A smart crooklies low when the heat's on but a smart-aleck crook is different.
Among the smartalecks of crooked boxing is Art Aragon, Golden Boy of the Golden West, one ofthe more artless welterweights of our time but an opponent-picker of such skillthat Ring magazine ranks him No. 3 and the NBA No. 7.
For monthssmart-aleck Aragon has observed, if not felt, the hot blasts of the mostintensive boxing investigation California has ever seen. At the seething centerof it were such intimates of his as Cal Eaton, promoter, and Babe McCoy,matchmaker. Among the charges: that McCoy had ordered at least one fighter todive for Aragon.
January 7, 1957
The charges wereproved to the hilt and McCoy, pleading ill health (he was suffering fromunaccountable night sweats), resigned. McCoy, after all, is a smart crook.Commissions come and they go and it's a fair guess that McCoy intended toreturn to boxing some day when a cooler commission was in charge. But thiscommission forestalled all that and, just before Christmas, suspended him forlife. Just before New Year's it moved to revoke Eaton's license.
While all thiswas going on anyone but a smart aleck would have concluded that honesty was thenext best policy, but Aragon, who has been described as arrogant, took it thatwith McCoy out of action he would have to assume the burden of fixing his ownmatches. He made a good try.
He was offered$3,000 for a San Antonio fight. He accepted, provided he could bring his ownopponent. And of all opponents he chose Dick Goldstein, who is one of the WestCoast's more preposterous pugilists. Goldstein's lurid publicity holds that heis a boyhood victim of Nazi concentration camps. It might even be true.Certainly he fights as if all opponents are Nazis. Unskilled but rough, he hasbeen known to kick those he couldn't hit.
Goldstein says heaccepted Aragon's offer of $750 to take a dive, but cunningly intended to makea fight of it. It was the only way, he says, that he could ever get into a ringwith Aragon.
A suspicion thatthis might be Goldstein's horrid plan crossed Aragon's mind when, saunteringinto a Los Angeles gym, he saw Goldstein actually training. Aragon wasshocked.
"What are yougetting in shape for?" he demanded. "You are going to take adive!"
Goldstein fobbedit off with some light excuse and before leaving Los Angeles had the wit toadvise an FBI agent friend of the plot and counterplot. In San Antonio hethought it best to ask for police protection. When Aragon saw him escorted bypolice he demanded his bribe back—as evidence of good faith, naturally. Unableto get it, he managed to work up a six-tenths of a degree fever and called offthe fight.
The Texascommission suspended Aragon and Goldstein and a county grand jury is going topoke into the matter. McCoy is finished, unless he actually undertakes and winsa court action he threatens, and Eaton is on the verge of extinction.
But let no onethink that crooked boxing is ended in California or elsewhere. Too many smartalecks around.
DUST OFF THECUP
Some of theliveliest yachting news ^ in years broke the other day when the New YorkSupreme Court handed down a ruling that promised to put the America's Cup, mostcelebrated of all sailing trophies, back in competition after a long lapse—eversince Harold Vanderbilt (SI, Oct. 29) successfully defended it aboard Ranger in1937. By changing the minimum requirements in the deed of gift so that achallenger's or defender's waterline need now measure only 44 feet instead ofthe traditional 65, the court cleared the way for a race in 12-meter yachts,and thus wrote a formal end to the era of the magnificent, but perhapsprohibitively expensive, J boats.
To some hard-coreconservatives it was a sad ending which "reduced the original conception ofthe Cup race to an absurdity."
But many moreyachtsmen were roused by the prospect that the America's Cup will be renewed."That's splendid news," said Captain Markham Evelegh, secretary ofBritain's Royal Yacht Squadron. In best sailing idiom he added: "Up to nowwe've been hanging on the slack, waiting. Maybe something will be donenow."
RETURN OF ASPRINTER
David WilliamSime is a tall, pleasant-faced, red-haired young man from New Jersey who provedlast spring that he is capable of running as fast as—and perhaps fasterthan—anyone who ever lived. As a 19-year-old sophomore at Duke University, inhis first big year of collegiate track, Sime broke two world records (20seconds flat for 220 yards, 22.2 for the 220-yard low hurdles) and tied another(9.3 for 100 yards). But for a long time, ever since the disastrous muscle pullin June which cost him a chance to make the U.S. Olympic team, he had not beenable to run fast at all. Last weekend, at the Sugar Bowl invitational trackmeet in New Orleans, Dave Sime went to the starting blocks to try again.
No one, not evenSime or his coach, Bob Chambers, expected to prove too much; they just wantedto make a few tests before the indoor season began and this looked like a goodopportunity. The competition was good (Bobby Whilden and Hollis Gainey ofTexas, Bobby Mack of LSU, Boyd Dollar of North Texas State, Jack Parrington ofHouston) but not great; there were no Morrows or Kings or Bakers or Murchisonsaround. The distance of 100 meters (109 yards one foot) was better suited toSime's big, powerful stride than one of the much shorter indoor dashes comingup in the next few months. And the New Orleans weather (71°) felt just rightfor a man worried about an injured leg.
