Just afterWimbledon got under way, the London Daily Sketch ran this headline blast: KEEPAWAY FROM OUR KIDS, KRAMER. WE DIDN'T GROOM THEM FOR YOU.
The story beneathit explained that Jack Kramer, the wealthy promoter of professional tennis fromthe U.S.A., was at Wimbledon to shop around for talent among the amateurs. Itwarned him off the six British players who "are on the fringe of worldclass," and in passing it denounced him as "Public Enemy No. 1 toamateur lawn tennis."
For the U.S., thesharpest point of the Daily Sketch's story was that Jack Kramer had to goabroad to do his shopping. He couldn't find anyone worth offering his money toat home, because the United States is now in its worst tennis slump in 30years. U.S. men haven't won the Davis Cup since 1954. A few days ago, U.S.women lost the Wightman Cup to the British for the first time since 1930. TheAmerican men's singles champion is an Australian rancher named Mal Anderson.And the only seeding an American could achieve in the men's singles ranks atWimbledon this year was Barry MacKay's eighth—behind four Australians, aChilean, a Dane and a Swede. Even MacKay's No. 8 was described by one bluntBritisher as "a kindness to the United States."
July 6, 1958
There were a fewbright spots. Althea Gibson of New York, who was top-seeded among the women,reached the quarter-finals without losing a set. And tiny, spunky Mimi Arnoldof Redwood City, Calif. did a brisk job on Saturday of upsetting Britain'ssix-foot, second-seeded Christine Truman 10-8, 6-3. But after Althea what? Themost promising youngsters in women's tennis were not turning up in the U.S.,but in places like England and Brazil.
Actually, the DailySketch was wrong to label Jack Kramer the Public Enemy No. 1 of amateur tennis.From the British or Australian point of view, Kramer is a benefactor whose goodworks began more than a decade ago and haven't stopped yet. By taking 1)himself and 2) Pancho Gonzales out of the amateur ranks Kramer removed fromcontention two American players who, over the years, could have handled withease anybody the other tennis nations have come up with. (Both men havedemonstrated this by defeating former amateur champions on the pro tour as fastas they could be bought up.)
Still, there is nouse crying over spilt money, especially Jack Kramer's. The lamentable fact is,the U.S. ought to be producing enough good tennis players to stock both the proranks and the amateurs—and the U.S. isn't.
Why not? And whenwill the boom days return? Well, the United States Lawn Tennis Association isglad you asked them that. They point to their Junior Development Program, whichis aiming to build up tennis counterparts of Little League baseball wherevertennis courts can be found—or built. They point to their plan to give freetournament tickets to junior groups so that they can get some idea of what bigleague tennis is. And they point to an enlarged program for the Junior DavisCup Squad which will give promising 18-year-olds a longer season of tournamentplay. All this, the USLTA hopes, will pay off in the future—the happy result ofgiving U.S. tennis a broader grass-roots base than it has ever had before.
Meanwhile, atWimbledon, the over-aged and the under-seasoned, like the faculty and cadets ofsome besieged military school, were holding out as best they could. GardnarMulloy, 44; Budge Patty, 35; and Barry MacKay, 22, won their thirdround matcheson Saturday, and a well-earned sabbatical rest. (Of the 12 other Americans whoentered the men's singles championship, four were eliminated in the firstround, seven in the second and one in the third.) What remained of the troopsstill faced the toughest part of the battle, but reinforcements were on theway. The trouble was, it would take them several years to get there.
Aside from therather obvious fact that his club was in sixth place, what happened—really—topersuade Frank Lane to fire Bobby Bragan as manager of the Cleveland Indians?The day after the execution there wasn't much doubt in Bragan's mind about thereasons for it.
"Turnstiles," he said. "Just turnstiles, mostly. Frank Lane was allright. He was just fine, we were in unison on players. But theah was a lot ofpressure on Frank from the directors. They were watchin' the turnstiles—not theteam. Win or lose, nobody came to the games.
"If HerbScore's arm had been all right Ah truly believe we'd have been five games upfrom .500 instead of five games down—but it wouldn't have made 10,000 peopledifference in the attendance.
"It's a toughsituation. When Hank Greenberg hired me, he said, 'A lot of people want JoeGordon, he played heah a long time, the directors think he'd draw. But you'remy man.' In Tucson an American League umpire told me, 'You think you had ittough in Pittsburgh, wait till Cleveland.'
"It ain't justwinnin'—you gotta belong. Ah never did get into the pool over heah—I justwalked around it and stuck mah foot in but I couldn't get under that water. Asan old Cleveland hero, Joe Gordon belongs, but it's goin' to be tough for him,too. Ah'll say one thing, though—if he can't bring 'em in, it wouldn't help torecruit, well, one of the blessed saints."
What now, Mr.Bragan? "Ah got two offers from two minor league clubs—one Coast, oneInternational, to take over right now."
Was Bragan preparedto settle for a minor league assignment?
