The Baltimore Sun from Baltimore, Maryland on October 28, 1973 · 242
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The Baltimore Sun from Baltimore, Maryland · 242

Baltimore, Maryland
Issue Date:
Sunday, October 28, 1973
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Remember ... Calvert Hall and a Football Team Without a Field 4 i.t" 4v; i Mr. Buettner i. .;? K Ki "vr1v' ,j f . ... t Walbrook Oval was the gift of Patrick Flanigan to Calvert Hall College to be used as an athletic field in 1922. Before that, football at Calvert Hall had no home. By JOHN BUETTNER Up until 1920, football was considered too rough and dangerous for the boys of Calvert Hall College, and the faculty was against it. But a group of us wanted to play. We held a secret meeting in the washroom, and decided we would field a team to be known as the Calvert Club. The faculty got wind of it, relented, and before we had a chance to elect officers we were given permission to play as Calvert Hall. Organizing the team was one thing. Finding a place to practice was something else again. Behind the school, then at Cathedral and Mulberry streets, was a yard about 100 feet wide and only 20 feet deep, with a brick wall running along one side. It was great for handball, but a ridiculous place to practice football. We made arrangements to use that part of Clifton Park that runs along Harford road as a practice field. There were public locker rooms, used by golfers, but no showers. So we rode the streetcar to the park, carrying our uniforms and equipment, and after practice we changed and carried our togs home the same way. Our small squad was a problem, too. There weren't 22 players, so we couldn't field two teams for a scrimmage. But we scrimmaged with half-teams. Our coach was a Mr. Moore, who had gone to Michigan State and was interning at Johns Hopkins Hospital. Brave man. He stuck by us and did the best he could with what he had. We played our first game against Marston School at its field on Bellona avenue. I had been practicing and scrimmaging at left guard, but on game day our left end didn't show up. "Buettner," Mr. Moore said, "today you play left end." I asked him what the difference was. He told me to catch any passes I happened to see flying through the air, and to scoot down the field under our punts to tackle the receiver. Either I did all right or there were no other applicants for the job, because from then on I played left end. We lost 14-0, but it was an exciting experience I still remember. Bill Fehl, a member of our class, asked his father to give some of us a lift to the field. Mr. Fehl hauled half a dozen of us to the game, in his sporty Apperson Jack-rabbit. My memories of most of the rest of the season are somewhat foggy now, after more than 50 years, but I do recall that in our final game against Lovola we won 3-0. By 1922 we had a new coach, Maury Eichelberger, but we were still a gang of homeless waifs as far as a practice field was concerned. And then on a crisp autumn day that year the entire stu dent body was called to a special assembly in the auditorium. There we were introduced to a man named Patrick Flanigan, a prominent building contractor and the father of three sons who were graduated from Calvert Hall. Mr. Flanigan, it seemed, bad heard about a playing space with excellent potential along Clifton avenue, leyond Walbrook Junction. The Gas and Electric company had leased the land, but had refused to allow the Calvert Hall baseball team to use it for practice or play. Mr. Flanigan's solution of the problem: he bought the property, with the intention of allowing Calvert Hall to use it in any way it liked. After the cheering subsided, a member of our faculty asked Mr. Flanigan: "Sir, do you prefer to speak or not to speak? We'll do anything you like." "In that case," said Mr. Flanigan, "give all these boys the balance of the day off." After the cheers subsided this time, we filed out of the auditorium, and many of us spent the afternoon at Pim-lico, watching the races. Our benefactor's purchase of the ground was just the beginning of bis-good turns for Calvert Hall. At Walbrook Oval, as the athletic field was most widely known, be had goalposts erected and a football field lined off. There was a baseball diamond later, and a cinder track for track and field events. Finally, there were showers and dressing rooms for the athletes, and bleachers for the spectators. Our athletic field was second to none in the Baltimore area. I was graduated at Calvert Hall in 1923, but went back to Walbrook Oval many times in the years to follow, in the 8 or 10 years Calvert Hall continued to use the field. It was a good place to meet old classmates. Now, after 50 years, the first names of some of the players escape me, but I can still remember most of our football squad. In addition to Maury Eich-enberger, the coach, George Young, manager, and me, there were John T. Mullin, Frank Hare, Spencer Smith. Charles Shearman, Robert Mahool, Frank Fairbank ami a hoy named Mile-waski. There, was John Kelly, McCraw, Hubert Costello, Frank Cadden, Mike McDonald, Carl Dockrnan, Joseph Finn, Donald Muth, Frank Morisi, Mike Kelly, the captain, and Samuel Bonomo. The old Calvert Hall College at Cathedral and Mulberry streets has long since been torn down, and the Catholic Center was built on the site. Calvert Hall College moved to Couch-er boulevard, near Loch Raven boulevard. Now, as in the days of the Walbrook Oval, it has fine facilities for field .sports. O THE SUN MAGAZINE, OCTOBER 28, 1973

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