Presidential Campaign in 1912 I

Four years before the subject, Theodore Roosevelt said he would not seek another term in the White House.  He had won election in his own right in 1904 and was a certain winner in 1908.   Vice President Roosevelt became President after the assassination of William McKinley  in 1901.  Roosevelt hand picked his successor, Secretary of War William Howard Taft.  WHT easily defeated William Jennings Bryan in the Presidential Election.   After the inauguration,  Roosevelt left for an African Game adventure.   Some say he did this just to help forget  passing up another term in the White House.

William Howard Taft as President generally followed and in some cases exceeded Roosevelt’s progressive policies.  These included laws relating to trust busting, conservation, and tariff reduction.  We all know, however, that  sometimes in history form is better than substance and  any malfeasance becomes a big incident.  Taft simply lacked the charisma and showmanship of President Roosevelt. 

Making matters worse was his clumsy handling of a dispute between his Secretary of the Interior Richard Ballinger and Gifford Pinchot, the Chief of the Forest Service.  The news media and Members of Congress accused Ballinger of collaborating with coal interests to plunder federal reserves in Alaska.  Taft stood by Ballinger, fired Pinchot,  and did keep the coal in reserve. A congressional investigation cleared Richard Ballinger of any wrongdoing but the publicity sparked a spit with the Republican Party.

After returning from Africa via Europe, Teddy Roosevelt saw this fracture and wanted to wrestle the nomination from Taft.  His home at Sagamore Hill in Long Island must looked like it had revolving doors.  Roosevelt met and visited with various Republicans across the nation.  While this was going on, the Democrats met in Baltimore and nominated Woodrow Wilson.  In just two years, Wilson had transformed New Jersey from deep corruption to a measure of efficiency.

In Chicago, Roosevelt had some firm support.  Even so, Taft had the power of incumbency.  He easily won the nomination.  Undaunted, Roosevelt called for a third party. Dubbed the Progressive Party, it held a hastily organized but well directed convention also in Chicago.  Roosevelt obviously was the nominee and he chose Hiram Johnson of California as his running mate.  This was the beginning of the Eastern and Western Factions within the Republican Party.  Let’s talk about the three way campaign later.

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Retiring Brian Westbrook

The subject player made a fine speech on retiring as a Philadelphia Eagle.  Mercifully, it was not sugar coated; but he did show his appreciation to both his offensive and defensive teammates, the coaches, the media, and the Eagle fans.  They are, to me and most others, the most passionate in the NFL.  {I hope you will read my article on  the factors involved}.  These are some points on Brian Westbrook.

–One fan stated that he could not believe Westbrook was not the teams All Time Leading Rusher.  Wilbert Montgomery still holds that mark set in 1984.  Andy Reid’s offense is of course more passer friendly than Dick Vermeil’s.  In addition the rule changes after the 1993 season encouraged a more wide open offense.  Starting in 1994, (1) kickoffs moved back from the 35 to 30 yard line;  (2)  If a kickoff went of out bounds, the receiving team had the ball at the 40.  If the ball went out of bounds outside the 40, the receiving team took over at that point.  Previously kicking out of bounds meant a five yard penalty and a rekick. (3) Missed field goals came to the spot of the attempt rather than the line of scrimmage.  If inside inside the 20, it was a touchback with play beginning at the 20.

–Another fan noted that in 2003,  Westbrook’s injury cost the Eagles the NFC Title Game and a trip to the Super Bowl.  The Carolina Panthers defeated the Eagles 14 to 3.  Philadelphia had to win final regular season game at Washington to assure home field advantage in the playoffs.   Earlier,  Philadelphia had lost 21 to 20 at Dallas and, in overtime, 30 to 27 at Lincoln Financial Field to the 49ers.   The Eagles won the final game easily, 31 to 7,  but lost Brain Westbrook until 2004.  Had the Eagles won either of these two earlier games, they could have treated the final weekend as an exhibition.  Westbrook and other starters would have been on the sidelines.

–In 2007, Brian Westbrook made an unselfish gesture depriving himself of a touchdown but saving his teammates the bangs, bruises, and energy associated with a kickoff.  At Dallas, the Eagles were leading 10 to 6 with the ball at the Dallas 30.  It was inside two minutes and clock was moving.  Brian broke loose and fell down at the Cowboys one.  The Eagles easily ran out the clock.  Wonderful man.

