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Wednesday, November 19, 2003
Rose Bowl moved from Pasadena to Durham, N.C.
By Joe Goldstein
Special to

One of the most stumping questions in sports is where was the 1942 Rose Bowl game played?

It wasn't Pasadena. It was Durham, N.C. and was the Rose Bowl pairing Oregon State and Duke. Why?

Six days after Japan blindsided the U.S. fleet in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, the U.S. Army directed the Governor of California (Earl Warren, later the noted chief of the U.S. Supreme Court) to cancel the Jan. 11, 1942 tournament of Roses Parade and the Rose Bowl.

The Army stated that large gatherings on the West Coast presented a dangerous public safety risk, considering the Japanese aggressiveness since Pearl Harbor.

In the period following Pearl Harbor, Japanese submarines surfaced and fired on targets in Santa Barbara, California, and in Puget Sound, Washington. Also, balloons carrying explosives were sent aloft from Pacific sites by the Japanese. The balloons all exploded somewhat harmlessly in Idaho.

The Tournament of Roses Association, which conducts the Rose Bowl, received two solid invitations to relocate the game.

Arch Ward, the supremely powerful Sports Editor of the Chicago Tribune (who conceived the Major Leagues' All-Star Game in 1933), offered Soldier Field (seating 120,000).

Duke coach Wallace Wade, who coached Alabama teams which played in the Rose Bowl in 1926 and '27, very much wished the game to be in Durham. Wade promised to increase stadium capacity from 35,000 to 52,000 with the addition of temporary stands. Newspaper accounts said 56,000 witnessed the game.

Allison Danzig, the New York Times renowned football writer, composed this lead for the Jan. 2 Times:
"Durham, N.C., Jan. 1 -- Oregon State, the miracle team of the Pacific Coast, came 3,000 miles across the country to end the winning streak of heavily favored Duke by 20-16 today in a thrilling game, transferred for the first time from Pasadena, California, because of exigencies of war."

Duke was 9-0 and Oregon State 7-2.

Left half Bob Dethman, who threw right-handed passes, connected with reserve back Gene Gray for the winning touchdown in the third period. Oregon State actually scored on marches of 31 and 68 yards in the third period.

Coach Lou Stiner of Oregon State thought his team played "pretty good ball."

The Oregon State star was right half back Don Durdan, who threw left-handed passes from his wing back position, and running, punting, intercepting passes, and recovering Duke fumbles.

In June, 1942:
The U.S. decisively won the Naval Battle of Midway and the tide then turned against the Japanese in the Pacific, and the Rose Bowl returned to Pasadena in 1943 when Georgia beat UCLA, 9-0.

An odd note: President Franklin D. Roosevelt on Jan. 15, 1942 gave Major League Baseball the "Green Light" to play baseball during the war.

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