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A letter from an alumnus about Reunions traditions

September 18, 2002

Along with the letter from Moose Joline '47 about Princeton baseball history, you ran a reunion photo of 1942's class baby Woody Rutter throwing in the first ball at the Yale-Princeton game in 1947.

It was then traditional to bring the class baby on the field in some unique way. The previous year, I believe, a miniature car arrived at the mound and amazingly, like clowns in the circus, about five men and the class baby squeezed out for the first toss. But '42 outdid that by landing an autogyro (predecessor to the helicopter) on the mound and out stepped little Woody!

The crowd roared. Still, at our fifth we tried to out-do '42 by having three full-grown elephants parade onto the field with our class baby Richard Wolf atop one of them. All three elephants kneeled down, raised their trunks to salute President Dodds, and then off stepped our five-year-old for the first pitch. (A photographer recorded the occasion for the New York Times the next day.) I don't think any class thereafter could match either the autogyro or the elephant.

Not to be forgotten, '44 brought back two of the same elephants 35 years later for our 40th reunion to parade down Prospect Street for the second time. But there was no Yale-Princeton baseball game.

Herbert W. Hobler '44
Princeton, N.J.

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