LAMENT FOR NEW YORK
This is an article from the Oct. 21, 1957 issue
This has been the bitterest season in New York's baseball history. Almost in one breath, the metropolis has lost its two National League clubs and the World Championship.
The first blow is heavier than the second; it is a disgrace that New York next year will be unable to see half of the greatest stars in the national game. Mayor Wagner is making noises about bringing some other National League franchise to the city, but nothing in his previous handling of the situation leads us to think that these amount to more than empty phrases.
New York fans who are also baseball lovers will freely recognize that the game benefits from the extension of the major leagues to California. They will be pardoned, though, for feeling this hardly compensates for their own bereavement. It is a sad situation which has been brought about by a combination of sophistication on the part of New Yorkers who have so many amusements from which to choose, of transportation and parking difficulties in this huge community, and of the negligence of City Hall.
The Yankees' loss of the World Championship caps this humiliation. Here again many New York fans will join others across the country in feeling that Milwaukee's triumph is good for baseball. Yet, there is a tribute which needs to be paid to the Yankees.
Stengel's was not a great ball club, certainly not as good as some of the previous Yankee teams which built up the legend of invincibility this one came so close to sustaining. But it was a well-drilled club which exuded class. It had class in defeat. It even exuded class in the final Series game, when it committed all those errors, of which only three were officially charged.
To Casey Stengel bitter defeat comes in his 67th year—at an age when he cannot hope to compete in many more World Series. Perhaps, in defeat, this man is etched more sharply in our minds than ever before. He has been cheered and booed and laughed at and second-guessed across the length and breadth of the land. He is one of the great game's great personalities.
Superlatives are in order for the Notre Dame-Army game at Municipal Stadium, Philadelphia last Saturday. College football is not likely to produce a more thrilling game all year (see page 18); oldtimers at Notre Dame-Army games could hardly recall a better, closer, more dramatic encounter between the two schools since it all started in 1913. To such agreeable matters of congratulation, SPORTS ILLUSTRATED must add a note for the record: The host team (Army) failed to provide play-by-play information over the public-address system, so that most of the 95,000 in the cavernous stands—unlike the TV audience-must have had to wait for their Sunday newspapers to learn just who did what.
The game was 2½ minutes old, for example, when an Army back ran 81 yards for a touchdown—but unless you had 20/20 vision and could read his number (21) as he ran, and then refer to your program, it was very possibly Sunday before you learned that this particular hero was Bob Anderson, a second-year man from Cocoa, Fla. And so it went. It was Nick Pietrosante of Ansonia, Conn. who gained most of those yards for the Irish, ladies and gentlemen, and it was Monty Stickles, a sophomore from Poughkeepsie, who won the game for Notre Dame with that 28-yard field goal—just a few minutes after the same Monty Stickles had apparently kicked the game away by missing a point-after-touchdown.
Ah, well, there hasn't been a better argument all year for staying home and watching the game on television.
A DAY FOR WILLIE
Willie Shoemaker had the two best horses in America at his disposal last week, but he had to make a choice. He could stay at Belmont and ride Gallant Man in the $75,000 Jockey Club Gold Cup or fly to Chicago and ride Round Table in the $100,000 Hawthorne Gold Cup.
It was a dilemma new to Willie because, since last June, Gallant Man and Round Table have never run on the same day—and Willie has made himself a handsome summer by shuttling from horse to horse, capturing more than half a million dollars' worth of stakes races. Gritting his teeth, Willie decided to stay East and ride Gallant Man, and the choice didn't turn out badly at all. For one thing, he rode Gallant Man to victory in the Gold Cup; for another, Mrs. Elizabeth Arden Graham asked him to ride Jewel's Reward in the $156,500 Champagne Stakes on the same day's card—and Willie won that too. It was the richest day of racing in the history of New York State, and Shoemaker had earned himself $13,807. "I guess," he said quietly, "this was the greatest day I've ever had."
The victory of Jewel's Reward made it a great day for Mrs. Graham, too. Twice she had gambled with this horse, and twice won. She tried to dispose of him in the Saratoga Yearling Sales in 1956, but when the bidding reached only $3,500 she used her reserved bid and kept the horse. Then, nine days before the race, she entered him in the Champagne at the cost of a $7,500 supplementary fee. She has now won $234,295 with the colt, who needs only $40,000 more to become the richest 2-year-old in the history of American racing. She has almost trained the horse herself, putting scoopfuls of patience into him in Chicago and New York and supervising him all along.
Out in Chicago, meanwhile, in the race that Willie didn't ride, the Hawthorne Gold Cup was won by Round Table in track-record time—adding more fuel to the conviction of Californians and others that it is Round Table who deserves the title of Horse of the Year.
While the racing house stands divided, Willie Shoemaker has apparently made up his mind. He seems to prefer Gallant Man and expects to ride him in the Washington, D.C. International on November 11 against the best horses in the world, including Round Table. The West Coast, which has the Dodgers, the Giants and Round Table won't like it, but like any good shoemaker, Willie is sticking to his last.