It is an acceptedfact now that much of Sime's trouble last summer occurred because he wastemperamentally unable to run an easy race ("He tried to break a worldrecord every week," one coach pointed out), and Chambers was asking onlythat he hold himself in, run relaxed and take it easy no matter what happened.The last thing he wanted was for Dave to put extra pressure on the recentlyhealed muscle which doctors say can be as good as new if given proper time andcare.
"I'm lookingforward to an easy 100," Sime said before the race. "I don't want tokill myself. And besides, I'm not really in condition yet."
If Dave Sime wasout of condition it certainly didn't show Sunday. Off last at the starter'sgun, a relaxed Sime turned on the power smoothly and easily, caught the rest ofthe field by the end of 30 yards and won by five yards going away. The time,into a very slight headwind: 10.2 seconds, equaling the listed world record andonly one-tenth behind the pending new record shared by Leamon King, IraMurchison and Willie Williams.
"I reallydidn't expect to run so fast," beamed a happy Dave Sime. "I feelwonderful—and very thankful the leg held up."
And Dave Sime, asgood as ever—or maybe just a little better—trotted off to get ready for a bigindoor season.
Back in the dayswhen Frank Merriwell saved the day for Yale with a touchdown in the last 10seconds, his exploits were food for fond recollection only for the fortunatefew who happened to inhabit the Yale Bowl. One of the virtues of TV is thatlatter-day Merriwells can furnish "I remember whens" for millions.
A couple of realmemory-book examples came along over the holidays and it is doubtful that evenMerriwell on his best days ever did better. When the Baltimore Colts defeatedthe Washington Redskins, the winning play was deferred until the clock had onlyseconds left. John Unitas, the Colt quarterback, sailed a long, high passacross the TV screens of the nation. Norb Hecker, a Washington defender, tippedthe ball into the air and Jim Mutscheller, a Colt end, caught it as he fellacross the goal line with only seconds left to play. The final score:19-17.
As if this werenot enough high drama for one weekend, the Boston Celtics managed, incredibly,to sink two field goals in 10 seconds to beat the St. Louis Hawks 95-93 in anationally televised basketball game. Bob Cousy, who fits the Merriwell roleprecisely, engineered one goal by taking a pass from an official on a sidelineplay, heaving it to Tom Heinsohn for a quick layup which used only two seconds;when the Hawks' Ed McCauley missed a long field goal try a couple of secondslater, the Celtics' Bill Sharman—who had been far off most of theafternoon—lifted a high, lovely shot through the basket as the gun ended thegame and the nation's TV fans relapsed into happy emotional exhaustion.
Perhaps thetranscendent American Dream is not, after all, either Togetherness or blueberrypie; it may be Getting Back in Shape. Many a man has set out bravely on thisroad to yesterday. His goal is not only the slimmed waist and the toned muscle,but also the liveliness and zest of youth. To recapture any one of them takestime and work and more sterling virtues than most of us command. Only a fewreach the goal. If a short cut is ever found, its discoverer will make afortune.
Well, a short cuthas been found—if not exactly to fitness, then to the illusion of fitness—and,sure enough, its finder is prospering nicely. You'd think this breakthroughwould have been made in America, the land of such timesavers as instant carwashes and heat-and-eat formal dinners, but it wasn't—it was made in France.And the visionary who contrived it is a chic 26-year-old girl (formerly adoctor's secretary) named Nicole Verdoy. She does the job with oxygen.
For Paris, withall its chestnut trees and gardens, suffers like Los Angeles and New York fromindustrial smog. Moreover, the winter there is long, gray and wet, and thewinter season, either business or social, strenuous. When a Parisian begins todroop from too much activity and carbon monoxide he (or, as it often is, she)drops in at Miss Verdoy's establishment.
The carpets aredeep there, and the lights subdued. The client is shown a treatment room whosefalse window opens on a pleasant scene which is actually an enlargedphotograph. The room is painted in a decorator color, not in hospital white,and the only piece of medical equipment in sight is an oxygen tent.
The world-wearyvisitor undresses. An attendant administers a 10-minute back massage as a sortof hors d'oeuvre, then sets up the oxygen tent and turns a valve for the maincourse. The visitor lies quietly, looking out through the plastic curtains atthe painted view, inhaling fitness at the rate of 10 liters a minute. Theoxygen moves through his lungs to the blood; his heart pumps it out to histired tissues. Weariness fades away. After 20 minutes it is time to dress andgo, and the customer goes—lively of step and eye, relaxed, cheerful and readyfor another round of whatever put him there in the first place.
It soundsfoolishly simple, yet Miss Verdoy has evidence that it works. She is increasingthe number of treatment rooms from three to seven, and has already establisheda second salon in Brussels. Her Oxygen Relaxation Center (as she calls it)doesn't work major miracles, of course, only minor ones. If you are overweightand soft coming in, you are in the same shape upon leaving. But for a while youfeel as if you had just finished a virtuous course with dumbbells, skippingropes and pushups. Miss Verdoy finds that people like that feeling. Her regularcustomers come in once a week.
