MEN IN MOTION
On the Pacific Coast, the professors continued to rip for huge yardage through the varsity football teams. Developments of the week after the University of Washington and UCLA had been set down for unnecessary plushness in their recruitment programs (SI, May 28) included:
Item: the conference rather illogically ruled all UCLA gridders ineligible for a year unless they could prove they had not received illegal salary, a contravention of a good deal of progressive legal doctrine since Magna Carta which may be hard to explain away in History 1 & 2 classes.
Item: every team in the conference except (next-to-last place in football) Washington State was fined for extraordinary athletic procedures ranging from excessive basketball practice (more than 10 hours a week) to excessive distribution of complimentary tickets.
June 3, 1956
The conference fathers had barely disbanded before the reaction (violent) set in. In Los Angeles, a deputy district attorney, J. Miller Leavy, former UCLA athlete, grabbed the ball and charged, head down. He called a press conference, replete with delighted newsreel and TV cameramen, to announce that rival USC, through a proselyting organization known grandly as the Southern California Educational Foundation, including some of California's leading jurists, financiers and businessmen, had ponied up a not-so-secret fund of $71,235 to distribute to deserving students, particularly those majoring in football. He was promptly hanged in effigy on the USC campus.
There was little doubt, however, that his revelations would galvanize Vic Schmidt, the conference commissioner. By week's end the word was pretty well bruited about in the football slave marts of southern California that the jig was really up and that the auction-block value of football beef-on-the-hoof had been disastrously devalued.
By an inexplicable psychological twist it became the business of aggrieved alumni, whose schools had been penalized, to see to it that rival schools did not escape unscathed, and the probability loomed finally that the Coast Conference's recruitment program would be toned down to something more closely resembling the Ivy League's—which may not be as bad as it seems right now to the 50-yard-line season-ticket holders. It may in fact, put an even more spirited team in the Rose Bowl than ever. Maybe a winner.
ADELE OF TROY
If the University of Southern California gets clipped for behind-the-scenes football payoffs (see above), Trojan officials should comfort themselves by reflecting that they were up against something just too big to buck. A woman—a pert Los Angeles housewife, Mrs. Adele Erenberg—was the cause of it all. Mrs. Erenberg never went to college, had no interest in college football and wasn't trying to torpedo the Trojans but nevertheless unearthed evidence of secret SC football funds as early as 1953—three long years before the Pacific Coast Conference began its horrendous job of house cleaning. How? Well—Mrs. Erenberg is a member of the PTA.
In the spring of 1953, as she recalled the thing this week for the Los Angeles Mirror-News, one Joseph C. Shell was running for the California Assembly in her district. In so doing, he described himself as a former SC football captain and a trustee of something called the Southern California Educational Foundation. PTA Member Erenberg hadn't heard of such a foundation and telephoned the candidate to find out what it was. "He told me," she said, "that it was an organization founded on the campus to help students who could not go to school without assistance." If Candidate Shell had signed off then that would undoubtedly have been the end of the whole thing. But instead he "talked for almost an hour"—evasively, Mrs. Erenberg decided.
As she retells it, this made her even more curious, so she telephoned USC and asked for the foundation. A switchboard operator told her that no such organization existed on the campus. A few days later Candidate Shell telephoned again, but left her curiosity far from satisfied. If the Southern California Educational Foundation was a nonprofit organization and if contributions to it were tax free, she reasoned, its income reports should be open to the public.
The local office of the Bureau of Internal Revenue agreed with her. Foundation returns listed names to which funds had been disbursed. "I remember the first name was Carmichael, and he had received $650." But none of the names meant a thing to her until she showed them to an assistant collector. "He read them and burst into laughter. I didn't get it. He said, 'You are now reading a list of the SC varsity football team.' "
Mrs. Erenberg didn't know what to do. "I didn't want to get any student in trouble." At the same time she felt that Candidate Shell should explain what sort of foundation it was. She gave her information to the man who opposed him for the office, but nothing came of it and "I almost dismissed it from my mind."
