No Panic, Please
The early trial races of the 12-meter yacht Sceptre, lavishly constructed ($100,000) challenger for the America's Cup, was giving British newsmen bad dreams last week. The awful facts were that Sceptre had been beaten five straight times off Cowes by an old 12-meter named Evaine.
Pricked by the presentiment that their big story on the cup races might end up as a description of a British fiasco, the London press began to get testy, even shrill. "Has a ¬£35,000 mistake been made?" cried the Daily Mail, while assorted yachting correspondents howled that 34-year-old Graham Mann (the Sceptre hehelmsman) ought to be replaced by Thom, and one, letting go completely, telegraphed the home office with trembling hand, "Send Evaine!"
As a soother, members of the Sceptre group let the correspondents in on an official secret. The Evaine-Sceptre races, they explained, had been held in light winds which are Evaine's specialty, while the Sceptre has been specifically designed for speed in stiff breezes of the sort expected during the races in September off Newport.
June 29, 1958
"There is no evidence of failure yet, none at all," said William Crago of Saunders-Roe Ltd., whose testing tanks determined Sceptre's lines. "We fed statistics about Rhode Island conditions into our calculations and out came Sceptre."
The British, in short, are gambling that Newport weather will be Newport weather.
The Face of the Tiger
Down in Charleston, West Va. they apparently knew all about it well beforehand. "If the guys on the ant hill hum that seed," they told us, "the Tigers will strike up the band in Detroit." Their own beloved Bill Norman, whom we didn't know very well at the time, was on his way north, it seemed, to take over the management of the Detroit Tigers. That's the way he talked, so that's the way the West Virginians talked too.
Well, as it turned out during the next 10 days or so, the seeds hummed like Sabre jets, and by now almost everybody, including us, knows Bill Norman a little better. They know him as the once-faceless man who went north with a new set of dentures with which the once-toothless Tigers chewed up tough Yankees like chicken meat. In the first two weeks of Bill Norman's management, Detroit beat the Yanks six games in a row, the first time any team has done that to the perennial league leaders since 1953, when the Yanks lost six times to Cleveland over a period of two months.
Back in Detroit last week when the hungry cats came home again like Roman lions with the Yankees meekly in tow to continue the slaughter, Detroit was striking up the band just as prophesied. The only trouble was that nobody could hear it above the roar of a crowd of 53,168 Tiger rooters cramming the stadium. As Tiger Hurler Jim Bunning sent the seed humming to strike out Yankee after Yankee (14 in all, a season-high for the majors) the roars increased to hurricane force. Over the happy blast one bunch of delirious rooters raised a banner with the legend: BILL NORMAN FOR PRESIDENT!
Oddly enough, one of the few quiet men in Detroit the afternoon of that first home game was Bill Norman, who had spent his time with one foot perched on the dugout steps checking some notes on a pad in his hand, watching the play and tapping a nervous foot. "You don't have to go around popping off when you're winning," he observed to a reporter.
There was another manager nearby who was not so quiet. "You fellers didn't think he was so good when he came here, did you?" he roared at the sportswriters. "Well, he's running the club good. He hasn't been mixed up on anything, and he's shown us fellers some pitching. What you doing around here anyway? You won't find a winner here."
The speaker's name was something like Standall, or Stendahl, or—Stengel, that was it. Casey Stengel. Who's he? Well, at this point we're not quite sure ourselves, but we think he's the one that took that Norman Tiger by the tail the seventh time around and knocked all his teeth out again with a 15-0 victory.
Challenge and Response
In the ageless needling between the sexes—junior division—it can be safely declared that two classic characters are the 11-year-old girl and her 9-year-old brother. Such a pair were overheard the other day in a drive-in near Chicago's Comiskey Park, where sister and brother huddled over double malteds after a double-header. We record it here as a rare example of victory for the 9-year-old male in discussions of this sort, whether the baseball development it advances is ever adopted or not.
"Nellie Fox looked like he had the mumps," the sister said. "Only he kept moving them from one side to the other."
"That wasn't mumps," the brother said, "That was tobacco."
"Baseball players," their mother broke in, "have idiosyncrasies, just like the rest of us."
Sister regarded brother thoughtfully. "I wonder if you'll have any idiosyncrasies," she said, pronouncing each syllable carefully, "when you're a big league player."
"Well, what are you going to do?"
"No. Bubble gum."
"Bubble gum! You won't have time to blow bubbles."
"Sure I will."
"I get it. You'll blow a bubble to disguise a spit ball."
"No," he corrected. "A stick ball."
"A stick ball? What's that?"
"Oh," he began, the gleam in his eye as bright as that of a pitcher getting ready to throw his best one. "you blow a big bubble and it breaks on the ball. Then you throw the ball to the batter, who's all set to hit it out of the park."
"Then what happens?"
