What Every Governor Should Know
While boxing was having its cold-war conferences from Paris hotel rooms to New York grand-jury rooms, a governor was getting his own first look at the inside of this battle-weary sport. Alarmed because hoodlums had threatened a Los Angeles fight promoter, and may or may not have beaten him up, California's Governor Edmund G. Brown asked his attorney general a question that has troubled many another American sports fan. "What," the governor might have informally put it, "is going on with boxing?"
California Attorney General Stanley Mosk has now sent Governor Brown part of the answer—a 16-page report short on investigative detail but beefed up with some outspoken recommendations. Leaving the case of Promoter Jackie Leonard to the FBI and the federal grand jury now investigating it, the Mosk report looked directly into the operation of the California State Athletic Commission. Considered one of the best such commissions in the country, this California agency was still subjected to criticism by the attorney general, and on grounds which the governors of other states can well consider.
The California commission is, like all such commissions, faced with two conflicting tasks. On the one hand it is a revenue-collecting agency receiving a percentage of each boxing and wrestling admission ticket sold, and on the other hand it is a regulatory agency, charged with enforcement of the state's athletic laws. The admission taxes are used to operate the commission. If the commission sanctions no major fights there are few admissions; therefore scant salary money. Thus, it is in the financial interests of the commission to let nothing stand in the way of big fights in California, and yet these are the very fights which the commission should scrutinize the hardest because they are the most tempting to hoodlums. Boxing figures are well aware of the financial situation of the commission and use it to ignore state laws when they feel the commission wouldn't dare clamp down and prevent a major fight, the Mosk report states.
August 16, 1959
The report also took a broadside whack at television—"The television impresarios have not demonstrated any great degree of reluctance to deal with criminal elements in the boxing business"—and urged that the commission be freed from any supervision of "that boisterous fraud called professional wrestling."
But it is in its stand on financing that the Mosk report comes closest to the critical issue involved in boxing supervision by state commissions. Even a government agency cannot be expected to bite the hand that pays it. To avoid losing revenue, it may turn its back on violations of the very laws it is charged with enforcing. That, in short, is the story the Mosk report gave Governor Brown. The solution, the report said, is to let the athletic commission draw on general state funds to make up any shortage left after admission taxes are collected. But this would appear only half an answer, for as long as boxing was still a major source of financial support the commission would not have a free hand.
By taking the next step, and having athletic commissions draw all money from state general funds, the financial dependency of the agency would end, and enforcement of state boxing laws could begin.
Failure to take such action could end with adoption of another recommendation of the Mosk report—federal boxing legislation. Would such legislation, or even formation of a federal boxing commission, be advisable? Possibly so, if state athletic commissions continue to close their eyes to blatant violations of the laws they are supposed to enforce.
Governor Brown is to be praised for his demand for a boxing investigation in his own state. His curiosity might well be followed by chief executives in other states. Then they, like Governor Brown, would begin to find out what is going on.
Frank Lane is the head man of the Cleveland Indians, make no mistake about that, but call him by that phrase these days and he may wince and change the subject. What is making the Indian general manager publicly sensitive, if privately delighted, is a bonus arrangement in his contract under which he collects a nickel a head for every Cleveland paid admission over 800,000.
The Indians ended their recent home stand in a blaze of attendance glory, topping the 1 million mark when 35,000 paid to see a double-header. This brought the nickels-for-Lane fund to a tidy $10,478.10 total. At the present rate the Indians may draw 1,400,000 this year, giving Fiscal Frank a $30,000 jackpot bonus to add to his estimated $60,000 salary.
Lane has modestly declined to comment on his bonus arrangement and plainly suffered when a daily box score of his take was published. But with Cleveland fans as enchanted by the Indians as Lane must be with the fans there seems no cause for concern. And who could blame Frank if he spends the rest of the home season with one eye on the diamond where his Indians battle for a World Series chance (no, Lane would get no bonus for Series games) while his other eye wanders over the stands, counting nickels.
Followers of boxing have had to confront so many painful evidences of scandal and excessive self-seeking in that great sport lately that it may be a relief, of a sort, to catch up with what has been going on in the gourmet sport of bear eating in McCleary, Wash. (pop. 1,175). The latest competition was admittedly rigged, but the rigger owned up right away and has been pretty much forgiven.