But when the University of Washington and later UCLA were hauled on the carpet for conference violations this winter (SI, Feb. 20; May 28), Mrs. Erenberg was "horrified at the injustice. I felt that if these men [the SC foundation] were doing something legitimate and were men of integrity, they would declare themselves. They are leaders of the community. By not saying anything they throw the boys to the wolves."
She telephoned the UCLA office of Coach Red Sanders and left her number. "Two days later Bob Fischer [a member of a UCLA booster club] called me and I gave him the information and told him how I found it. He was astounded."
FRUITION AND MR. RICKEY
The breakfast regulars at the counter of a restaurant across from Pennsylvania Station in New York were discussing the Pittsburgh Pirates. One man said he saw where they were (as of that moment) a half game out of first place. Another man asked how about this Dale Long leading the National League in hitting and banging out home runs in seven straight games? Did they see (said a third man) where the Pirates, practically ignored by the Pittsburgh fans last year, drew better then 32,000 at a Sunday double-header? Now how about this Bob Friend with his 7-2 pitching record? And how about this Bobby Bragan for a fast-thinking manager and artful juggler of talent?
It was a symposium that cried out for a line of summation. Just when it appeared that such a line would not be forthcoming, the counterman raised his hand. "What we are seeing in Pittsburgh," he said with the confident air of a scholar, "is the fruition of Mr. Branch Rickey's five-year plan—in six years."
At his office in Pittsburgh, Branch Rickey himself listened to a report of the foregoing discussion and the counterman's conclusion—all relayed to him by telephone on the theory that "fruition" was the kind of word Mr. Rickey himself might use to describe the happy state of affairs at Forbes Field. But it was not the word for Mr. Rickey—not yet.
"I would prefer to say," said Mr. Rickey, "that the Pirates have entered an area of respectability. I believe that they will continue to move in this area and may reasonably aspire to first division this year. In 1957, I am confident that the Pittsburgh club will be a pennant contender from the very start. And when I say pennant contender, I mean that the team will be fully capable of beating out Brooklyn. Then we may indeed see the realization of our long-term building program or—to borrow the word of the gentleman at the Penn Station coffeehouse—the fruition of our plan."
As for the Pirates' surprisingly good start this season, Rickey said:
"I expected it. But I confess I have been disappointed with the pitching. I thought it would have hardened better than it has. But what has surprised and delighted me is the team's offensive power."
Mr. Rickey professed to be only mildly interested in the booming attendance at Forbes Field. But something caused him to cut short a fishing vacation at Sheridan, Wyo. after he had hooked seven trout one day and 10 the next. A fisherman doesn't walk away from that kind of luck unless there's some even better luck—or fruition—happening back home.
When we left Elijah (SI, April 23), that strong-willed pack horse was still snowbound on a 13,000-foot ledge in Colorado's Continental Divide, where he had fled to escape from automobiles and women. Hay was being flown in and his rescue was just a matter of time and warm weather.
Well, last week his host of anxious admirers got good news. Wranglers Bill and Al Turner, Elijah's owners, trudged their way to his rocky shelf, slipped a halter on him and burrowed down through the drifts to a base camp at Denny Gu ch. Later next day, the Turners and Elijah made their way into the streets of Buena Vista, Col., where the rescued runaway became the center of an impromptu parade. Then Elijah was transferred to a trailer and hauled off to Denver for more parading, crowds and flashbulb photography. After a local TV appearance he was carted off to Denver's Centennial Race Track and paraded during an evening of quarter-horse racing. Amid general jubilation, Elijah was led to the winner's circle and presented with an expensive red blanket lettered with his name.
Ahead lay still more ceremonial appearances, including an afternoon's exhibition in the lobby of Denver's sumptuous Brown Palace Hotel and a role of honor at an annual carnival of Colorado Episcopalians.
Actually, it was a near thing. At his overnight halt at Denny Gulch, on his way back to civilization—and exactly as if he knew what was in store for him—the old solitude seeker slipped his halter and managed to climb a mile back up the mountain before Bill and Al Turner could overtake him.
