Home > Navy > Swabbin' The Deck Columns > May 20, 1945

Jack Gordon







Swabbin' the Deck with Jack Gordon, S1c

By Jack Gordon


Jimmy Gant


THE INVASION of Japan began back In the 1920's and if you don't believe it just ask Captain Shoemaker, the NAS Skipper, for verification! . . . There's nothing like a sports banquet to bring a few old yarn out of the sock that otherwise might never be told and such was true when the Skipper got up to present the station hoop trophy to the co-champions, Ordnance and the Colored All Stars last Tuesday night . . . The Skipper, it seems, was once a basketball player with the Fleet and back in the roaring twenties was invited with his team mates to play a Japanese team in the heart of Nippon . . . The story goes like this: The Navy team, armed with their own referee, made a deal before the game started. The oversized Jap basketball along with their referee would be used the first half and the regulation ball along with the Navy whistle - tooter would take it for second stint . . . The first half, sprinkled with slight demonstrations of Ju Jitsu by tne Japs, saw the sons of Nippon grab a big lead and were ahead something like 26-3 at half time . . . The Navy men had spent most of their time on the floor, thanks to the nifty tripping by the Nips — and the Jap referee called a foul on the Navy each time . . . But the second half was a different story . . . Using the regulation ball (the Jap version was so big it only ringed the hoop when the Fleet took a shot) the Navy adapted a Notre Dame style blocking attack and instructed their referee that as soon as two men hit the deck he should blow the whistle and have jump ball . . . The point was that the Nips were all about four and five feet in stature and were certainly no match when it came to jumping with the big strapping Navy players . . . Then Navy started to roll . . . And after the Japs were on the receiving end of a few blocks (always followed by a Navy player's "so solly, pliz") the game was in the bag . . . Final score: Navy 28, Japan 26 ... Just the same, winners or not, the Navy players hustled back to the ship like Buck Rogers and his gang because the Nipponese (who figured on skunking the Fleet and had broadcast same to the homeland) were not very happy about the outcome . . . Back on the ship, the Admiral was told of the victory but frowned on the fact that the retaliation tactics had to be used . . . The players stood around chagrined until he finally remarked: "But it's a damn good thing you won!"

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DOWN AT PUBLIC WORKS the sports fans are heralding the fact that they have the best softball pitcher in the league . . . He's Jimmy Gant, a NAS newcomer, with a wealth of softball experience behind him . . . Outsiders have yet to see him perform but if he's anything like his build-up he must be terrific . . .

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ORCHID OF THE WEEK belongs on the desk of Lieut. J. B. Crawford whose promotion work in the recent station hoop tournament was an inspiration to the great teams that participated in the meet.

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YOU COULD have knocked South Chicago over with a blow from a stockyard hambone when the Cubs shipped Lou Novikoff, the borsch-eating outfielder, back to the minors. But to the boys who have seen them come and go for years, it wasn't surprising at all. Colorful and likeable, Lou Novikoff was one of the best hitters the minor leagues ever developed. He led every league he ever played in— except the National. He was a killer—in the minors. But like Buzz Arlett, Count Pucclnelli, Jimmy O'Connell, Ike Boone, Smead Jolley and Ox Eckhardt—killers, all—he couldn't make good in the big time.

In the first place, Lou couldn't field his position. In the second place, he couldn't hit a high, outside curve. Feed them low and keep them inside and Lou would murder you. But they don't make it a point to pitch to your strength in the majors.

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ONE-LEGGED Bert Shepard, AAF lieutenant who lost his right leg when his plane was shot down over Germany, has been signed to a coach's contract by the Washington Senators. Shepard, an ex-minor league pitcher, threw two innings for the Senators recently in an exhibition game at Ft. Story, and fanned the side in the ninth.

A patient at Walter Reed hospital, Shepard impressed Clark Griffith and Larry MacPhall with bis stuff. Griffith immediately signed him as coach and batting practice pitcher, but announced after the Ft. Story game that Bert may be a starting pitcher yet.









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