Our story begins last spring when the editor of the weekly newspaper in Stevenson, Wash. (pop. 584) wrote a piece stating that bears shot in Skamania County, where Stevenson is located, taste better than bears shot in Grays Harbor County, where McCleary is located.
There wasn't much news in Stevenson that week. Norman Porter, the editor of the McCleary Stimulator, roused to fury, replied with cutting remarks about Skamania bears and glowing claims for the goodness of Grays Harbor bears—claims Porter supported with testimonials from the McCleary Chamber of Commerce (president, Norman Porter) and the McCleary Historical Society (president, Norman Porter). Newspaper columns took up the controversy, the town council of McCleary built a community kitchen in the town park; and, in connection with a reforestation festival, there has been held what was advertised as "The First International Bear Eating and Bear Judging Contest This World Has Ever Known."
Now comes the interesting part. One bear was entered by Roy Craft, the boastful editor of the Skamania County Pioneer (who started the whole thing). Bears No. 2 and No. 3 were entered by Bill Hulet, a professional hunter from Grays Harbor County, and Roe Franklin, another professional, from Mason County. 'Finally, Bear No. 4, a Grays Harbor, was entered by 27-year-old Joe Wall-man, who said he had shot the beast in Weyerhaeuser Company's timber just south of Elma (pop. 1,543).
Early the other Saturday morning Wendell Peugh, a McCleary chef renowned for cooking bear, prepared all entries in the same way. Butchering out cuts of 13 pounds or less, he made slits in the meat and inserted slivers of garlic. He covered each roast with fine chopped parsley and celery (tops and all) and roasted at moderate temperature in open pans. As the drippings gathered, Wendell added savory sauce, paprika, salt, pepper and native wild beach mushrooms.
Results were delicious. The meat was served shish kebab style, in chunks on sharpened sticks, and visitors (about 1,000 at the festival) lined up for second and third helpings. The official judges unhesitatingly declared that Joe Wallman's bear was by far the best tasting. Before any official award could be made, word spread that Wallman's bear had been hand-fed before being shot. Called before the judges, young Wallman, an honest man, told all. He said he spotted the bear in the Clemons Tree Farm operated by Weyerhaeuser three weeks before the contest. Rather than shoot the bear then, and store it in a home freeze, he decided to wait. Night after night he provided tasty pots of salted mush, stewed oatmeal and fruit, which the bear ate with relish. Then Joe pulled the trigger.
Implacable judges awarded the first prize to beaming Editor Roy Craft on the ground that his was the best of the bears fed on wilderness fare alone. But no local censure was directed at Hunter Wallman. Black bears have become mighty unpopular in the Pacific Northwest. Emerging from winter hibernation, they have an insatiable appetite for sweets, which they satisfy by clawing the bark from young fir trees to get at the oozy sap from the cambium layer below. In the original wilderness, since young trees were widely scattered, they did not do great damage. But, with the development of tree farms for reforestation, it is estimated each bear in the Olympic Peninsula kills an average of 1,200 trees a year. As a result, there is no limit on bears in the peninsula, no license is required to hunt them and the likelihood is that bear-eating contests will go on and on.
The Latest in Torches
Although the Greeks could doubtless have coined an appropriate word for it had the necessity arisen, they had no way of knowing that nearly 3,000 eager young Americans would someday be carrying a torch loaded with an electronic, radioactive miracle more than 1,400 miles to light a fire.
What is billed as "the biggest relay-team event in sports history" is now in progress, with boy scouts and Explorers bearing the Friendship Torch steadily toward Soldier Field in Chicago. The long trek, being conducted at scout pace (alternate stints of 50 steps walking and running), started at Laredo, Texas and will end when the torch touches off Friendship Fire to launch the Pan-American Games on August 27.
The torch, 25 inches high and weighing four pounds, is an electrical, battery-powered gadget with a transistorized circuit. It carries a radioactive charge which will be used to trigger the Chicago fire, 1959 version.
The torch's long journey actually began at Mexico City, site of the 1957 Pan-American Games. From there, relays of Mexican boy scouts hustled it north the 740-odd up-and-down miles to the Rio Grande and delivered it ceremoniously to their U.S. opposite numbers in the middle of the International Bridge at Laredo.