"Nothing," he shrugged. "The ball sticks to the bat."
"Oh," said his sister.
Le Mans in the Rain
Visibility was scarcely 20 feet in the blinding evening downpour that lashed the eight-and-a-half-mile, potato-shaped course at Le Mans. "The most treacherous conditions in anyone's memory," summed up Correspondent David Snell in his file. Yet Le Mans is Le Mans, so the drivers pressed hard on the gas pedals. On the straightaways, visibility or no visibility, they bored on at 150 mph.
The race began even faster. The Aston Martin team, long proved in the 3-liter class and favored this year because of the new 3000-cc. limitation which cut bigger cars down to their size, set the pace. At the takeoff Stirling Moss surged ahead in his dark green No. 2 as though he would run away from the field. The highly admired Jaguars, perennial Le Mans winners, tried to keep up, but the Jag pistons, redesigned with shortened strokes to conform to the new cc. limitation, were put to too severe a strain. The first went out (broken piston) in 15 minutes, the second 17 minutes later. Just before the rain, Moss and his Aston Martin sputtered out too, though not before setting the 1958 lap record: 120.7 mph.
The pace was hard on the cars. Almost half of the starting field of 55 had dropped out after the first seven hours of the 24. But it was the rain and mist that reached out for Jean Mary (real name Jean Brousselet) as he streaked into the corner known as Tertre Rouge in his No. 11 Jaguar. He miscalculated and drove into the embankment. As No. 11 slammed back to the roadway and overturned it fell in the path of the No. 18 Ferrari, driven by Bruce Kessler of Los Angeles, approaching at close to 100 mph. Kessler flung himself from the seat an instant before the impact and, incredibly, suffered only multiple bruises. Mary died instantly.
The race continued into the night. Phil Hill of Santa Monica, Calif. and his partner, Olivier Gendebien of Belgium, had by now taken the lead in Ferrari No. 14 and were pushing hard to remain ahead of the last hope of the Jaguars, the No. 8 piloted by Duncan Hamilton and Ivor Bueb.
By the calendar it was the shortest night of the year, though to Hill and Gendebien, whose eyes were burning from the impossible effort of trying to pierce the curtain of rain, it must have seemed the longest, blackest ever. Even the dawn brought scant relief, for while the sky cleared deadly patches of mist rose from the track.
At midmorning, the clouds closed in again. Hill, by this time two laps ahead of the surviving Jaguar, pulled in behind the British entry to ride its slipstream for several laps. Then the rain came for the fifth time, turning puddles to pools and obscuring vision in a giant splash. On the fast corner of Arnage, the leader tried too late to dodge an abandoned car and spun from the road. Hill saw the blurred shape in time and, somehow, managed to snake past. From then on it was home free for Ferrari No. 14.
It was the first time that Phil Hill had ever finished at Le Mans, and the first time an American had been a winning driver. As Hill swept across the finish line to a hero's welcome, the sun began to shine.
Michigan's Poor Mouth
The disclosure by this magazine a couple of weeks ago that Michigan's prefight examinations of boxers are dangerously skimpy (Michigan is not alone in this respect) has had consequences. Newspapers blared the tale of Johnny Summerlin's easily detectable disability—a numbness over his left side which made it impossible for him to feel pain, even when needles were stuck in his arm. The state's boxing commission has held meetings and issued statements, mostly to the effect that it lacks money to give adequate examinations like those which protect New York boxers. Out of the meetings has emerged a Medical Study Committee, but it is headed by a physician who believes boxing should be abolished.
"It is too damaging a sport," Dr. Joseph Cahalan said, just before he was appointed chairman of the new committee, "and as long as there is boxing, there will be injuries and possible deaths."
The statement startled Floyd Stevens, boxing commission chairman.
"That's the easy way out," Stevens snapped. But he appointed Dr. Cahalan anyhow. Dr. Cahalan accepted anyhow, hedging with the self-evident point that "no examination can be devised that will be perfect," pointing out it would cost the state $25,-000 just for necessary neurological, electroencephalographic and other equipment for proper examinations.
Surely rich Michigan, which has a resort income of $600,000,000 a year, not to mention its fabulously wealthy automotive industry, can raise $25,-000 to protect boxers—or, if not, can lend-lease an electroencephalograph from a medical center. Boxing is not going to be abolished because it may be damaging to participants—any more than football, hunting, skiing, auto racing, horse racing and other sports involving danger are going to be abolished.
New York has proved boxing can be a remarkably safe sport, that its appearances can be deceiving. There is no good reason why Michigan should not equal, or even surpass, New York's record.
