The day before hetook office as governor of New York Averell Harriman made an oblique butcutting comment on boxing's dirty business. He appointed Julius Helfand, headof the Rackets Division in Brooklyn's district attorney's office, as boxingcommissioner.
Helfand is thefellow who turned up Harry Gross from under a Brooklyn stone. Bookie Gross wasso prosperous that he was able to disperse $1 million a year in bribes tocrooked cops and Helfand's revelations forced a police department cleanup thatgot rid of a lot of bribe-takers.
Noted for aprodigious memory and extraordinary ability to concentrate on his tasks,Helfand will have a lot to concentrate on. The nerve center of the sport,Madison Square Garden, is in his bailiwick and so is Jim Norris's IBC, theaching nerve in boxing's carious tooth.
January 10, 1955
Sammy Lee, thediver, doctor of medicine and Air Force major, was frankly embarrassed a yearago when he was awarded the James E. Sullivan Memorial Trophy as "theamateur athlete who, by performance, example and good influence, did the mostto advance the cause of good sportsmanship" in 1953. The fact of the matterwas that Major Lee had not "performed" at all during the year.
But Major Lee hadspecial reasons for applauding the 1954 Sullivan award which last week went toMai Whitfield, the great middle distance runner and Olympic champion. For, inaddition to giving a well-deserved, if belated, honor to a superlative athleteand good sportsman, the designation of Whitfield adds enormous weight to acontinuing argument Major Lee conducted all through his recent "good willtour" of the Far East. Here's the way the argument ran, as reported byMajor Lee (who is of Korean descent) in a letter from Ceylon to a friend backin the States:
"Last night Ihad an argument in the public square with a rabid Communist who preached thatCommunism was to prevail over the world since the U.S. evidently did not want atwo-doctrine world. So I asked, 'Why can't the world be an all-democraticworld?' To this he answered, 'Because the capitalistic world has subjugated thecolored races long enough.' I said, 'If this is so, then why am I, a member ofthe colored race, sitting here as a world champion and a doctor of medicine?And why, while participating in two Olympic Games and receiving the gold medaleach time, have I yet to see a member of the colored races represent the SovietUnion or its satellites in this brotherly competition?' To this the Communistanswered, 'You do not see Orientals yet in the Olympic Games because they arebackward in the Soviet states.' I said, 'Then who in this world of twodoctrines is retarding the development of the colored races?' He blustered,sputtered and finally excused himself."
As the firstNegro ever to win the Sullivan Trophy, Mai Whitfield will furnish anotherstrong case history—if anyone else cares to argue the point with Sammy Lee.
Members of the U.S. Davis Cup Team may be a little startled to hear that theeyes of the State Department were fixed upon them early last week during one ofthe most dramatic moments in current international affairs—the Frenchparliamentary crisis over admission of Germany to NATO and retention of theMend√®s-France government. An almost unbearable tension grew as Secretary ofState John Foster Dulles awaited word from Paris; to break it the Secretaryturned to briefing officers at his morning staff conference and asked:"Well, do you have any word on how the United States made out in the DavisCup matches—if we win the Davis Cup it won't offset a defeat in the FrenchParliament but it will help." It is pleasant to be able to report that theSecretary needed no consolation at all as things turned out in Paris; this,however, should not completely obscure the fact that Trabert and Seixas wereright behind Mend√®s-France all the way and that theGermany-to-NATO-to-Australia-to-Forest Hills Plan succeeded in allparticulars.
Joe Louis favoredto win
There are twoschools of thought regarding the career of Paul Andrews, a light heavyweightwho has begun to show promise of better things since Joe Louis took over histraining recently, but the school that rules is taught by Joe.
Marshall Miles,Andrews' manager and once manager of Louis, wants his boy to fight thechampion, Archie Moore, next month. Joe says no, not that soon.
