Up at the Heights, where the N. Y. U. gridders are working out prior to their season debut under their new head coach, Mal Stevens, football prospects are beginning to rise and shine.
The new coaching regime at the Violet school faced a difficult situation last year when it hopped the buggy that Howard Cann had been tossed from. Most of the seasoned veterans and experienced players had graduated. What remained merely had possibilities. It seems to us at this moment that Mal Stevens has developed the potentialities to a peak for pre-season campaigning.
THE BRAINS OF THE N. Y. U. GRIDDERS
The lad who directs the strategy of the N. Y. U. juggernaut as it rolls down the field is a diminutive Jewish lad from Newburgh, N. Y. He is Charlie Siegal, small but sturdy grid hero. It was his spectacular spearing of that unforgettable forward pass tossed by his running mate, Eddie Smith, that accounted for the only score in the game between Carnegie Tech and New York University.
Charlie was the quarterback of the Violets last season despite the fact that he was only a sophomore. Once again he is slated for a varsity berth at the signal-calling position.
AN ALL-ROUND ATHLETE
From where we sat last November in the Yankee Stadium, the only method we had of reaching Siegal was via radio telephony. But, on the day we watched practice last week we vaulted the press barrier and headed straight for the locker rooms.
Charlie hails from Newburgh High School and was on the football and track teams there. He went out for track in order to increase his speed on the gridiron. Any one who has seen this atom of dynamite run back a punt knows how remarkably fast Siegal can be in his football togs.
While at Newburgh High, Charlie held the state hurdling title for secondary schools. He prepped at Dean Academy, starring in football, baseball, basketball and track (just an all-round man).
With this splendid athletic record behind him he prepared to carve a niche for himself among the immortals of the Violet athletes. In his freshman year he made an exceptional record while on the frosh track and football teams. The coaches of these plebe outfits were very much impressed by his sportsmanship, his ability and his eager zest to play ball.
MADE VARSITY GRADE
Despite the fact that he is only five feet six inches tall and weighs approximately 160 pounds, he tried out for the varsity football team in 1933. However, it developed that Coach Cann was not so keen on giving this lad first team recognition because of his diminutive stature. But Charlie was adamant. He reported for practice religiously and took his daily drubbing as a member of the scrubs. This, at least, earned him some reward and he finally was handed a varsity uniform.
His big chance came one afternoon when he ran back a kick-off against the first stringers for a touchdown. The following Saturday he made his debut in intercollegiate competition. The rest is a matter of history. He drew first blood for N. Y. U. last season, starred in the other games, and caught a high pass for the only score of the game that beat Carnegie Tech, conquerer of Notre Dame.
A BOTTLE OF MILK FOR MRS. REILLY
As hard as nails, this fellow can crack the line with all the force of a battering ram. He can skirt the ends with the speed of an express train and he hurls the pigskin with the sharp shooting eye of a Benny Friedman. This isn’t all. He can block and tackle.
We feel it is high time the public learns how Charlie developed his forward passing and receiving ability to such an expert degree. During the summer, some years back, Charlie worked on a bakery truck with his brother. They alternated in catching and throwing loaves of bread from the truck to the house where they were supposed to deliver. If a loaf of bread was dropped it meant cancellation of order, so the brothers Siegal had to aim accurately or to sprint like mad to get their hands on each loaf. (Shades of a bottle of milk for Mrs. O’Reilly!)
Siegal plays football with the same enjoyment and zest we noticed at a track meet last May. Except for the fact that he is somewhat emotional on the playing field he’s our choice for an A-1 athlete. Charlie will take defeat to his team as a personal loss. It’s a sure bet that Charlie will be captain of the Violets in his senior year.
Jewish followers of Vanderbilt football teams are pulling for Ed Merlin, Miami (Fla.) freshman, to develop into a varsity guard before he is graduated from the Southern school.
Horace Levy, Vanderbilt alumnus, induced Merlin to enroll at Vanderbilt in the hope that a second Jewish player might wear Commodore colors.
Plute Lasky starred at tackle for the Commodores during the season of 1926, ’27, ’28. He is the only Jew ever to win a gridiron letter at the university.
Merlin, a husky eighteen-year-old youth of 190 pounds, prepped at Miami High and Riverside Military Academy and played football at both schools.
WINNERS OF WORLD SERIES TICKETS
In the Slants on Sports columns that appeared yesterday instead of on Wednesday we announced that Henry “Hank” Greenberg, pride and pot first baseman of the Detroit Tigers, had been elected “the greatest Jewish baseball player of all time” by an overwhelming majority.
This contest ran for a month and was open to all readers of the Jewish Daily Bulletin. Three pairs of tickets for the World Series were to be given the winners of the three best letters. The winners, all residents of Greater New York, are:
Fred Shachter, 210 Riverside drive, Manhattan.
Philip Gelman, 6319 Myrtle avenue, Brooklyn.
Isadore Herman, 2176 Victory boulevard, Port Richmond, S. I.
Both Shachter and Gelman selected Henry Greenberg as their choice for the Jewish idol of all time. However, Isadore Herman picked Johnny Kling and stated his reasons in such a convincing manner that the judges were compelled to consider his letter until the last. If possible, single tickets will be given the fans who received mention by the judges. We will announce these at a later date.
Your sports scribe wishes to thank all those who entered this contest. The task of judging the letters was an exceedingly difficult one. However, fans, keep a weather eye open for our football contests for free tickets to the best games in the city.
THE SPORTING CALENDAR FORT HAMILTON ARENA POLO ON SUNDAY
Once again the Blind Brook four will invade the Fort Hamilton reservation for the rubber match with the rack quartet at the army post.
The army team, led by Lieutenant Ben Jacobs, a man who rose from the ranks during his long stay in the corps, has been playing a fine brand of polo this season. It will not be surprising at all if its present three-goal rating this year is raised by the end of the season.