A BIT OF CHEEK
Yes, Rocky Marciano really did beat Don Cockell that recent evening in San Francisco (see page 42), but there was a time on the night of the fight and the day afterward when very little agreement could be found on what happened in that famously shrunken ring on the floor of Kezar Stadium. In fact, it almost seemed as if four different fights were in progress.
For suspense nothing equaled the version served up on radio—a give-and-take affair with the issue always in doubt. The two fighters were pounding each other mercilessly as first one and then the other appeared on the verge of a knockout. On television the fight had a more ethereal quality. Between the intervals when static turned the theatre screen into a French abstraction by Jacques Villon the Villon took place in a kind of half-world of misty gray—in which the blows seemed almost simulated.
The British and American newsmen sitting at ringside could agree on only one thing: they had watched a gory engagement. To an American the winning margin was Rocky's "monstrous strength and muscular violence." He was just too much a fighter for the challenger. But to an English writer, Rocky looked more like a rogue lion who had deserted the pride than a Marquess of Queensberry disciple: "It is as though he would tear the flesh from his opponent's body, crush and pulverize his very bones, split asunder his veins and tear out his very heart and liver."
May 29, 1955
A few days later, Cockell's truculent manager, assuming the philosophic approach, tried to synthesize the Anglo-American conflict. "It's lyke this," he said. "When you 'ave a child, and you don't slap 'im, he'll be cheeky when he grows up. Ryte? Now your chaps are cheeky. They're cheeky fyters. Our boys aren't cheeky; they grow up disciplined by the rules."
It was inevitable that now that Ted Williams has stepped up to the plate again, someone would recall to us an incident that occurred during the off season when he was fishing with the great Sam Snead, who prefers the same off-season sport for his relaxation. It seems they were discussing the relative merits of golf and baseball. After Williams had had his say, Snead looked thoughtfully out across the water and said: "Yes, but in baseball you don't have to play your fouls."
HANK BAUER, DANCER
Hank Bauer of the Yankees is one of the professional athletes signing testimonials now appearing in newspapers in behalf of Arthur Murray's dancing lessons. "I used to 'take a walk' when others danced," Bauer's statement says, "but those days are gone forever. You see, I used to think learning to dance was 'sissy' stuff, but I don't any more. Lessons at Arthur Murray's proved to me that dancing is as much fun as any big league sport."
This is the same Hank Bauer who sent Nellie Fox, White Sox second baseman, sprawling the other day, thus breaking up a sure double play, getting himself ruled out for interference and touching off what promises to be a Yankee-White Sox feud good for the rest of the season.
If the purpose of the Arthur Murray lessons is to make a guy light on his feet, maybe Arthur should call Hank back for a refresher course. Might even teach Hank a few new steps. And for what it is worth, let Arthur be advised that the next Bauer-Fox dance around second base in Comiskey Park in Chicago isn't likely to be a waltz.
FUN AND MR. FRICK
Some old fashioned fun was injected into baseball the other day, and it was such a startling innovation that a cry of alarm went up and a neck went out at the office of Ford Frick, baseball's high commissioner.
It all started with a foot race before a game at Busch Stadium in St. Louis between the Cards and Dodgers. The race, a 50-yard dash for "The Lead-Foot Trophy," was between the rival catchers, Del Rice of the Cardinals and Rube Walker of the Dodgers, who enjoy a joint reputation as the slowest men in the National League. Rice overcame Walker's early lead to win by several feet and a hilarious time was had by all. Unfortunately some sportswriters reported that Eddie Stanky, the St. Louis manager, had "picked up a load of side bets" and that "the Dodger lads went for a bundle." Commissioner Frick, reading these reports, shot off a wire to Managers Stanky and Walt Alston "ordering" them to supply all details forthwith. The details turned out to be that no "bundles" had been wagered, no "load of side bets" picked up by Eddie Stanky. There were a few small bets, but they added up to no more than $50. In New York, Commissioner Frick thereupon withdrew his neck and closed the case.
The incident caused Sports Editor Dan Parker to suggest in the New York Mirror that "baseball has lost a) its sense of humor and b) its identity as a sport." Baseball, said Parker, is neither a religion nor a way of life, although, in the Parker view, most of the fun has gone out of it on the playing field. No Casey Stengel lets a sparrow out of his cap, no Al Schacht goes through pitching motions in top hat and tails.
