In Milwaukee last week one of the liveliest—and most significant—items in retail commerce was an ashtray bearing the image of a sickly-looking Brave (see opposite page) who was clutching his stomach with one hand and holding aloft with the other a sign proclaiming FEAR NOT. And underneath ran the dubious reassurance: THE BRAVES ARE IN. Milwaukeeans, caught up in mass civic jitters—and in recollection of last season when the Braves collapsed in the baseball homestretch—started a run on the ashtray supply in Cord's gift shops, laughing hollowly as they paid the clerk $1.50 apiece for such reassurance as the gadget brought.
Milwaukeeans, in fact, were talking like Frenchmen hearing that the Germans were on the outskirts of Sedan. And why not? When the week began the Milwaukee Braves were 5½ games in front in the National League. By Thursday they had lost five of their last seven games, and their lead over the second-place St. Louis Cardinals had dwindled to 4½. The populace and press sought and found comfort in the fact that the Braves had been able to split a two-game series with the lowly Pittsburgh Pirates, BRAVES DON'T CHOKE UP AGAINST PIRATES ran one wonderfully negative headline. YANKEE SCOUTS SURE BRAVES TO WIN FLAG said another.
Such was the mood when Brooklyn, the team that makes Milwaukee tremble, pulled in for three games. The Dodgers were openly contemptuous. "They'll quit," said Junior Gilliam. "They gotta wind up shooting themselves," said Don Zimmer with a morbid laugh. "Did you see the papers this morning?" asked Pee Wee Reese. "They're asking everybody to tell them they won't blow it."
Well, the Braves won the first game from the Dodgers 2-1 with the help of a couple of almost unbelievably good breaks, and Milwaukee breathed again. Joy reigned in the Brave clubhouse. Catcher Del Crandall, toweling himself after the shower, summed it up smilingly: "They can say whatever they like. There are not many more to worry about."
September 22, 1957
Nonetheless, the feeling of apprehension stayed with the fans. On the night of Friday the 13th, 40,937 of them turned out, saw the Braves play feckless baseball and lose. Next day, playing the same way, the Braves lost again. And on Sunday—while the St. Louis Cardinals were clobbering the Pirates in a doubleheader to the delirious delight of all St. Louis—Milwaukee (yes) lost again, this time to the Phillies, and in the 10th inning at that. "We're not getting the pitching," said Manager Fred Haney, "or the hitting."
By the start of this week the Braves' lead was down to 2½ games. The situation had left the gift shop. It was outside the graveyard now, and the brave whistling was becoming too nervously shrill.
—ROBERT H. BOYLE
FALTER AT THE START
A young thoroughbred named Round Table came out of the West last Saturday to run against a glistening field of his seniors in the invitational $100,000 United Nations Handicap at Atlantic City. In his saddlebags he carried $430,450, accumulated mostly in California, along with a sturdy claim to the title of Horse of the Year.
As the gate opened he stumbled, much to the shock of Jockey Willie Shoemaker. But in an instant Round Table recovered himself, and Shoemaker rolled him into the first turn of the mile-and-three-sixteenths race in fourth position. Then for a desperately exciting mile it was the newcomer Round Table and the experienced 7-year-old Find battling it out head and head over the mushy-damp turf until it seemed that both must surely crack. On they came around the last turn, but now with them came the defending champion Career Boy and the lightly weighted Tudor Era.
With an eighth of a mile to go, it was clear that Find had met his master and that Career Boy was not going to make it. But Tudor Era (carrying 112 pounds against Round Table's 118) was in high gear and going all out. A sixteenth of a mile from home he was dead even with Round Table. A sixteenth of a mile later Round Table poked his bay nose over the wire inches ahead in as courageous a race as anyone would want to see.
Afterward, Round Table's proud owners, Oilman Travis M. Kerr of Oklahoma City, Mrs. Kerr and their 21-year-old daughter, Nancy answered Question No. 1: Will Round Table head for the Woodward Stakes at Belmont September 28, where he might have a chance to run against Gallant Man, another claimant to Horse of the Year honors? Answer: no—Round Table will rest.
"What," questioned an eastern admirer of Gallant Man, "is your reply to the possible accusation that you are ducking Gallant Man?"
Mr. Kerr took a sip of champagne. "Here is my answer," he said. "Gallant Man was invited to run in the Westerner at Hollywood Park this summer. He declined, and we won it with Round Table. Gallant Man was nominated for the American Derby in Chicago. He didn't show up, and we won it. Gallant Man was invited to run in the United Nations here today. He chose not to come, and we won it. Our horse has started 17 times this year [he's won 11], he's traveled coast to coast, he's met and defeated older horses. To my way of thinking, our horse today proved he is the Horse of the Year."
Happily for those who still hope to see Round Table on the same track with Gallant Man, both horses have accepted invitations to Laurel on Armistice Day. It could well be the day of decision for the 3-year-olds.