"Temporarily,let us say," said Bragan, sounding entirely undismayed. "Aftuh gettin'fiahed twice in one year, the time may be at hand to regroup—to consolidate theforces, you might say."
Remember that dustysculpture depicted in your high school Latin book showing Romulus, Remus andthe She-Wolf? Well, they have just been drafted for the 1960 Olympics in Rome.The Italian National Olympics committee has picked the old statuary cluster,over 248 other designs submitted in open competition, as the symbol of theXVIIth Olympiad.
For Olympicpurposes, the cast-off twins are reposed over the date MCMLX and the fiveinterlocked circles of the Olympic continents. Over all, a look of adenoidalastonishment on her face, stands the nurturing wolf.
All this seems welland good in a general way, but an uneasy recollection lingers that Romulus andRemus got mixed up in some un-Olympic conduct. Didn't Romulus commence to buildthe walls of Rome, and didn't Remus come along and vault contemptuously overall this hard work? And didn't Romulus, with no taste for field sports thatday, smite Remus dead away? Well, sure, admits the Italian Olympics committee,but what of it? "We could have used the Colosseum as a symbol," saidone official, "but that would recall slayings of the ancient Christianmartyrs and bloody gladiator duels. The purpose of our symbol was to convey tomind the site of the 1960 Olympics and render the idea of competition."
It must be admittedthat R&R do just that—site, competitive spirit and all.
Big Man from LittleBaraboo
His left eye is20/200. His right eye is 20/70. His left eye sees below the normal line ofvision. His right eye sees above the normal line of vision. He leaned off themound one night last week and peered at the plate through owlish, tintedspectacles as though trying to find his way in the dark. He has five pairs ofeyeglasses, three pairs tinted variously for the ball field, two pairs for thestreet. He went into his laborious motion and fired at the plate. "Anybodywho throws hard looks like he's working hard at it," he explains. Thewarmup pitch was wild and to the left. "When the ball leaves my hand, Idon't see it again until it's right up there by the plate," he says. "Inever can see the fast ball move." Because of this, he cannot tell when heis ready to go into a game. Darrell Johnson, his bullpen catcher, decides forhim. He fired his second warmup pitch. It got away from the catcher. He oncehit a player kneeling in the on-deck circle with a warmup pitch. They say hethrows wild when he warms up to intimidate the batters. "That isn't true.That isn't true at all," he says. "I get eight warmup pitches and Ithrow as hard as I can just to get loose. I don't particularly care where theball goes. There's no use throwing strikes; they don't count then." As YogiBerra scrambled for the ball a fan hollered proprietorially to Casey Stengelfrom an upper-deck box in Comiskey Park: "Hey, take this guy back before hekills somebody."
This guy is RinoldGeorge Duren Jr., the New York Yankees' big (6 feet, 195 pounds) 29-year-oldrookie relief pitcher. He calls himself Ryne because his father calls himselfRine. One New York sportswriter calls him The Torch because he throws as hardas anyone in the majors, if not harder. In 2[2/3] innings of relief that night,for instance, he pitched hitless ball, struck out six dejected White Sox,walked only one man and saved a 6-2 victory. Duren claims he does not try tostrike out everybody. "I know there's a certain type hitter that you canrule out the strikeout possibility," he says. "I'll try to keep theball away from him, let him hit the fly ball to center field instead of gettingtoo close to him and letting him hit it out of the park." Said CaseyStengel: "No-o, he didn't pitch much tonight. It was pretty cold and dampout there and he was all stiff and tightened up. Some day it'll be nice andsunny and he can cut loose."
Despite Stengel'sobservations on the weather, Duren has been doing remarkably well. In 34[2/3]innings, all in relief, he has struck out 51 of the 104 men he has retired,walked but 17 and given up only six earned runs for a 1.54 average. His recordis an unprepossessing 3-2, but he has saved 11 games, and Stengel has chosenhim for his American League All-Star team.
Life has not alwaysbeen so glorious for Ryne Duren, who grew up in Cazenovia, Wis. on the banks ofthe Little Baraboo River. He began to wear glasses when he was 6. At the sameage, a playmate jabbed a popgun into his left eye with enough force to cut itopen. When he was 16, he spent eight months in bed with rheumatic fever,learning to play cribbage and listening to Cubs games on the radio. When herecovered, he went back to baseball, but "even though I could throw hard, Inever pitched in high school. We had a kid there who could throw hard and hecould get it over and I couldn't. He now runs a feed mill in town."
After high schoolDuren did become a pitcher, and though he could throw hard, he still could notget it over, and for eight years he played in Wausau, Pine Bluff, Dayton,Anderson, San Antonio, Seattle, Vancouver and Denver and had brief tryouts withBaltimore and Kansas City In the winter he played in Puerto Rico and SouthAmerica. "I was a touring right-hander," he says. The Odyssey was overwhen Denver Manager Ralph Houk—now a Yankee coach—recommended that Duren bebrought up as a relief pitcher. "He was a very determined man," Houksays. "When he came out to Denver he had the idea that he was a big leaguepitcher. He had only one idea: to get up here—and he did."