All is serious, most of the time, and it's no wonder a little fun, plus some extravagant reporting, frightened Mr. Frick.
CHURCH AND BASEBALL
Although, as Dan Parker says, baseball is not a religion, a group of ministers in Huntington, W.Va. believe the game can help bring people to church. The Huntington Ministerial Association has begun a 20-week radio sponsorship of the "Game of the Day" and will broadcast such between-inning messages as: "Go to church Sunday" and "You need the church and the church needs you." The ministers have agreed not to sponsor the "Game of the Day" when Cincinnati home games are being broadcast under a brewery's auspices. On those days, Huntington fans will hear the familiar message: "Step right up and say Burger Beer."
SOCCER: GRADE A
Ebbets field in Brooklyn was occupied on a recent evening not by Brooklyn Dodgers but by some of the best soccer players in the world. They were members of two crack teams from Nuremberg, Germany, and Sunderland, England, and they had come to Brooklyn to play a game climaxing a U.S. tour that included other exhibitions in Kearny, N.J., New York, Philadelphia, Detroit, Chicago and St. Louis. As it turned out, the Brooklyn game was the tour's most exciting demonstration of the arts and sciences that make soccer the No. 1 game elsewhere in the world.
The game (it ended in a 1-1 tie) also proved that Grade A soccer played against the comfortable accommodations of a major league ball park will draw a good crowd even in the U.S. This one numbered 15,450, small potatoes as compared to the crowds of 100,000 overseas, but considerably above the Dodger average for the early baseball season. It was a knowing soccer crowd, too, sophisticated enough to cheer and boo in just the right places and address such international stars as Len Shackleton of Sunderland and Max Morlock of Nuremberg by their first names.
Together, the two teams gave the Ebbets Field patrons an educational evening. Nuremberg played the short-passing, brilliantly deceptive game for which it is celebrated; Sunderland emphasized the long-passing attack that is typical of the modern English game.
Later one of the German players, Center Half Guenther Baumann, a tall, spare man of 34 with high cheekbones and high forehead, called upon his English learned as a prisoner of war and spoke of various soccer techniques.
"In Germany," he said, "soccer is played more for the eye, more letting the ball do the work. In England, it is more the long-passing game, less for the eye, more for the scoring chance at all times. Here in the United States—"
Herr Baumann spread his hands and smiled apologetically.
"Here in this country," he went on, "it is more the individual, less the team, more kick and rush, more that everybody tries to play first fiddle."
Sunderland was undefeated on its U.S. tour, but Nuremberg, astonishingly, was beaten, 3 to 2, by the Kutis team of St. Louis. Kutis, unlike many eastern U.S. teams, is strictly a native product. How was the Kutis victory to be explained?
"We were simply outhustled," said Nuremberg's famous coach, Franz (Bimbo) Binder, Austria's greatest player for 15 years. This drew a quick dissent from one of the younger Nuremberg players, 24-year-old Guenther Glomb. "We were playing against 14 men!" he cried. "Eleven players, two linesmen and a referee. Every decision went against us. Besides we had only three hours sleep the night before!" He kicked at a bench. "Also," he said, "what a soccer field—full of lumps!"
Between exhibitions, both English and German players had a wonderful time. The British went to the top ot the Empire State Building, saw the Yankees play ball, sampled all the brands of ale available in Times Square. The Germans gorged on sauerbraten and sausages in Yorkville, New York's German section, and inspected a total of seven breweries between New York and St. Louis.
Only one player, Walter Schweinberger, a young Nuremberg reserve, had one really bad time. En route to a game in Kearny, N.J., he was riding in a car with Max Morlock. As the car neared the Holland Tunnel under the Hudson, Morlock suddenly asked:
"Schweinberger, you got your vaccination papers?"
Schweinberger paled at the mention of papers.
"No, Max," he said, "I got no papers at all. Why would I have papers?"
Morlock shook his head sadly.
"Schweinberger," he said, "don't you know we are crossing into New Jersey? The border police will want to see vaccination papers."
