"Face" at Boca Raton
This is an article from the April 7, 1958 issue
The two most interesting golfers in the world just now—we refer, of course, to Torakichi (Pete) Nakamura and Koichi Ono of Japan, who so thoroughly embarrassed Sam Snead and Jimmy Demaret last October at Tokyo's international matches—are in God's country now, getting ready for the Augusta Masters. Gallantly passing up an early chance to practice over the Augusta course, they proceeded to Boca Raton, Fla. last week for a rematch with Snead and Demaret—and lost in paired scores of 142-140 to the Americans in an 18-hole circuit of Sam Snead's wintertime home course.
The match was only a prelude to Augusta, where all four will meet again this week, but it deserves a small note in the history of American golf for one incident and one conversational exchange.
The incident occurred on the 18th green, which the players approached all even. Sam was up in fine shape on his second shot and got his par 4. Demaret was in trouble and took a 5, and Ono joined him when he missed a 3-footer. And now it was Nakamura's turn.
Trapped on his tee shot, he had recovered rather well, but then his third shot was ordinary. Going for the big one, the 132-pounder chipped and came within three feet of sinking his fourth shot. The interval decided the match in the Americans' favor.
Then the gallery saw something that usually doesn't occur on Saturday afternoons at American country clubs. Knowing that he and Ono had lost irretrievably to the famed American pros, Nakamura tapped his ball to one side of the cup, then sank it for a six. Thus, his partner, the less spectacular Ono, had scored better than he on the last decisive hole. It was Boca Raton's first lesson in "face" in golf.
Later, in the clubhouse, Pete Nakamura had a snack of rice balls and hamburger. Then he slipped over to Snead.
"Your drive is great," he said in his halting English. "Would it be possible for me to see pictures...?" Nakamura made like a camera grinding away.
"Ah reckon so," Sam Snead answered amiably, in the tones of a West Virginian who understands face, too—"if Ah can see inside that putter you got, boy."
To be continued, obviously, at Augusta.
Secret Mission to Scotland
On a moonless night in early March, two tight-lipped travelers climbed almost furtively aboard a transatlantic airliner at New York's International Airport bound for a secret rendezvous in Scotland. Less than a week later, their mission accomplished, the two were back in New York. Last week, looking anything but furtive as he sat behind a heavy oak table in his Manhattan headquarters, one of them, Joe Dey Jr., executive director of the United States Golf Association, explained what it was all about.
"We had to keep things confidential," Dey apologized, "because it would have been most inappropriate for the British to find out about our plan secondhand, and we had to work fast for the same reason."
The plan Dey and his companion, USGA President John D. Ames, crossed the seas to place before their British counterparts, the governors of Scotland's Royal and Ancient Golf Club at St. Andrews, was the establishment of a world championship amateur golf tournament, which would bring amateur teams from all the interested nations of the world together once every other year.
"Year after year," said Dey, "we've had requests from different countries to send teams to play them. We simply had to have an umbrella to cover all these interests."
The eminent gentlemen of the Royal Ancient leaped at the bait like sportive salmon and promptly agreed to hold the first matches on their own links next October. Thereafter the championships will be held at a different place alternating years with a team of four players representing each nation. Next month representatives of the 49 nations invited to join the plan will meet at Chevy Chase, Md. to iron out the final details.
"Our trip was so fast and so successful," said Secret Emissary Dey, "that the only people to miss me were my Sunday School pupils."
Mr. Gray and the D.A.
Although it was Thursday by the calendar, Frank Hogan, New York County's District Attorney, threw his Sunday punch. It landed on Boxing's soft underbelly, and The Industry doubled in real pain.
Hogan sent out two raiding parties last week—one to the offices of B. Wollman & Bros., Inc., New York furriers, the other to the International Boxing Club—and settled back for days of fascinating reading.
The D.A. was after financial records which he thinks will prove that Frankie Carbo, the old Murder, Inc. hoodlum who enjoys the ominous sobriquet of Mr. Gray in The Industry, has been making a handsome living by picking winners in fights before they start.
One of the partners in B. Wollman & Bros., Inc. is Fight Manager Herman (Hymie the Mink) Wallman, who, Hogan says, is a front man for Carbo.
In a brief filed in General Sessions court (necessary to obtain a search warrant) Hogan said he believed Hymie keeps some interesting non-fur business records which will show that "crimes of conspiracy, violation of laws concerning licensing of managers and bribery of sports participants have been committed in this county by Frank Carbo and other persons."
Presumably, such ledgers would contain records of payoffs to fighters, managers, gamblers and others in the gutter departments of boxing's dirty business.
At any rate, Hogan made it clear he is out to prove that Carbo is, in fact, owner of several fighters, for whom he has puppet managers, and manipulates decisions in fights between his own boys according to the gambling odds.
