During the International Olympic Committee meetings in Paris the committee president, Avery Brundage, had a few words to say in tribute to Baron Pierre de Coubertin. It was 63 years ago that the Baron suggested a revival of the sports carnivals of ancient Greece and so lighted the torches for the modern Olympics.
"It took a Frenchman who was not an athlete," Brundage said, "to perceive the latent and undeveloped moral, educational and spiritual possibilities in competitive sports. Never had such an idea met with such universal approval in such a short time. The word 'Olympic' is the magic word today in all five continents. Baron de Coubertin saw in amateur sport the only common ground where the rising generations of all races might meet and mingle on an equal basis. His object was the ennoblement of humanity for a better and happier world."
On the subject of amateurism, which has been a sore spot in Olympic discussions, Brundage said:
July 10, 1955
"We can only rely on the support of those who believe in the principles of fair play and sportsmanship embodied in the amateur code in our efforts to prevent the games from being used by individuals, organizations or nations for ulterior motives."
And on the whole broad subject of international sports:
"We are trying to carry on the Olympic movement with our limited resources because sport makes the peoples healthier and happier. We are hoping to create harmony among the nations and for a more peaceful and friendlier world."
THE LONESOME GRAD
During the Philadelphia Phillies' most recent Western swing a hotel in which they were staying was host as well to a convention of Theta Sigma Phi, which is a national honorary journalism sorority. Up to the Theta Sig registration desk came a strapping lad of diffident mien. Was this, he asked the young woman in charge, a college sorority convention? If so, it would be pleasant if he could talk to some college people again.
There is an endless variety of ways by which young men strike up acquaintance with young women and this, the registrar thought, might well be one of them. The young man hastened to explain. He was a Princeton man, class of '55, had joined the Phillies about 10 days before and was traveling with the team before going into the Navy in July. He had been assigned to room with Catcher Andy Seminick, known to his mates as The Mad Russian. Seminick, he made clear, is one of the finest roommates an aspiring baseball rookie could have but his conversational range is limited. Baseball and bird shooting. Golf and fishing. Not much to say about the classics, drama or modern art.
The Princeton man—he turned out to be John Easton, captain of this year's baseball team, a center fielder with a .350 batting average, a major in electrical engineering and a near honor student—had a fine long talk with one of the sorority sisters. He should be in the Navy by now, well out of range of Seminick's famous throwing arm.
The Pittsburgh Pirates have 10 college men on their roster, more than any other major league team. They are in last place. But conversationally they are delightful.
CLUB FIGHTS IN A TUBE
The decline and impending extinction of the small fight club, boxing's little red schoolhouse, has been deplored more often than the passing of the passenger pigeon. The cry has been that the small fight club is the natural breeding ground of the competent boxer but that the predator, television, has wrecked it by enticing away its trade and has killed off promising young fighters by promoting them to national prominence before they are ready.
Last April a Cleveland TV promoter started putting on the electronic equivalent of small club fights. He is Herman Spero, a former child actor turned showman. His studio boxing show became a weekly attraction on WEWS-TV in Cleveland. With studio audiences limited to a mere 100 guests of thesponsoring brewer (Pilsener Brewing Company) and the noise of a large crowd simulated by transcription, the fights have attracted a good, steady audience in the Cleveland viewing area.
"You don't have to have great fighters to have exciting fights," Spero explains. "When you get a boy from Akron and a boy from Warren, Ohio, for example, the boys know their towns are rooting for them. You see some tremendous fights with that local element involved." This of course, was the charm and basic philosophy of the fight club too. Spero and his matchmaker, Johnny Gibbons, who used to be Bob Hope's dancing partner in pre-Pepsodent days, regard their studio fights as a way to develop good fighters while earning a showman's dollar.
"Cleveland used to be a hot fight town up until about five years ago," Spero recalls "Then things went dead. What we aimed to do was to give young fighters an opportunity to fight and give the viewers exciting fights."
