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1000: Eddie Sachs & Sid Collins

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  • 1000: Eddie Sachs & Sid Collins

    It's my 1000th post at TF, and I thought I'd do something special for it.

    I wasn't even born yet when Eddie Sachs left the world that spring day in 1964, but I've become a tremendously respectful fan and admirer of two of the great men that played parts in that terrible, fateful series of events: Eddie Sachs himself, and announcer Sid Collins.

    In the immediate aftermath of Sachs' death, Collins gave one of the greatest eulogies the world has ever heard. Thousands of people wrote, asking for copies of it. I personally believe that whether you've heard it one or a thousand times, it stands as one of the greatest testaments to racing, an emotional center to that life, and the men and women who live on that keen edge. Without further ado here is the transcript of Collins' eulogy:

    "You heard the announcement from the public address system. There’s not a sound. Men are taking off their hats. People are weeping. There are over 300,000 fans here not moving. Disbelieving.

    Some men try to conquer life in a number of ways. These days of our outer space attempts some men try to conquer the universe. Race drivers are courageous men who try to conquer life and death and they calculate their risks. And with talking with them over the years I think we know their inner thoughts in regards to racing. They take it as part of living.

    A race driver who leaves this earth mentally when he straps himself into the cockpit to try what for him is the biggest conquest he can make (are) aware of the odds and Eddie Sachs played the odds. He was serious and frivolous. He was fun. He was a wonderful gentleman. He took much needling and he gave much needling. Just as the astronauts do perhaps.

    These boys on the race track ask no quarter and they give none. If they succeed they’re a hero and if they fail, they tried. And it was Eddie’s desire and will to try with everything he had, which he always did. So the only healthy way perhaps we can approach the tragedy of the loss of a friend like Eddie Sachs is to know that he would have wanted us to face it as he did. As as it has happened, not as we wish it would have happened. It is God’s will I’m sure and we must accept that.

    We are all speeding toward death at the rate of 60 minutes every hour, the only difference is we don’t know how to speed faster and Eddie Sachs did. So since death has a thousand or more doors, Eddie Sachs exits this earth in a race car. Knowing Eddie I assume that’s the way he would have wanted it. Byron said “who the Gods love die young.â€‌

    Eddie was 37. To his widow Nancy we extend our extreme sympathy and regret. And to his two children. This boy won the pole here in 1961 and 1962. He was a proud race driver. Well, as we do at Indianapolis and in racing, as the World Champion Jimmy Clark I’m sure would agree as he’s raced all over the world, the race continues. Unfortunately today without Eddie Sachs. And we’ll be restarting it in just a few moments.â€‌
    IndyCar Advocate: A blog about enjoying the best sport in the world! Stop on by!
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  • #2
    I'm still trying to find an audio file of it.
    Insert something witty here. I don't care.


    • #3
      Thanks for posting. I remember hearing it, sitting on the upstairs steps at our home in Louisville. Couldn't make it to Indy because we had an event to work that night at the Fairgrounds. I cried. And I really didn't feel like going to the track. But I did, because that's what we do.

      Thanks again.


      • #4
        Originally posted by Joonyah View Post
        I'm still trying to find an audio file of it.
        You can buy the entire 1964 Radio Broadcast from IMS for $10.
        "Promote what you love instead of bashing what you hate."

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        • #5
          Sitting in the north end of Tower Terrace, when that was broadcast. Tom Carnagie made the announcement about Eddie's passing, everyone stood up, took off their hats and it was so silent all you could hear was the radios playing WIBC as Sid made that statment. Still chocks me up to hear it.


          • #6
            That was my first Indianapolis 500 and, along with A.J. Foyt, Sachs was a family favorite. We were in B. In a way it was a surreal moment. The race was stopped, the crowd was quiet, Sachs was gone and shortly after the race was restarted the first newspapers regarding the accident was filtering into the stands. Sid was right, though, the race continued and all it took was a Parnelli Jones and Foyt duel to change my focus and get on with my day.

            AFColt, a fine 1000th post!


            • #7
              I was there that day too. We were sitting in the North East Vista. All we could see was the smoke that went up several hundred feet.
              Your post brought back memories. I haddn't thought about hearing the Sid Collins tribute. I have heard it many times since but never realized that I also heard it that day, from the hundreds of radios in the stands while the crowd was absolutely quiet.

              It was (is) so typical of Indy, the silence...
              I constantly marvel at the greatest noise heard every year at the track, when 350,000 people are silent during the playing of taps. I have never heard it anywhere else...

              "Doc, just set them fingers sose I can hold the wheel"
              James Hurtubise, June, 1964


              • #8
                Well done AFColt...well done!
                "If you don't do it this year, you'll be another year older when you do"



                • #9

                  Originally posted by DavidM View Post
                  Well done AFColt...well done!
                  It's a 2.5 mile oval of asphalt-covered bricks, used just three times a year. Yet it hascome to be the worldwide symbol of auto racing. More than that, it is our city's beacon to the entire globe, the main reason everyone knows there is an Indianapolis somewhere in the vast interior of America.


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