Strange But True: 3 Short Ones

Who says football players are rough all the time?

In 1920, Montana played Washington State. Montana’s quarterback, Harry Adams, had injured his ankle in a previous game but begged to be allowed to play. The coach agreed, but he made it clear that Adams was not to run with the ball.

During the game a Washington State punt sailed over Adams’s head. Adams, playing safety, limped back to retrieve the punt. By the time he picked up the ball, two Washington ends were eyeball-to-eyeball with him.

“Don’t hit him, he’s hurt!” yelled one of the ends. Whereupon both players gently lifted Adams off the ground and carefully laid him down on his back.

William “Brickyard” Kennedy was a good pitcher for Brooklyn before the turn of the century, but he had a terrible temper. On July 31, 1897, Brickyard and Brooklyn were locked in a tight game against the Giants. Kennedy was having his troubles with umpire Hank O’Day. Finally, O’Day called a close decision against Brickyard, and the hot-tempered pitcher was so enraged that he threw the ball at the umpire. The ball missed its target, but there were runners on base. O’Day called the ball in play, and one runner scored before the catcher could get the ball. Brooklyn lost the game, 2-1.

James Naismith is famous for inventing basketball in 1891 so that his students at Springfield College could have an exercise game to play indoors. But a man named William Morgan should be equally famous, although he isn’t.

In 1895, Morgan, who was Physical Director at the YMCA in Holyoke, Massachusetts, decided to invent still another game which could be played indoors. He used the rubber bladder from the inside of a basketball, a tennis net, and a couple of posts. Thus was born the game we now call volleyball!

From The Giant Book of Strange But True Sports Stories by Howard Liss. Illustrations by Joe Mathieu.

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