4 O'CLOCK TEE
Porky Oliver and Julius Boros appeared on eastern television screens last Saturday afternoon at 4, playing golf. Oliver won, with a 62 to Boros' 68. An hour later the same match was televised in the Central time zone, and so on westward to the Pacific. Thus it reached most viewers at exactly the same hour—4 p.m. The match was on film, of course, and was actually played last November at the Phoenix (Arizona) Country Club. It was the first of 26 hour-long golf shows which ABC will broadcast on Saturday afternoons this winter. This Saturday Oliver will be challenged by Mike Souchak. As on certain quiz shows, the winner keeps playing as long as he wins.
All-Star Golf is the invention of Peter DeMet, the Chicago Pontiac dealer who first discovered that televised bowling matches have an almost hypnotic fascination for viewers. (Watching one more strike is irresistible, like eating one more peanut.) The contestants will include many top pros: Cary Middlecoff, Jack Burke Jr., Sam Snead, Ed Furgol, et al. The matches were actually played out in order, on sunny southwestern courses (for easy filming), and were played as nearly as possible under USGA rules.
There were certain exceptions, though. Setting up the cameras for each new hole made a round last some six hours instead of three, so the players were allowed to take practice shots while waiting on the camera crews. Also, for the convenience of the living-room viewer, a player keeps putting until he holes out instead of following the rule whereby the player farthest away from the cup hits first.
Each week the winner gets $2,000 and the chance to win again the following week; the loser gets $1,000 and is eliminated. Anyone who scores an eagle gets an extra $500, and the man who makes a hole-in-one will find his golf ball resting in a cup at the foot of the rainbow—the hole-in-one prize is $10,000.
All-Star Golf hopes to attract plenty of nongolfing viewers as well as the 5 million or so active devotees of the game. To this end each shot is explained with care, and the announcer sometimes discourses briefly on the rules of the game.
There is also the matter of suspense. Will Porky Oliver fend off Mike Souchak on Saturday, win another $2,000 and go on to greater glory? Well, naturally the question has already been answered, since the match was filmed months ago. But the answer is classified top secret, and only a few insiders know. The rest of us will have to tune in to find out.
Joe Young, a 27-year-old resident of Salt Lake City, has a red beard, a wife, three small children and a Lambretta motor scooter. One day not long ago, he kissed his wife and children goodby, boarded his motor scooter and drove the 5,000 miles to New York City and back, collecting insects in his ginger beard as he went, the way a Ford does in its radiator. Why did Joe Young do this? Well, he is a disc jockey for Salt Lake City's Station KDYL. At stops along the way he phoned back bulletins to his public and these were recorded and played on his programs.
The trip was planned for two weeks, but took three. Not that the Lambretta was slow: ordinary motorists were astonished to see the little contraption shooting along a highway at 55 mph. ("That's its top speed," says Young, "unless you're going downhill.") The best day's run was 506 miles, the worst 130. In Cleveland, on the return trip, both Young and his scooter found themselves performing sluggishly: the Lambretta was clogged with carbon and Joe had the flu. But after two days both were fit again and on the road.
As a pioneer in long-distance motor scooter travel, Joe Young made a number of observations which will be useful to those who may follow in his wheel tracks. Here they are:
1) In tunnels never ride the middle of the lane; ride the tire tracks, for the center is slippery with oil.
2) Be especially cautious around trucks. The whiplash of the wind they create can move you sideways as much as three feet, possibly into oncoming traffic.
3) Never drive at night in Iowa. ("There are no drivers in Iowa willing to dim their headlights.")
4) Be careful at railroad crossings in Ohio. They are bumpier there than anywhere else.
5) Beware of large rocks, oil slicks and chuck holes, any one of which can throw you.
6) Wear a crash helmet.
7) Heed the "reduce speed" signs around small towns in the East. They may herald a cobblestone street, which is poison to a fast-traveling scooter.
8) Stay off turnpikes in fog and at night. A huge truck—with the driver so high and you so low—could run right over you without the driver's ever seeing you. (Toll collectors and highway patrolmen may ban a motor scooter from a turnpike anyway, unwilling to believe that it can hold the pace.)
9) Stay overnight in a comfortable place. Don't plan to sleep out along the highway. You need a comfortable bed to get the kinks out.
Yet, apparently, the kinks were not too severe. The day after he got back home, Young said he'd be willing to do it again some time—"if I could just take a little more time."
It seems odd that Young put up with the nuisance of combing insects out of his beard in the interest of economy, but this is the case, and it works out this way: motor scooters are strongly affected by the wind, so most of the time Young drove without the scooter's plastic windscreen in order to lessen wind resistance. This arrangement permitted the bombardment of grasshoppers, gnats and dragon flies, but it also allowed him to get 100 miles to the gallon.
