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1944-45 SEASON: NATIONAL SLUG REJECTORS
(For the actual MUNY league season)
(For the National Amaeur Cup in post season)
2ND PLACE IN THE NATION IN AMATEUR CUP
The El Rey team disappeared from the scene, but most of the same players turned up on the National Slug Rejector team, a team which had been around a while, and always a strong competitor.
On Nov. 6, 1944 they opened their season with a 1-0 loss to the Rafterys, the team that went on to win the MUNY, and whom Bob would then join to play in the National Amateur Cup.
The early line up for Nationals was:
- W. Lyons
On Nov. 27, 1944 they played an exhibition game against a Mexican team and Corbett scored in their victory.
Dec. 4th they walked over the perennial major league doormat, Camp Solidarity, 4-0.
On Jan. 8, 1945 They played Carondelet and won 4-0. Once again, as happened in each of the past two seasons, Corbett played center half because Begley was doing police duty.
The Nationals made a strong run for the National Open Championship and moved into the semi-finals in Missouri with a victory over the Natural Set Ups, 6-1 on Jan. 15, 1944. Corbett got two of the goals.
"Corbett opened the scoring at the five minute mark in the first half when he dented the net from 30 yards out." (It is interesting to note that Bob scored many goals from way out, often they are described as blistering shots.)
Jan 22, 1945 The Nationals took the lead in the MUNY Major league with another victory over the Naturals, 3-1.
Then on Feb. 12, 1945 they held on for a 1-1 tie, but clinched the championship of the Major MUNY League.
It looked like the old gang from El Reys might win their third straight MUNY title and they opened the final 3 game series with the Rafterys. But the Rafterys had eliminated the Nationals from the National Cup play, 5-3.
On April 9, 1945, after several weeks of rain delay, the championship series opened and the Nationals took the lead with a 2-1 overtime victory over the Rafterys.
The Rafterys evened the series with a 2-1 victory on April 16, 1945.
Then, in a weird final, the Raftery's won the MUNY with a 4-1 victory. However, the Nationals were playing without 3 of their key players. Begley again out with work, but both Kickham' and Connors refused to play! There had been some huge row with the referees and these two refused to take the field!
Front row: Maurie Karemer, Joe Strattman, Bob Corbett, Chubby Lyons, Frank Paston, Ed Hart, Bill Rogles
Back row: Ebby McHugh, manager, Ed Leahy, Mickey Connors, Art Pagnini, Tom Duffy, Earl Kestler, Harry Hebberger, Danny Neaf, Larry Kickham, Joe O'Mara, business manager.
CORBETT JOINS UP WITH THE RAFTERYS FOR THE AMATEUR CUP
Despite the loss of the National Slugs, Dad's season was not over. He was signed by the Rafterys for their upcoming run at the national amateur championship.
The Rafterys had won both the Open and Amateur Cups in St. Louis, but eventually lost the Open in a game against Cleveland at Walsh Stadium here in St. Louis. (Walsh Stadium was an fully enclosed stadium situated where the St. Louis Science Center now sits on Oakland Avenue.)
On June 17, 1945 Bob played with Rafterys in the regionals.
"Two players have been released by the Rafterys. They are Ollie Bohlman, halfback, and George Thie, reserve back. To replace them Bobby Corbett of the National Slugs and Earl Koestler, formerly with the Carondelet A.C. have been signed."
That Sunday the Rafterys defeated Nacaxa, a Mexican-American team in Chicago, 3-1.
On July 2, 1945 they traveled to Pittsburgh and beat Morgan Strassers. The headline story in the Post read:
Rafterys in Amateur Soccal Final After 2-1 Victory Over Morgan in Rough Game. Corbett and Travis got goals.
The article went on to say that after a scoreless first half,
"The second was only three minutes old when a mistake by the Raftery defense enabled Nick DiOrio to score from close in. That's the way it remained until the 30 minute mark, when Bobby Corbett drove a terrific shot into the net for the equalizer after taking a pass from Welsher."
Travis then scored in the overtime period.
Dad always remembered this game. He said it was the roughest game he ever played in. But, he said the Pittsburgh team, made up mainly of coal miners, were wonderfully friendly off the field, and treated them to an exceptional party after the game. Actually, they had one the night before the game in which the Rafterys thought they were trying to get them to drink too much!
On July 8, 1945 the Rafterys lost the national championship in a 1-0 loss to the Eintracht team in New York. It was the only chance Bob Corbett had to play for the national championship in his long career. I got to go on that trip as a young six year old boy. And I remember the wonderful train ride, where I ordered and ate a whole duck in the dining car, and I remember the trip up the Statue of Liberty. Dad and Earl Koestler (the two who signed on late) took turns carrying me up the winding stairs of the arm, all the way to the top. At Dad's funeral in May, 1994 Earl told me that both of them were suffering tired legs in the game against Eintracht from the trip up the statue.
