This is an article from the Feb. 10, 1958 issue
Long before thenext summit meeting—so often discussed and deferred—representatives of the U.S.and Russia may come face to face at meetings of a different sort: in agymnasium in Stillwater, Okla., perhaps, or in the Los Angeles Coliseum, or inMadison Square Garden in New York. For the agreement reached last week betweenthe diplomatic representatives of the two great powers calls for an exchange ofscientists, technicians, musicians, teachers and athletes. The sports exchangewill involve both individuals and teams, and will include basketball (for bothmen and women), wrestling, weight lifting and the track and field events.
The inclusion ofathletes is good. The men of science and the technicians of the two nationswill speak principally to each other, and often through interpreters. Themusicians will appear formally before comparatively small groups. But Russianathletes in the United States will fill stadiums and gymnasiums and armorieswith people eager to see them. And it is almost certain that the sight of aRussian laughing, or losing, or winning, or tasting the first hamburger of hislife will remove a grain of fear from the mind of anyone who sees him and put agrain of confidence in its place.
We can now expectour own champions to have the same effect on the Russians of Moscow andLeningrad. American athletes have already proved, outside the Iron Curtain,that they are first-rate ambassadors.
The cost of theproposed exchange has been estimated at $150,000 by the Amateur Athletic Unionwhich will have charge of most of the arrangements. If the AAU manages to raisethe money, it may well be the best-spent $150,000 of 1958.
The crashawakened Dr. W. Spencer Gurnee from a sound sleep at 3:34 a.m. He looked outhis bedroom window and saw the overturned car just in front of his house. As heran downstairs in his bathrobe he called to his wife, "Bring my case.Hurry."
The sedan waslying on its right side, wheels still spinning. It had skidded off the wet andsandy pavement, bounced against a telephone pole and flipped over after edgingup a slight embankment. The driver was pinned against the jammed right door. Hewas conscious and moaning, "Please, somebody help me. My back hurts. Get meout of here." Dr. Gurnee gave the man an injection of morphine. He noticedthat his patient seemed not to feel the needle.
It took half anhour for police to right the overturned vehicle and free the driver. Asrescuers lifted him, someone in the small predawn crowd that had somehowassembled gasped in recognition: "It's Campy!"
At the hospitalin nearby Glen Cove, L.I., about an hour later, X rays revealed that RoyCampanella, 36, for 10 years and five pennants the catcher for the BrooklynDodgers, had broken two vertebrae in his neck. The fracture had pinched hisspinal cord and had caused paralysis from the shoulders down. Doctors advisedimmediate surgery. "Do whatever you have to do," said Campanella.
That afternoonand the next day, the press bannered the news from Brooklyn to Los Angeles.Baseball fans—including President Eisenhower, who sent a telegram, and many anAmerican who does not particularly think of himself as a baseball fan—echoedthe distress of the man in the crowd at the scene of the accident: "It'sCampy!" It suddenly became very clear that Roy Campanella is one of themost beloved figures in baseball. Sportswriters consulted their memories andleafed through old clippings to find and retell their favorite stories abouthim. They decided that he had done as much as any man, maybe more, to make theNegro welcome in major league baseball ("Don't press too hard," he oncecautioned the rambunctious Negro pioneer Jackie Robinson, "I like it uphere"). They reprinted Campy's explanation of what it takes to be a majorleaguer: "You have to be a man, but you have to have a lot of little boy inyou, too."
The surgeon whoperformed the operation announced that "it could be anything from twomonths to years" before Campanella can walk again and added ominously:"In my opinion he would be foolish if he tried to continue playingbaseball."
Though everyoneseemed to be ready to count him out, Campy was not giving up so easily. Threedays after the accident (and after a tracheotomy to stem a spreading lunginfection), the hospital reported definite improvements: "His lung isbetter...there is further improvement in his feeling, which is now down to theknee on the left side."
Campy wanted tomake sure the world knew he was not quitting. He remembered his old Dodgeruniform number. "Tell them not to give 39 to anybody else," he told hiswife. "I'll use that number again."
It was contracttime in St. Louis and Sportsman of the Year Stan Musial dropped into theoffices of the Cardinals, on invitation, to look over salary terms offered himfor the 1958 season. The payoff line read "$100,-000." Now, as all theworld knows, Stan the Man has been getting something like $80,000 a year, topsalary in the National League, for playing baseball for the Cardinals and Mr.Gussie Busch. He had not come right out in public to ask for a raise, but,naturally enough, he smiled, reached for a pen and signed his Stanley Musial onthe dotted line. "I would have settled for less," he said.
Stan's raise wasGussie Busch's own idea. He spent no great time explaining the reflections thatled to the decision—though, in a statement of such formality that Gussie hadobviously prepared it in advance, he did say, "I am confident that Stanagain will bring back the batting championship and lead us in a wonderful fightfor the National pennant."