AS YOU SOW...
Ed Meadows, ayoung, rough defensive end for the Chicago Bears, has been the starting pointfor considerable moralizing on dirty play in professional football since hedisposed of the Detroit Lion offense by rendering Lion Quarterback Bobby Laynehors de combat with a devastating late tackle. Edwin J. Anderson, president ofthe Lions, suggested that Meadows be barred from pro football for life—asuggestion regarded, for different reasons, with notable lack of enthusiasm bythe National Football League commissioner, Bert Bell, and by the players on theLion team.
Said Bell:"This is still America and a man is innocent until he is provedguilty." The Lions simply expressed a desire to have Meadows available forremonstrance next year when the teams play again.
Professionalfootball is a very rough game. When 22 large, muscular and aggressive young mentrade robust blocks and tackles for most of an afternoon, it is inevitable thattempers become frayed and, occasionally, that fists fly. However, it is safe tosay that no dirty football player lasts long in professional football.
This is notbecause of any foolproof system of policing developed by Bell and hisofficials. The policing is taken care of by the players and, despite denials byplayers and coaches, dirty players are definitely taken care of. A case inpoint is Len Ford, the magnificent defensive end of the Cleveland Browns. Fordis a rough, aggressive player, but he is not a dirty one. Once, playing againstthe Chicago Cardinals, he roughed up Cardinal Quarterback Jim Hardy much asMeadows did Layne. Pat Harder, who was one of the great blocking fullbacks inpro football, chastised Ford for his ungentlemanly tactics. Harder waited untilthe game was nearly over, then asked Hardy to call for a play on which he wouldblock Ford.
The block wasapplied so thoroughly that Ford wound up with a broken jaw and a new respectfor the unwritten laws of the football jungle.
There is no law,written or unwritten, against a hard tackle. The quarterback is a naturalobject for enthusiastic tackling and, when his defense breaks down, hesometimes takes a beating. But, as Meadows may find out next season, thebeating must be administered within the ethical concepts of his fellowpros.
DINNER A LACARTE
Under the law ofthe Free State of Maryland baiting wild ducks (that is, pouring grain intoshallow water where ducks can feed on it) is perfectly acceptable. Under thelaw of the United States it is not. Chesapeake Bay is, therefore, the scene ofgreat activity in the duck season—Maryland hunters busily baiting, federalagents grimly trying to catch them at it.
But thecat-and-mouse game has its moments of fun. Two advertisements appeared theother day in the Cambridge (Maryland) Banner, one just above the other. The topone offered the products of C. W. Thomas and Sons, Inc., of Cambridge andHurlock. "Attention All Hunters," it read. "We carry a full line offeed for everything with feathers. This includes Diving Plymouth Rocks andRhode Island Reds." Then the menu was listed: "Corn, Milo, Wheat, andDessert If Desired."
Just beneath wasanother notice of exactly the same size. "Attention Hunters," it said."Feathered Menu: Milo, Corn, Wheat. Dessert if Desired—$26.50." It wassigned Joseph D. Withers, U.S. Game Management Agent.
The $26.50, ofcourse, is the amount of the federal fine imposed on hunters caught baitingducks.
Sammy Giammalva of Houston, Texas may not be the greatest tennis player theU.S. has sent to Australia in recent years (though his good temper and goodplay were partially redeeming features of an otherwise sad invasion—.see page45). But he drew the biggest ovation of the Davis Cup tour when he acknowledgedpublicly: "One thing I've learned—Australia is almost as big asTexas."
At ping pong thislad'll
Be heard from some more.
Instead of a paddle,
He uses an oar.
CURRENT WEEK & WHAT'S AHEAD
•And Away We Go
The indoor track season should be one of the best, with Ron Delany, a restoredDave Sime (see opposite page) and Hungary's Làszló Tàbori. Tàbori's countryman,Sàndor Iharos, who escaped to Belgium, is aiming to get here, too.
•A Feller's Farewell
Bob Feller, 38, quit baseball for the insurance business after 20 years withthe Cleveland Indians, explained: "I could have gone with a lot of otherball clubs, but anything I might have done with them would have taken the edgeoff the success I've had with Cleveland."
•The Skis: the Limit
The Bavarian Parliament, alarmed by increasing ski accidents, decreed fines upto 150 Deutsche Marks ($35.70) or time in jail for 1) reckless skiing on maintrails 2) schussing downhill at more than 35 mph 3) walking on main trails 4)bringing pets onto a ski run.
•Mama in Hollywood
Iowa got off to the Rose Bowl with a warning from an Iowa psychologist:visiting teams are apt to suffer from feelings of insecurity, possibly relatedto distance from mother. But when Hollywood turned out a flock of pretty girlsas studio guides, possibly as mother substitutes, Coach Forest Evashevskicalled off the tours, ordered stern scrimmages.