10 to 1 atBelmont
PresidentEisenhower's promotion of Rear Admiral Hyman G. Rickover to the rank ofvice-admiral one day last week hardly came as a surprise; without Rickover theU.S. might not yet have an atomic sub, and, in race track talk, it figured.
That is why thebehavior of the assorted form-and-hunch players at Belmont horse park in NewYork the day before is so hard to explain. In the fifth race, a handicapbusiness of one mile, they gave heavy backing to a couple named Strong Bay(2-1) and Amerigo (2½-1). Well, Strong Bay finished second and Amerigo finishedeighth, and who do you guess won? A bay named Rickover (by Crafty Admiral outof Sweet Caprice), and $2 would have got you $20.50.
November 3, 1958
The U.S.Ambassador to Mexico had a rather subtle diplomatic chore to assign to just theright group of men and was casting about to find them. Who filled the bill?Why, three big league ballplayers, naturally.
The problem wasthat the U.S. part of Mexico's International Film Festival was going badly.From a balcony of the National Auditorium, where the festival was held, aCommunist claque hissed and whistled not only at American films, but atAmerican flags as well. Others in the huge auditorium (capacity: 13,000) weretaking up the hissing, and the result was an anti-U.S. demonstration.
All this changed,though, when The Defiant Ones was shown, the third U.S. offering in theeight-nation festival. It is a moving plea for racial tolerance, and it broughtfrequent bursts of applause from the Mexican audience. When it ended,Ambassador Robert C. Hill and his pretty wife went from their ambassadorial boxto the stage. With them were the three ballplayers to whom the Ambassador hadturned for help: Roy Sievers of the Washington Senators, Bobby A Vila of theCleveland Indians and Willie Mays of the San Francisco Giants.
Avila, a nativeof Mexico, spends his winters there and enjoys the status of a national hero.Sievers and Mays happened to be in Mexico playing winter baseball. They hadwatched the movie as guests of Ambassador and Mrs. Hill. On the stage, onlyAvila made a little speech, in Spanish. The other two just stood there: WillieMays, a Negro boy from Westfield, Ala., and Roy Sievers, a white boy from St.Louis, side by side with Bobby Avila, who grew up in Veracruz, Mexico; and allthree of them stars in big league baseball. Up in the balcony the Communistclaque hissed and whistled. But it couldn't make itself heard because there wastoo much applause.
Over thecenturies chess has been praised or blamed for almost everything, but nobodyhas ever claimed that this ancient and sedentary game made people strong.Nobody, that is, before the Russians. In Munich for the 13th Chess Olympiad(see page 28), SPORTS ILLUSTRATED's correspondent, John Mulliken, hearingstories of rigorous training, decided to look into the whole question of therelation of chess to physical fitness.
His astoundingdiscovery: in Russia chess players are the healthiest of all athletes."It's true," said the Russian captain, Alexander Kotov. "A coupleof years ago medical men made tests on groups of Soviet athletes—footballplayers, swimmers, boxers and chess players—to see which was in the besthealth. The chess players won."
The dumfoundedmedical men went to Kotov for explanations. After learning the ordeal oftournaments, they arrived at a theory that chess players had to be in goodhealth to survive—"They lead the hardest life of all," one scientificexpert said.
"It'strue," Kotov added. "Take a runner. He trains a little in the morning.In the afternoon he runs for half an hour and then pooh! he's through."Kotov's reasoning: "Chess players play five hours a night and probably comeback the next morning for four more hours. And at night they must analyze,analyze, analyze."
In his room atthe Hotel Metropole near Munich's bombed-out railway station Mikhail Botvinnikwas vigorously practicing push-ups. The new Soviet chess sensation, MikhailTal, played ping-pong. Sturdy Vassily Smyslov and frail David Bronstein of theRussian team are both skiers, and the Estonian master, Paul Keres, playstennis. During his games Botvinnik has a special lemonade served to him aftertwo hours of play, and Keres eats chocolates.