Their aim was jarred almost immediately by the International Boxing Guild, a kind of managers' union for the establishment of better lurking conditions. Some of the IBG managers in Cleveland wanted to "clear" things with the IBG's GHQ in New York. Since IBG works in close cahoots with network TV's monopolist, the International Boxing Club (James D. Norris president), it took a stern, almost moral stand against studio boxing. Featherweight Jesse Rodriguez, for instance, was warned that he would get no more fights if he appeared on a WEWS card. Featherweight Rodriguez had been getting no fights anyway, so he fought for Spero. Other independent fighters and managers took the same view, and Spero went on promoting.
A couple of weeks ago the IBG local threatened to picket the station. Murray (The Genius) Frank, New York lawyer for the IBG, addressed the Cleveland managers and, with the heat on against the IBG nerve center in New York where Julius Helfand was suspending IBG managers right and left, the picketing did not come off.
"These guys are supposed to be promoting boxing," Spero signed, "but they are doing it in a funny way."
WINNING WITHOUT TEARS
Systems for beating the races are as common as sure-catch trout flies. They make more effective lures too. Now a man who designs lighting fixtures has invented a new system and seems bound to catch lots of horse players.
He is Don Ernest Frank of Spokane, an employee of the Columbia Electric and Manufacturing Company who has had a mild interest in horse racing for perhaps 20 years along with a passion for rapid calculation gimmicks used in his work. He uses, for instance, no less than 28 calculators for rapid computation of such factors as related light values and steel thickness. Now he has come up with what he calls a "Turfman's Calculator," designed to help the brain-fagged horse player make his selections with the nourishing sense that science has been put to work on the problem. Frank makes two opposing claims about his calculator:
1) It will not beat the races.
2) With its aid he beat them for $400 on $2 bets last year, hitting eight out of 12 daily doubles. He remembers one pick that paid $16.40 to win.
"Two years ago," he recalls, "we lost our shirts." But at that time Frank had not yet invented his calculator. After filling three bureau drawers with charts, clippings, figures and notes scribbled to himself Frank decided he had discovered the "logical common denominator" of horse racing.
The denominator is time. Some horses run faster than others and Frank's gimmick—a cardboard slide chart about the size of a folded road map—is a device for comparing one horse's time against another horse's over the same distance. With his racing form before him, the owner of a Turfman's Calculator can convert a horse's best time over any distance to the horse's probable time over the distance the horse will run tomorrow. After a little routine pushing of slides back and forth he gets a quick comparison of horses over the distance they'll run against each other.
"It's like knowing how fast a man can run 100 yards," Frank explains. "You can compute his probable time over 104 yards or 106 yards."
He recommends that the fan use the calculator to find the two or three probable best runners in a given race, then weigh such other variables as jockeys, weights, track condition and whether a horse is improving or slowing. The calculator does not take weights or jockeys into account and is based on a fast track. You're expected to do just a little thinking on your own.
The first 10,000 calculators will be on the market early in August. Then, no more sitting up late nights. You just lie awake contemplating the profits to be realized from seven-horse parlays.
A way to at least break even at the races, less legal fees, has been dreamed up by Miss Paula Aiello, a wide-eyed brunette in a picture hat who dropped $425 at Aqueduct and now has 71 losing pari-mutuel tickets for her memory book.
Miss Aiello is putting the law on Aqueduct via a lawyer named Lee Bosco Jr. under Section 994 of the New York State penal code entitled: "Property staked may be recovered." This law says if you lose money on a bet you can bring suit and get it back.
Miss Aiello's first system, which occurred to her on the very first day she ever spent at a race track, was to bet on "several horses in each race with several tickets on each horse." That was how she lost the $425.
She dropped that system and went to Counsellor Bosco. He conceded that pari-mutuel betting is legal and that there might be some question about Section 994's applicability, since it covers only "prohibited" wagering. He entered suit anyway and, lo and behold, his name was in all the papers and spelled correctly, B-o-s-c-o.
