Webb recognition long overdue

Jake Webb is finally getting recognition for his outstanding performances with the Blair County Sports Hall of Fame’s Lifetime Achievement Award.

Beside his personal achievements in world strong men arena, Webb helped many former Altoona High School athletes achieve outstanding levels both in high school and college.

I was Webb’s next-door neighbor in Eldorado for many years until he moved across the railroad tracks up on 58th Street. His original gym was in his garage — I think about 1945 or so.

The equipment was sparse to say the least. It included a barbell made from two cement-filled paint cans and a basic Joe Weider barbell/dumbbell 110-pound set. Two squat stands were homemade from spare lumber.

The original group who worked out with Webb included Phil Wilt, Kenny Connacher and me. Others may have passed through. We were all trying to get bigger and stronger in order to play football for Altoona High.

I was the smallest and youngest — so much so that I was sent home by Roosevelt Junior High School coach Bowser while trying out for the team in seventh grade.

Wilt, or “Popeye” as we called him, played football and ran track for AHS. Connacher was a star quarterback and was recruited by the University of Georgia. He was in the Korean War and a POW.

I played quarterback and was recruited by Navy. I also was the Joe Cohen Blanket winner in 1951. Webb never tried out for any teams, but he was the strongest off all of us.

We all owe Jake Webb a lot for his help in our very formative years.

Altoona should be proud of Webb’s accomplishments. He was way before the times.

The Naval Academy had no weight room during my four years there, but now, like all college programs, it has great facilities.

The same goes for most high schools, including Altoona. Most programs did not want you to train with weights for fear that you would get muscle bound, especially for basketball.

I have trained with weights most of my adult years in every gym possible, and they helped me maintain over 35 years of competing in master’s track and field events.

This year I will turn 85 and hopefully will still compete. Jake Webb is still my inspiration.

Jim Rothrock

Westbrook, Maine

(The writer is a 1951 graduate of Altoona High School and a 1955 graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy.)

Hart acts like ‘Benedict Arnold’

I think the letter that Les Hart wrote last week (“Dodgers fan has seen enough”) was in bad taste.

I would never say anything bad about the Dodgers.

You can call Les Hart a “Benedict Arnold” — a traitor to the Dodgers.

I stick with the Dodgers through good and bad times, and Hart should do the same.

He should accept the Dodgers’ defeat in the World Series just like I did.

The Dodgers got beat by a better team.

John Wise



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