After Andrews wona technical knockout victory in six rounds over the No. 1 contender, BoardwalkBilly Smith, at Miami the other night, Miles stood in one corner of thedressing room and Joe stood in another corner and both said opposite things.Miles declared that Paul was ready for Moore. Joe said he wasn't.
"Paul got hittoo much by that Smith," Joe said, ignoring the chant of the manager."He still needs a lot of work before he's ready for guys like Moore andMarciano and Valdes. It's not a question of a number of fights. It'stime."
The squabblecontinued next day when Andrews went for a dip in his hotel pool. The oldBomber sat on the patio and waved a spoonful of ice cream in the generaldirection of his fighter.
"Paul ain'tready for Moore yet," Joe said firmly. "There's things Paul can do andthere's things he can't do. There's not much of anything Moore don't know howto do—while maybe he might not do some of them as well now as he usedto."
Miles, who hasovermatched Andrews several times, made a face.
"Paul'sfought a lot," he said. "He's in good shape and he can take the fightright away. We'll wait and see."
Joe said nothing.Obviously, he was satisfied with a previous point: "When you want to knowif a race horse is ready, who do you ask, the trainer or the jockey?"
Joe was alreadytraining Gil Turner, the Philadelphia welterweight, when he took over Andrews'training last November. That was just after the elderly Joey Maxim hadoutpointed the youngster in spite of a right eye which had been closed in thefirst round. Since then Andrews had grudgingly endured the Spartan traininggrind that Joe himself went through in the days when he was preparing himselfto win the heavyweight championship at the age of 23. Before the Smith fight,Andrews ran four to six miles every morning and boxed with live targets, inkeeping with Joe's belief: "They've got to run and they've got to box. Thatmakes fighters."
Panting throughthese rigors, Paul got so mad at Joe that Miles thought the boy would swing onthe 235-pound ex-champion.
"He mighthave thought about it, yeh," Joe observed, "and I know I've gone back along way, but I ain't went back that far."
This was saidwith a grin as quiet and self-assured as Joe's insistence that Andrews won'tfight Moore until he has sanded the rough spots off what he firmly believes isa pretty fair piece of fighter. Or Joe won't play any more.
While theattention of the country was focused on football bowl games, a hard core ofsports subversives met in secret sessions (as far as national publicity wasconcerned) at St. Petersburg, Fla. for a full week and then, just before theNew Year, scattered through the country again to continue their fanaticalefforts in behalf of an ideology known as soccer.
The whole affair,attended by 117 soccer players from 26 schools and by 23 card-carrying membersof the United States Soccer Coaches Association, might have goneunexposed—except for local publicity—had not an SI correspondent, masqueradingas a soccer addict, gained entrance to the sessions. The SI man has turned in areport that names names and flatly charges that there exists in the U.S. astrong underground movement dedicated to spreading interest and participationin this game of soccer even if it means the overthrow of school and collegefootball by force and violence.
The soccer boom(SI, Nov. 29) has now progressed to the point where its leaders seem to beactually brazen about their intentions. Carlton H. Reilly of Brooklyn Collegein New York did not even bother to lower his voice at St. Pete as he recalledthat the game was played mainly between Fall River, Mass. and Baltimore upuntil a few years ago.
"Now,"shouted Reilly, "the game is being taken up by more and more colleges inthe South and the Middle West and Far West! In New York, the game is spreadinglike wildfire in the high schools! And many colleges are discovering that to besuccessful in football it's whole hog or nothing. I am glad to report thatGeorgetown, Fordham and Adelphi have dropped football entirely and are nowplaying soccer!"
When order hadbeen restored, there was a more sobering report from another operative, JohnEiler, soccer coach at Slippery Rock State Teachers College.
"I must tellyou," said Eiler, "that we are having schedule trouble at SlipperyRock. Some schools in our section of the country are stubbornly resisting thetrend. Carnegie Tech, Westminster, Thiel and Edinboro Teachers are droppingsoccer and keeping the emphasis on football."
