits in the Chicago Cubs' dugout.

For years, I've seen what I thought was a mannequin sitting in the corner of the dugout behind manager Dusty Baker [upper right].

He didn't talk.

Hell, he didn't even move.

People kept saying it was Dick Pole [upper left], who is listed as Baker's "bench coach."

Frankly, I thought it was a joke.

But a couple of days ago Pole was interviewed by Ron Santo on WGN-radio.

He actually said a couple of things.

I'm still not 100 percent sure Pole is alive, but my research will continue.