But most of all I remember the awesome sight of the sea black with ships. A huge portion of the Atlantic fleet, fresh from the ending of the war with Germany, was in New York, and it seem that the ships crowded the sea all the way to the horizon.
But I remember nothing of the game, even being there. Perhaps its just as well. The newspaper account tells nothing of the story that Dad often repeated that after the game scrappy Willie Welsher chased one of Eintracht's players right out of the stadium in full uniform!
The Post reported that an accidental handling of the ball by Dan Murphy led to the goal on a free kick. "[The Raftery defense] surviving the pressure the Western Title holders swarmed in with Bob Corbett and Harold Travis both coming very close with rasping shots."
1945-46 SEASON: RAFTERYS
MUNY LEAGUE CHAMPIONS
MEMBER OF ST. LOUIS ALL-STAR TEAM
The early season of the MUNY was dominated by the defending champion Raftery team, which Corbett had now joined after playing with them at the end of cup play in the previous season.
Jan. 14, 1946 the Rafterys had an impressive 2-2 tie with the Schumachers, having played most of the game with 9 men. Fiery Willie Welsher and Johnny Galimberti had both been ejected for vehement protesting of a penalty call.
Jan. 21, 1946 Rafterys took a commanding 4 point lead with just 3 games to play by defeating Carondelet 3-2.
Jan. 28, 1946 the Rafterys clinched the title in the Major Muny League on Corbett's goal.
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported on Jan. 28,1946:
CORBETT'S GOAL GIVES TITLE TO RAFTERY ELEVEN
"A goal by Bobby Corbett in the opening minutes of the second half gave the Rafterys a 1-0 victory over the Noels at Fairgrounds Park yesterday afternoon. With that triumph the Rafterys retained the Big Six championships in the Municipal Soccer League.
"The only goal of the match came when the Noels had only 10 players, because Glenn Schaeffer, goalie, was late getting back on the field. Corbett scored on cross from Chubby Lyons. "
Dad and I got to this picture rather late in his life and between us didn't do so well with names. As best we could figure:
Top row from left: 1......... 2. Leo Lang, 3. John Galimberti, 4........., 5. Earl Kessler, 6.... Muellner, 7. Dan Murphy, we couldn't identify the last three.
Front row: 1. Tony Mecurrio, 2. ........., 3........, 4. Willie Welsher, 5. Gino Pariano, 6. Irv Schurwan, 7........., 8. Bob Corbett, and two others we couldn't get. Nor did we know the mascot.
CUP PLAY BEGINS IN 1945 -- 46 SEASON
The Rafterys began cup play by defeating the Nationals, Bob's old team, 3-2. However, this victory was annuled by the USSFA for reasons not specified. The Nationals had not competed in this season. They played in the first four weeks of the season, then were suspended for something they did in an exhibition game in Chicago.
At any rate, Rafterys won the rematch 2-1.
The Raftery line up at that time was:
On Feb. 17, 1946 Rafterys won the state amateur title with a 5-1 win over Carondelet. Perhaps this started thoughts of one more shot at the national championship, but alas, this was not to be.
The Rafterys began their defense of the MUNY title. On March 4 they advanced over the tough Schumachers on a break.
RAFTERYS WON SEMI-FINAL ON SCHUMACHER PAGNINI'S MISPLAY
"Scoreless through the first half the defending champions took the lead four minutes after the restart through Bob Corbett's very well hit long shot. Then, six minutes later, a ball was lofted from outside the penalty area, near center. It wasn't low and fast, but high and arched, a lob not a shot at goal. Goalie Art Pagnini caught the ball in his arms and took a step, preparatory to throwing the ball to safety. The whistle sounded; Referee Tom Erbe ruled Pagnini had inadvertently carried the ball across the goal line."
Rafterys thus survived this difficult team 2-1.
On March 17, 1946 the Noels gained the right to play Rafterys for the MUNY championship. But Dent McSkimming thought they lacked the proper defense. His headline read:
NOELS HAVE DEFENSE PROBLEM IN MEETING RAFTERYS MUST STOP STRONG PAIR OF FORWARDS
"Last Sunday the Noels almost tossed away victory by not assigning men to cover the Carondelet inside forwards. Both these men, Ed Marsak and Dinty Moore, were credited with goals. Welsher and Corbett are rated far stronger than Marsak and Morre as a unit."
The game was very rough and played in the rain. It ended in a 2-2 tie, but Corbett had to leave the game with an injury.
