This particular file covers the years from 1927-1934. For later years see:

NEXT PAGE: 1934-35 season through 1936-37
1937-38 season through 1941-42 1942-43 season through 1943-44
1944-35 season through 1945-46 1946-47 season through 1950-51



Bob Corbett's recollections were that St. James usually won its league championship, but was not able to get by St. Matthew's in the play offs.

Grade school soccer was much less organized than today. There was only one team per school, an all boys team. Managers and coaches were luxury items and equipment was scarce in these economically depressed times. Bob recalls being teased by his brothers for playing in his coat and tie, the required dress at St. James. His school shoes were his soccer shoes.

The players ran the team and Bob recalls going down to the school office on Lindell (prior to the existence of the CYC) to get the league trophy. The team trophy was a tiny thing, but treasured by the boys.

In his final year on the team, the 1930-31 season, his mother promised him a party if he would score 16 goals. That season he scored 22 goals and was treated to an ice-cream and cake party for himself and team mates.

Despite the fact that Bob's teams and the earlier years of St. James simply couldn't get by St. Matthews, the year after he graduated the 1932 team with his brother Ed (Spider) took St. Matthews to 5 games, but lost. Finally, in 1933 St. James won the championship. Click here to see that story.


Upon graduation from St. James Bob was offered a chance to play with Mac Sandwich Shop team in the senior Muny league. At this time there was a professional league, followed by the Muny Senior league as the next best quality play. Bob's older brother, Bill was playing with the St. Louis Stix team in the professional league. (I have found newspaper accounts of Bill being at right halfback for Stix in a 3-3 tie with New Bedford, Conn. on March 28, 1932.) Bill advised Bob not to go immediately to the senior level, but to take a year in the juniors. This was hard for Bob to do. The offer from Macs was attractive and his brothers Red and Rooster played for Macs at this time. But Bob followed Bill's advice. It may have been good advice, but, as fate would have it, Mac's won the coveted Muny league city championship in that 31-32 season and Bob missed the opportunity.

Pet and Joe McLaughlin ran the junior team for St. Mary and Joseph's. They had to be satisfied with second place in their league that season.


Mascots: Irv Shurwan and Ed Corbett

1st row, kneeling: Bob Corbett, John Rooney, Joe Phelan, Bud Carney, Bill O'Shaughnessy and name missing.

2nd row, standing: Joe O'Hara, Charlie Bat Gallagher, Charles Rooster Corbett, Larry Stamps, name missing and John Red Corbett.

3rd row, standing, Coach, O.J. Norman, John Mahon, Louis Joker Columbo, Mike Delaney, Ed Alex Delaney, Matt McLaughlin, Mr. Hense.

O.J. Norman, much later the starter for golf at Forest Park, was the coach of this team which had three Corbett boys playing (Red, Rooster and Bob). Even Ed (Spider) was the mascot. (Much later Bob would have two brother, Bill and Spider, as team mates on the Burkes in the pro league.)

This was an experimental period for soccer. On Dec. 11, 1932 a St. Louis newspaper reported:

"The 'penalty box,' an innovation in soccer in these parts, will be introduced at the double-header. Players ejected for infractions of the rules will be set down for a period of time to be determined by the referee and then permitted to return to the game."

This indicates a level of violence in the game at this time which was of serious concern. This experiment from the pro league was not tried in the MUNY league, but well it might have been. The story below of the St. Ambrose game indicates the difficulties of the time.

The Sunshines had a good year. On Dec. 18, 1932 we read that it was the season's 8th game before the Sunshines were scored upon. L. (Geese) Murlo scored or St. Ambrose, but Bill O'Shaughnessy tied it. The 1-1 draw preserved the Sunshine's unbeaten string.

Jan. 8, 1933 brought about a rematch of Sunshines and St. Ambrose and the Sunshines were now 10-0-1 with 29 goals for and 1 against. Joe Phelan, with 13 goals, was the gun to stop. St. Ambrose was up. Alex McNab and Billy McPherson, stars of the Stix team were the St. Ambrose coaches. Sunshines proved too much, however, and goals by Phelan, Carney and O'Shaughnessy gave them a 3-0 victory.

Newspaper photo of Sunshine / St. Ambrose game

The St. Ambrose keeper has just cleared the ball. Backs Bottini and Viviana are blocking out Sunshine player, John Mahon, in the white shorts.

The following week on McLaughlin's goal (a substitute), Sunshine went to 12-0-1. Both Phelan and Carney had to go to Barnes Hospital for stitches.

The playoffs began easily enough for the Sunshines. On Feb. 12, 1933 they beat Meyers 8-1. Bobby Corbett scored his first goal playing as a senior and Phelan added 4, Carney 2 and Rooney 1.

