BASEBALL—The major league clubs continued to experiment with their muscles in Florida and Arizona, and Grapefruit League standings, no real criterion for what will happen once the season opens, had the usual unusual look. Baltimore and Los Angeles were perched at the top of their respective leagues, while the New York Yankees muddled along at a .500 pace and Milwaukee kicked around in the cellar with only five victories in 18 games.
The Yankees were far from worried, but the Braves began to look over their shoulders at San Francisco after the Giants added pitching vitamins by acquiring Sam Jones and his mean fastball from St. Louis for Infielders Ray Jablonski and Bill White.
TRACK & FIELD—John Thomas, young (18) Boston U. superstar who astounded track world last winter when he cleared 7 feet 1¼ inches for world-high-jump record, had narrow escape when his left foot got caught in moving elevator at school dormitory. Thomas suffered three lacerations, contusions and blood clot under skin, but, fortunately, nerves and tendons were not harmed, and he should be jumping again in two to three months. Explained Thomas ruefully: "I just got my foot in the wrong place."
FENCING—Hard-pressed by NYU at end of first day, host team Navy met the Violets in sword-to-sword combat and successfully fought them off to win NCAA championship, an unprecedented sweep of all three individual titles and Coach of the Year award for Navy's 38-year-old Andre Deladrier. Turning point came when Joe Paletta (see below), onetime NYUer who lost only once in entire tournament, stabbed away confidently to beat NYU's Gene Glazer, his two-time conqueror during season, for foil title. Al Morales followed with victory in sabre, and Roland Wommack won it all for jubilant Middies when he became first to take épée crown for second straight year. "I'm embarrassed that we won so much," protested happy Coach Deladrier. But Captain Slade Cutter, Navy's bluff-tough athletic director, crowed, "I'm not. I'm happy as a clam at high tide. I don't care what the sport is, it's great to win. Man, we can stand this kind of embarrassment."
April 6, 1959
WRESTLING—Oklahoma State, which has had virtual lock on NCAA championship, asserted its right once again at Iowa City despite strong challenge by Iowa State. Cowboys produced only two individual champions, Heavyweight Ted Ellis and 157-pound Dick Beattie, but had depth and skill to pile up 73 points for 21st crown in 29 years. Iowa State's Larry Hayes (shown below, lifting North Carolina's Henderson) pulled biggest surprise, whipping Oklahoma State's previously unbeaten Shelby Wilson for 137-pound title. Other winners: Yale's Andy Fitch, 115 pounds; Cornell's Dave Auble, 123 pounds; Oklahoma's Stan Abel, 130 pounds; Iowa State's Ron Gray, 147 pounds, who was named outstanding wrestler.
BASKETBALL—There is nothing so old as last year's NBA championship, and St. Louis will have plenty of time to reflect upon past glory. Minneapolis' splendid rookie, Elgin Baylor, saw to that (see page 18) when he led Lakers to three straight over Hawks for Western title. After losing third game 127-97, Lakers won 108-98, and Baylor's foul shot beat Hawks 98-97 in overtime at St. Louis. Next night, Baylor scored 33 points, and Minneapolis shot down Hawks for good 106-104. Meanwhile, Boston and Syracuse alternately won and lost in East and were deadlocked after six games.
HOCKEY—Montreal and Boston appeared ready to sweep Stanley Cup playoffs, but both were pulled up short after winning twice. Canadiens' Marcel Bonin, least celebrated member of Beliveau-Moore-Bonin line, suddenly got hot and helped beat Chicago 4-2, 5-1. But Black Hawks fought back, finally caught Montreal 4-2. Boston took first two from Toronto, then couldn't handle Gerry Ehman, who gave Maple Leafs 3-2 win in sudden-death overtime.
BOXING—Weary of waiting while Sugar Ray Robinson indulged in his usual financial acrobatics, crafty old Archie Moore decided that a buck in hand (a $250,000 guarantee) was worth two in the dim future and signed with Jim Norris' National Boxing Enterprises to defend his light heavyweight title against dangerous Yvon Durelle in Montreal July 15.