Monday, April 1, 2013

Louis Leroy - One of the "Real All Americans"

Admittedly the reputation of Lance Armstrong has suffered; not only from his cheating, but also from the fact that he lied about it.  Nevertheless, the 2001 biography Its Not About the Bike was a bestseller and is still favorably regarded on Amazon.  Armstrong's co-author, Sally Jenkins, came out with another popular book in 2007, this one was about the football teams at the Carlisle Indian Industrial School in Pennsylvania. The Real All Americans is a good read.

This blog is often about the Stockbridge Mohicans and one young man from the tribe, Samuel Miller, is said to have played for Carlisle under the famous coach Glen "Pop" Warner.  Miller didn't make it into Jenkins' book, but another Stockbridge Indian, Louis Leroy, did.

We pick up the action in 1901.  Warner's teams were struggling because they "played against teams that were invariably bigger, wealthier, better educated and more privileged"(page 190).  On page 191, Jenkins introduces Leroy.
One of Warner's recruits was a twenty-year-old Stockbridge from Gresham, Wisconsin, named Louis Leroy.  But Leroy was only a halfhearted teammate - he really aspired to baseball's big leagues.  Leroy would stroke his arm and tell the other players "Now this here is a ten thousand dollar arm."
According to to Jenkins, Louis Leroy had run away from Carlisle before the 1901 football season, was followed by the coach, brought back to Carlisle and "tossed" into a "guardhouse."  And here's what happened next:
Leroy responded by attacking the guard who brought him his meal.  Leroy hit him with the heel of his shoe, broke out of the cell and tried to hide in a haystack.  He spent the rest of the summer in a dank cell, and was finally released in September, just in time for football practice. 
And sure enough, Louis Leroy stuck around to play some football.  In that 1901 season, Louis Leroy was a "steady performer" at halfback for Carlisle until they traveled to Detroit to play Michigan in November.  At that point Leroy took off again, and he took the team's other halfback, Edward DeMarr (another Wisconsin Indian), with him.  Without their speedy backfield, Carlisle lost to Michigan 22-0.

Louis Leroy really did make it in major league baseball, pitching for the New York Highlanders in 1905 and 1906.

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