Hollywood’s Hits: More than 100 years ago, Dan Patch set the game on its ear

October 4, 2017

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by Bob Heyden

From The Atlanta Constitution – October 8, 1905

Headline: Dan Patch Paces Record Time, Mile in 1:55 1/4

Sub-Head: Worlds Greatest Pacer Clips 3/4 Second From His Own And Worlds Record In Easiest Fashion Imaginable

The crowd of nearly 10,000 came out to see if Dan Patch, now 9 Years Old, could break his own world record (1:56 flat). The weather was perfect, no wind, and the track lightning fast. 4:00 was the time that Dan Patch would attempt his time trial-the betting card came beforehand and another “Patch” established the track record earlier in the day of 2:02 3/4 — Hazel Patch.

Scott Hudson was the man behind the pacemaker — and a strip of cloth was placed between the wheels and the forward sulky, to prevent dirt from being thrown behind, the only suggestion of a wind shield.

The books offered 4-5, either way, on the result of the effort.

The first quarter was 29 and 1/2-and the fans could be heard urging on their champion to go faster.

The half time was 57 1/2 with the crowd yelling louder to Hudson. Dan Patch’s nose was almost touching the coat of Hudson at the halfway marker.

The 3/4 time of 1:26 1/4 got the crowd going-and a frenzied applause began. The excitement built. When the card was hung up at 1:55.1/4 — he did it effortlessly — the driver sitting like a statue, not urging his charge with whip or word, the crowd erupted. Dan Patch had scarcely broken a sweat, made no last supreme effort, and finished the mile as he had begun it. He was led back to the plaudits of the crowd, many threw their hats in the air and approached the track, despite the efforts of the police. The ovation continued for several minutes.

After, owner M W Savage had the announcer publicly thank Hudson for his work as pacemaker. He also announced that earlier that day he was offered $180,000 by a New York syndicate for Dan Patch, and wired back that even for $500,000 he was NOT for sale.

What else was going on that day in 1905 when Dan Patch set the world standard that would remain for the next 33 years?

The NY Baseball Giants were 104-49 and the Philadelphia A’s 92-56 (The Chicago White Sox were 92-60-having played four more games).

The State Fair In Georgia was to open Monday, Oct. 9.
You could buy an Acorn Gasburner for $42-$67
A Golden Boy Buggy went for $49
Men’s suits were $7.50, $10.00, $12.50 and $15.00
Silk Drop skirts for the ladies were $5 (Sale price)
Bates Men’s Shoes were $3.00
A quart of Canadian Gordon Malt Whiskey sold for $2.95
1 Pound of coffee was 15 cents
25 lbs of sugar was $1
A hot water bottle was also $1
It was $17.75 to take the air-line railway between Atlanta and Washington DC
A new piano was $149
Vanderbilt beat Alabama 34-0
Roller skates were 75 cents

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