The line ups were:
- T. Murphy--------------------------------Kenney -- LaPorn
- O'Keefe -- D. Murphy---------------------Kavanaugh
- Lyons -- Herting-------------------------Dooley
- Corbett -- Croce-------------------------Schuler -- Leahy
- Welsher----------------------------------E. Stratmann
- Wallace----------------------------------J. Stratmann
March 24, 1946 the Rafterys took a 1-0 lead in the series I with a 3-2 victory.
"Scoring plays win or lose the game, but they are not the whole show. Danny Murphy, Gino Pariani, Bobby Corbett and Willie Welsher and others of the Rafterys didn't have a hand directly in the scoring of those three goals, but all turned in important tricks in the winning."
On April 1, 1946 the Rafterys won the MUNY championship with a 3-1 victory over the Noels, but the injured Bob Corbett did not play.
April 14, 1946 the underdog Carondelet A.C. knocked the Rafterys out of the U.S. Open cup defeating them 4-2. Corbett contributed, even if in a losing cause:
"The Rafterys scored twice them [after Carondelet got up 3-0], once five minutes later when Wallace's cross to center landed directly on the left foot of Corbett who hooked the ball out of the air and hard into the Carondelet goal."
The Schumachers went on to defeat Carondelet for the Open Cup, and Rafterys had won the Amateur. Rafterys began to move, first defeating Bayern-Schultz of Milwaukee on May 5, 1946. Corbett contributed importantly in that game.
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported on May 6, 1946:
RAFTERYS AND SCHUMACHERS WIN CUP GAMES:
(Recall, Rafterys were playing in the U.S. Amateur Cup and the Schumachers were playing in the U.S. Open Cup. While this story must have covered both games, my mother seems only to have put the Rafterys story in her scrapbook.)
From Milwaukee, May 6)
"A crazy hopper which caromed off goalie Al Mucha's fingers timps into the net, gave the St. Louis Rafterys a 2-1 U.S. Amateur soccer cup triumph over the Bayern Schlitz of Milwaukee here yesterday afternoon. Bob Corbett's kick won the game after six minutes of the second overtime period.
"The Rafterys, who came here as heavy favorites, found themselves behind after sever minutes of the first period when clever foot work by Frank Trimmel enabled Herman Rostack to drive an 18-foot try through the uprights, Corbett came back to tie the count after 17 minutes of the second half, however, and so it remained until Corbett pulled the contest out of the first in the second extra period.
"Fine defensive play by the older Schlitz eleven held the rallying Rafterys in check through the first 30 minutes overtime. But, the youthful stamina of the invaders began to tell and the outcome became inevitable as the last session opened.
"Corbett stood out for the winners in the closely fought contest. The Milwaukee team lost two men before regulation time ended because of injuries. Heinz Schramm was sent to the hospital for several stitches on a scalp cut and Stanley Mickling was replaced after suffering a leg injury. "The St. Louis Club will travel to Bridgeville, Pa. to meet the Castle Shannon team May 12 in another U.S. Amateur cup game.
RAFTERY HOPES ENDED MAY 20, 1946
The Rafterys hopes of getting another chance to win the national title came to an end on May 20, 1046 in Bridgeville, PA. when they were defeated 3-1 by Castle Shannon Club.
1946 ST. LOUIS ALL-STARS AND THE GAME AGAINST LIVERPOOL
Despite the loss to Castle Shannon, the soccer season was not quite over for Bob Corbett.
He was named to the St. Louis All-Stars and destined to score the only goal against the visiting British team which demolished the All-Stars 5-1 before the largest crowd to ever see JUST a soccer game in St. Louis. More on that later.
THE 1946 ST. LOUIS ALL-STARS
In front row from left: Herm Mugaverio, Frank (Peewee) Wallace, Bob Corbett, Larry Kickham, Bill Bertain, Dick Lodderhose, Herm Wecke, Jack Keenoy, Art Garcia, and Amiel MunizSecond row: Manager Paul Spica, Ollie Bohlman, Charlie Pozza, Gino Pariana, Ed Buckley, Henry Merlo, John Finn, Leo Lange, and assistant coach Joe Lyons
Third row: Head coach Harry Ratican, Earl Kestler, Bob Annis, Charlie Colombo, Danny Murphy, John Galimberti and assistant coach Ed McHugh.
Back row: Trainer Tom Martin, Frank Borghi, Bill Meehan, Mil Valdez, and trainer vince Costello
GLOBE DEMOCRAT: JUNE 1, 1946
"Methodical and automatic in everything they did, the Liverpool Reds wore down the St. Louis All-Stars last night at Public Schools Stadium and whipped them 5-1 before 12,493 fans in the international match sponsored by the Globe-Democrat and the Missouri Soccer Commission.
"So far as is known, this is the largest crowd every to see a soccer contest unpaired with any other sport, in the history of the game in St. Louis. About 20,000 turned out for the National Cup contest 14 years ago, played in conjunction with a baseball game at Sportsman's Park. On another occasion approximately 16,000 were on hand for a soccer game played in a twin bill with a professional football game.