MOUNTAIN OF SADNESS
Since the end of World War II, Japanese mountain climbers have dreamed of becoming the first Asians to climb a major Himalayan peak. They selected as their goal the unconquered 26,658-foot, snow-covered peak of Manaslu in western Nepal, ninth highest in the world.
There were 13 Japanese climbers in the first expedition to attack Manaslu in the spring of 1953. They were accompanied by 15 Sherpas and 290 porters. At 25,400 feet, the expedition encountered lashing monsoons that regularly whip Manaslu's peak in late May. Running out of fuel and food, the climbers turned back.
Another expedition came back in the spring of 1954. This time they doubled their provisions, Brought 22 Sherpas and hired 500 porters. Now they ran into another storm of another kind. As they reached the mountain village of Sama, the entire population—men, women and children—lined up to block their way. The headman of the village announced that the Japanese had angered the gods by climbing Manaslu the year before. As a result, there had been an avalanche that had leveled a 300-year-old monastery and killed three lamas. Moreover, there had been a smallpox epidemic. Finally, why had the Japanese not recruited some of their Sherpas and porters from the village of Sama?
If this did not intimidate the Japanese, it thoroughly dampened the enthusiasm of the others in the party: the Sherpas and the porters drifted away, wanting no more part of the villagers' wrath.
For a year the Japanese climbers cooled their heels at home. Then, this spring, the Nepalese government intervened, called in the elders of Sama and got them to agree to let the expedition go through the village.
Meanwhile, the Japanese had been giving some thought to the winning of friends and the influencing of people. They appointed as leader of the expedition a 60-year-old fertilizer dealer named Aritsune Maki, a veteran climber and devout Buddhist.
By the time the expedition had reached Sama the villagers were mad all over again. But Mr. Maki was ready for them. He announced that he had brought smallpox vaccine and also funds to help rebuild the monastery. He explained that, as a Buddhist, he regarded his climb as a pilgrimage, not a desecration. Then Mr. Maki distributed gifts all around and announced that he would like to engage some local talent as porters. The village elders were placated and gave the expedition their blessing.
The expedition had reached 20,500 feet on May 7 when Mr. Maki ordered Toshio Imanishi and the Sherpa Gyalsen to make the final assault. Working furiously, this pair cut off a thousand feet by detouring the north column, then inched up the last 2,658 feet by hacking out steps in one final six-hour supereffort that brought them to the sun-drenched summit.
In Katmandu, the newly crowned King Mahendra of Nepal ordered a week-long celebration in honor of the "Asian mountain conquerors." There would, of course, also be great rejoicing back in Japan.
But for many veteran climbers, the conquering of Manaslu had its touch of sadness. Ram Rahul, the veteran Himalayan mountaineer and climbing companion of Justice William 0. Douglas, said, "The big conquests are all but over. Before we know it, American Express will be running tourists to the top of every Himalayan peak, just to have a look."
ALTHEA IN PARIS
As the second set of the women's finals began in the center court at Paris' Roland Garros tennis stadium, workmen trundled out the huge, solid silver Suzanne Lenglen Cup. Across the net, the tall, bony-kneed Negro girl stared at it for a moment—and it seemed to unsettle her game.
Althea Gibson had come a long way from her first tennis lessons, when a Police Athletics League supervisor in Harlem gave her a racket and showed her how to hit a ball against a handball wall when she was 14. By last year Althea was rated No. 8 among U.S. women players, but it doesn't take much of a prophet to predict that her 1956 rating will be a lot higher. Nobody has been playing with more concentration and determination. In November she took off on an Asian tour and played exhibitions in Rangoon, Mandalay, Bangkok, New Delhi, Ceylon and Bombay. When the good-will tour finished last January, she took up the European circuit. In 12 weeks she won nine tournaments from Scandinavia to Egypt, and the only woman regularly able to beat her seemed to be Britain's Angela Mortimer.
Across the court from Althea during the French finals last week stood the same Angela Mortimer, defending champion. By now it was virtually match point, and Althea, who had breezed through the first set 6-0, suddenly seemed overcome with the enormity of her task. She missed an easy shot and anger glowered on her face. Petulantly, she knocked a ball into the stands. The crowd booed lustily.
