BASEBALL—MILWAUKEE BRAVES, meeting their most persistent challengers face to face, all but got rid of San Francisco for good by taking three out of four, then split first two with bubbling Pittsburgh to lead Pirates by 7½ games in National League scramble to face New York Yankees in October. But Pirates still had life in them, boasted league's leading winner in Bob Friend, who won his 18th, over Braves 3-2. Los Angeles, Cincinnati and St. Louis were neck and neck for fourth place.
Casey Stengel began to worry ever so little when star left-hander Whitey Ford turned up with sore arm and Washington won two straight from his Yankees to cut lead to 10½ games. Runner-up Chicago, recovering slowly from shocking setback in Stadium, were well enough to take two from Senators, split pair with Detroit, but even Manager Al Lopez was just about willing to concede World Series loot to Yanks.
Washington Senators, deeply entrenched in American League cellar, began to stir restlessly, almost as if they might welcome change of altitude. Minneapolis and St. Paul quickly leaped into action, hopefully dangled bond issues and plans for enlarged stadiums in front of Senators as well as Cleveland, also disturbed by rapidly dwindling attendance. But at week's end, Washington President Calvin Griffith and his directors were still playing footsie while Twin Cities sweated it out.
FOOTBALL—CHICAGO BEARS kept exhibition slate clean, turned back punchless Pittsburgh 17-10 in first pro game ever played at Pitt Stadium. In other games, pendulum-footed Lou Groza calmly booted 50-yard field goal in closing seconds to give Cleveland 13-10 win over Los Angeles; Detroit latched on to two of Charley Conerly's passes, turned them into touchdowns in 26-7 victory over New York; Washington beat Baltimore 27-7.
September 7, 1958
HARNESS RACING—EMILY'S PRIDE, trained by 78-year-old Fred Egan and driven by 64-year-old Flave (Flick) Nipe, pair of oldsters who know their oats, won first heat, broke and trailed in 12th place in second but saved her best for last in $106-719.24 Hambletonian at Du Quoin, Ill. Storming up from second tier, Emily's Pride trotted briskly into lead at three-quarter pole, swept down stretch to clock 1:59⅘ fastest mile in Hambletonian history, win $67,750.92 for Kentucky Co-owners Castle-ton and Walnut Hall farms (see page 53).
TRACK & FIELD—AUSTRALIA'S HERB ELLIOTT, by far the best middle-distance runner ever to trample a cinder, proved his greatness once again, hot-footing 1,500 meters in fantastic 3:36 (roughly, equivalent of 3:53 mile) at Gothenburg, Sweden, to break Czech Stanislav Jungwirth's world record. Next day, slender Aussie, whose primitive diet and unorthodox training methods have amazed his frustrated opponents, took to track at Malmoe, buzzed around soggy circuit in 3:58 for mile, ninth time this year he has cracked once-invincible 4-minute barrier.
Britain's Gordon Pirie, sixth-place flop in 1,500-meter race (won by Aussie Merv Lincoln in 3:45.4), came back 30 minutes later, nettled Russians with solid victory in 14:03 in 5,000-meter run at Oslo Games. Soviets also were handed unexpected setback in high jump when Sweden's Stig Petterson equaled 6-foot 6¾-inch leap by Yuri Stepanov, was awarded first place on basis of fewer misses.
Australians, ruffled because some of nation's best athletes are gravitating to U.S. colleges, rocked IAAF meeting at Stockholm with proposal that such stars be deprived of their amateur standing if they accept scholarships at American schools. But idea died aborning, left many a stateside coach breathing easier.
HORSE RACING—RESTLESS WIND, Owner Liz Lunn's $10,000 bargain-basement buy at Saratoga yearling sales in 1957, lugged in ever so slightly on 60-to-1 outsider Winsome Winner in head-to-head stretch duel, but withstood foul claim to win $164,725 Washington Park Futurity at Arlington. Victory pot of $112,225 boosted Restless Wind's 2-year-old earnings to $271,833, edged him within $77,809 of record held by Jewel's Reward.
Outer space, Mrs. Gerard S. Smith's spring-loving 4-year-old filly, saved ground until top of stretch, squirted through under Jockey Eldon Nelson ("You've got to ride these lady horses like you were huggin' your girl friend") to win seven-furlong $29,600 Vagrancy Handicap by length at Belmont.
Discovery, 27-year-old patriarch of Alfred G. Vanderbilt's Sagamore Farm and granddad of Native Dancer and Bold Ruler, was destroyed "due to infirmities of advanced age," ending one of racing's most illustrious careers. Bought by Vanderbilt for $25,000 as a 2-year-old, the weight-toting chestnut earned $195,287 and sired winners of $5,625,643. Said Vanderbilt sadly: "He was one of America's great weight carriers. His picture should hang on every handicapper's wall just as a reminder."
BOXING—RUDELL STRITCH, unknown Louisville welterweight who went in as 9-to-5 underdog, caught No. 4-ranked Isaac Logart with guard down, hammered out 10-round decision before 4,500 home-town fans. Result set off usual uproar in Logart camp, prompted Trainer Mindito Medina to scream: "A lousy one. We were robbed again."
Jimmy Beecham, another spoiler, found way to get inside Bobby Boyd's long arms with looping lefts, solid right crosses, gave Chicago middleweight another push downhill in 10-rounder at Miami Beach.
SHOOTING—RUSSIAN marksmen, blasting away as if they invented the sport, gleefully hauled off 14 of 17 team titles, 11 of 23 individual crowns as 10-day world shooting championships ended at Moscow. U.S. experts, who parted Iron Curtain with high hopes, were unable to win even one team prize, had to be satisfied with five gold medals. American champions: Marine Captain William McMillan of Turtle Creek, Pa., hand gun; Army Lieutenant Verle Wright of Fort Wayne, Ind., prone, kneeling; Francis J. Eisenlauer of Palo Alto, Calif., trapshooting; Army Lieutenant Joe Deckert of Deming, N. Mex., who set world record with 223 of 250 in running deer competition.
TENNIS—U.S. NATIONALS began 10-day stand at Forest Hills with only two notable first-round casualties: Denmark's Kurt Nielsen, who bowed to No. 1-ranked but unseeded and semiretired Vic Seixas 6-2, 4-6, 6-4, 8-10, 8-6; No. 6-ranked Mimi Arnold, who was swept off court by Brazil's perky and exciting Maria Bueno 6-2, 9-7.
INTERNATIONAL MOTOR SPORTS—HOT RODDERS were blasting off in all directions at Bonneville's Salt Flats, where Mickey Thompson, El Monte., Calif. hot shot, got his twin-engine Chrysler Class E streamliner up to 272.31 mph; and at Oklahoma City, where Art Arfons of Akron, Ohio, an old hand at speed trials, roared his Green Monster, powered by Rolls-Royce aircraft engine, at 161.85 mph in national championship drag races.
FENCING—HUNGARY, dominant figure in international sabre competition for 50 years, won world team title, as expected, at Philadelphia. Other champions: Britain's H. William Hoskyns, apple farmer from Somerset, in épée; Russia's Valentina Kisseleva, in women's foil; Soviet's Iakov Rylskii, who upset Teammate David Tychler in sabre.
MILEPOST—DIED—FREDERICK J. WRIGHT, 60, able amateur golfer, onetime Walker Cupper (in 1923), USGA Seniors champion in 1956, seven-time Massachusetts state titlist; of heart attack while playing in sectional qualifying round for National Amateur, at Brookline, Mass.