The D.A. also subpoenaed Harry Markson, general manager of the IBC, to appear before the New York Grand Jury with all IBC records from 1956 to date. This would include the settlements involved in the recent Virgil Akins-Isaac Logart fight, which Logart lost after the late ringside odds on him temptingly widened from 8 to 6 to 11 to 5.
Meanwhile Carbo, who just a few months ago said he would be glad to talk with Hogan "any time he wants to see me," was busy cultivating his interest in boxing. He took the Broadway Limited to Chicago for the Robinson-Basilio fight with the defrocked Philadelphia fight manager Blinky Palermo as a traveling companion. Frankie boarded the train in Philadelphia, just beyond subpoena reach of New York.
When we last left him, you will recall, California's histrionic hero, Silky Sullivan, had just stuck another horse feather in his cap by slithering five furlongs in mud in the highly creditable time of 1:00 [4/5] (SI, March 31). Since then (music swells, then fades down and out), Stretch Runner Sullivan has been chafing at the bit preparatory to a flight to Louisville. He and his entourage (second only to Sugar Ray's) have made plans to leave the coast after a limbering-up run for $10,000 at Golden Gate Fields on April 11. En route, so the script goes, Silky will munch western feeds but wash them down with acclimatizing swizzles of bonded Kentucky spring water. Once arrived, he will set about composing himself for the May 3 Derby.
Meanwhile, TV cameramen are having sleepless nights trying to decide how to focus their lenses on Derby Day. On the leaders? Or on Silky ambling along possibly 30 or 40 lengths off the pace? One student of the problem finally got to sleep the other night and was soon engulfed in a nightmare. It went like this:
The horses break, and Silky Sullivan immediately assumes his characteristic laggard position. As the leaders drive past the grandstand the first time, the cameramen chuckle and ignore them. Applauding their own good sense, they keep their sights trained hard on Silky, faithfully recording his every plodding plunge around the first turn. Cloppity, cloppity, cloppity, goes Silky determinedly down the backstretch and into the far turn.
Suddenly TV sets across the nation go blank. A voice charged with urgency breaks in: "We interrupt this program to bring you a bulletin from our newsroom. Tim Tam has just won the Kentucky Derby. Jewel's Reward finished second and Nadir was third.
"And now, back to Silky Sullivan...."
And as for Tim Tam
Meanwhile, the character sharing top billing in the foregoing fantasy was conducting himself in a manner calculated to make it the less fantastic. Calumet Farm's Tim Tam spent a profitable Saturday afternoon by winning the $119,000 Florida Derby at Gulfstream Park. A long shot (75-1) named Lincoln Road almost appropriated the spotlight, but Willie Hartack maneuvered the son of Tom Fool through the field of 10 in a way that did no violence to Trainer Jimmy Jones's good opinion of his Kentucky Derby hopeful.
Tim Tam, said Jones after the race, is as good as any 3-year-old around. Did that mean as good as Silky Sullivan?
"Well," said Jones, "I can't have an opinion on Silky Sullivan because I've never seen him. But I'll tell you one thing. Hirsch Jacobs wintered at Santa Anita and when I saw him the other day, he said, 'Jimmy, this Silky is a good colt, a real good colt.' Now I respect Hirsch Jacobs as a very good horseman, and if he tells me Silky is good, then I just have to believe that Silky is good."
Two other very good horsemen who have seen Silky were at Gulfstream. Said Willie Shoemaker, who rode Silky in the Santa Anita Derby: "Tim Tam didn't look like any world beater to me, and I still think Silky has the best shot at the Kentucky Derby. If Silky can run that last quarter in 24 seconds, that'll get the money."
Eddie Arcaro, who has ridden losers to both Tim Tam and Silky, took a more moderate view. "How the hell should I know who is best?" asked Eddie. "All I've ever seen of either of them is their Thoroughbred rear ends way up in front of me."
Dank, depressing wisps of Wall Street's stubborn recession hung heavy among the clouds of expensive cigar smoke in the fourth-floor banquet hall of Toots Shor's Manhattan restaurant one night last week. Once again, the Cassandras of Dow-Jones had recorded a slump in rails and industrials against which the gains in oils were too slight to be noticeable. But the 160 bankers, brokers and investment counselors gathered in front of Toots's 10-foot-by-8-foot closed-circuit television screen were prepared to make the best of a bearish situation even if they couldn't afford a trip to Chicago. "We wouldn't want to miss a fight like this," explained the senior partner of Zuckerman, Smith & Co., 61 Broadway. "Most of us on the exchange are great sports fans. We've paid $50 apiece to see the fight here." The price of admission to Toots's private ringside went to a worthy charity, a tolerance group known as the Panel of Americans, and will, of course, be duly deductible at income tax time.