–We should monitor Westbrook’s health in the future to determine the impact of his injuries.

I do have questions about his play in 2008 and will write about it later.

Jake Plummer-Eagle Nemesis

Jake Plummer through his career was a continual problem for the Eagles.

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1998 Arizona was 9-7 to Philadelphia’s 3-13.  Both games were close.

At Arizona-Eagles lost 17 to 3.

In a rare occurrence, the game was scoreless until the fourth quarter.  Jake Plummer went 21 for 35 for 173 yards.

At Philadelphia-Eagles lost 20 to 17 in overtime.

Jake Plummer through a nine yard touchdown pass to Rob Moore to tie the scored at 17.  Chris Jacke kicked a field goal in overtime.

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1999 Arizona was 6-10 to Philadelphia’s 5-11. Jake Plummer really ruined Andy Reid’s first year with two victories after the Eagles were in front.

At Philadelphia-Eagles lost 25 to 24.

Duce Staley ran for 111 yards but it didn’t make  much difference.  The Eagles blew a 24 to 6 halftime lead. Plummer was 25 for 38 for 274 yards and a touchdown.

At Arizona-Eagles lost 21 to 17.

Plummer was 25 for 48 for 274 yards and a touchdown.  Philadelphia led 17 to 7 midway in the fourth quarter.

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2001 Philadelphia was 11-5 to Arizona’s 7-9.

At Philadelphia-Eagles lost 21 to 20.

Leading 17 to 14, the Eagles could not make a first down on third and one from the Cardinals eight late in the game.  They settled for a field goal and a 20 to 14 lead.  Jake Plummer  capped a drive with a 35 yard touchdown pass to Mar Tay Jenkins.  There was  a 134 yard rushing effort from Correll Buckwater.  This hurt the Philadelphia Eagles in the Post Season and was among the toughest losses of the Reid era.

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2005 At Denver

The Broncos were 13 -3 to Philadelphia’s 6-10.

At Denver.  The Eagles lost 49 to 21.

Jake Plummer was 22 for 35 for 309 yards and four touchdowns.  The Broncos gained 564 total yards.

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Clock Management; Turning Points; and Energy Consumption

Earlier I stated that the “slide rule” relating to the tackling of quarterbacks should  apply to receivers and running backs.  In addition to the prevention of injuries, clock management  is the  big reason.  Things may change in the last five minutes of a half or game.  Before that a general rule is this;  if a team has the ball and is ahead or tied they should burn as much of the clock as possible.  This simply allows your opponents less time.  Clock management is a big portion of a winning strategy.  Let’s allow the players to slide or go out of bounds as they prefer.  Remember also this.  It is or at a least should be a penalty to spear or charge into a ball carrier flat on the ground.  This  applies even when not down by contact.  The officials should never allow a hit when touching would suffice. ———————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————

Turning points do not always occur in the second half.  They can happen in the first quarter.   I have heard announcers say “… I know this is in the first half so it is not a real turning point.”. ————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————-

Another fallacy is when announcers say especially about a running back. “He gets stronger as as game goes on.”   This is impossible even for the fans.  What they really mean is the offense consumes less energy for a given time period than the defense.  A better statement would be that the offense gets stronger  relative to the defense as time goes on.

Fran Tarkenton-The First Scrambler

In 1961, a quarterback with a new style and with a new team entered the NFL; Fran Tarkenton  with the Minnesota Vikings. Tarkenton moved around to find receivers in a almost haphazard manner.  Unlike Randall Cunningham, his mobility was not designed to gain yards. Nevertheless, he could and did gain yardage if required. When he retired after 1978,  this player  had every passing  and yards gained rushing record for quarterbacks.

Despite his style Tarkenton was only injured once.  In game nine in 1977, Fran Tarkenton was headed to the record books at home with the Cincinnati Bengals.  After going 17 for 18 for 195 yards and a touchdown, he broke his leg.  He of course missed the final five games. Yet Fran was ready for 1978 season.  Despite his accomplishments, it took 13 years for Tarkenton to be a winner. Let’s  briefly summarize his stay with each team.  I will be more specific later.

Minnesota Vikings 1961 to 1966.  Analysts have to make allowances for an expansion team.  In these  first six years, Vikings had only one winning  season.  The 8-5-1 record Minnesota posted in 1964 gave promise for the future.  Instead the Vikings fell back the next two seasons.  After 1966, the Vikings fired head coach Norman Van Brocklin and traded  Tarkenton to the New York Giants.

