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From the archives | July 29

Harlem Globetrotters put on a display at Fenway

Fenway Park’s left field fence wasn’t threatened last night – not even when Goose Tatum and his globetrotting friends went into their patented baseball cutup.

All the Goose did was punch the ball over the third base dugout into the grandstand. The antic was worth the biggest cheer of the night from the crowd of 13,344 – 565 less than the Boston Garden’s capacity – which turned out to see Boston’s first big outdoor basket ball double-header.

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The Globetrotters beat the All Stars 61-41 – but no one cared about that. In the first game the Boston Whirlwinds – without any one from Boston on the team – defeated the House of David, with three clean-shaven traitors on the team, 47-46. And no one cared much about that either.

The crowd came to see the basket ball spectacle known as the Globetrotters and thrilled again to gyrations of Tatum, Leon Hillard and Sweetwater Clifton.

Tatum still gets 18 points

The Trotters’ own court was spread from in front of home plate to the edge of the grass in front of second.

For most of the first half the Trotters played straight basket ball, enlivened by the constant jostling between Togo Palazzi, ex-Holy Cross star, and the irresponsible Tatum.

With four minutes to go in the half, Clifton cut loose some of his typical one-handed ball tricks. With two minutes to play in the third period, Leon Hillard put on his dribbling show, eventually finishing on his back, but still outfoxing an all-star from the unorthodox position.

Tatum put on his routine with four minutes to play. He faked an injury, but it was just an excuse to go to the bench and come back to the foul line with a balloon and elastic band. The referees took that away from him.

Then he went to the bench and came back with a weighted balloon that did goofy things. They took that away from him, too. Then he hid behind one of the backboard uprights and took a length-of-the-court pass for a lackadaisical basket. Then he went over to a box seat, shook hands with a gentleman and took his sun cap.

He still found time to score 18 points.

Tatum and his Globetrotting friends were the entertainers – from the moment they came through a hoop to the strains of Dark Town Strutters Ball until they paraded off the court to the strains of the crowd’s applause.

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