There was noquestion but that the tanned and vigorous chess masters looked fit. But causeand effect appeared to be a little confused, like much in chess, and inobserving the Russian chess players' muscular demeanor as they pushed chess menaround, they looked, not like the strongest people in Russia, but like anysedentary group of intellectuals startled to discover they have been officiallyclassified as the healthiest folk in their land.
'My Name's NotStefano'
Marc DeMarco, hiswife and son moved into a neat little home at 229 Kell Ave., East Peoria, Ill.one mild day in June 1956. DeMarco was a factory representative for the LouverManufacturing and Supply Co. of Minneapolis, a job which kept him traveling inMichigan, Wisconsin and Illinois, calling on lumber dealers. DeMarco also soldthe Emsco gun choke on the side. Except for the fact that DeMarco seemed tooaddicted to certain local bars, the family was accepted in the community, andDeMarco puttered around East Peoria, selling louvers and gun chokes andbecoming known as a fast man with a buck. If there were any raised eyebrows,they were only those of a local Chevrolet dealer. One day DeMarco and his sondrove the family car into his place for" repairs. "What name?" saidthe Chevrolet man, routinely. "Stefano," said Marc. The son movedcloser to his father and exchanged a few words. "Oh, hell," said Marc,blandly. "I have a cousin named Stefano. I've been thinking about him allday. My name's not Stefano. It's Marc DeMarco."
DeMarco's chiefinterest, other than louvers and chokes, seemed to be hunting; duck hunting. Hemet his first hunting companion in a hotel in nearby Quincy. "I went to theowner of the hotel," he recounted the other day, "and I told him I wasnew in town and I'd like to go hunting. The hotel owner made a date for me tohunt with his bartender. We went and got nothing. On our way back, I mentionedto him that I sure would hate to go home emptyhanded. 'Do you know of someonein town that may have a few extra ducks?' I said. 'How many do you want?' thebartender said. 'I'd like to take home the two-day limit, anyway,' I said.'I'll have them for you at the desk in the morning when you leave,' thebartender said."
The next morningDeMarco made his first purchase: eight ducks at $1.50 apiece. "I don't gettoo many myself," the bartender told him, "but if you want ducks in thefuture let me know. There are several of my friends who hunt and kill for themarket."
DeMarco did wantducks in the future, so he hung around the bar and kept buying. Over the nexttwo years, DeMarco bought 5,141 ducks in three states at a cost of $7,050.70.He made purchases from 95 men, including four Quincy firemen, an assistantstate fire marshal, a deputy sheriff, a former Detroit policeman and a formerDetroit fireman. At first, he explained the purchases by saying he liked togive ducks to his customers—it was cheaper than taking them out to dinner.Later, when he started buying in large quantities, he explained that his cousinran a syndicate-approved bar in Chicago and wanted the ducks for his menu.
DeMarco alsolearned how the hunters got their birds. One method was the "creep";five or six hunters, using Long Toms (unplugged guns which held a dozen or moreshells and were filed so as to be almost automatic) would creep up on the ducksas they rested in the marshes at night. At a signal from the leaders, thehunters would start firing in arcs carefully planned to cover the entire flock.In this manner, two or three thousand ducks could be massacred in onenight.
Much of themeat-hunting was also just plain killing over the limit by skilled shotsoperating in blinds without plugs in their guns. The market-hunters also baitedtraps, caught the birds alive and stuffed them into burlap sacks. They thenfired shotgun blasts into the sacks so the ducks would have pellets in theirbodies. DeMarco estimates that the Mississippi flyway meat-hunters used to killhalf a million ducks a year by these grisly techniques.
As DeMarco waspurchasing, the louver company president was getting calls asking if he was,indeed, an employee. The president said he was. Lumber dealers received callsasking if they were actually being called on by DeMarco. They said they were.An assistant U.S. attorney in Illinois called the Fish and Wildlife Service andasked if they had an undercover agent in the Peoria area and was told no. Oncethe market-hunters gave DeMarco the cold shoulder for several weeks, thenwelcomed him back, explaining that he had been "cleared" by theIllinois underworld.