The Name is Arcaro
Last Saturday—Coaching Club American Oaks Day—at New York's Belmont Park a large group of people stood in the haze and drizzle as the horses circled the walking ring for the first race. As George Edward Arcaro, aged 42, rode by there were flaps of applause. On first hearing, it was presumed to be for his riding accomplishments during the week. On Monday he had ridden Restless Wind to victory in the $32,020 National Stallion Stakes, which he had won six times previously; Tuesday he had won the $7,500 feature on Inside Tract; Wednesday he won with two long shots; Thursday he took two more races; and on Friday he rode a triple. But the applause on Saturday was not for that.
The horseplayers who crowded the black iron fence around the paddock were saluting Arcaro for a small item they had read in the papers. When Arcaro was an apprentice jockey back in 1932, he stood overlooking the course at Agua Caliente in Mexico with an exercise boy named Jackie Westrope. They watched as Jack's brother, Tommy, was thrown from a horse past the finish line and killed. Since then Eddie Arcaro and Jack Westrope have been close friends, even though Arcaro does not like to fraternize with other riders. ("It isn't easy to go out socially with a man one night and then have to take a mount away from him the next morning.")
This past Thursday, when he was only a few jumps from victory in the $28,350 Hollywood Oaks at Hollywood Park, Jackie Westrope was killed when he was thrown into the rail. That night when he heard about it at his home in Garden City, Eddie Arcaro cried. "Jack was a strange guy," he said, "kind of complex. I don't know just how to describe it, but when you first met him you didn't like him very much. Then, after you had been around him, as I was in California for many years, you got to love him."
As Arcaro rode around the ring a lady whispered to him, "You must be an awful nice person." The lady had heard that Arcaro had started, as president of the Jockey's Guild, a trust fund for Westrope's two young daughters. And the fat man who always seems to be standing by the paddock abusing Arcaro at Belmont raised his voice just a little. "You won't be here Monday, Arcaro. You're going out to be a bearer in Jackie's funeral, ain't you?"
Arcaro rode onto the race track saying nothing, even though both of these things are very true.
Anniversary for Ed Furgol
At the National Open in Tulsa two weeks ago, while the applause washed around tempestuous Tommy Bolt for his front-running victory, and devoted followers of Sam Snead sadly shook their heads over another failure by the Slammer to win his first Open, a quiet man named Ed Furgol observed the fourth anniversary of his Open victory in 1954 by failing to qualify for the final 36 holes in 1958. He shot an 84-75, 159 and missed the qualifying score by five full strokes.
Furgol's victory in the Open at Baltusrol in 1954 carried special significance for both golfers and non-golfers, because he won the world's most important golf tournament handicapped by a left arm which is permanently crooked at the elbow. But now, four years later and three months after his 41st birthday, Furgol's good right arm has finally yielded to the ruinous pressure of 13 years in professional golf. The lean, tanned six-footer's right elbow has been causing him severe pain since March 1957 when it received a bad bruising in an automobile accident. This April he was forced to undergo an operation for removal of a bone spur, two chips and a hemangioma (a blood vessel tumor in his elbow). He couldn't comb his hair for a couple of weeks after the operation and has adopted a neat crew cut.
"I've always known that this was a fluctuating game," he says. "But I never thought something like this would happen to me so suddenly and so early in my life." He sat on a bench by the first tee of the Southern Hills Country Club in the late afternoon, as the last few second-round threesomes struggled up the long hill to the 18th green, and stared gloomily out at the course.
"I really had no confidence in myself before coming here for the Open," he continued, "and was just prepared to do my best. My tee shot is down to an average of about 225 yards but once, when I won at Baltusrol, it was about 275 yards. All I can do now is to try and prepare myself, mentally and physically, for better consistency the next time I tee it up.
"The doctors tell me to keep playing and that eventually my elbow will get stronger."
Don't go around feeling sorry for Ed Furgol is what this amounts to. For the man who talked with him, it was one of the quietly memorable moments of the Tulsa Open.
Glove Me Tender
The second baseman chased the fly,
The center fielder, too;
And now beneath the summer sky
They have their rendezvous.
They Said It
Foreign Minister Subandrio of Indonesia, welcoming his nation's world champion badminton squad after Thomas Cup victory: "Those boys have done more to give Indonesia confidence than anything before."
Bill Norman, Detroit's new manager, after winning half a dozen in a row from the Yankees: "I'm just trying to use some of the things Pop [Casey Stengel] taught me when we were both in the cucumber league."
Sterling Slappey of the AP, estimating U.S. chances against Russia in track and field this July if points for men's and women's events are counted together: "As certain to lose as a balloon in a pin factory."
Chiharu Igaya, Japan's Dartmouth-educated Olympic skier, of a back-home ride in a Tokyo taxi—called "Kamikaze cabs" by his countrymen: "Just like ski-jumping in a fog."
Max Exber, Las Vegas bookmaker, with a sigh of relief as the Giants slipped from first place: "If the Giants win the pennant we lose more money than if any other team wins it. They were [at 50 to 1] the long-shotters' long shot."