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Pigskin Rivalry Over 75 Years

THE YALE FOOTBALL STORY, by Tim Cohane, G. P. Putnam's Sons, 340 pp., $6.00.

By Bayley F. Mason

Old Blues have always been obsessed with a maudlin nostalgia for Yale, Mother of Men and Big-Time football. Perhaps for their vociferous support of Eli grid teams in Yale's present fleeting hour of amateurism, the Blues have been rewarded by the publication of a new anthology of Yale football.

College football histories traditionally read like almanacs, and are coveted only by that species whose cocktail party coup is to name the starting lineup of the 1909 Harvard-Yale debacle. Yale football, however, with its Pudge Heffelfinger, Ted Coy, Little Boy Blue Albie Booth , a great winning record, and a sensationalism now fostered by Herman Hickman offers a natural source material of interest to football fans who never sat in the New Haven saucer.

Mix with this material a colorful and capable writer like Cohane (not an Old Blue) and the result is an unexpectedly fascinating account of how Yale and her Big Three rivals conceived the monster that today is college football then retreated themselves to the palsied field of amateur football, halting only to buy an occasional Big-Time team. Present-day Stadium diehards might also be pleased to learn that from 1938 to 1941 the hapless Yalies won 7 and lost 24 games and still survived. Local readers will also find new background and stories of Crimson great like Percy Haughton who brought Harvard into the national spotlight, and walloped Yale 36 to 0, and 41 to 0 after allegedly strangling bulldog pups to work his teams into the proper attitude toward the Elis.

Cohane concludes with the fortunate reminder that football is still a game little boys and students can play. He maintains that Yale, which led college football into the swamp has now found the proper perspective in amateurism. One would like to think Cohane is right. If every Old Blue, however, reads this tale of the days when Yale meant football, and weeps for Herman, then scares up some more talent for the Fat Man, Yale's amateurism might well become as mythical as Frank Merriwell.

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