I don’t think Sam had a car or truck to drive to school so he must have hitch hiked and walked the five to ten miles from the farm to the school.
Sam told me about the Track Meet where he ran the hurdles with RC in Corvallis, Oregon. In the motel that night they watched the Heavyweight Championship.
Rocky Marciano, byname of Rocco Francis Marchegiano, also called the Brockton Blockbuster, (born September 1, 1923, Brockton, Massachusetts, U.S. world heavyweight boxing champion from September 23, 1952, when he knocked out champion Jersey Joe Walcott in 13 rounds.
Sam had no idea that RC Owens standing in front of him in this picture would eventually become a famous football star for the SanFrancisco 49ers.
Raleigh Climon Owens (November 12, 1934 – June 17, 2012) was a American football wide receiver from 1957 through 1964. Owens graduated from Santa Monica High School in Santa Monica, California, and attended the College of Idaho (where his roommate and teammate was Elgin Baylor).
Owens then joined the National Football League (NFL). He had his best years playing for the San Francisco 49ers, where he was noted for his "Alley Oop" receptions of quarterback Y. A. Tittle's passes. The Alley Oop was essentially a jump ball, where Tittle would throw the ball high in the air in the end zone, and Owens would jump up and get it. The tall, long-armed Owens was known for his jumping ability; he once blocked a field goal by jumping up at the cross bar and knocking it down. The next season, "goal tending" was made illegal. Owens's best year by far was 1961, when he gained over 1,000 yards receiving.
Maybe Sam’s nephew, Rick Noji, inherited some of his world famous High Jumping from the Goto side? Rick jumped as high as 7 inches above his own 5’8” height and would have made it to the Olympics, but was aced out because of politics. Rick is in the University of Washington Hall of Fame.
We know Elgin Baylor here in Seattle. An inadequate scholastic record kept him out of college until a friend arranged a scholarship at the College of Idaho, where he was expected to play basketball and football. After one season, the school dismissed the head basketball coach and restricted the scholarships. A Seattle car dealer interested Baylor in Seattle University, and Baylor sat out a year to play for Westside Ford, an AAU team in Seattle, while establishing eligibility at Seattle. The Minneapolis Lakers drafted him in the 14th round of the 1956 NBA Draft, but Baylor opted to stay in school instead.
It’s fun to think about the story this tells of how our lives fit in our community of activities and how we are all connected. It seems that Elgin Baylor, who is also black, may still be alive, but the rest of them have lived out this earthly existence. This is a group that had incredible work ethics to bring out the best in themselves as they contributed their talents.
PS. Sam's best friend, Dr. D Branch - that inherited the "Green Truck", tells me he met Elgin Baylor at the Lenny Wilkins golf tournament a couple years ago. Branch also says he played football against College of Idaho in his youth.