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Slants on Sports

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Jack Torrance, of the University of Louisiana, and Lyman of Leland Stanford, hold the national intercollegiate shot put honors between them. These two shot put champions are in a very restricted circle and the requirements to qualify for their group are very high indeed. In fact one has to go as high as fifty-four feet and over to be so much as considered for membership in this exclusive set.

However, in the East a new star looms on the horizon of the sporting world. Since sporting astronomers discovered him a few years ago, Julius Finklestein, of New York University, has been increasing in brilliance so rapidly that this corner predicts he’ll be a star of the first magnitude before another year is out. Although he has been heaving the sixteen-pound iron ball well over forty-six feet he is the East’s hope to bring back the shot put honors once held by this part of the country in the halcyon days of Schneider, Adelman, Sexton, and Labes. When Finklestein reaches his peak he’ll be in a class by himself.


The first time that we met Julius Finklestein was at a Maccabi meeting some time ago. We had dropped in to get some “inside info” on the United States Maccabi progress and we noticed a room full of people whom we had seen on the gridirons of the nation, the tennis courts, the swimming lanes, and the cinder paths. There was Harold Kramer, former intercollegiate high scorer of the country, and member of the first Maccabi team to Palestine; Ernest Kozlan, of the N. Y. U. tennis team; Gus Heymann, star sprinter; Dave Adelman, and a host of others whose pictures and names have appeared time and again in the headlines of the sporting pages throughout America.

Dave White, executive secretary of the United States Maccabi Association, told us that Finklestein was the best Jewish American prospect for the shot put event for the second Maccabiad that will be held at Tel Aviv in April, 1936.

We recall that the first question we fired at the fellow when we had met him was concerning his weight. His reply was accompanied by a broad grin, “Confidentially or for publication?” We said that we would be discreet in what we wrote and the young behemoth, who stands well over six-feet three inches, told us the story of his athletic career which, in our estimation, has only begun. Incidentally, he weighs in the neighborhood of 220 pounds—confidentially or otherwise.


We might have expected the answer to our query about his former high school. All good shot putters come from New Utrecht High and once Barney Hyman, miracle man of the Bensonhurst track team, has spotted a youngster of Finklestein’s heft and brawn, the latter is on the road to athletic success.

“Yudy,” as he is known to his friends, weighed well over 200 pounds when Barney Hyman first asked him to come out for shot put practice. He was a Varsity man on the Green and White football team and as a tackle on the line he stood out above the others because of his great style of play. Evidently Barney Hyman thought that if Finklestein could toss an entire opposing team over his shoulder with the greatest of ease by just leering at them he would be a cinch at tossing a twelve pound shot put. His figures were proved to be correct.

“Yudy” was an all-Brooklyn tackle for two years and was one of the most feared men on the scholastic forward wall. Soon after the football season, he tried out for track and won a novice meet with his first heave. His later attempts in scholastic competition netted him third and fourth places.


Despite the fact that Finklestein only participated for New Utrecht High just one year, the track mentor was so impressed with his work that he said, “Finklestein is the greatest shot putting prospect New Utrecht has ever turned out.” But, as Lou E. Cohen, once remarked in his “Sportchats,” “This was quite a statement to make, considering that the Bensonhurst school has produced Frank Labes, Dave Adelman, Charlie Smith, Emil Bonavita, and Fred Wurtemberg among others. But Hyman meant it.”

From his freshman year Finklestein started on his career of shattering records and through his sophomore and juniors terms he continued to smash them with a regularity that was astonishing. Next fall this young Jewish lad from Boro Park returns to the Violet track team as a senior and, we believe, he will write athletic history for the Hall of Famers before he is through.

Finklestein won the junior metropolitan shot put title with a toss that went fifty-five meet one-quarter inch to break the then existing record. Unofficially he heaved the iron ball fifty-six feet two inches. Both, however, paled Charlie (Indian) Jones’ record to insignificance. Then, in his sophomore year he placed fifth in the I-C-4-A indoor championships.

A year ago in July, he again came to the front and copped the senior metropolitan track and filed championship shot put crown with a toss well over forty-five feet. In winning he beat out Harry Schneider and Babe Scheuer, two of New York University’s outstanding shot putters.

This year he has already won the metropolitan intercollegiate championships, defeating Scheuer, defending title holder, with a toss in the neighborhood of forty-seven feet. He tied for third in the indoor I-C-4-A this year with John Dean, captain of last-year’s Harvard football team.

Coach Emil Von Elling, mentor of the track and field team at N. Y. U., remarked, after Finklestein had won the junior metropolitan crown. “Finklestein is undoubtedly the best eastern collegiate shot put prospect to come along in some time.”


The first time that we saw Finklestein perform on the track was in the Triangular track and field meet at the Temple Stadium in Philadelphia the early part of May. His first place in the shot put event aided the Violet squad considerably in rolling up the score by which they trounced the Owls and the St. Nick men the way they did.

His form in the weight tossing event is close to perfection. He still has a few things to learn and he’ll master these before long. However, we noticed one humorous thing which took place on the field shortly after he had won his event and the judges had removed themselves to another part of the field.

Babe Scheuer, a teammate of the winner who had finished second, said to him, “Let’s have some fun. We’ll toss for the ice cream sodas.” The result of this private match, which kept the spectators in a merry mood, was that Scheuer beat out Finklestein by almost a foot. The Babe tossed the shot well over forty-six feet when inspired by an ice cream soda notwithstanding the fact that he had only been able to heave the sixteen pound ball forty-four feet for his alma mater. It seems that Finklestein made up for this terrific loss some time later at the metropolitan intercollegiates.


Julius Finklestein comes from very orthodox people and is very religious and orthodox himself.

When we arrived at the North Philly station we inquired of the police how to reach the Owl Stadium. We traveled for forty-five minutes by subway and car in order to get to our destination. When we came to the field, rather early, we discovered the “Yudy” was already there. He had arrived in Philadelphia Friday afternoon and had stopped over at a hotel to avoid traveling and riding with the team on a Saturday. The next morning he walked the fifteen miles from his hotel to the field and had arrived ten minutes before we came. He told us that he would remain after the N. Y. U. division had left for the city to wait for sundown. Then he would ride home.

He is this corner’s choice for a first place in the finals at the international Maccabiad shot put events next April at Tel Aviv. Then again, we predict that he’ll pave a way for a berth for himself on the American Olympic team.


A feature bout to a finish, staged because of public demand, will bring together Ernie Dusek, the Omaha Roughneck, and Sam Cordovano, the Columbia football coach, in the Coney Island Velodrome Friday night.

This bout tops an exceptionally attractive card. Garibaldi will be seen in action with Hans Steinke, the German Oak, In limited engagements, Coleman, the Jewish wrestling idol, will be in the opposite corner to Al Giecewiz, the Polish champion.

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