Spirits roseagain as Al Wilson, a delegate from Yale University, got up and reported that anumber of Connecticut high schools which had experimented with six-man footballnow had abandoned that and were concentrating on soccer. "I may say,"he added, looking around carefully, "that parents in New Haven are pleased,very pleased, with soccer."
Now the wild lookwas back in the eyes of the delegates and soon Glenn F.H. Warner, soccer coachof the U.S. Naval Academy, was on his feet and roaring:
"I think wehave doubled the number of college soccer teams! And I venture to say thatthere are at least 700 high schools playing soccer up and down the countrytoday!"
Now the feelingwas so intense that there was nothing in the world to do but play a game ofsoccer. And so the players were split up into two squads to represent the Northand South. For the North, there were 13 players from Springfield, Mass., sevenfrom Brooklyn College, seven from Courtland, three from West Point, two fromCity College, N.Y., one from Ithaca, N.Y. Bending the Mason-Dixon Line to eventhings, the South was represented by 18 players from Florida, seven from Navy,six from Pitt, four from Slippery Rock, three from Johns Hopkins, two fromSwarthmore, and one each from Penn State and Duke.
The game wasplayed at Stewart Field after being boldly advertised as "The SoccerBowl." The South won, 4 to 2, but more important than that, $1,400 wastaken in at the gate (with seats at $1 top) and the loot will be spent to makemore training films, hold more soccer forums and do anything else that willfurther the cause of the booting game—and let the football devil take thehindmost.
Opening up theEast
In its old ageManhattan has become quite an ant bed. Its industrious millions make their waythrough the subways and doorways and intersections of the big maze withtreasured routine. Change the routine, inject a new note, and Manhattan onfirst impulse frowns and fears the worst. Those in power bark in protest topreserve the status quo: "Hey, Mac, what goes? Hey, Mac, you can't do that.Hey, Mac, I got orders positively no one is admitted without noticket."
Last week intonegative old Manhattan swirled a small but very positive collegiate crowd,bearing a potted palm and 10 cases of oranges and cheering loudly for theUniversity of California at Los Angeles. UCLA, their alma mater, is best knownin this New Year time for its top-ranked football team which did NOT play inthe Rose Bowl. Undismayed that there was little to cheer about back home, 26members of the "Kelps," UCLA's official rah-rah organization, came onto Manhattan to cheer their basketball team in Madison Square Garden againstthe best teams of the East.
Since the Kelpsthrive on cheery disorganization (the members are no longer even sure why theybear a name as common as seaweed), it's a wonder they made it all the way. Theyleft the campus in a cut-rate bus driven by two charitable Los Angeles policeofficers on a round-trip budget of $2,250—roughly what it would have cost them100 years ago by Conestoga wagon.
They planned toease the cost somewhat by enjoying the hospitality of other colleges along theroute, but fell badly behind schedule and got little for free. The bus motordied in the first 10 miles, delaying them for 36 hours within hearing distanceof a Los Angeles burlesque theater. After trading earfuls of UCLA spirit foreyefuls of Betty Roland, who is currently billed as "the ball of fire,"they rolled on eastward, pausing only when necessary: 1) to remove ascrewdriver which someone had carelessly left between the smoking sidewall andinner tube of one tire, 2) to play touch football with 10-year-olds, 3) to holdpep rallies at busy city intersections, and 4) to serenade the lingerie counterof an Indianapolis department store (an extravagant gesture, considering theproblem of getting their emblematic palm tree through the revolving door).
In Columbus, Ohiotheir bus died for keeps, and the Kelps dipped into their return fare to makeit the rest of the way by regular bus. A UCLA alumnus, who owns the DiplomatHotel, put them up, four to a room, for a buck fifty a night, but beyond thatthe prospects looked dim. Enjoying New York in the holiday week from Christmasto New Year's is a matter of how much cash you've got or whom you know. Closeto flat broke, the Kelpmen of UCLA set about getting to know everybody."How are you this fine day?" they asked the men of New York and"Hey! the Queen!" they shouted to the girls. Among New Yorkers this iscause enough for alarm—lotta crazy heads going around wishing everybody welland calling girls queens when most of them definitely are not.