In Beardstown,Ill., DeMarco had his most trying moment. A notorious hunter, who once hadpulled a shotgun on two federal agents and told them to "git" (they"got") took De-Marco out for a little shooting.
"He took meto a blind," he said later, "and I could hear shooting, and this wasbefore daylight. When we approached, he shouted, 'Watch out, I've got a federalagent with me.' I don't know what the hell his idea was. I said to him, 'Thatwas a helluva thing to say. You're besmirching my name and character; I'm alegitimate salesman, and I don't want anybody to intimate that I'm a federalagent.' "
DeMarco certainlydid not, because as Anthony Marc Stefano, his real name, he was. And he had notgiven away a single duck; they had been tagged and consigned to deepfreeze.Stefano had made the biggest killing of market hunters in the history of theU.S. Fish and Wildlife Service several years back in the Sacramento area. Twoyears later, he broke his own record in Texas (SI, April 30, 1956).
Stefano's work inthe Midwest came to an end at dawn the other day when 45 agents, from 11states, took 95 market-hunters into custody in Illinois, Wisconsin andMichigan. They face an average of six charges each, and the penalty can be upto $500 fine and six months in jail, or both, on each count. Already about athird of those arrested have pleaded guilty. As for Stefano, he has a newassignment.
In winningprofessional football games 270-pound guards and big-handed halfbacks havetheir uses. But the Baltimore Colts (five wins, no losses) don't depend oncompetence alone. As Halloween time approached, Baltimore led the WesternConference in hexes, spells, charms and general witchcraft. Before and duringeach game, several members of the Colt organization hold their nerves asdelicately taut as bridle reins and coax the team's luck along as gently as ifit were a squirrel in a public park.
Head Coach WeebEwbank has worn the same suit to all the Baltimore games this year, and heplans to keep on wearing it (without cleaning) until the Colts lose. CarrollRosen-bloom, who owns the team, has a beat-up old hat which he is careful neverto remove when the ball is in play.
Ed Block, thetrainer, wipes the players' faces as they come off the field as long as thegame is going well for Baltimore. Dick Spasoff, Block's assistant, doesn'tbudge from where he is standing if the Colts begin to move the ball, and hestands there until the team bogs down or scores.
General ManagerDon Kellett feels that victory is assured if, on his way to a game, he can spota truck carrying empty beer kegs. When a player has a run of bad luck,Equipment Manager Fred Schubach gives him a sniff of ammonia to improve hisfortunes. Big Daddy Lipscomb, a defensive tackle, has the bandages removed fromhis hands toward the end of a game—provided the Colts are leading—to indicatethat he doesn't expect to be sent in to play again.
The two defensiveends work their magic with clothing: Gino Marchetti never turns anything insideout, and Ordell Brasse puts his equipment on from the left, beginning with theleft sock.
With a littlehelp from the Baltimore players (who happen to add up to one of the best proteams in the country) this dam of cobwebs and moonbeams has held off disasterquite effectively. Things looked bad last Saturday afternoon, when Don Kellettfailed to see a beer truck on his way to the stadium. But everyone else's charmwas working, and the Colts beat Washington, 35-10.
Life in aRefreshment Tent
Our food pagelast week described the sporting and gastronomical pleasures to be had over theweekend at Amory Haskell's Woodland Farms during the running of the MonmouthCounty Hunt Race Meet. Among the hospitable preparations made for more than1,000 expected guests was the erection of a race meet members refreshment tentoverlooking the steeplechase course. As it happened, this tent turned out to bethe meet, because during Friday night 2½ inches of rain fell on New Jersey, andon the Saturday of the meet itself rain continued to fall by the gallon. Theresult was the most memorable and, unexpectedly, the most entertaining racemeet in the running of the Monmouth County Hunt. At least that is the way itlooked from inside the refreshment tent.