The incident seemed to steady Althea. Flashing the same concentrated attack which has won her nine championships in a row on her present European tour, she spurted ahead 11-10, and then in the 22nd game slammed a forecourt shot which the harassed Angela Mortimer returned into the net. Althea wrapped her arms around the Suzanne Lenglen Cup—and the most important title of her career.
Wimbledon? Yes, that will be Althea's next objective. The competition will be stiffer there, and Althea is counting on plenty of determined drill in the next three or four weeks. But she felt justified in a mild celebration. With a party that included her doubles partner Angela Buxton, she dropped in at a St. Germain des Prés nightclub to hear a little blues singing and topped off a string of Coca-Colas with one small brandy.
Baseball men know that General Manager Frank Lane of the St. Louis Cardinals is just about the most free-wheeling trader on the baseball market, but next to his boss, August A. (Gussie) Busch (president of the Cardinals, head of the Anheuser-Busch breweries and baseball fan), Lane sometimes pales into a conservative, close-to-the-vest type.
Just about the time Lane was shooting firecrackers right and left as he exchanged players with Cincinnati, Philadelphia and Pittsburgh during Lane's Wild Week (SI, May 28), Busch came to him with a suggestion that brought Lane up short.
"Why don't we get Ernie Banks from the Chicago Cubs?" Busch asked, eyes gleaming at the thought of the best shortstop in the National League in a St. Louis uniform.
"They wouldn't give him up," Lane said.
"Why not?" Busch said.
"Mr. Busch," Lane argued, "if we got Banks we'd have a great shortstop, and we'd have him for the next 10 years. But they know that, too."
"Give a half million dollars for him," Busch said.
"Mr. Busch," Lane explained, "half a million dollars is a lot of money, but Mr. Wrigley [owner of the Cubs] needs it about as much as you do."
"Give them more," Busch said. "Give them some players, too."
Lane switched his argument into Busch's field, business and finance.
"Mr. Busch," he said, "if you had a gilt-edge bond that yielded 10%, would you sell it? Banks is a gilt-edge bond."
"Oh," Busch said. He retired from the field, leaving Lane shaken and just a little humble.
ODE TO PAGE 58
Oh to be carved in a silhouette
By someone like Claire McCardell;
Rendered in velvet, sharp and jet,
With the pureness of line of a bar bell!
Oh to be drawn like a Manchu queen,
Fine as a tight-stretched wire,
By someone like Rudi, the Californeen,
With a hoop and a flare and a spire!
Oh to be free of garters and lace,
The endless restrictions of girdles,
Bared in thigh and in midriff for life's embrace
Regardless of life's high hurdles!
Oh sew me up in a fire-red sheath,
Skintight from head to toe,
Then on with the scissors to show beneath
What good fashion meant me to show!
Away with petticoats, bloomers and bras,
Up the long-legged, free-swinging mate!
For Claire and Rudi, three loud huzzas.
See SPORTING LOOK, page 58.
CURRENT WEEK & WHAT'S AHEAD
In the general decimation of football players on the Pacific coast, one voice rose loud and clear. "We're clean," announced Harvey Knox p√®re, spokesman for Ronnie Knox fils, UCLA tailback. "We got only the 75 skins [per month) the PCC allows. We can prove it." Under new conference edict, he will have to.
The men in uniform continued to serve notice they may have a say in filling the berths to Melbourne. At Modesto, Calif., 2nd Lieut. Jim Lea, USAF, broke the world's record for the 440, with 0:45.8.
•Partners in Overconfidence
Swaps, who set world record in the same race a year ago, blew a two-length lead at Hollywood Park to lose to Mrs. Richard Lunn's Porterhouse by a nose in the mile-and-a-sixteenth Californian. "It wasn't his fault. I eased up on him," mourned Jockey Willie Shoemaker.
The ball Dale Long of the Pittsburgh Pirates hit for his seventh home run in seven straight games (see page 21)—has been sent to the Hall of Fame. But not before the youngster who retrieved it got his asking price: two box-seat tickets and another ball.