This made sense to a young man raised in a country divided into east and west zones. So, at Morlock's suggestion, the car was stopped briefly and then went on again through the tunnel into New Jersey—with Schweinberger hidden in the luggage compartment, safe from the prying eyes of the border police.
THE MUSKIE IS A PIXIE
Fishing for muskellunge is a sport that tests lines, hooks, lures, leaders, baits and the tender, undulating minds of muskie fishermen, who live in a half-world of hope and despair, knowing well that nothing they can do will move the muskie to strike until he is damn good and ready to strike. A muskie is a fish which gets its fun out of following lures and baits, looking at them, sneering at them but scarcely ever striking at them. He is caught usually when he opens his mouth to yawn at the boredom of it all and a gang hook happens to fall in.
Two continuing studies, at least, are about to be resumed in an effort to discover the thought processes of muskies and muskie fishermen. So far, neither has had much success. There may, in fact, be nothing there to discover.
One study, undertaken by Doug Bournique of Milwaukee, examined the whims of members of the Muskie Club of Wisconsin, where the season of legalized futility opens May 21. Begun two years ago, the study discloses that the club members average 14 days a year fishing for muskies; half like artificial lures, half live bait; the artificials faithful prefer bucktails, piky minnows and Suick baits in that order; most prefer a cloudy day; most prefer 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.; most think September 15 to October 15 is the best season; none will tell where he fishes.
Club President Bournique, having learned mostly that his organization is a house divided against itself on the issue of artificials vs. baits, will lead his 232 members to Lac Butte des Morts (in central Wisconsin) in June for some amateur research into what kills muskies.
But this has been attempted over the past four years at Syd Doolittle's resort near Boulder Junction. In that time 465 muskies have been brought in there. The Doolittle record shows they hit 157 bucktails, 71 jointed plugs, 33 feathered spoons, 11 surface plugs, 20 miscellaneous lures, and that 173 were taken on live bait.
Put such information into an IBM machine and you get a busted IBM machine and the conclusion that either muskies prefer artificial lures to live bait or that muskie fishermen prefer artificial lures to live bait.
IT "IS" NICE TO KNOW
The Stevens Institute of Technology, a collection of brick and stone buildings sprawled along the waterfront in Hoboken, N.J., is willing to test practically anything that gets wet. The Navy brings scale drawings (from which models are made) of submarines, airplanes, and PT boats. The Army brings landing craft. Yacht designers bring yachts. Oilmen bring pumping stations for offshore oil. The Moran Towing and Transportation Company brought in a garbage scow.
Once, in a fit of naturalistic enthusiasm, Stevens even did some calculating on porpoises. Figuring skin friction, eddy resistance and wave resistance—the three basic deterrents to anything that wants to move forward in water—Stevens announced brightly that if a porpoise wanted to follow an ocean liner at 25 mph for 10 hours, it would have to eat two to three times its own weight during the 10 hours. This, apparently, made certain fish experts very happy, because they had wanted to know if that porpoise that follows ocean liners is always the same porpoise or whether there are several substitute porpoises who run in whenever anyone gets tired.
The other day the problem at Stevens' Number One testing tank was a bit more prosaic. Briefly, the question was: If Philip L. Rhodes builds a 77-foot, all-steel luxury yacht for Houghton P. Metcalf of Middleburg, Va., what kind of engines will Mr. Metcalf have to buy to push the boat at 12 knots through a cruising radius of 1,000 miles?
Mr. Philip Rhodes, a naval architect for 36 years, had already figured it out, even though the boat so far was nothing more than a set of drawings and a three-foot model fixed to a towing carriage in Stevens' 106-foot-by-9-foot testing tank.
"Two 275-hp diesels," he said. Rhodes knows things like that.
"However," he conceded, "it's nice to have that verified when you're spending somebody else's jack."
Besides the size of the diesels, there was the matter of verifying the hull design—how the boat would ride in the water, how she would behave at various speeds, what sort of wake she would throw. And since Mr. Metcalf was planning to pay $150,000 for the finished boat, everyone was willing to indulge in what Rhodes described as "reassurance of the client."
