Jim Thorpe visits Vanderbilt
March 31, 2010
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After a conference with the little Napoleon it was decided that Thorpe wasn't cut out for pitcher and that his speed could be utilized to better advantage in the outfield. Since going to the outfield he was developed into a clever fielder and, whereas he couldn't hit a curveball with a slap-stick when he first broke in, he is now rapping all kinds of benders out for safe hits.
Unfortunately for Nashvillians and the Vanderbilt faculty and students, when Thorpe showed up for the game, the field was too wet for play. The game was cancelled.
Earlier that morning, Thorpe took a spin around Centennial Park in a Buick 6. In his party was teammate Mike Donlin and Nashville Vols manager Bill Schwartz.
Thorpe also walked the dampened Dudley Field to recall in 1906 the Carlisle Indians losing to Vanderbilt in a 4-0, football loss. That game was played before Thorpe arrived at the Indian school.
The Tennessean also reported on Thorpe visiting with the Vanderbilt track team:
However, when he saw some of the students practicing in throwing the discus, the Indian began to get interested and moved over to where he could watch the sport.
"Say, Mr. Thorpe," said "Whitey" Lowe, who thought he could toss the disc pretty well.
"All right," said Jim, who seemed to be anxious for the chance. He stepped into the ring and without seeming to exert himself gave the discus a toss which sent it almost out of sight, according to Lowe's statement later on. It was by far the longest throw ever made on Dudley Field, which is not surprising, considering the fact that this was of the departments in which Thorpe starred in the Olympic games.
In 1915, Thorpe only appeared in 17 games for the Giants. He opened the 1917 season with Cincinnati and finished again with New York. In 1919, he played sparingly with the Giants. The next year, his final in baseball, Thorpe played with the Giants and the Boston Braves.
In Thorpe's major league career, he played in 289 games for a .252 average (176-of-698). He collected seven home runs and 82 runs batted in. Thorpe also played in one World Series game for New York in 1917, but failed to record an at-bat.
Thorpe also played professional football for the Canton Bulldogs winning championships in 1916, 1917, and 1919. He concluded his football playing days in 1928 with the Chicago Cardinals. Thorpe became a member of the National Football League's Hall of Fame and was named the most outstanding athlete of the first half of the 20th century.
Thorpe died on March 28, 1953.
If you have any comments or suggestions you can contact Bill Traughber via email WLTraughber@aol.com.