Loyola, Jays finally ready to be rivals Hopkins reigned from 1939 to '69

April 21, 1993|By Mike Preston | Mike Preston,Staff Writer

The last time Loyola and Johns Hopkins played a lacrosse game, Lyndon Johnson just had vacated the White House, the Beatles were together, Woodstock was only a town in upstate New York and the Greyhounds program ranged from awful to average.

It was so bad at times that Loyola couldn't even establish a rivalry with Johns Hopkins, which is only a 15-minute walk away. Oh, the two teams met 29 times from 1939 until 1969, but the series record reads: Johns Hopkins 29, Loyola 0.

The series was called the Charles Street Massacre. It was called off after the 1969 game because Johns Hopkins needed better (( competition.

"I wouldn't call it a rivalry," said Tom Wagner, an automotive parts executive who was a faceoff specialist who graduated from Loyola in 1953. "In rivalries, the other team wins. I would call it a series."

"Punishment, that's what it was," joked Bill Hooper, a marketing and advertising consultant who played defense for the Greyhounds from 1954 through 1958.

No. 8 Loyola (4-3) and No. 4 Johns Hopkins (6-2) will meet tonight at 7:30 at Homewood Field for the first time in 24 years. Loyola alumni and followers expect the outcome to be different this time around.

The Greyhounds might lose, but they shouldn't get embarrassed. They shouldn't be held scoreless, as they were four times in the old series.

Imagine, being shut out in a lacrosse game.

"It will be a whole different kind of ballgame," said Tom Murphy, Loyola's assistant athletic director, who was a Greyhounds defenseman from 1956 to 1959. "I'm going to enjoy watching it, the intensity. We're on the same level now. Johns Hopkins won't have the score figured out before they play the game."

In the old days, a safe bet would have been for Johns Hopkins to score at least 20 or win by at least 10 goals. The most lopsided victory came in 1959: Johns Hopkins 29, Loyola 3.

"That game seemed to last forever," said Murphy. "They had guys like Mickey Webster and Billy Morrill. Webster was the feeder and Morrill was the shooter. They were like a well-oiled machine.

"We tried everything to stop them from reaching 30," said Murphy. "Physically, we were beating the hell out of them hoping we could beat them into submission."

During his four years at Loyola from 1949 to 1953, center Wagner left every Johns Hopkins game with these parting words: "Wait till the basketball team gets you guys."

Wagner added: "Back in those days, if you lost to St. Paul's [in high school] or Johns Hopkins by 18-2, you accomplished something. Hopkins had this cannon that used to go off after every goal, and that chant, you know, 'One, two, three, four, whatever the number, we want more.' I hated it. Those guys were loaded. They didn't try to run up the score. They didn't have to. If we had beat them, it would have been the upset of the century."

Poor Loyola. From 1939 to 1969, Johns Hopkins had 57 first team All-Americans. Loyola had one. During that span, Johns Hopkins had four unbeaten seasons and 10 with only one loss. Loyola had 10 winning seasons, five times finishing one game over .500.

Johns Hopkins had a broad recruiting base then, and every goodBaltimore player went to the school. Blue Jays athletic director Bob Scott, who played at Hopkins in the early 1950s and coached there from 1955 to '74, remembers the 1944 All-Maryland high school team.

Of the 11 players on the first team, nine went to Johns Hopkins.

Hooper said Loyola was basically a commuter school and drew most of its students out of Catholic schools, some of which weren't playing lacrosse even as late as the 1960s.

"When I was playing, we basically had a bunch of football players carrying sticks, not a whole lot of real lacrosse players," said Murphy.

"We had guys who had only two to three years playing experience. They had guys who had been playing for eight or nine years. I mean, we could run with them and hit with them because we had some athletes. But we couldn't put it in the goal or stop it from going in. Hopkins, they got the players from all over. Theywere the New York Yankees of lacrosse. I never came close to beating them. Never."

Actually, Loyola has come close a couple of times. The Greyhounds lost 12-8 in 1951, and 10-6 in 1965. But, for the most part, it was memories of Morrill, Webster, Lloyd Bunting, Ace Adams and Robert Sandell dominating games, and trying to stop them.

"In 1949, they were beating us 6-4 at the half, 9-6 at the end of DTC three quarters, and then they beat us 20-6," said Frank Kimmel, vice president of Kimmel Tires and a Loyola attackman in the late '40s. "I'll never forget watching them scoring 11 goals in one quarter. It was unbelievable."

Murphy said: "29-3. I was on that team. Let's not talk about it anymore."

Wagner said: "All in all, I think we all enjoyed it. It was a great thrill playing the best team in the game. Each week of the game, the community was talking and asking, 'Are you guys ready, are you ready?' "

Maybe tonight, the Greyhounds will be. Loyola is now a lacrosse power under coach Dave Cottle, who took over the program in 1982. The Blue Jays no longer are the dominant team. They haven't won a national championship since 1987.

It should be an interesting matchup.

Cottle and Hopkins coach Tony Seaman are the best of friends. Seaman is an innovator offensively. Cottle is a copycat, using a little bit of everybody's playbook. Both teams have great attacks and average midfields. The Blue Jays have more experience on defense, Loyola has more in the goal. Both teams play zone very well.

"It's a tossup game now," said Scott.

But can one win erase 29 years of frustration?

"No," said Hooper.

"Yes," said Wagner.

"I don't know," said Kimmel. "But at least now we can call it the beginning of a rivalry."

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