The Pittsburgh Press (November 28, 1942)
Service teams play in restricted setting
By Leo H. Petersen, United Press sports editor
Annapolis, Maryland –
Citizens of this sleepy little village on the banks of the Severn treated the nation’s greatest football classic – Army vs. Navy – as just another game today.
So disinterested were those holding “squatters’ rights” for the 43rd annual renewal of Uncle Sam’s service teams that only 8.500 of Thompson Stadium’s 22,000 seats were sold until the ticket windows closed last night.
In previous years, the Army-Navy Game has drawn its spectators from all sections of the country, annually jamming some 102,000 into the giant Municipal Stadium in Philadelphia. But this year, government-imposed restrictions have limited those who can buy tickets to the 14,600 persons in Annapolis or within a 10-mile radius. The tariff was $4.40 a seat and perhaps the citizens of Annapolis regarded it as too high for the privilege of watching the Cadets and Middies in company of the highest officials of the Army and Navy.
Of the approximately 35,000 home-towners and their neighbors holding charter rights, less than a fourth of them were interested at the established rates.
Even old timers who could remember back to 1892 when Army and Navy last met here – the crowd was 10,000 and the score 6–4 for the Middies – were surprised at the lack of interest. There used to be more spirit displayed, they said, on the eve of the Navy squad’s departure for the game when it was played in Philadelphia.
So, when one of the best Army teams in years lines up against an in-and-out Navy eleven, the throng in the stadium will number less than 12,500. To add to the 8,500 ticket purchasers, there are 3,200 midshipmen, the players and out-of-town newspapermen, broadcasters and telegraphers.
Play for ‘keeps’
Army ruled a 14–5 choice and on the records that seemed about right. But of all the games in which records mean nothing this probably is tops, for, like Dead End Kids shooting marbles, this is one time when they play for keeps.
There have been a number of reports that came out of here on key Navy players being injured, ill or otherwise unfit. But all of them will be out there to try to make it four in a row over the Cadets – a feat which had never been accomplished in their long rivalry.
Despite the fact that some of the tinsel will be missing, nothing has been taken away from the game itself. Cdr. John Whelchel, Navy coach, was pessimistic, as usual, and said his team had “no business being on the same field
Coach Earl “Red” Blaik of Army said his team was ready:
…as fit as it has been all season. If we lose, we’ll have no excuses.
The Army team left West Point yesterday morning and stayed in a Baltimore hotel last night. Cdr. Whelchel sent his squad through a light signal drill as the West Pointers were traveling.
Although there will be no cadets present – except for two cheerleaders – Army will have a cheering section. The third and fourth midshipmen battalions, having lost the flip of coins, will be lending their tonsils – if not their hearts – to the Army.