Mr. Busch'sgenerous decision may have been dictated by sentiment, practicality or amixture of both. Certainly, with National League baseball about to invade LosAngeles and San Francisco, Busch will get his money back. Coast fans will beeven more eager to see the Cardinals and the National League's only $100,000ballplayer live and in full natural color.
Good businessaside, it is pleasant to see an Old Pro Sportsman like Stan Musial get theadded recognition, to see him raised to a figure a bit closer to his value toSt. Louis, to the National League and to professional baseball.
Only once in thehistory of modern Olympics has the United States carried off a gold medal infencing. That was in 1904 when A.V.Z. Post, an American living in Cuba, gaveall his challengers a sound drubbing with the quarterstaff, a weapon madefamous by Robin Hood and his merry men. Unfortunately the quarterstaff wasnever again officially admitted as part of a sport whose proper weapons are thefoil, the sabre and the épée. As a result, the U.S. has been forced ever sinceto be a poor also-ran in the arenas of international swordsmanship.
One reason forthis is that fencing is thought by most Americans to be some sort of a sissysport fit only for those unequipped to do anything else. Europe's fencers onthe other hand—particularly those in France, Italy and Hungary—are as pamperedand petted as Hollywood screen stars.
No one regretsthis more than a tall, dashing and handsome U.S. fencer named Jose de Capriles,who, like his elder brother Miguel, is not only a championship swordsman in allthree weapons but a former U.S. Olympic team captain as well. This year, thanksto a suddenly blurted impulse on the part of Capriles, a claims attorney forthe Lehigh Valley Railroad in his disarmed moments, the United States for thefirst time in history will play host to the greatest fencers in the world asthey battle each other for the international championship.
The last worldchampionships were held in France with the warmest blessings and the solidestfinancial support of the French government. The next-but-one are slated forMoscow, where the same situation can readily be expected in the establishedtradition of Russian sport vis-√†-vis the West. At a meeting of theInternational Committee shortly after the Hungarian revolution the questionarose as to whether Budapest would be available as an arena for the worldchampionships. Amid the pursed lips pondering this question, Jose de Capriles,the U.S. representative, blurted something like, "Well, why not come overto my place?" The end result of this was the scheduling of the 1958championships at Philadelphia.
Appalled at hisown words, Capriles, a hard-working U.S. businessman of moderate means, soonfound himself faced with the task of entertaining several score of the world'sgreatest swordsmen in the manner to which they were accustomed.
Capriles' fellowfencers backed him to the hilt. A quick trip to Washington and reams ofcorrespondence ensured the support of the U.S. State Department, which promisedto do everything in its power to promote an international event of such vastimportance to the betterment of global good will. Unhappily the one thing thatwas not in the State Department's power to provide was money. At a roughestimate, Capriles and his friends figure it will take from $50,000 to $75,000to stage the show. The question that most occupies the time and thoughts ofthose interested in the welfare of American fencing is where to get it. Anumber of large corporations have already offered to feed the kitty and thefencers are working overtime trying to coax more into the act. With aconfidence bred of long years of evading the sharper thrusts of a fatefulsword, they don't appear too worried.
Meanwhile, asarrangements go forward for the bouts to be held in Philadelphia next August,the fencers hope that the resultant blaze of publicity will ignite a new waveof popular enthusiasm for their favorite sport. To fan this flame to whiteheat, the fencers are even daring to hope that the Prince of Monaco himselfwill appear in person to present the coveted Rainier Gold Cup to the winner inthe natal city of his beauteous Princess Grace—Kelly, that is.
What marshal ofFrance commanded Napoleon's right wing at the Battle of Austerlitz? You had tobe told it was Marshal Nicolas Jean de Dieu Soult? Well, get out your trackshoes and see if you can beat your own best time in the 100 meters.
With such nonsequiturs as this, a new-style quiz show is currently goading the vicariouscompetitive spirit of some 2,500,000 avid French TV fans every Thursday night,a feat made even more remarkable by the fact that there are only some 700,000TV sets in the nation. Conceived and directed by a burly and ebulliententrepreneur named Pierre Bellemare, the gimmick-strewn show, which is calledT√™tes et Jambes, picks up where even the most imaginative U.S. giveaways leaveoff. Resolving an argument that has raged ever since the Biblical matchmakerspaired brainy little David against brawny Goliath in the 64,000-shekelchampionship, Bellemare has attempted to provide his viewers with the best ofthe two worlds of can-do and know-how.
