Your independent source for Harvard news since 1898

Your independent source for Harvard news since 1898

The College Pump

"...I don't care if I never get back."

May-June 2007

"Your wooden arm you hold outstretched to shake with passers-by."

Baseball fan Philip J. Lowry ’71, M.B.A. ’79, of Minnetonka, Minnesota, tossed out last November a revised and greatly enlarged edition of his classic Green Cathedrals, The Ultimate Celebration of Major League and Negro League Ballparks (there are more than 400). He packs this signal reference with vital statistics and browsable asides, such as an educated guess of how far away from home plate Willie Mays made “The Catch” of Vic Wertz’s drive to center field in the 1954 World Series (420 feet). Lowry now calls Primus’s attention to two little-known records held by Harvard’s baseballers.

“The first took place May 11, 1877, in Cambridge,” he writes. “The Crimson played a professional team from Manchester, New Hampshire. The game lasted 24 innings and ended up scoreless when darkness forced the umpires to call the game. It held the record for the longest game of all time for the next 14 years, and it still holds the record for the longest game ever played by a college team. The current record for a game between two college teams is 23 innings.” (Last year marked the twenty-fifth anniversary of the longest game in baseball history, which involved the Pawtucket Red Sox. It was suspended at 4:09 a.m. on Easter Sunday and concluded in June, running 33 innings. Wade Boggs went 4 for 12 for the PawSox, who won, 3-2.)

 
Ball courtesy of the Harvard Athletic Department. Photograph by Jim Harrison
 
   

The second Crimson record-breaker, Lowry continues,“occurred in Holyoke, Massachusetts, on May 24, 1978, during the NCAA playoffs. The Crimson trailed the Delaware Blue Hens 1-0 in the top of the seventh inning when a huge thunderstorm struck. Not wanting to have a playoff game shortened, the umpires settled in for a long wait. But this turned out to be the longest rain delay in the history of baseball! They waited from 1:50 p.m. to 10:02 p.m., eight hours and 12 minutes, before finally calling the game.”

Trapeze act. When Rupert Pole ’40, of Los Angeles, died last July, long obituaries appeared in the national press, partly because, as the New York Times put it, he was a “duplicate spouse” (and there can’t be many of those in the Harvard alumni body). Specifically, he was the duplicate spouse of the diarist, sexual adventurer, and habitual liar Anaïs Nin. They met in 1947 in New York City, just after Pole had appeared in a supporting role in The Duchess of Malfi on Broadway. He was 28, she 44. Under the impression that she had divorced Hugh Guiler, a wealthy banker and a filmmaker under the pseudonym Ian Hugo, whom she had married in 1923, Pole asked Nin to go with him to the West Coast, where he would study forestry. She went, telling Guiler that she was driving with a friend to Las Vegas.

Nin shuttled back and forth every few months for years between Pole and a cabin in the Sierra Madres and Guiler and a Manhattan apartment, telling Pole she had writing assignments, telling Guiler she needed to escape city pressures. She wrote her many lies—her “trapeze,” she called them—on index cards in a locked box to help her keep her stories straight. Pole persuaded Nin to marry him in 1955, but she invalidated that marriage in 1966 as she grew wary of the legal risks of bigamy. They continued their living arrangement, however, until her death in 1977, when Pole became her literary executor.

Years later he said, “I played the same games as Hugo, pretending to believe her. In a way, I did not care. My idea of marriage is different. We had a wonderful, deep relationship, and that is what counted. I was not interested in conventional women or in conventional marriage.”

Faustiana. “It’s Faust,” trumpeted the Crimson on Friday, February 9, with the scoop that Drew Gilpin Faust was expected to be named Harvard’s next president on Sunday. On an inside page, a reporter noted that the Boston Symphony Orchestra, “in an apparent coincidence,” was scheduled to perform on Saturday evening Hector Berlioz’s The Damnation of Faust.