From the Omaha World-Herald of Nov. 17, 1940.

 

 

Jack Best’s Last Battle EIGHTEEN years he has been dead, but for very few residents of our state is it necessary to identify Jack Best, who sometimes was called Jimmie Grimes. One was his nom de guerre, adopted when he was a boy tannery worker, fighting of nights for the heavyweight championship of England. Which one doesn’t matter. Nor does it matter that he attained this goal before he emigrated to America. * * * FROM Burke W. Taylor (Nebraska, 1916) of Seattle came this letter the other day: After an absence of six years I arrived in Lincoln shortly alter noon on Nov. 30, 1922. It was the day of Nebraska’s first game with Notre Dame’s Four Horsemen. A quick check at my fraternity house revealed that no tickets were available unless some member of the team, all of whom already had gone to the Armory, might still have one … I managed to talk my way into the locker room. There the first man to recognize me was Jimmie Grimes—Jack Best! There he sat, in his same old chair, surrounded by his liniments and bandages, the use of his legs almost gone, ministering to His Team with rheumatism-knotted hands … As we talked, between the application of a piece of tape here and a bandage there. Jimmie remarked that in the excitement no one had made arrangements to carry him out to the game . . . Just then Gross, a member of the 1913-15 squads, came into the room * * * GROSS! Hey, Gross! Call a taxi!” “As I was a-sayin’, Mr. Taylor, there’s such great excitement they just forgot me. I was a-hopin’ to see it, because I dreamt last night me boys would win. But—what’s that, Mr. Taylor? Ye say yore goin’ to bundle me up! An’ whut fer?” “Here’s the cab, Burke!” “Fast enough! Fine! Here, Gross, this way. You know. We’ll make a hand-chair. You did it as a kid. Now, Jimmie ...” * * * THE GRAYING, young-faced coach with the burning eyes turned his glance across the musty old locker room toward the doorway, before which a taxi waited. He saw the two alumni carrying between them the gnarled, ancient man whose white head and useless legs were concealed beneath swathes of blankets. Fred Dawson looked down at the silent big boys on the low benches around him. He began to speak, as only Fred Dawson could speak to football players, at the first slowly, in a husky whisper: “Jack Best … Jack Best … Forty years of selfless devotion ...” * * * TEARS streamed down the a cheeks of the giants who pounded onto the field a few minutes later. They were fighting tears, and they bespoke an irresistible determination whose staggering triumphant translation some 20 thousand presently were to look upon with awe and pride. The score was Nebraska 14, Notre Dame 6. * * * ON the way back to the locker room in a taxi, Jimmie turned to me and said: “‘Tis the last game I’ll ever see. I wanted me boys to win that last one.” His old eyes shone with a light that memory cannot describe. He snuggled deeper in his blankets and said again: “Yes, I wanted me boys to win that last one … An’ me boys did.” We kept the cab and took him home from the locker room … In less than a month, Jimmie Grimes—Jack Best—was dead.” And thus ends the letter from Burke Taylor. Frederick Ware, Sports Editor.