SONGS FOR A BEAR
Americans have catalogued the tricks-of wilderness survival in letters, novels, handbooks, manuals, ballroom lectures and campfire talks for the last couple of hundred years, but the other day Major Howard Martin, 47, a retired Army officer, was able to add a completely new and novel directive to the long, long list: "If treed by a grizzly bear—sing!" The major and his grizzly, a large and ill-tempered female, encountered each other in the Montana wilderness near the little town of Swan Lake. The major, who was out hunting blue grouse with his dog Nig, had a limit of three birds and not a care in the world at the moment of contact, but the bear, who was apparently out hunting a lost cub, was in a much less satisfied mood.
As soon as she spotted the major, in fact, it became obvious that she blamed him for all her troubles. Her hackles rose. She growled. She charged. Since she was only 60 feet away the major had to climb fast, and there was nothing to climb but two small Engelmann's spruce—trees which were but six inches through the base, and had branches only as big as his thumb. He dropped his .22 rifle and scrambled into one, while Nig bought him a few seconds' time by barking at the monster. Then the bear rose, swung at him, missed by six inches, and tore all the lower bark and branches off his sanctuary. Martin hopped to the next tree, putting himself 10 inches out of the bear's reach, and there he stayed for 16 hours.
The major was treed at about 4:30 in the afternoon. Nig the dog stayed nearby, barking at the bear until 5:30, and then discreetly trotted home. The bear glared up at Martin and Martin glared down at the bear. Every time he shifted his cramped limbs the bear rose to her hind legs and swung. After one near miss he was moved to protest. "Hey," he told the bear, "stop it."
"I noticed right off," he reported later, "that she didn't charge so hard, so I talked to her. I said, 'You just wait. I'll get your skin. You won't get mine.' " After a while he began singing. He is a singer with little voice and less repertoire. "I can't get 'em up, I can't get 'em up, I can't get 'em up in the morning," he bellowed, to the tune of reveille, occasionally interposing blasphemous Army paraphrasing. The bear seemed charmed. He switched to The Bear Went Over the Mountain. The beast below seemed appreciative, but refused to go.
He tried bribery and threw down his bag of three grouse. The bear gobbled them up, crunching the bones noisily. It was dark now and, after eating, the bear grunted, lay down and went to sleep. Martin began lighting Kleenex tissues and dropping them on her. The bear roused, but simply flicked them away. Worse, one of them set his tree on fire and when he scrambled lower in desperation to put out the little blaze she started for him. He kicked her in the face and scrambled back. She growled horribly and swiped at him. He sang. She went to sleep again. She aroused at 4 and did her best to murder him again. "Show me the way to go home," he croaked, shivering with cold, but confident, now, in the power of music. "I'm tired and I want to go to bed." She relaxed. At daybreak the bear began showing signs of being satiated with the major's voice. She wandered away, came back and wandered away again. At 8 o'clock she ambled off and did not return. Martin waited for a half hour and then, finally, slid to the ground, picked up his rifle and made tracks. The bear was gone for good and he got home unmolested.
"I never sang so much in my life," he said afterward. "Sometimes I sang loud. Sometimes I sang soft. It didn't seem to make any difference. That old bear calmed down every time. I'm going to keep my voice limbered up from now on when I go back into the brush—and carry a .45."
The sharp clamor of geese passing high in the dark,
not dogs barking off in barnyards, is what we heard
and imagined their strong riding.
The football punted away over the copper beech
was lost forever;
but in the sanctity of the thicket,
there we found a brood of bobwhite
with piteous, round and golden eyes
under the wind.
All along the beach at night the bass fishermen stand,
joined to the running sea by their lines.
Today was green as a bottle,
the air contained in glass.
Cows lowed fearfully and the
geese came down from Canada
and walked in the pastures.
CURRENT WEEK AND WHAT'S AHEAD
•Pull Hitter's Paradise
Now that Walter O'Malley has led his Dodgers from indecision to Los Angeles he must find a park for them to play in. At present O'Malley favors the Coliseum, a 102,000-seat concrete football bowl with the dimensions of a pull hitter's paradise: the projected foul lines would be the shortest in the majors—only 259 feet in right, 280 in left.
•Corvettes in Caracas
The final race for the sports car manufacturers' championship (others: Sebring, Le Mans, etc.) will be held in Caracas November 3 and will decide the title, since Ferrari now leads Maserati by a mere three points. Extra fillip; a privately sponsored entry of three Corvettes, including two 1958 models.
•Wrestler with Plans
Dan Hodge, the Oklahoma University wrestler who was undefeated in 46 intercollegiate bouts, has given up plans to teach school in favor of a boxing career. No Rademacher, Heavyweight Hodge hopes to gain experience among the amateurs and, if successful, turn professional at the preliminary-bout level.
•A Nuisance Is Eliminated
The U.S. government lifted the 15-year-old regulation which required that all visitors be fingerprinted. One anticipated result is that the oft-postponed U.S.-Russia home-and-home track meets may now take place.