A Cuyahoga Falls High all-around athlete, Dain Clay put together a colorful athletic career which included 17 years in organizational baseball with Mid-Atlantic, International, Three I, Texas, Pacific Coast, American Association, Southern, Western International, and National League clubs. In pro baseball, he started as a shortstop but later was switched to the outfield. Acquired by the St. Louis Cardinals in 1943, Clay soon after was traded to the Cincinnati Reds for whom he played into the 1946 season when an arm injury doomed him to the minors. His four-year batting average for the Reds was .258.
Park "Tumble" Crisp
During his collegiate career, "Tumble" Crisp was named by Walter Camp, father of the All-American teams, as one of the nation's best 14 football starters. Enroute to that honor, Crisp captioned the first Akron Central High football varsity in 1911 just as he subsequently did the first Akron U grid squad in 1914. Prior to those years, the schools were Akron High and Buchtel College. After graduation from Akron U where he performed at left tackle, Crisp played pro football with the Canton Bulldogs, Akron Indians, and Akron Pros. While with the Bulldogs, he was a teammate of Jim Thorpe.
Sherwin "Sonny" Gandee
An indelible mark was left by "Sonny" Gandee on Akron prep athletics, Big Ten football, and the pro Detroit Lions. At Garfield High, he picked up 12 letters - made the All-City twice as an end, and earned All-Ohio first team as a senior. Before Gandee's graduation from Ohio State where defense was his specialty, he was named twice to the All-Big Ten and earned honorable mention on several All-American teams. With Gandee at defensive end for the Detroit Lions, they captured world championships in 1952 and 1953. He retired from pro football in 1958 when an ailing knee failed to respond to surgery.
Football, Basketball 1966
He had the distinction of playing on Akron West High's 1932 Class A state championship basketball team and The University of Akron's 1934 Ohio Conference title cage squad. However, his greatest achievements came on the gridiron at Akron U where he won three varsity letters in both football and basketball. For example, his first placekick for a field goal as a collegian beat Kent State, 3-0. Weighing 170 pounds, Hensal was a hard nose, tenacious tackler. In 1934, his aggressiveness won him berths on both the All-Ohio Conference and All-Ohio dream teams. The following year he was named captain of the All-Ohio eleven.
Jack "Hughie" Palmer
Horseshoe Pitching 1966
Taking up the game of horseshoes at age 59, "Hughie" Palmer launched a competitive career with amazing results. In two years he won both the Summit County and Ohio championships. The state title was decided in a best-of-21-game series. Palmer dusted off his opponent in the first 11 games, outscoring him 231 points to 103. At Gary, Ind., in 1919, he captured the U.. Industrial championship. That same year Palmer finished third in the nationals at St. Petersburg where he was the oldest competitor in the field. Two years later, at the age of 64, Palmer took fourth place behind the winner, Akron's George May.
Upon his graduation from the University of Iowa where he was chosen All-Big Ten forward, Ben Stephens was lured by Akron Goodyear for its varsity basketball team which had won the National Basketball League championships in 1937 and 1938. While he played only two seasons for the Wingfoots - World War II intervened and Stephens served in the U.S. Navy - he was a Goodyear standout, leading the team in scoring during the 1940-41 season. After the war, Stephens returned to a career in industry with Goodyear. He died in 1966 at age 49.
The year 1957 was a banner one on the bowling lanes for Joe Meszaros, born in Hungry, coming to the US and Akron as an eight-year-old. That was the season he won the American Bowling Congress doubles with Ronnie Jones with a 1369 total which at that time ranked eighth among all-time ABC double scores. Before year's end, Meszaros, also teaming with Jones, added the Ohio doubles title and the state all-events crown.
Although he lettered at Monmouth College in five sports which included football, track, baseball, and swimming, Jack Ozburn achieved his greatest success in basketball. After helping Monmouth to two Midwest Conference titles, he subsequently was a two-time AAU All-American. He brought his baffling pivot shot to Firestone and aided the Non-Skids to National Basketball League championships in 1939 and 1940.
Barberton boxer Frankie wine can look back on a fighting career as lavishly splashed with color as his own rugged disposition could have made it. After signing his first contract, he knocked out 27 straight opponents on the Pacific Coast. He fought in Montana for several years before being lured East by Jabbering Joe Basco. From then until his retirement from the ring, Wine boxed under Basco. One of his biggest victories was winning the South African heavyweight title. Wine battled Young Stribling to the limit four times. In 1932 he weathered four rounds with Jack Dempsey during the latter's "comeback" tour. Afterward Dempsey said Wine hit him as hard as anyone had. His battles with K.O. Christner were some of his best.
From the time he entered old Akron West High in 1930, Andy Averitt seldom settled for anything less than the best during the remainder of his prep career. With 6'4-1/2", 215-pound Averitt at fullback, West won the City Series football championship in 1931 and shared the 1932 title with North. However, basketball was his game. With Averitt leading the way, West made it look easy in becoming the first Akron team to win a Class A (now Class AAA) state high school title in 1932. He was selected to the all-tournament team just as he was in 1933 when West made its third of five straight trips to Columbus. Hi competitive playing days were ended by tuberculosis two months after he had started classes at the University of Toledo.