At last the lights in the banquet hall dimmed, and a flickering glow of the Chicago battlefield came to life on the TV screen to reveal Announcer Bill Corum in close conversation with the International Boxing Club's President James D. Norris. The bankers, instantly recognizing an enemy in a man with Norris' tendency to corner markets, hissed loudly, but the time for thoughtful decision was at hand and emotion had to take a back seat.
"I propose a market," said Mr. Zuckerman, rising to his feet. "Since our sentiments seem equally divided and since, according to my calculations, there are only 32 ways the fight can go (two knockout possibilities in each of 15 rounds and two decision possibilities at the end), I propose that the market be orderly." A pool was promptly established and, with their investments made, the brokers settled back to watch the big board, or screen.
"The papers say Robinson is 37," said one skeptic as the challenger took a hard one to the body, "but I'll take 41 and give 39."
Soon after, when a fateful rivulet of blood coursed down Champion Basilio's cheek, Sugar Ray's backers roared like bulls. When it was all over, Broker Zuckerman picked up $80 on his investment with a broad grin. "A wonderful fight," he announced, "just wonderful." Then, with a shrewd investor's instinct for inspecting the production line, he added, "I'll bet there'll be a lot of action up in Harlem." Unfortunately, what with rails still off and aircraft mixed, most of the brokers seemed to feel that a good night's sleep would be a better investment on the morning market than a night on the town in Harlem, but a SPORTS ILLUSTRATED eavesdropper picked up the tip and headed north.
Broker Zuckerman turned out to be dead right. The new champ's home territory was a hive of active trading. Even though a sign in the window read CLOSED FOR ALTERATIONS, the 14-foot neon sign in front of Sugar Ray's restaurant blazed brilliantly—"So the world would know," said Manager Herman Du Bois, in charge inside, "that Sugar is still in business." In the street outside, a passel of dusky, grinning moppets jived in wild circles singing, "Sugar in the mornin', Sugar in the evenin', Sugar at suppertime...."
It didn't take a broker's skill to size up the situation in the district where Sugar Preferred is the only stock worth buying. As far as Harlem was concerned, the recession was over.
Dan Hodge's Progress
When Dan Hodge, the Oklahoma wrestler, turned boxer, more than a few of his admirers worried about him. There were predictions that he would be more or less murdered in a sport entirely new to him. Well, everybody can relax. Dan Hodge is doing just fine. In fact, in his 17th fist fight the other evening, he won the Golden Gloves heavyweight championship by a knockout and had some veteran observers in the Madison Square Garden crowd of 12,000 comparing him to the young, unpolished Rocky Marciano.
Hodge's victory was all the more impressive for the unlikely way he began. He went after his more experienced opponent, Charley Hood, with an overhead right that he never delivered without dropping his left. It took Hood only a minute to catch on and connect with a punch that sent Dan sprawling in a spectacular backward somersault.
Dan was up before the count of eight, a wiser man. He waded in on Hood to slug toe-to-toe, but now he was keeping his left high. In the second round, Hood fought gamely enough, but Dan's powerful rights and lefts began to tell on him. He wobbled and sagged, and then Hodge threw a right that connected like a woodsman's ax. Hood went down and the spectators, sure that Dan was finished in the first round, now were on their feet cheering.
Hood got up, but Dan closed in and delivered the left now. Hood toppled backward slowly and sank, writhing in pain, then somehow struggled to his feet. But it was too late: the referee stopped it.
Dan Hodge couldn't get out of the ring for 10 minutes as the cheering fight fans jammed the aisles. Finally, he made it to his dressing room, where somebody asked him about the shot that floored him in the first. "The lights went out," said Dan.
One of his Golden Gloves teammates told him why it had happened. "You got to keep the left high and the chin in, see? They gonna kill you if you don't."
Dan nodded. He listened as a man volunteered the opinon that he was ready to take on Pete Rademacher now. "I saw Rademacher fight Patterson," the man said. "I think Dan could take him."
Dan was not making that decision this night. "I've been training so long," he said, "I just want to rest for a couple of weeks. I'll think about turning pro later—not tonight."
He was the field trials winner;
He'll claim that honor yet,
Except (oh, what embarrassment)
When told to point he set.
—LINETTE M. BURTON
Meeting at the Summit
They Said It
Dan Parker, sports columnist, quoting a reader: "The reason the Yankees never lay an egg is because they don't operate on chicken feed."
Burr Grim, University of Maryland miler who spent much of winter indoor circuit chasing Ron Delany to the finish line: "Look at the wonderful opportunities I've had to study the form of the best miler there is. I'm the world's greatest authority on Delany's heels."
Ray Robinson, when told Carmen Basilio insisted he could have gone another 15 rounds after the championship fight: "Well, maybe he could have went another 15, but he wouldn't have went 'em with me."
Archie Moore, light heavyweight champion, in congratulatory telegram to Robinson on the morning after: DEAR REVEREND YOU PREACHED A NICE SERMON LAST NIGHT AND MANY PEOPLE GOT THE MESSAGE.