"For 76 minutes of the 90-minute contest St. Louis was in the battle. At that point, however, the All-Stars scored their lone goal, Bob Corbett connecting from close range after nice combination work with Bill Cohan and Joie Spica, and then seemed to fall apart. Liverpool had a 3-0 lead at that time and, after Corbett tallied, the British squad added two more quick goals to wind it up.
"In their sixth straight triumph in the current United States trip, the Liverpool squad scored twice in the first half with Captain Willie Fagan and Bob Friday uniting. Then, as the second half started, Jack Balmer connected and after St. Louis obtained its marker, Cyril Done connected and Fagan scored for the second time, this one being on a penalty kick.
"There was nothing cheap about any of the goals save the final one on the penalty. But Liverpool, smart all the way, took advantage of every opportunity and made every shot count.
STARS DEFENSE SPOTTY
Particularly was this true in the first half when two mistakes by the St. Louis defense cost the All-Stars two goals. On the first, they under-estimated the booting ability of Goalie Cyril Sidlow. On a goal kick, Sidlow sailed one down two-thirds of the field, over the heads of the defenders who were drawn up tight to midfield. Balmer, anticipating the kick turned quickly, trapped it, passed to Friday who fired only to have Goalie Mil Valdez, brilliant all evening, save. But he couldn't check the hard crashing rebound off Fagan's foot, which came after 12 minutes of play.
"Half-back Larry Kichham and Fullback Leo Lange became confused trying to catch up with a kick and Halfback Phil Taylor broke between them, drove the ball far to the left where Friday caught it on the fun and scored.
"Balmer's goal early in the second half caught the Stars by surprise as he trapped the ball just outside the penalty area and instead of passing as anticipated, fired dead into corner.
"Except for those moments, the Star's defense was brilliant. Done's goal was almost the only time he had his foot on the ball all night as Ollie Bohlman stuck with him constantly. The tight man-for-man defense used by the Stars effectively bottle the Reds most of the way… (few words blurred).
INVADERS CHANGE STYLE
"The Liverpool defense was smartly set up as well, changing to meet whatever occasions was demanded. Early in the game they played well into the center, but finding that Center Harold "Whitey" Gunning was not too dangerous they let him roam at will and concentrated on the wings.
"They quickly noted the need for this when Frankie Wallace, with a clever move, almost put St. Louis in the lead before the game was five minutes old. Halted by Fullback Jim Harley, Wallace reversed himself, passing into the center with his right foot. There Spica met the ball perfectly with his left foot on a turn-around shot but the tearing drive hit the cross bar right at the corner -- and bounced out as the crowd groaned.
"From then on, Liverpool moved its fullback out to the wings to contend with Wallace and Art Garcia. Corbett and Spica tried desperately to feed either Gunning or the wingmen and exhibited brilliant ball control but their well-aimed passes were stopped by the nice setup Liverpool defense.
"By no stretch of the imagination was Liverpool spectacular. the forwards were not as alert or sharp-shooting as those on other European teams that have played here. But the team as a whole had that excellent knack of always being in the right place at the right time, and as is always the plaint of a soccer crowd, there were 'just too many Red Shirts bobbing up with ball at all times."
Some years later in some unnamed publication, my mother had clipped a small article which looked back to that game:
"When the Liverpool Club of England met and defeated the St. Louis All-Stars by 5-1 in '46, the Irish kicker from Dogtown scored the only goal for the local squad. In his less active years Corbett is still a definite scoring threat having made good on strategic 'english' shots in recent games against the Chicago Maroons and the Chicago Slovaks.
"Murphy, a defensive bulwark for many seasons in the backfields of St. Louis teams, starred at center-half back and at fullback in the old pro circuits at Sportsman's park and West End Softball Park and with MUNY clubs, and will be the brains behind the Steamfitters this season.
"Murphy and Corbett have been teammates at various periods in past seasons and each was selected as the Most Valuable player, receiving the Ed Rice Trophy, during past MUNY seasons."
The line-ups for the game of the All-Stars vs. Liverpool were:
- ST. LOUIS ALL-STARS-------------POSITION----------LIVERPOOL REDS
SPECIAL NOTE AT THIS POINT AFTER THE 1945-46 SEASON AND BEFORE THE 1946-47
As I prepare these pages to put on my web page, I realize this must have been as far as I got back in the 1980s when I did much of this research. From here on out the information I have is quite spotty, suggesting I relied only on the few clippings my mother had of this period and did almost no primary research myself. Or, if I did, the ways things were in those days before computer files were so easily kept, my hand written and later typed files are simply gone. I'll finish out what I know from the collected files and scrapbook items from my mother, but from this point on it is quite unsystematic.
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