Patrick Reusse has been covering sports in the Twin Cities since 1968. He has been a Star Tribune sports columnist since 1988. His sportswriting credo is twofold: 1. God will provide an angle; 2. The smaller the ball, the better the writing.


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Sometimes old walls can speak

Posted by: Updated: August 16, 2014 - 6:48 PM

There are critics who like to suggest that printed newspapers are best used for wrapping fish. Leif Klang, a local carpenter, sent a couple of tattered sports sections with information on another use for newsprint:

“I found this sports page [St. Paul Dispatch, Nov. 15, 1979] with you stuffed in a shower wall. The one from 1931, I found working on an old house in Minneapolis. Back in the ’30s, people would sew newspaper between sheets of hard wax paper and nail it in between the studs for insulation.’’

The sports front for the Minneapolis Tribune of March 1, 1931, included a maze of headlines on short stories.

The centerpiece — as we term it these days — featured individual photos of Gophers who had been compiling points in indoor track meets: Johnny Currell, Johnny Hass, Cam Hackle, Charles Scheifley, Clarence Munn and Ernie Seiler.

Clarence was better known as “Biggie” Munn, a Gophers football star and then the football coach who brought Michigan State into the Big Ten in 1949.

The Dispatch used to stuff a leaky shower featured a column by a round-faced young man with a full head of hair and a fashionable mustache (at least, in my opinion). The topic was St. Paul’s Tom Younghans, following a North Stars’ 7-2 victory over the Quebec Nordiques.

The North Stars were 9-3-3 and had scored 26 goals in the past four games. The theme of the Younghans’ piece was that most everyone was scoring goals — except Younghans and Mike Polich, the ace penalty killers and checkers.

Younghans had missed two big scoring chances that night. “It can be very depressing to be a defensive specialist on a scoring machine,’’ he said, postgame.

John Mariucci, an assistant GM, saw Younghans being interviewed and said: “Why in the world would anyone want to talk to you?’’

Younghans replied: “There’s the guy who talked the Stars into taking a chance on me, and now he’s on me.’’

Kind of funny. As Leif Klang says, you never know what might be found behind a wall of a Minnesota house.

Patrick's Plus Three

Other news from behind shower wall (11-15-79):

•  The Dodgers reached a free-agent deal with Twins pitcher Dave Goltz. His agent was La$ue Harcourt. He turned out to be a crook.

•  The Houston Press reported pitcher Nolan Ryan had agreed to a four-year contract for over $1 million annually with the Astros. The size of the deal was a shock.

• Indiana, with its coach in a checked sports coat, Bobby Knight, was No. 1 in a preseason basketball poll.

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