Anthony J. Steinmeyer writes-
“You are what your record says you are,” NFL Coach Bill Parcells famously said. By that standard there was a risk that Salem, Ohio’s 1959-1960 men’s high school basketball team might be forgotten. Salem’s team for the preceding season -- the subject of David Hunter’s first book, Love Those Quakers: The Road to Columbus -- was the most celebrated basketball team in Salem’s history. It was the runner-up in the Ohio Class AA Championship Tournament. That accomplishment by the relatively small school has never been equaled in the town’s history. Appropriately, Salem has kept the team’s fame shining undimmed after more than half a century. Especially in its shadow, the following year’s team might well have been destined to fade into oblivion. Dave has written a second fine book, Still Quaker Crazy: Columbus Lost, to prevent that from happening.
Dave shows that even in the cold, harsh terms of its record alone, the 1959-60 Quakers earned a place in history. Their regular season record was 16-2, and both of the losses were by the slimmest margin possible, one point. In its 16 victories, Salem crushed most of its opponents, winning by an average of over 20 points per game. The 1959-60 Quakers were led by their two senior guards and co-captains, Dave and Dan Krichbaum. Dave was selected to the All Ohio Second Team, and Dan made All Ohio Honorable Mention. For the season, Dave set three Salem records: 23.0 average points per game, 43 points in a single game, and 83.7 percent foul-shooting. For 16 straight weeks, Salem ranked number three in the state, behind only the two teams that eventually battled it out in the state AA championship game. The team’s final ranking as sixth in a basketball-powerhouse state warrants its inclusion as one of Salem’s all-time finest.
It was the post-season tournament that cursed this team. The sectional play-off began auspiciously enough with the Quakers destroying their opponent 105-64. But only one day later, Salem’s season abruptly ended when a team it had defeated in the regular season scored on a desperation shot in the closing seconds to win 54-52. (That team included Paul Warfield, the future pro-football Hall of Famer.) Salem’s early exit from the tournament was both bitter and shocking to the players and their enthusiastically supportive fans. But then, one might observe that all but one of the teams that qualified for post-season play ended their season in defeat.
Dave gives a vivid, conversational account of the team’s high and low points. By design, Dave tells us, this book is more compact than his account of the team’s 1958-59 season in his first book. Dave focuses on the key games and brings them to life as though he were describing last week’s events, rather than games played more than fifty years ago. The book can easily be read in a single sitting. Indeed, the action flows so swiftly that the reader will find it difficult to put the book down before finishing it.
Salem’s 1959-60 record of 17 wins, 3 losses shows what a difference four points can make in judging an athletic team by Bill Parcell’s test. But we should also bear in mind John Wooden’s standard, which Dave quotes in the introductory pages of his first book: “It’s the quality of your effort that counts most and offers the greatest and most lasting satisfaction.” Dave’s two books show that by either measure Salem’s teams for both years were indeed extraordinary. Still Quaker Crazy is a worthy successor to Love Those Quakers, and Dave’s 1959-60 team deserves to be remembered as a worthy successor to his 1958-59 team. I heartily recommend reading both books.
Anthony J. Steinmeyer
Kirk Gooding writes-
I loved your books, "Love Those Quakers: The Road to Columbus," and, "Still Quaker Crazy-Columbus Lost," and I am grateful that I have gotten to know you better and to share memories and thoughts about life with you. Your stories are well written studies about the character of your fellow athletes and your coach, but also accurate portrayals of those days back in the late fifties and early sixties. These are meaningful stories for anyone, both for the lessons they teach, but also for the biographical sketches they paint that inspire us. Thanks so much for sending them to me.
In 1959, our basketball season at Lima Senior High School had ended, and I was in Columbus on a recruiting trip sitting across the table from Jerry Lucas, John Havlicek, Mel Nowell, Joe Roberts, and Larry Sigfried. Bobby Knight was somewhere in the building, I'm sure, and I was listening to them recount their days at Ohio State perhaps hoping that I would be interested in joining them. But looking across the table, I marveled at the size of Jerry Lucas’s hands, very aware that he had scored 63 points against me and my Lima team two years before. No way was I ever going to attend Ohio State! They were too good! I would never play!
