The Post-Journal

Harry Carlson, Former Jamestown Man, Prominent As Director of Athletics at Colorado University

BOULDER, COLO. - A former Jamestown man is one of the most widely know directors of physical education in the Rocky Mountain area.

Harry G. Carlson, who left the Western New York city when he was 17 years of age, still holds dear many memories of high school days at Jamestown and the succeeding years, which saw him serve as coach at Suffield Academy and Milford School in Connecticut; basketball coach at Springfield College and athletic director and coach of football and basketball at Hamline, St. Paul.

Today Harry Carlson holds the post of Director of Athletics at Colorado University and under his guidance the Buffaloes have made great strides on the gridiron, the basketball court and in many other phases of sports.

One of those steps was entry in the Missouri Valley Conference.

“About Jamestown, yes I knew many people there – many fine people,” Mr. Carlson remarked recently.

“Why Dick Shearman, one of the city’s businessmen and enthusiastic sports followers, played end on my football team at Milford.

“Our ‘gang’ around Jamestown consisted of Oscar “Swede” Larson, Johnny Breckenridge, Dutch Greenae, later a catcher for the Washington Senators; Fred Johnson, Ned Ogden, Andy Strum, George Mellor, Earl Loomis, Eddie Westrum, Hank Johnson, “Rabbit” Lindstrom, Leon Carlson and a legion of others.”

One of Mr. Carlson’s fondest recollections goes back to his freshman days at Jamestown High School.

“We went over to Silver Creek to play a baseball game and who do you think was on the mound for the Creekers? None other than Howard Ehmke, who really made the grade in baseball with Washington. He beat us, 3 to 2, in 12 innings. In our half of the 12th our first batter Loomis tripped and was picked off third, erasing the run that might have kept it going. Ehmke struck out 22 men that day.”

Carlson himself took a fling at professional baseball. He pitched for Springfield and New Haven in the old Eastern League, Evansville (Ind.) in the Three I and was with the Cincinnati Reds for one season as a batting practice hurler.

One of the most hilarious incidents ever to befall the former Jamestown man occurred during his first game in organized baseball. He was on the mound for Springfield against New Haven. Springfield led by two runs with two out in the last inning. New Haven had a runner on first, a fellow named “Nuts” Netter, big and strong, but a slow thinker. Up comes Chief Myers, later to become Christy Mathewson’s catcher with the Giants to form one of the truly immortal batteries of baseball.

The Chief had hit safely in 27 consecutive games.

“Rather than gamble on the Chief connecting and tying it up, I decided to try for Netter at first rather than pitch to the Old Warhoop,” Carlson relates. We wanted to snap that hitting streak as well as win the ball game, you see. Well I came through with a half-balk motion and threw to first. Netter was caught off by three yards as a “hungry” umpire overlooked the balk and called him out.

“You should have seen the Chief. He reverted to form and with war club in hand lit right after Netter who broke the world’s 300-yard dash record and high jump mark all in the same effort.

“I figure it was 300 yards to center field and the fence was seven feet high. Netter cleared the distance and the barrier in record time with the Chief a poor second. Guess that’s conclusive proof that fear can be a greater stimulus to athletic accomplishment than rage.”

The reference to a “hungry” umpire is derived from an old “saw” prevalent among ball players in those days. It was claimed umpires got hungry along about the seventh inning and would call anything that would get a game over in a hurry.

But athletics are only part of Harry Carlson’s life today. He is highly regarded in the West. So highly, in fact, that he was chosen as one of a group of educators to tour Germany and study the former followers of Hitler. But that’s another story. It leads away from sports; and Harry Carlson is best remembered in the East for his activities on the field on athletic conquest.

The additional financial assistance of the community is critical to the success of the Chautauqua Sports Hall of Fame.
We gratefully acknowledge these individuals and organizations for their generous support.