By post timeperhaps two-score cars had slithered up Mr. Haskell's drive and begun to settlein the mud. Their occupants, men, women and children, bundled up infoul-weather gear from a dozen sports, promptly made for the members'refreshment tent, which began to take on the look and camaraderie of acountry-house weekend, a Red Cross disaster station and a lifeboat tossed onthe open seas. In the middle of the tent glowed a charcoal brazier and over ithuddled two young matrons taking turns toasting their shoes dry.
"Have youseen Mary since she's back from the West Coast? I think my inner sole just fellin," one said to the other. Their own and other offspring meanwhile werehelping themselves to gargantuan quantities of the hot buffet planned for 10times the number of people present.
"Have youever seen so many fabulous things you could actually eat?" asked one10-year-old of her older sister.
In a corner atelevision set blared forth the progress of the Pitt-Army game, and in anotherstood a bar, the reaching of which required some agility and a real thirstsince a formidable mud hole formed by a leak in the roof had to be forded.
A member in aTyrolean hat with Gemsbart and yellow oil slicker stood at the bar, over hisparatrooper boots in mud, and with each drink sank a little deeper into theooze. When a mud-covered, trench-coated figure lifted the flap of the tent toenter he was obviously reminded of the similarity between the present scene anda footage from an old World War I film, for he greeted his friend with abarked, "Don't let the bloody Huns get over those trenches." Nobodyseemed unduly surprised by the observation at all.
Through thehappily babbling mass packed shoulder to shoulder four bookies made their way."What's your choice, sir? Chufquen is at 4 to 1, and a bobble could doit." Incredibly enough, the races were taking place outside. A slit in thetent showed the rolling, utterly deserted grounds, and there in the distancetwo horses and their riders were jumping a brush fence, their progress reportedto the desolately empty countryside by a loudspeaker system. After the fourthrace, the Monmouth County Gold Cup, the refreshment tent began to empty. Themen went to the parking field where, with the tireless help of Amory HaskellJr. and his tractor, they wrestled their cars onto the driveway. Even the fireengine and ambulance in attendance had to get an assist. The women departed forthe main house and Mr. Haskell's large and celebrated postrace tea where, aftera quick handshake, they filled all the bathrooms for the next hour soakingtheir feet and washing their stockings.
Who won the GoldCup? Six-year-old named Basil Bee, for the fifth time, in what the paperscalled a quagmire.
The spirit ofJapan's late Emperor Meiji will be re-enshrined this week in a brand-new$1,500,000 cypress temple on the grounds of the Meiji Shrine in Tokyo. Andwhat, you may well say, has that got to do with the wonderful world of sport?The answer is: quite a lot.
Meiji, thegrandfather of Japan's present Emperor, was the ruler who, aided by America'sCommodore Perry, brought his nation out of the medieval darkness of theAshikaga shogunate into the light of the modern world. After his death in 1912,the people of Japan set out to build him a memorial partaking of everythingthat was best in their land.
His new restingplace like his old (which was bombed out in 1945) is set in the midst of 300acres that include temples, orchards, flower gardens, a picture gallery, agiant swimming pool, a wrestling arena, a baseball stadium seating 56,000,tennis courts, bowling alleys and a Rugby ground.
In a world wherereligion, sport and culture are often (and unjustifiably) proclaimed to be atodds, the Meiji Shrine seems worth noting.
They faked leftand right,
And razzled and dazzled;
Then dropped from the fight,
Not tackled, just frazzled.
--James D. Smith
They Said It
Michigan State's Duffy Daugherty, suffering afterfirst shutout since 1954: "Have you heard about my new TV program? It'scalled Where's My Line?"
Minnesota's Murray Warmath, philosophizing on 0-5season: "If lessons are learned in defeat, as they say, our team is reallygetting a great education."
Quarterback Ronnie Knox of the Toronto Argonauts, anI-like-football-but man: "If I had to make the choice between a month ofplaying football and a month of reading Marcel Proust, I'd takeProust."
"And when we send anyone 5,000 miles we expect them to win."