THEN THERE WERE TWO
At the end of any normal, well-ordered bullfight, there should be (at least) six dead bulls and three triumphant matadors. But some heady impulse toward independence has lately been driving the bulls of Madrid to challenge their bovine destiny. There was that bull who last month jumped the fence at Madrid's Plaza de Toros in suburban Vista Alegre and vanished into a maze of narrow streets on its way downtown (SI, June 13). Now there is news of an equally bad afternoon in the bigger Plaza Monumental. At a recent corrida there, the matadors all went to the infirmary leaving a pair of live toros with nothing but time on their hands.
The trouble started when Juan Galvez, a lean and emaciated veteran, faced a fine, spirited black bull from a first-rate Andalusian ganadería. As soon as this animal tore into the ring it was obvious that he knew too much. Instead of charging the capes, he charged the men. Galvez eventually cited the bull and stood his ground. As straight as a guided missile the bull went for Galvez, tossed him high in the air and then turned around to butt the prone figure. Galvez went to the infirmary with a 10-centimeter wound on the inside of his right thigh.
The second bull was more amenable and followed the cloth as it should. But Jaime Ostos, the matador, made an awkward pass, was caught on the horn, tossed and trampled. He got up, killed the bull and followed Galvez to the infirmary.
This left the third matador, a young fellow named Morenito de Talavera, making his first Madrid appearance, to kill five bulls. He finished off two of them without much trouble, but the fourth bull of the afternoon caught him with a horn, and Morenito also went to the infirmary with 10-centimeter and 15-centimeter wounds in his thighs and buttocks.
In the infirmary the ring surgeon, Dr. Luis Gimenez-Guinea, had patched up Jaime Ostos, who limped back to the ring. Ostos took over the wounded Morenito's bull. On his third pass, the bull tossed and trampled him. Ostos picked himself up, staggered, collapsed and was again carried to the infirmary.
The audience was stupefied. The bull stood defiantly in possession of the ring. There were no more bullfighters. Suddenly there leaped from the sunny side of the stand a short, squat figure in ordinary street clothes—an ex-matador named Pedro de la Casa, long since retired, limping from an old goring, a kinsman of the youthful Morenito. Pedro grabbed a sword and a muleta, saluted the judge, gave the bull a few quick passes and killed it—a little awkwardly perhaps, but at least left it dead. As Pedro limped from the ring in glory, two policemen hustled him off to jail, charged with the illegal killing of a bull. For good measure the attendant who had given him the sword and muleta was jailed too. Pedro had, in fact, asked permission to kill the bull by saluting the judge, but he had not waited for permission to be granted.
That left just the two live bulls and one very angry audience.
There was a time—about a year ago—when an outrageous heavyweight named Tommy (Hurricane) Jackson was spoken of as a possible opponent for Champion Rocky Marciano. Totally devoid of boxing skill, Jackson was as wildly eccentric in his public statements as he was in the ring, and boxing writers quoted him gratefully for a while. Of training in the country Jackson said: "Those noisy birds pecking around are what gets you. I'm unrestable unless I have city noises."
Of his boyhood he remarked: "The big boys were always catching me and throwing me in the sticker bushes and stomping on me." Of his defeat a year ago last April by Jimmy Slade, Hurricane cried: "I'm glad I lost. Maybe that'll teach my mother not to bother with me." After that fight the Hurricane Jackson joke wore thin and his de-emphasis began. A few months later he was dumped three times in the second round by Nino Valdes (Jackson: "I was wearin' slippery shoes") and banished.
The other evening Jackson was back in New York for a return bout with Slade, this one billed as "for the heavyweight championship of New York State." Jackson, no less horrible as a boxer, got a close but unanimous decision. Thus, at 23, he may be said to have made a comeback.
In the dressing room after the fight Jackson engaged in repartee with his manager, Lippy Breidbart. The substance of the exchange was that Jackson wanted a drink of water and a shower. Breidbart thought he should cool off first.
"You don't know your mind," Breidbart said.
"But I know my body," said Hurricane. "You don't know my body."
"But I know your mind," Breidbart countered.
"Yeah, you know my mind," agreed Hurricane. "But nobody but me knows my body."