New York Giants 1967 to 1971.  There were  three mediocre seasons and 1970 for a while looked different.  After losing their first three games in 70,  the Giants won nine out of  ten.   The only loss in that streak was a 23 to 20 decision to the Philadelphia Eagles on  Monday Night Football.  All hopes for the playoffs rested with the final game at Yankee Stadium with Los Angeles.  The Rams easily rammed the Giants  31 to 3.  Frank Tarkenton saw no post season action and was headed back to Minnesota the following year.

Minnesota Vikings 1972 to 1978.  Tarkenton’s first season here was a disaster.   They came in at 7-7, their worst record since Bud Grant’s first year in 1967.  Many media moguls were rumbling with complaints  Any doubts about FT’s ability vanished thereafter.  The Vikings went  to the Super Bowl three times in next four years.  A official’s questionable call in the first round of the 1975 playoffs  may have cost them a fourth.   Losing all three Super Bowls does not degrade Tarkenton’s accomplishments   He finally got the attention he deserved.

Fran Tarkenton went to the Pro Bowl nine times and once an all pro. I will be more specific about this guy later.

 

President Election of 1912-Jimmy Foxx-Back to Philadelphia

This is was to me the most fascinating election since the Civil War.  This election showed many things:

1} The Folly of the Electoral College System;

2} How a Third Party can Effect the Outcome of an Election;

3} Three Self Styled Progressives for President;

4} The Power of Incumbency;

5} How Form vs. Substance can effect an Administration;

6} Using the New Media-Motion Pictures;

7} Was the beginning of two factions within the Republican Party, Eastern Liberals vs Western Conservatives.  The dividing line was Pittsburgh.

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Jimmy Foxx was one of the greats that Connie Mack traded away when he broke up the team in 1935.  That was no small move with Foxx’s highlights listed below. Often with a second team, ball player returns to the city where he started.   Management  does this of course strictly as a box office measure.  Old timers can remember how great the players were and their sons and daughters can see what their parents are talking about. It serves as good history if not good play.  This happens generally when a player is well past his prime.   

In 1945, Jimmy Foxx played only 89 games with the Philadelphia Phillies.   He hit seven home runs and batted .268.

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Jimmy Foxx was one of the great players with the Philadelphia Athletics from 1925 to 1935.  Here are some highlights:

–scored over 100 runs six times with an American  League leading 151 in 1932;

–banged out 200 or more hits twice;

–led the league in home runs three times; 58 in 1932, 48 in 1933, and 36 in 1935;

–knocked in over 100 runs three times; personal high of 156 in 1930; led the league with 169 in 1932 and 163 in 1933;

–hit well over .300 every year with the exception of 1931 when Foxx hit .291; won the Batting Title with league leading .356 average in 1933.

Steve Van Buren

On the Eagles Blog today, noted is the death of Eagle rate and Hall of Famer Steve Van Buren.  He lived a healthy old age at 91.

Van Buren was on the team that had the one Eagles dynasty, 1947 to 1950.  That lone dynasty, before the age of television partly explains the passion of Philadelphia fans.  I have an old magazine published before the 1958 season.  That was the first season of the move from Connie Mack Stadium to Franklin Field.  Let’s call that time a benchmark in Philadelphia Eagles history.  Steve Van Buren had the following NFL records:

–First in Most Attempts in a Career-1,320-Eight Seasons from 1944 to 1951;

–Second in Most Attempts in a Season-263-1949-gained 1,146 yards-4.4 yard average;

–Second in Most Attempts in a Game-35-1949-gained 174 yards-5.0 yard average;

–Most Yards Gained in a Career-5,860-in 1,320 attempts-Eight Seasons from 1944 to 1951;

–Most Yards Gained in a Season-1,146-1949-in 263 attempts; 4.4 yard average;

–Second in Most Touchdowns in a Career-77-Eight Seasons; 1944-1951;

–Most  Touchdowns in One Seasons-18-1945;

Steve Van Buren took the trolley to Shibe Park for the Eagle games.   Three teams played at the Park, later known as Connie Mack Stadium-the A’s, the Phillies, and the Eagles.  I am surprised at the relative seclusion he kept in retirement.  As I recall,  Van Buren had part ownership in the Starlight Ballroom in Kensington.   The Eagles Blog named him among the ten best Eagles of All Time.   Steve Van Buren played at Louisiana State.