The Sunshine's had they season come to a close in the MUNY semi finals. However, they didn't go down without a fight! On Feb. 26,1933 they battled the German Sport Club to a 2-2 draw. Phelan scored twice more. The newspaper report said:

"Fine combination play, with short passes playing an important part, featured the match between the Germans and Sunshine. Each team scored a goal in the first half, O'Mara tallying or the Germans (ah, where is ethnic purity here) and Joe Phelan for the Sunshines. The Carondelet representatives had more opportunities, but could not break through the stout defense of the Forest Park title winners.

"Starting the closing half, Dumas, German goalie, was tested with hard shots, but he warded off all efforts until after 11 minutes, when Phelan again found an opening. The Germans tied the score 10 minutes later when Hennessy (another good German!) headed in a fine cross from O'Mara (need I even comment). The extra period failed to break the tie.

The next Sunday was a big soccer day in St. Louis. The pro Stix team was in a home and home series with the New York Americans for the U.S. Open championship. The 1922 Scullin Steel team was the last St. Louis team to win it. Stix edged the Americans 1-0 here and later won the U.S. championship with a 2-1 victory in New York. 15,200 people turned out to see the pro match, while another 8,000 came back for the rematch of the Germans and Sunshines. There is no report as to whether Kate and John Corbett went to watch Bill play with Stix, or went to see the other 3 boys play with Sunshines.

At any rate, the Sunshines went down to defeat 3-2. The newspaper recounts that both Sunshine goals came on mistakes by the Germans. The winning goal, however, came on a mistake by keeper Mike Delaney. Bob Corbett remembers it well. Mike went down to field a routine ground ball and it hoped over his head. Bob did not play in the Sunshine's only loss. The week before he had worn a pair of soccer shoes which were too small and his toe nail turned black and came off. His foot was too sore to allow him to play.

The Germans went on to win the MUNY championship against the Cleareys.

Oddly enough, Mike Delaney was to make a very similar mistake in the next season. More about that next.

Here is a play-off story from a St. Louis newspaper.


Front row left to right: Whitie Zurfluh, Matt McLaughlin, Bob Corbett, Joe Phelan, Charles (Rooster) Corbett, Bill O'Shaughnessy, Art Wack, John Griffin or Larry Stamps (not sure), Mascot Irv Schurwan.

Back row left to right: Bud Carney, Charlie (Bat) Gallagher, Jim Andreatta, Dude O'Neil, Mike Delaney, Joe O'Hare, Ed (Axel) Delaney, John (Red) Corbett, Bill Corbett, Elmer (Banty) Schurwan, John Rooney

This season the Sunshines changed managers and Johnny Rooney became their head. This team seemed to have great promise. The 32-33 season was a good one. The younger players had aged and Bill Corbett had returned to the MUNY league from the U.S. championship Stix team. The lineup included 4 Corbett's now.

The league was a breeze for the Sunshines. On Nov. 12, 1933 they blasted Grandmas 7-0. Phelan took up where he'd left off last year with 4 goals. Rooster and Bill Corbett and Carney added goals.

The next week St. Ambrose fell 2-0. Rooster and Carney scored. Bobby Corbett scored the next week, along with Zurfluh, Phelan and Rooster again.

In this Glode-Democrat photo, Bobby Corbett heads the ball to Bat Gallagher

However, the Blanchfields scored once in the 4-1 Sunshine victory, destroying their scoreless string.

By Dec. 11, 1933 the Sunshines had won 6 straight games, but not without a battle. The newspaper headline and story was:


Top gunner, Joe Phelan, received a one game suspension in the fight, but he wasn't much needed. The headline article was:


Rooster had 2, so did Matt McLaughlin and Larry Stamps. O'Shaughnessy, playing manager Rooney and Carney each added singles.

The following week Phelan came back with a vengeance. The 9-0 score was equalled and Phelan scored an amazing 6 goals. Zurfluh, Carney and O'Neal added singles.

The Blanchfields fell 3-0 with Bob Corbett scoring once and Phelan twice. Then St. Ambrose again fell, 3-0. Again, Phelan scored twice, Bobby Corbett once.

The season ended 15-0 in Forest Park and it looked like this was the team to beat. Well, beaten they were. In the first round of the playoffs on March 4, 1934 the Spartans defeated the Sunshines 2-1.

Bob Corbett has painful memories of that loss. "Oh, I'll never forget it. Dart Miller kicked one from the middle of the field. Mike (keeper, Mike Delaney) was saying: 'I got it,' but it floated over is head." Bob allowed that Mike was great in his years past with the Henses, but by this time he was too old for this level of play.

I guess one must take that memory with a grain of salt. After all, Bob was 17 years old that season. "Old man Mike" might not really have been so old.

NEXT PAGE: 1934-35 season through 1936-37
1937-38 season through 1941-42 1942-43 season through 1943-44
1944-35 season through 1945-46 1946-47 season through 1950-51


Bob Corbett