Briedbart shook his head. "Go ahead, take a drink." He turned to a reporter. "This boy has ideals of his own. All last week he was saying how he was going to outsmart Slade. So he tried to outsmart him in the early rounds. You can't outsmart a cutey. Then Freddie [Trainer Freddie Brown] tells him to go out in the fifth round and start fighting. This boy don't know his mind."
"I know my body," Jackson said. "Lemme take a shower now."
Breidbart began to talk up the August 3rd date in Syracuse when Jackson is to meet the winner of the Ezzard Charles-Paul Andrews fight on July 13. He turned to Jackson: "That'll be the money fight. You can buy a house."
"I don't want no house," said Hurricane softly, "I want a shower."
'I'M A LITTLE AFRAID'
Having licked cancer with the aid of surgery 27 months ago, Babe Didrikson has gone through another operation and is now facing the necessity of making—or trying to make—yet another comeback in women's golf. Babe's current disability, a ruptured spinal disc, was incurred because she attempted to push a heavy automobile out of deep sand on a fishing trip to Port Aransas, Texas some weeks ago. "I'm just accident prone, I guess," she said in tones of honest puzzlement when reporters and photographers called on her at Galveston's John Sealy Hospital. "Seems I'm always doing something to hurt myself."
Though she was decked out in a peach-colored nightgown for the occasion she looked pale and wan after 26 days flat on her back in the hospital bed. When a photographer asked her if she could sit up a little Babe reached for an iron bar suspended above her. But her husband, ex-wrestler George Zaharias, who had been fluttering incongruously in the background near a basket of zinnias, protested immediately: "Now look. Let's don't make this difficult. She can't move." Babe looked at him gratefully.
"How about laying my golf bags on the bed," she volunteered. Somebody lifted the bag and she hauled out a driver, then sighed: "Oh, man, those things feel heavy." As the flashbulbs went off she cried: "Gee, I didn't even get to put any lipstick on. I just had a shot and I didn't get to it." Was she definite about going back to big-time golf? "If I'm able to I'm certainly going to. I'll be out of here after this week. I'm a little afraid but I hope it will be okay. They say I'll be able to play. I won't retire till somebody comes along better than I am, and I haven't found one yet." As her visitors prepared to leave, Babe said vehemently: "I look terrible in this position in bed." Then she called: "Touch up those pictures, will you?"
Sometimes a team to triumph mounts
When a baseball takes a lucky bounce.
Before you credit Fortune's wiles,
Ponder first the ground crew's smiles.
CURRENT WEEK & WHAT'S AHEAD
Smiling, easygoing Louise Brough, an Oklahoman turned Californian, approached the modern immortals of ladies' tennis—Helen Wills Moody Roark and Suzanne Lenglen—by winning her fourth Wimbledon championship.
Sophomore pro Fay Crocker, an American turned Uruguayan (her great-grandfather was first U.S. consul to Uruguay), gave a lesson to the top U.S. lady golfers with a four-stroke victory in the $7,500 U.S. Women's Open.
Unheralded, the Vancouver Rowing Club crew upset Soviet Russia's Grand Challenge Cup entry at Britain's Henley Regatta—prompting delighted shouts of "This means Siberia! Back to the salt mines!" from the banks. Then the B.C. crew succumbed to the University of Pennsylvania's varsity in the final.
The traveling U.S. weight-lifting team stopped in Iran on its way home from Russia, beat the best local musclemen 6-0 and delighted Mohammed Reza Pahlavi, Shahinshah of Iran—a monarch who owns a set of York bar bells.
Boxing society in New Orleans opened its arms to visiting New York mobster Frankie Carbo, who helped Blaise D'Antoni open his new saloon and watched politely as D'Antoni talked of new boxing and horse racing activities.
Minor league baseball suffered another serious blow when Owner Sam Bray said he would almost certainly have to fold his Kingsport Cherokees on July 9 unless financial aid materialized. This made it look as if the end were in immediate sight for the Appalachian League.