It's giving your all, it's do or die, it's 'One for the Gipper'—IT'S THE OLD COLLEGE TRY
ON THE GRIDIRON: For a little while last week, the battle-tested, grid-wise Detroit Lions seemed about to do what the pro football team usually does in the annual All-Star football game in Chicago—methodically dismember the eager but inept collegians. The champions of the pro world moved easily for a touchdown the first time they got the ball, once contemptuously running on fourth down with 13 yards to go at mid-field and making it. The college boys were obviously having a hard time operating the unusually complex defense their coach Otto Graham, the retired nonpareil quarterback of the Cleveland Browns, had given them. This was Graham's first head-coaching assignment, and he had selected similarly young ex-pros as his assistants. It was a tremendously spirited coaching staff, and it soon became apparent that they had imparted this spirit to their youthful charges.
The veteran Lions, understandably, relaxed after that first quick touchdown. The unsophisticated underdog collegians got mad. They began to operate their complex defense brilliantly. They intercepted five pro passes and they did other things, individually, that they had never done before. Bobby Joe Conrad, the almost scrawny, lean-limbed youngster from Texas A&M, shown above limbering up his kicking leg, who had never even tried to kick a field goal in a college game, booted four against the pros and three points after touchdown for good measure. They whipped the pros where the pros are best, in the air, and won a stunning 35-19 victory.
Then they carried their coaches off the field on their shoulders and, over the happy shouting in the dressing room, the most insistent phrase, in the varied accents of farflung U.S. campuses, was "that old college try."
August 24, 1958
A BIG WEEK FOR GAMBLERS
An Indiana prosecutor starts a parade of big-time bettors on sports events before a grand jury, while gamblers of another stripe arrive in New York ready to bet more than mere money on the climactic competition of the year
The gambler's gallery on the opposite page includes men who think nothing of betting a quarter of a million dollars on a few Saturday football games or horse races or baseball games. How do they do it? Well, they start with someone like Leo Shaffer. Leo is a bookie who has been driven out of places like Chicago, Cincinnati and Winnipeg by spoilsports who believe in enforcing anti-gambling laws. Fed up with this, Leo recently cast around for a locale that would be more tolerant of his activities, and he was sure he had found it in Terre Haute, Indiana. Leo opened shop smack on the main stem, a few short blocks from City Hall, which is like hiring Madison Square Garden for a floating crap game. But Leo evidently was right about the friendly surroundings, and nobody in Terre Haute bothered him as he quickly built up a land-office business. The trouble was, somebody forgot to tell the Federal gumshoes that Terre Haute was supposed to be wide open. They checked Leo's phones (2,200 long distance calls in eight weeks) and observed the traffic through Leo's front door—and moved in. The records they found showed Leo had handled about 30 million dollars in football, baseball and horseracing bets, chiefly by phone, in just two months, obviously catering only to well-heeled clients. These include Dallas oil zillionaire H. L. Hunt, whose football bets start at $25,000 per game and number about 20 games a week, crack Bridge Players John Crawford and Tobias Stone and Zeppo (one of the Hollywood brothers) Marx. Also such familiar names as Jimmy the Greek and Beldon Katleman of Las Vegas.
Terre Haute Mayor Ralph Tucker, a Dapper Dan given to highly polished shoes and near-white trench coats, is no stranger to charges of protected sin flourishing in his town. He promptly passed the buck to his police chief, Frank Riddle, where it now rests. Meanwhile, Leo Shaffer's records were turned over to an energetic young U.S. District Attorney named Don Tabbert, who, last week in Indianapolis, began asking questions in front of a grand jury, after issuing subpoenas for the folks shown here and 170 others. Tabbert has now demonstrated, sure enough, that a lot of people like to bet and bet big on sports events. Well, Leo Shaffer could have told him that. The next question is: Who in Terre Haute rolled out the welcome mat for Leo?
Biggest gamblers of the week, though their activities will hardly come to the official attention of District Attorney Tabbert (above), were the crew members of the British yacht Sceptre, who arrived in New York led by their skipper, Lieutenant Commander Graham Mann. These men, and many another Englishman who participated in the venture, are betting their time, energy and reputations on the outcome of the race for the America's Cup next month. Skipper Mann has served as Sailing Master of Queen Elizabeth's Dragon class yacht Bluebottle, and won a bronze medal for Britain in the 5.5-meter class at the Melbourne Olympic Games. He and crew were on their way to Newport, via Stamford, Conn. (see opposite), where they were to receive some unexpected and welcome help in their gamble. Mahlon Dickerson offered to lend them his American 12-meter yacht Gleam, to serve as a trial horse in their tuneups, a fitting gesture of international sportsmanship. Before leaving New York, the skipper had time to meet and charm the local press.
Mann is 34, weighs 200 even, has a fine broken nose, looks fit, moves well. Notes from the press conference:
Q.: Which American boat would you like most to meet?
Mann (big grin): The slowest, obviously.
Q.: Why did some of the British press predict such a bad showing for Sceptre?
Mann (benign smile): Don't you suppose that some of the British newsmen picked up their information rather late at night in bars and such? Let their enthusiasm get beyond their ability, perhaps?
Q.: How many sails has Sceptre?
Mann (purr): Oh, simply hundreds.
Q.: Well, what do you really think about Sceptre's chances?
Mann (very gently): Why, even, I should think. If there were not much chance we shouldn't have come over, should we?
That and other things well settled, Mann buzzed off happily, apparently troubled not at all by the fact that all 14 British skippers who sailed for the cup before him over the past 87 years came home losers. The law of averages, if nothing else, favors an Englishman's victory sometime, and the lieutenant commander left his interviewers feeling that if he is as long on sailing as he is on spoof, Mann may well be the man.