Although clearly aproper subject for legend, Duren has little truck for fancy. After the WhiteSox game, a reporter asked him if he was not waving to his mother in thegrandstand at the start of the ninth inning. "No," Duren grunted,"I was pointing to my glasses on the bench, so the bat boy wouldn't forgetthem when the game was over."
San FranciscoWomen, who never went to a baseball game in the days of the old Seals, havebeen turning out this spring to watch the new Giants. They are not like easternwomen, who have had years to take baseball or leave it alone. They are new tothe game and—the sooner Organized Baseball realizes this the better—havehatfuls of reactions. As a matter of fact, there are some changes they wouldlike to see made.
A sharp-earedcorrespondent of this magazine tells us he was walking toward the ball parkentrance the other day when he heard a querulous note from a lady behind him."Why do we have to walk all the way to the corner?" she asked."Well," said her man, "that's the place to get in."
"That'sridiculous," the lady said. "Why don't they have gates all along?""They'll have a lot of gates at the corner," he replied. "You'llsee." "They should have one right here," the lady persisted."Then we could go right in." The man didn't say anything.
Soon afterward ourcorrespondent settled himself behind another couple in the stands. "Why dothe umpires wear those heavy, dark-blue suits?" asked the lady, making aquick mental note of several changes that ought to be made as soon as possible."Umpires always wear dark-blue suits," her man replied.
"On hot dayslike this?" she cried in disbelief. "Why, I never heard of anything sofoolish in my life. They ought to have nice, comfortable suits; maybe in lightcolors."
"Why doeseverybody chew gum on the field" the same lady asked a moment later."Is it some kind of a rule?"
Crouched low overhis box score, her man merely grunted. Just about then Willie Mays connectedand screamed a long low one into center field just over second. "Well,"remarked the lady when the shouting died down, "no wonder that ball gotaway. I've been watching, and the second baseman never plays anywhere nearsecond. If he'd been on the base, he'd have caught that one."
Our reportermissed whatever answer might have been forthcoming. He was eavesdroppinginstead on some comments from the rear where a girlish voice remarked with somesurprise, "Oh, I see now why they say the pitcher is on the mound. Therereally is a mound, isn't there? But it doesn't seem fair."
Another girl tworows down and to the right was much more interested in the catcher who had justmissed a foul fly because the sun was in his eyes. "Well," she wasremarking, "if he wants to keep the sun out, why doesn't he wear his hatproperly?"
The resultantinterference with the catcher's mask was explained to her in considerablepatient detail, but it failed to satisfy. "All right," she conceded,"so he has to wear his hat backward, but then why doesn't he figure out away to wear sunglasses underneath? I certainly would. Wouldn't you?"
An explosive roarfrom the stands, signaling a brisk play, put a stop to this particular line ofargument, but not to the thoughts that were by now whirling like tinyhurricanes in our correspondent's head. "Why do they do this? Why do theydo that?" he kept asking himself, missing play after play as he found noconvincing answer. By the end of the seventh inning, he had had enough.Muttering excuses, he hunched out of his seat intending to think it all outfurther in the nearest bar.
"Excuseme," he murmured to a lady whose shapely leg blocked egress from the row ofseats. She didn't hear him. "Why," she was asking her escort, "doall the players wear two pairs of socks?"
Well, why dothey?
The state ofMichigan, which a month ago contented itself with casual prefight examinationsof boxers, now has a sensible, 12-point medical program up for adoption by theboxing commission. A study group of Michigan medical men, out to prevent arepetition of the case of Johnny Summerlin, who was allowed to fight though hehad lost feeling in his left side, urges annual examinations, codification ofboxing injuries, instruction manuals for ringside doctors and a thorough,running medical history of boxers. One of the best ideas, if one of the hardestto enforce (boxers invariably "feel fine"), would require trainers andmanager to complete a questionnaire before each fight. Falsification of aboxer's condition would carry "severe penalties."
Unless stateofficials are seized with inconceivable indifference, the new safety rulesshould be adopted soon, and a good thing, too.
How odd thatRussian tennis
Has not developed yet;
They're good at making rackets
And masters of the nyet.
--Irwin L. Stein
They Said It
Russian Footballer, following party-line disapprobationof teammate Edik Streltsov, now in a Moscow jail for "hooliganism":"Edik thinks the ocean is salty because herring swim in it."
Danny Murtaugh, Pirate manager, at a luncheon honoringSt. Louis' Stan Musial: "He's like a speedometer on a used car. You knowit's turned back but you don't know how much."
Selwyn Lloyd, British foreign secretary, after hereceived a new wedge on becoming the 1,000th member of the Golf Society ofGreat Britain: "I am not a good golfer, but I am wondering whether thisclub is not appropriate for a game of Summitry. I spend quite a lot of time inthe rough. I often have an East wind in my face and a gusty West behindme."
London daily mail, in a headline reporting completionof arrangements for the August fight between Heavyweights Floyd Patterson andRoy Harris: WORLD TITLE FIGHT FIXED.