AN EVENING WITH JIM RODGERS
Jim Rodgers gave all there was in him to Yale athletics. Not a single year has passed since he played his last game of football but has seen him back at the Yale field, coaching and giving the benefit of his experience.
Jim Rodgers was captain of the ’97 team at New Haven, and the traditions that can be written about a winning captain are many. No greater pleasure can be afforded any man who loves to hear an old football player relate experiences than to listen, while Rodgers tells of his own playing days, and of some of the men in his experience.
It was once my pleasure to spend an evening with Jim in his home; really a football home. Mrs. Rodgers knows much of football and as Jim enthusiastically and with wonderfully keen recollection tells of the old games, a twelve-year-old boy listens, as only a boy can to his father, his great hero, and as Jim puts his hand on the boy’s shoulders he tells him the ideal of his dreams is to have him make the Yale team some day, and an enthusiastic daughter who sits near hopes so too. His scrap books and athletic pictures go to make a rare collection.
Many of us would like to have seen Jim Rodgers begin his football career at Andover when he was sixteen years old. It was there that his 180 pounds of bone and muscle stood for much. It was at Andover that Bill Odlin, that great Dartmouth man, coached so many wonderful prep. school stars, who later became more famous at the colleges to which they went.
Rodgers went to Yale with a big rep. He had been captain of the Andover team. In the fall of ’92 Andover beat Brown 24 to 0. Jim Rodgers was very conspicuous on the field, not only on account of his good playing and muscular appearance, but because his blond hair, which he wore very long as a protection, was very noticeable.
From this Yale player, whose friends are legion, let us read some experiences and catch his spirit:
“I was never a star player, but I was a reliable. In my freshman year I did not make the team, owing to the fact that I had bad knees and better candidates were available. This was the one year in Yale football, perhaps in all football, when the team that played the year before came back to college with not a man missing. Frank Hinkey had been captain the year before and then came through as senior captain. There was not a senior on Frank Hinkey’s team. The first team, therefore, all came back.
“Al Jerrems and Louis Hinkey were the only additions to the old team.