No singlecontestant on Bellemare's panel of experts is expected to excel in bothdepartments, but when Brain
—in the person of some human encyclopedia—gives out, then Brawn—in the personof a famed athletic champion—is there to takeover. Last week, one Marcel Doher,a retired army officer and expert on Napoleon, failed to identify an obscureNapoleonic staff officer from the biographical description he was given. Tobail him out, the Brawn of the program—one of France's top amateur relayteams—was required to match its former time of 45 seconds flat for 400 meters.As the TV cameras zoomed from the quiz studio to a nearby track, the pantingrunners turned the trick and the jackpot was saved for another chance.
Not all therelief men run so smoothly. Last month, an expert on world exploration flubbedthree difficult questions in a row. Three times, his Brawn—a slight-lookingchampion weight lifter—was asked to help out by hefting 125 kilos from a snatchposition and 150 kilos "clean and jerk." The weight lifter did his tasktwice with little trouble. Asked to repeat it a third time, he could only pantand beg hoarsely for a respite. For a full five minutes, TV's peering eyewatched silently (which in the U.S. would have been something of a feat initself) while the weight lifter steeled himself for the tremendous ordeal. Atlong last, with a mighty heave, he raised the weight aloft. A great gasp ofrelief reverberated through the living rooms of France, and once again Brainand Brawn alike were rewarded with their prize—a cool (for France) $2,500.
Almost everybodyin the Southwest knows, because they have heard it all their lives, that no mancan eat a quail every day for a month. People disagree on why this is so. Someclaim that the rich, gamy flavor of the birds not only palls but eventuallyrepels, and that the diner, faced with his 21st quail or so, can only turnpale, swallow hard and back away from the table. Others warn that theexperiment may be fatal. "There is something in quail meat," they saydarkly, "that turns the stomach to stone."
For 10 yearsByron Lockhart, an attorney and sportsman of Austin, Texas, has been planningto put the old campfire maxim to a test. The trouble was, he could never gethold of 31 quail. This year, however, he did (he credits the drought-breakingrains and the marksmanship of friends) and on January 20, in the coffee shop ofthe Stephen F. Austin Hotel, sat down to a breakfast of tomato juice, hashedbrown potatoes, broiled quail, buttered toast, peach preserves and coffee.Every day since then he has had quail for breakfast, and he hopes to stick tothe same bill of fare until February 19, thus adding a bit to the world'saccumulation of knowledge and also collecting three $10 bets made at varioustimes in the past with friends.
"We wanted tomake this a carefully controlled experiment," says Lockhart, "and tomake the conditions as onerous as possible. So we agreed that the quail had tobe cooked the same way every day—broiled—and eaten at the same hour—8 a.m.—formaximum monotony. We chose breakfast because that seemed like the most oneroustime for eating quail. And we decided on 31 days instead of 30 so that nobodycould claim I hadn't stuck with it for a full month."
The birds havebeen plucked, not skinned, and are served with legs and wings intact. Most ofthem are ordinary bobwhites, but 10 are blue Mexican quail, much stronger inflavor. (The proportion has no significance, having been determined simply bythe fact that no other quail were available.)
The judge of thecompetition is Conrad Fath, an Austin sporting goods dealer, who shot some ofthe birds. Every morning he turns up in the coffee shop to inspect the quailbones, and sometimes he requires Lockhart to go back and gnaw a final shred ortwo of meat from one of them.
So far, Lockhartfinds both his health and his appetite for quail as good as ever, though peoplewarn him that everything goes beautifully until about the 18th day. This is theweek for the first wan shadow of distaste to fall across the project, if one isgoing to, but Lockhart faces his future with confidence. "Oh, I'll make itall right," he says. (He is a vigorous, cheerful man of 40.) "I used tothink of myself as the answer to sputnik—as the man who was going to put usahead of Russia in one field, at least. But now that we have Explorer theresponsibility doesn't weigh quite so heavily." After February 19 he plansto go back to his regular home-served breakfast of tomato juice, doughnut andcoffee, which he has eaten nearly every day for 20 years.
It's not herfigure skating that
Men find exhilarating.
No, what they're always looking at
Is just her figure, skating.
They Said It
Vice-President Richard Nixon, extemporizing at the NewYork Baseball Writers' dinner: "Baseball without fans is like JayneMansfield without a sweater." (Laughter.) "That can be taken two wayscan't it?"
Dick Mayer, reflecting on 1957, in which he won boththe U.S. Open and the Tam-World golf championships: "The Mayers moved frompoverty to tax-poor so fast we didn't know what happened."
Jocko Conlan, National League umpire: "Thosepitchers who are always asking for a new ball, I fool 'em. I take the ball theycomplain about, slick it in my pocket, pull it out, and they think they've gota new one."
Dizzy Dean, deploring the effect on the minors if themajors nationally televise Sunday as well as Saturday games: "I wish JudgeLandis could turn over in his grave."