Letters to the Editor

Babe, Bear and Little E

Emery “Little E” Clark Jr.’s first name was misspelled “Emero” in a photo caption accompanying the July 18 article “Parilli has strong claim as greatest Kentucky football player.”

Little E, Babe Parilli and Ed Hamilton arrived on the University of Kentucky campus together in 1948 as part of 109 freshman recruits.

There were only 12 that remained four years later, and three in the photo. At the time it was taken, Little E had just been awarded Co-MVP of the 1952 Cotton Bowl along with Parilli.

Clark, the diminutive dynamo of Carlisle High School Musketeers sports fame (1945-1948), was a three-year starting two-way backfield letterman (1949, ’50 and ’51) on the UK football team during its heyday, in which they were 28-8, with three consecutive major bowl appearances.

Paul “Bear” Bryant had first rejected Little E as too little for SEC rigors but was thankful he finally relented to award him a scholarship. His sparkling play as “the little dog in the fight” repaid the Bear numerous times over, culminating in All SEC honors in 1951.

My hometown of Carlisle is one of 15 host sites featured in the “Hometown Teams: How Sports Shape America” traveling exhibit, sponsored by the Smithsonian Institute and Kentucky Humanities, through Aug. 19. Little E is the subject of some of the exhibits, crafted by Nicholas County Historical Society volunteers.

Don Dampier