"You can'tcome in here without a necktie," warned the headwaiter at the KeyboardRestaurant to four Kelpmen who, within an hour, were taking free mambo lessonsas guests of the Keyboard management.
In New York youdo not get behind scenes unless you know somebody. Not realizing this, threeKelpmen leaked behind the scenes of the Jackie Gleason show, which in the worldof television is comparable to prying up the heavy floor vault lid at Windsorfor a look at Henry the Eighth. "We waited," explains Kelpman DonAllison, "until some important people walked by the guard, and went withthem. The guard says, 'Hey, Mac! Hey, Mac!' to us, and we say 'Hey, Mac! Hey,Mac!' back at him. So, we get in." That same day the same three Kelps saw afirst-run movie free (by exuding more of their baffling good will), and thatnight they saw the last two acts of a Broadway show (from box seats, carefullytiming their entrance to coincide with the intermission).
To recoup theirtraveling losses and assure themselves enough to get home, the Kelps won $300on a quiz show—more correctly, perhaps, it should be stated that they weregiven $300, since the show producer, caught up in the old college spirit andnoting that Kelpman Dave Hart was muddled by the last question, hissed theanswer sotto voce from the wings.
"You can'tbring a palm tree in here," the ticket taker grumbled as the Kelpmen cameto Madison Square Garden to cheer their team. "You're gonna stick somebodyin the eyes with that thing." The Kelpmen began to yell. Figuring no palmtree was worth all that noise, the ticket man let them through.
New York notbeing much of a college town, cheering in the Garden is generally an expressionfor something well done or an indication of approval that the contest is goingthe way the crowd would like it to go. The Kelps yelled all the time. Andthrough the first half and during half-time, when the Kelps took the floor tothrow oranges to the crowd, Emil Rubano, the aisle guard near their seats, worea frown, fearing the worst from such noisy hellions. But during the secondhalf, Kelpman John Odabashian patted Rubano's balding head now and again (asOdabashian is wont to do to waiters, ushers and all men of authority) andassured him the Kelps were men of good will. Thereafter Guard Rubano beamed."It must be the California air," said he in glowing approval."Never saw anybody here so loud. We get a lot of boisterous ones, the kindwho throw fish. But here you got real loud gentlemen."
Since UCLA'splayers lost a seesaw game to All-American Tom Gola and the tricky La Salleteam to take third place in the tournament, it would appear that the odyssey ofthe cheering Kelps is without much moral. Strictly as a basketball story,perhaps there is no moral. But in general one might say that if you complimentall the ladies, pat officialdom occasionally on the head, and pass out a feworanges, you can go a long way, even in New York.
After sevenmonths of Technicolor disagreement in the new Vista-scope process with a littlestereophonic sound thrown in, the 1955 Los Angeles Open finally gotstraightened out—or, in any event, there will be no double-feature the weekendof Jan. 6 through 10. Instead of a program calling for a PGA-endorsed, WilliamB. MacDonald-sponsored Inglewood Open to be shown at the Inglewood Country Clubwhile a separate and competing Los Angeles Open sponsored by the L.A. JuniorChamber of Commerce ran simultaneously at the Rancho Municipal Golf Course (SI,Jan. 3), the feuding parties finally got together last week and settled on onetournament. It will be called the Los Angeles Open, parts of it will be playedat both courses, there will be celebrity goings-on at both courses, the LAJCwill help Mr. MacDonald and Mr. MacDonald will help the LAJC.
Next week:Sherlock Holmes and Professor Moriarty in "Under One Flag" or "Sonof Beau Geste."
SUCCESS IN POLO
Lash feet together
Rider through goal posts