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UPenn Athletics and history

Barty88Barty88 0 replies1 threads New Member
This probably is not the right place, and if anyone has any other ideas let me know, but...

I have been in touch with several members of the athletic department as well as the alumni and history departments and no one at UPenn seems to care about my topic which is a famous alumni who helped put UPenn on the map in athletics over a century ago. Its like they have no interest or care in their own history, which... in general... really bothers me. Its the general attitude of "That was a long time ago, nobody is alive from that era so who cares?" that really frustrates me about today's culture in general, but I digress. In a time when the concept of a 'Hall of Fame' was not on anyone's radar, there was no social media besides newspapers of the day and no TV, no video recordings just eye witness accounts that would later come to apparently mean nothing... there was a fascinating story that would shape sports in the region (the Ivy league) and Basketball in particular as a sport worldwide. The person I outline below was literally the greatest player of his era and was widely considered the greatest to ever play the game until it changed drastically a half century later... but he is forgotten (or ignored) by time.

In the early 1900's there were no professional Leagues (besides baseball), no Halls of Fame, no recognition of accomplishments besides what professional sports writers of the day covered and wrote about for posterity. But that was their job as professionals to report the facts, and give unbiased accounts... which now apparently count for nothing. When Helms created his 'Hall of Fame' it was a labor of love and passion and research to use first hand accounts, interviews, phone calls, letter writing and other now archaic but exhaustive forms of communication to come up with a 'Hall of fame' Recognizing just a very few standouts for their accomplishments and contributions and impact on the game for the previous several decades. This covered roughly the first 80 years of the game. Since the Hall was disbanded in the 1960's the new Naismith Memorial Hall of Fame inexplicably chose to leave a few of these people out with no explanation, but then has gone on to enshrine more than 400 inductees. In fact, they enshrine more people over the course of every 2 or 3 years than Helms recognized in his entire retrospective of the sports first 80 years combined! I understand there is now an NBA and more colleges than there used to be, but I truly believe this omission is unjust and egregious, especially if you look at the facts and compare any of the enshrined members accomplishments within several decades of his time before or after. Keep in mind this was a different time, the game was vastly different for a very long time but his contributions in part helped shape what it would become and apples to apples there simply was no one better.

This person who is inexplicably left out is Charles 'Kid' Keinath. Arguably the best (at least one of the very best) basketball players in the first half of the 20th century.

*4-time FIRST Team All American (one of only 2 people ever to accomplish this feat)
*2-time EIL and National scoring leader
*Scored all of his teams points in a game at least twice
*1909 National Co-Champions w/ Chicago Univ. (*unofficial)
*Outscored the combined efforts of HOF'ers Schommer and Page in 1908 Championship series (1st ever National Championship series!)
*2 EIL championships (would have had a 3rd but the EIL disbanded his senior year)
*1st to score 100 points in league play in a season
*Record 23 points in a game stood for almost 40 years! (before rules changes drastically increased scoring, when whole teams averaged about 15 points a game)
*Played on and then coached Philadelphia City High School Championship teams as well
*Most notably… the double dribble rule was changed because of him (and yes, I have a lot of documentation to support this claim!)

In Football:

*Led team to a National Championship over Michigan in 'The Big House'
*Standout QB called “The Little General”
*Innovator and one of the early successful QBs to utilize forward pass

*Anecdotally: He was selected for enshrinement into the Helm’s Hall of Fame (out of Los Angeles) as only one of a few collegiate players to represent the first half century off basketball in the country, he coached against and befriended Glen “Pop” Warner. He played Against (and often got the better of) Jim Thorpe, John Heisman selected him as his assistant coach where he spent the next 30 years coaching (many alongside Charles Wharton… of Wharton school fame).

*I have newspaper clippings of the time calling him “the Red Grange of basketball”, and one with his picture from the sports page simply titled “World’s Greatest Basketball Player, Kid Keinath”, he was compared in articles of major newspapers even decades later to Babe Ruth, Ty Cobb, Walter Hagen, Jim Thorpe, Red Grange, Johnny Weismuller, Man-O-War, John L. Sullivan, Max Schmelling, and Jack Dempsey among MANY other All Time greats in their sports. He was to basketball what these other All time greats were to their sports, as documented by professional sports writers of that era.

*A member of UPenn’s HOF as well I am trying to see him recognized by other entities. As you know, as Halls of Fame really only started to come about AFTER the 1960’s for the most part… that was over 50 years since he last played. Since then time has only served to further blurr his accomplishments and with the advent of online media the ‘old timers’ are largely forgotten unless someone has cared to comb through scarce hard copy material and document the past for future electronic preservation and accessibility (something I hope to do).
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Replies to: UPenn Athletics and history

  • WhartonPenn2017WhartonPenn2017 202 replies0 threads Junior Member
    Sort of related, here’s a dp article about lack of student attendance at Penn basketball games. https://www.thedp.com/article/2020/02/palestra-penn-mens-basketball-attendance-student-culture-ivy-league

    The Ivy League has great sports histories as you noted, but the average Ivy League student doesn’t care about sports history or even the current teams. The average Penn undergraduate student doesn’t know who AJ Brodeur (best player on basketball team) or Justin Watson (W’18 now a wide receiver on Tampa Bay Buccaneers) is but that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy Penn athletics as a student. You just have to accept that most of your peers won’t care, and it won’t be the same experience as going to Duke. That said, you can have a great time rooting for Penn if you find the right group of friends who are into Penn sports.

    I include this to warn you because you seem frustrated by the lack of interest in Penn’s history, and if you do attend Penn, you’ll find that most of your peers will lack interest in Penn’s current sports teams, too.
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