FALTER IN THE FINALS
On the green-and-white canopied front lawn of The Country Club in Brookline, Mass. last Saturday a new amateur golf champion was crowned. He is Hillman Robbins Jr., a lean-faced, thin-framed 25-year-old Air Force lieutenant from Memphis. Robbins, on a five-week leave from desk duty at the Blytheville, Arkansas Air Force base, won the championship by playing cool, steady golf in the final 36-hole match while his tiring opponent, 40-year-old Dr. Frank M. Taylor of Pomona, Calif.—the pre-match favorite—faltered and found that he had had to play one match too many.
Robbins came to Brookline as a member of this year's Walker Cup team, as did Taylor, and with a fine set of credentials that had established him as one of this country's outstanding young golfers. He started his career in the game as a caddie for his father, Hillman Sr., a 2-handicap player with a great putting touch. He began playing seriously as a 14-year-old and a few years later, as an undergraduate in accounting at Memphis State, won the 1954 national collegiate title. The following year Robbins went all the way to the semifinals of the national amateur at Richmond, won the North and South amateur in 1956 and the Interservice championship this summer. With 20 months of a three-year hitch in the Air Force still to be served, he has given little thought to his future career but at present intends to remain an amateur and will next compete (if he can get leave) in the 1958 Masters tournament at Augusta National Golf Club in April.
In his final match with Taylor, Robbins kept puffing on his cigaret and pounding his ball out of the rough and onto the green while the short- but straight-hitting dentist from California found his game going shorter and shorter. Taylor lost five successive bogey holes in the morning round, lost the 8th, 9th, 10th and 11th in the muggy, hot afternoon, and when Robbins rolled in a curling downhill birdie putt of 10 feet on the 14th (or 32nd) to close out the match 5 and 4, the ending was very much a merciful one.
Age seemingly cannot wither the finicky craft of Salvatore Anthony Maglie; at 40 he is throwing the same stealthy curves for the Yankees which brought pennants to the Giants in 1951 and 1954, the Dodgers in 1956. Although ineligible for the Series, Maglie was purchased from Brooklyn to help out in the stretch. Last week he beat Cleveland 5-0, in a critical game, with a three-hitter and turned his soulful eyes to a new set of admirers in the clubhouse after the game.
Skimming gaily and expertly on water skis off the Cambridge beaches at Somerset, Bermuda is the Metropolitan Opera's No. 1 soubrette, Patrice Munsel, 32, during a vacation with her husband, Producer-Director Robert Schuler, and their children, Heidi, 4, and Rhett, 2. Soprano Munsel is no novice at sport: as a 12-year-old tomboy in Spokane, Wash, she once tackled a neighborhood boy so vigorously in a football game she broke his collarbone.
Burdened with victory wreath and loving cups, Britain's serious, finely conditioned young racing driver Stirling Moss wearily acknowledges the congratulations of his admirers after maneuvering his Vanwall to victory in the Grand Prix of Italy at Monza, in which he defeated World Champion Juan Manuel Fangio for the second time in less than a month. Moss's triumph assured him second position in the world rankings for the third consecutive year.
FITNESS GETS ON TARGET
During the two-day meeting of the President's Citizens Advisory Committee on Fitness of American Youth at West Point last week, the four young committeemen shown above fittingly took time out for skeet shooting. They were on target, and so was their committee. In launching the meeting, Vice-president Richard Nixon, chairman of the President's Council on Youth Fitness, charged the committee to "see that this does not end with a fine document...gathering dust.
"We are interested," the Vice-president continued, "in a program of action that is attainable.... Let us lay before the nation some concrete proposals in which we can see progress in the next few months." He warned the committee not to scatter its shots on total fitness but to concentrate on physical fitness and not try to impose one pattern of fitness on the whole country. He urged committee members to prescribe basic standards of fitness; to include young women in any fitness program; and to emphasize activities that can be carried over into later life. Carter Burgess, president of TWA and the advisory committee's chairman, echoed Nixon's call, suggesting that "we keep our blueprint simple so that noticeable and effective results will come into being at early dates."
On this note the more than 100 committee members separated into six discussion groups which talked and argued for two days about workable ideas for the council to put into action. Some of the more refreshing ideas came from the skeet shooters, who were among 10 delegates from the Young Presidents' Organization, a group of business executives who before the age of 40 have become the heads of companies grossing a million dollars annually. One of them, for instance, suggested that architects should be requested, or required, to include fitness facilities in new homes. Another proposed (in the face of spirited opposition) establishment of a national youth fitness foundation supported by private, tax-deductible donations.
Among other citizens committee proposals were: 1) that all school appropriations include funds earmarked for fitness; 2) that space and facilities for fitness be required by law in buildings constructed with federal funds; 3) that school building codes be changed to require inclusion of fitness facilities; 4) that other states follow the example of New Mexico, where an additional 1¢ cigaret tax pays for public recreation; 5) that schools be used year-round for community recreation; 6) that the President proclaim an annual Youth Fitness week, to be inaugurated by a personal radio broadcast.
Chairman Burgess promised that the final report to the Vice-president and the President would contain all the suggestions. For his part, Nixon pledged speedy digestion of the proceedings and early translation of them into action.