One of the truly remarkable things about the players from the era of the 1950s is not only how wildly successful they were on the court, but also how those relationships have endured over time. They grew closer with each passing decade. We’re talking 60-year friendships, and I’m not sure any group of players anywhere could boast about have that kind of lasting esprit de corps.
Chris Harris (my father) talked about how former Cincinnati Royals star Jack Twyman was shocked to hear that the UD guys still stayed together after all those years.
“Monk, Jack Twyman and I roomed together with the Rochester Royals, and I remember years and years later, Jack Twyman invited Monk and I to go to lunch with him,” Harris said. “Jack was up working in Dayton. We went to lunch and were talking and laughing about different guys on the team. Jack said, ‘Let me ask you something, do you guys really see old teammates? Do you socialize with them?’
“I was like, ‘Well, yeah. We’re like family.’ He said, ‘God, I run into a teammate once in a blue moon and say hi. We never socialize.’
I started thinking about how close the bonding of our team was and still is. They’d visit me in Florida, I’d visit them. We’d talk on the phone. We were always there for each other.”
Don Donoher and Harris took the loss of Meineke hard. There aren’t many left from that era. In fact, all five starters from UD’s first two NIT runner-up teams in 1951 and ’52 have passed way.