But part of the sell was taking us high school seniors to a state tournament game at St Johns arena, and your Salem team was playing Cleveland East Tech that afternoon. Looking down from high above in that magnificent, huge, almost new arena, I saw this tiny, blond guy with a flat top, very erect in his posture, directing traffic against a much bigger team. This was your junior year at Salem and you were winning! I don’t think any of you could dunk. I know all the players on the other team could! I was so impressed with the ball movement, the pick and rolls, your defense, that after my freshman year at William & Mary I recommended to Coach Chambers that he recruit you and he did. And now after 50 years, through your books and letters, and the memories they have stirred, I am revisiting those halcyon days.
Your books are treasured gifts. When I read your description of those games against the likes of Cleveland East Tech, Youngstown, and Akron, I am imagining through your fantastic memory, your succinct writing style, your judge of character, another world far across the state from Lima, so different from where I played. That eastern part of the state seemed so much darker, so much more urban and sinister. And then, as part of the Ohio All-star team the summer after my senior year, I met the likes of Kenny Glenn from Cleveland East Tech, an almost mythical player in my mind. And who was I coached by in those all-star games, but your revered coach to whom you dedicate your books, John Cabas himself, legendary figure that he was! I remember his no nonsense approach, his fairness, his quiet demeanor. After that, at the recruiting soirée in Columbus, I met Elijah Chatman and Nate Thurmond, both from Akron Central, and still can't believe I could have been on the same court as they. Wow! So thanks for bringing back to me those times, those lovely men and players.
And along that vein, in your book, it is hard to believe that your team of relatively short players without a dominant big man could win even a game or two, let alone get to the state tournament as far as you did-the championship game no less-during those two wonderful years. What a story of discipline, patience, effort, and focus. Your books express that power and the glory of those days, and between the lines I sense the amazing achievement which had mostly to do with the mind, I think, and the amazing coach and players that were able to train their minds to achieve much against considerable odds. Well done, and well done for revering and accounting hazy days. Again, thanks for sharing.
“Quaker Sam” speaks:
I really enjoyed visiting with Dave Hunter (the author of Love Those Quakers and its sequel Still Quaker Crazy) at the Salem Historical Society back in November. Back in the “ole days” (1958-60), the author was a 5’ 11”, 160 lb. cigar stub of a fancy dan, sporting a blond flat top utilizing mustache wax to keep the front hairs straight and neat. Today, he has aged considerably (age 72), adding a number of pounds and wrinkles to that 5’ 11” frame, and his white hair has thinned.
Admittedly, however, I still remain my ageless, handsome self decked out in my powdered wig and Quaker-like costume (see the covers of the two books).
The author’s memoirs about the 1958-59 and 1959-60 Salem boys basketball teams tell of my emergence as their mascot and symbol for the Salem Quakers, brought to life through the imagination and ingenuity of Coach John A. Cabas and his sidekick Perry Calvin, the Salem News cartoonist.
As the team mascot, my main task (in addition to looking handsome) was to assist the cheerleaders and the Mad Hatters, our high school jazz band, by firing up the crowd and by promoting pride in the town of Salem.
Coach Cabas – through the Pep Club, the Booster’s Club, and other service organizations – designed and sold hundreds of badges with my picture and the “Love Those Quakers” slogan, which Cabas also created. To enhance this team spirit, townspeople designed huge banners proclaiming “Love Those Quakers” that were displayed at all home and away games.
Yes, Coach Cabas, along with his able assistant Coach Karl Zellers, was a public relations guru. Both even designed a Salem basketball “Coat of Arms” that was stitched on the outside pocket of the black blazers that each team member and coaching staff wore to basketball games. Classy stuff? You bet!
Okay, okay, that’s enough about my part in Salem basketball history back in the beginning when the new school and new gym/arena opened in 1958. I do highly recommend both of Dave Hunter’s memoirs that take us back to those thrilling days of yesteryear in Salem’s basketball history – and look for me on the covers!
Salem Basketball Mascot