Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

1958: The Year U.S. Track Died

Collapse

Unconfigured Ad Widget

Collapse
X
 
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • 1958: The Year U.S. Track Died

    OK, provocative headline, perhaps. What do I mean by that? Ever watch the TV show "Connections" (and its two sequels)? Wacky Brit named James Burke who takes you from point A in history to the present, showing how history has been influenced by technology and and un-related events. At any rate, taking a Connections-type approach, I say there were two seminal events which as much as anything I can think of, put the nail in the coffin of track as a major force in U.S. sport.

    The guessing may begin!

  • #2
    Something to do with the birth rate?

    Comment


    • #3
      My guess is that one of the things gh is referring to is the start of trans-Atlantic jet service. The other could be the expansion of Major League Baseball to the West Coast.

      Comment


      • #4
        Isn't one of those when the Baltimore Colts won the NFL championship in overtime and helped the NFL gain a huge TV audience?

        Comment


        • #5
          yeah, I'll go with the rise of MLB, NFL, NBA (yes, I know that's 3) as major media presences to ring T&F's death knell.

          Comment


          • #6
            I'm intrigued by the question. Could the answer be any of the following:
            -J. Edgar Hoover publishes "Masters of Deceit"?
            -U.S. adopts neutrality in Indonesian civil war?
            -Xerox produces its first commercial copying machine?
            -Stereo LPs are introduced?
            -US churches report the largest increase in membership since 1950?

            Seriously, I would guess that one answer has to do with some major event in the expansion of network TV...and/or the relationship of TV to professional sports.

            I'll keep cogitating on the problem...

            Comment


            • #7
              Dan Ferris and the amateur qustion?

              Comment


              • #8
                I'm assuming that these events are unrelated to sports or T&F. The establishment of NASA? Khrushchev becomes Premier of USSR? Dick Dale records "Let's Go Trippin", recognized as the first surf song? Mary Ann Mobley crowned Miss America?

                cman :?:

                Comment


                • #9
                  I'm positive that Garry is referring to Brazil's World Cup victory in Sweden, and the emergence of Pele....

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Per Andersen
                    Dan Ferris and the amateur qustion?
                    I think Dan Ferris had something to do with it, but it wasn't 1958 when he did it and it had nothing to do with the amateur question. It was later, maybe 1966 or so, that he was responsible for what I think was the watershed event that led to the downfall of the sport in this country. He hired Ollan Cassell, who eventually succeeded him.

                    In an era when sports leagues, teams, and other governing bodies were becoming professional entertainment and brand marketing organizations, the US had a guy in charge who was totally lacking in the background, knowledge, skill, and vision needed to make track competitive in the sports marketing business. By the time they got rid of him, he had been with the organization for 30 years. Irreversible damage had been done in that period, and it was too late to recover.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by cullman
                      I'm assuming that these events are unrelated to sports or T&F. The establishment of NASA? Khrushchev becomes Premier of USSR? Dick Dale records "Let's Go Trippin", recognized as the first surf song? Mary Ann Mobley crowned Miss America?

                      cman :?:
                      Cullman: couldn't agree more about Dick Dale's greatness, but "Trippin" was recorded in 1961..

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        1.I agree with Kuha and mcgato. One of them has to be when the 1958 NFL Championship played at Yankee Stadium between the Colts and the Giants went into sudden death overtime before one of the largest TV audiences ever. Is was the advent of the big TV contract Professional Sports boom.

                        2. And I’ll go with the Kitchen Cynic for the second reason, but on different grounds. 1958 was also the year that a 20-year-old Herb Eliot lowered the WR in the mile in Dublin on August 6th by 2.7 seconds, and then lowered the 1500 WR by 2.1 seconds three weeks later. All of these races occurred in Europe, none in the U.S., making Europe the place where major summer track competitions occurred. Then, in 1959, most milers moved to other events because they didn’t think they could compete with Eliot, and in 1960, after setting the WR in the 1500 at the Olympics, Eliot retired. There was no way for him to make a living as the greatest middle distance runner of all time to that point. Meanwhile, back in the U.S., Glenn Davis was given the 1958 Sullivan award as the nation’s top amateur athlete. After winning his second Gold medal at 400 H in the ’60 Olympics, he became a terrible wide receiver for the Detroit lions in the NFL, lasting only one or two years. I think Davis was the first of a long line of world best track and field athletes to choose to be mediocre in football, rather than the best in the world in track. So based on Eliot and Davis, my argument is that 1958 was the year that amateur track died, and when it failed to move with the other big big three into the new world of big pro TV sports, that was the end of track and field as a major sport.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by tandfman
                          My guess is that one of the things gh is referring to is the start of trans-Atlantic jet service. The other could be the expansion of Major League Baseball to the West Coast.

                          Right on both counts, t'man. Of the two, however, my guess is that trans-Atlantic jet service, making the big summer European meets more accessible to US athletes, was the more devastating to USA track and field.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            That was also the year the Euro 'Common Market' was established. hmmmm.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              The Dodgers took over the Los Angeles Coliseum?
                              "Who's Kidding Who?"

                              Comment

                              Working...
                              X