That was fine with Mr. Metcalf, who had come all the way from Middleburg, Va. to be reassured; and now, flanked by Designer Rhodes and Master Draftsman Joe Reinhardt, he moved close to the tank for the tests. For the Institute men, the Metcalf hull was pretty tame stuff. Allan Murray, assistant director of Stevens' testing tanks, had been doing this sort of thing since the days when Harold S. Vanderbilt brought in early models of the Cup Defender Ranger, whose scaled-down hull still hangs above the Number One tank. The other two—Randolph Ashton and Clayton Odenbrett—spend most of their days on ocean liners and commercial cargo vessels. But these men are scientists, and one hydro-dynamic curve is pretty much like another to them.
Odenbrett pushed a button, and Metcalf's model started off down the tank, bobbing a little at first, then settling into a gentle, dignified run. Mr. Ashton walked along beside the moving model, chanting a strange litany of numbers and fractions: "This is 14.65-14.7. Make it .09 behind that zero point...."
Mr. Murray reached into the tank and pulled out a thermometer. He was asked the temperature.
"Seventy," he said.
Was that the average temperature of all the waters of the world?
"No, they're 59."
Why wasn't the tank 59?
"We'd freeze to death in here."
In the meantime the model glided back and forth up and down the tank while Mr. Ashton and Mr. Odenbrett wrote down numbers; and Mr. Rhodes, chin resting on the steel rim of the tank, murmured approvingly of his design: "Stern's free...clean bow wave...bit of seaworthiness in her...looks dry to me."
"That's what I was thinking," said Mr. Metcalf.
In an hour the tests were substantially over; and, scaling the results from model size to boat size, allowing 28% power loss for propeller inefficiency, 20% more for drag from things like rudders and rough paint and 2% more to make up for the slight downward slant of the propeller shaft, everyone agreed that Mr. Metcalf would indeed have to buy two diesels of 275 hp if he wanted to cruise at 12 knots.
"That's pretty close to what we figured," said Mr. Rhodes, head of the firm.
"That's exactly what we figured," said Mr. Reinhardt, the draftsman.
"I wonder if we could use smaller engines?" said Mr. Metcalf, back-watering slightly.
Mr. Rhodes said that was possible. The test graphs showed the boat could drop 100 hp with the loss of only one knot. But Rhodes managed, nonetheless, to convey the impression that the boat should be launched as originally planned.
Mr. Metcalf nodded and wrote something on a piece of yellow paper. Mr. Murray pulled the model, dripping, from the tank and held it at arm's length overhead. Designers and owner moved in some ceremonial stooping, peering, and tracing of hull lines with forefingers. Then, having been assured by the Stevens Institute of the perspicacity of the Rhodes firm, the party shuffled out.
Good golfing folk
Make clergymen shy;
After every stroke
Comes another lie.
—Irwin L. Stein
CURRENT WEEK & WHAT'S AHEAD
Big league baseball standings began to take on a more familiar look. The New York Yankees and the Cleveland Indians commanded the American League, a game or so apart. The World Champion New York Giants climbed to second, in a good spot to haunt the Dodgers.
U.S. amateur golfers won the Walker Cup for the 14th time in 15 tries with an embarrassingly lopsided 10-2 victory over the British at St. Andrews, Scotland.
Nashua was left almost unchallenged in this week's Preakness at Pimlico when both Summer Tan and Dedicate, his most impressive Eastern rivals, were pulled out to rest for the Belmont Stakes on June 11.
Miler Wes Santee startled track fans by entering the half mile at Modesto's California Relays—held only 24 hours after he had failed, with a 4:05.5 race, to better four minutes at the Coliseum Relays in Los Angeles. He ran the second fastest 880 in history, beat California's Lon Spurrier (whose 1:47.5, run three weeks ago, is the fastest) and broke Mai Whitfield's outmoded but still official world record of 1:48.6 by a tenth of a second.
Two other world records also fell at Modesto: Franklin (Bud) Held of San Francisco's Olympic Club threw the javelin 268 feet 2½ inches, and the University of Texas 440-yard relay team ran their event in 40.2, cutting .3 off the University of Southern California's previous record.
Because Lloyds of London is willing to bet against the luck and accuracy of Pacific Coast League hitters, a 3½-inch "knot-hole" has been bored in the left center-field fence at Seattle Stadium, home of the Seattle Rainiers—any hitter who drives a baseball through the hole (11½ feet above ground and 360 feet from home plate) gets $100,000.