The Albie Booth legend began one fall Saturday in 1920, Booth's sophomore year, when Yale was facing a powerful Army squad, led by All-American Chris Cagle. With the Elish trailing 13 to 0 late in the second period, Booth entered the game. Even now, 30 years later, they still talk about the events of the next 30-odd minutes.
Twice Booth led Yale drives for touchdowns, and twice he came through with perfect dropkicks, the second one putting the Elis ahead for the first time that afternoon. Then, with the partisan Yale Bowl crowd in an uproar, Booth took an Army punt on his own 20 and twisted 80 yards through the entire Cadet team for the score that clinched the game.
Rivalry with Wood Starts
As the 1929 season drew to a climax, the fame of Yale's "Little Boy Blue" spread. Fans all over the nation awaited the clash between the 5 ft., 7 in., 145-1b. sophomore sensation and Harvard's Barry Wood.
For a while it seemed that the meeting would not materialize, for Booth was suffering from leg injuries and did not start. With a fourth and four situation on the Harvard 18 in the second quarter, Booth came into the game to try a field goal, but his kick was blocked. Later, he threw a 23-yard touchdown pass for Yale's only score, and, in a desperate bid to overcome Harvard's 10-6 lead, he broke away on a kickoff return only to be pulled down from behind.
So Wood, whose kicking accounted for the four-point margin, won the first round over his injured rival. In 1930, the Crimson line smothered Booth for most of the afternoon, as Wood threw two touchdown passes in a 13-0 Harvard victory.
Booth got his revenge in 1931 against a Crimson team that was trying to put the finishing touches on an undefeated season. The two elevens battled away on even terms through most of the game, the Crimson failing to capitalize on a 95-yard runback of the opening kickoff and Booth missing a field-goal try early in the second quarter.
Then, late in the fourth period, Yale blocked a Wood punt and recovered on the Crimson 45. Booth gained five yards, and on the next play he completed a pass deep in Harvard territory. After three running attempts left the Bulldogs short of a score, Both dropped back to the 12 and split the uprights with the three-point kick that ruined the Crimson's spotless record.
Was Three-Sport Athlete
A three-sport athlete, Both was forced to miss the basketball season because of pleurisy contracted in the 3-0 triumph. But he had one more great effort in him; he licked the disease in time for the Harvard-Yale spring baseball series. In a story-book drama, Booth came to bat with the bases loaded, two out, and the Crimson ahead, 2 to 0. After the count reached three and two, Booth smashed a mighty grand-slam home run that decided the contest.
After a few seasons of semi-pro baseball, Booth entered the ice cream business. In the 1947 he was named manager of a New Haven company.
Last Saturday night, Booth attended a Broadway play with his wife. Later in the evening, he collapsed and was taken to St. Elizabeth's Hospital. Early Sunday morning Albie Booth, age 51, died of a heart attack, and the entire world of sports was left to mourn its loss.