On this side of the Rio Grande each scout runs one mile—in daylight only. At night the torch is carefully put aside in order to keep the scouts from being knocked about the countryside by something the ancient Greek torchbearers did not have to worry about—speeding automobiles.
Five years ago this week the first issue of SPORTS ILLUSTRATED was published and, in the line of parlor games, we included a highly improbable fiction called Ladle Rat Rotten Hut by Howard Chace, a language teacher at Miami University, Ohio. With an insidious knack for distorting the spoken word when putting it on the printed page, Chace blithely started his story, "Wants pawn term" (for once upon a time), and let the reader struggle on from there. Read aloud, and preferably in company, Professor Chace's frammis constructions made a sense of their own. So much so, indeed, that a collection of them—titled The Anguish Languish—was published in book form by Prentice-Hall in 1956.
Now, as an aunt a verse ray (excuse us), hello, Professor Chace has contributed another fairy tale as it might be told by a psychotic speller with a speech impediment. Here is his not-so-Grimm rendering of Slipping Booty. With the helpful hint that "Lessen, poisoned gulls," should be translated "Listen, boys and girls," we turn you loose to see how fast you can figure out what really happened to the handsome prince:
Lessen, poisoned gulls, ditcher wander hair annulled furry tell a boarder Slipping Booty? Hoecake? Wail, heresy starry.
Wants dare worsted putty ladle prances hoe hat ban putter slip furry hunter cheers buyer wicket an shellfish furry gourd murder. Dish putty gull, pimple set, worse line honor bet, sounder slip, inner bet rum off annulled gloaming casserole, saturated inner lodge, dock florist.
Nor bawdy wen entity florist, an fur servile furry gourd raisins. Honor itch offer florist worse assign witch set:
NOR TRASH PASSION!
NOR HAUNTING AN FISSION!
Warts mar, dish florist worse surrendered buyer larder brambling bushels, wet lung, shop sticklers witch grabbled pimple hoe traitor gore entity florist. Nor bawdy cut gat pest doze hobble sticklers.
Jester seam, dare worse wan person hoe worse determinant toe gore entity florist an finder Slipping Booty an wagon erupt. Dish parson worsted hansom prance, hoe lift inner gorges palates wetters fodder an murder, hoe warder kink an coin offer lend. Wan moaning dish gourd-lurking bore stuttered toe toilers fodder warty worse garner doe.
"Nor! Nor!" crater kink. "Dun bay searching end bustle! Yonder nor sorghum stenches shutter parson gore enter debt florist! Debt florist's inhibited buyer larder gobblings an udder wicket crashers! Itch mush toe dentures furry hormone bang!"
"Yore fodder's quoit rat," setter coin, hoed ban lessening, "an, bay-sites, denture seed assign? NOR TRASH PASSION!"
"Sore wart?" aster prance wetter snare. "Hose skirt assigns? Are dun peony tension tomb!"
"Wail," contingent haze murder, "wart aboard doze brambling bushels? Ditcher wander scorcher hens an phase? Wart aboard yore closing? Ditcher wander terrier pence honor sticklers?"
"Dun wary aboard mar closing, Murder," reprisal prance. "Arm nutty garner turret wetter sticklers."
"Wail," setter coin, "watcher wander wagon upper Slipping Booty fur, any-ware? Suture worming! Liner slip, during nosing, furry hunter cheers! Batter kipper ware firm debt candor worming; dare nor gourd!"
Wail, poisoned gulls, dish prance dint peony tension tories murder an fodder. Necks moaning, hay burrowed annex firmer word shopper, an wacky! wacky! wacky! hay shopped darner brambling bushels an wen entity florist. Fur lung, hay retched dole casserole an, clamming upper steers, soddenly entity bet rum offer Slipping Booty.
"O bore!" setter prance tomb shelf, "water gourd-lurking prances!" Any nudist, spatially, oiler putty yowler coils sprat art honor pillar. Tap towing tutor bet, hay stupid darn and caster honor chick.
"Gore ware," setter prances. "Conjure seer arm slipping?"
"Itch tarn toe wagon ope, sweat hard," whiskered door prance. "Yore banner slip furry hunter cheers!"
Herring doze hobble warts, door prances stuttered sopping historically; dingy lipped otter bet an lurked adder shelf inner lurking gloss furry lung, lung term.
Shay worse justice putty ashy oyster bay!
Wail, chaldron, jester maker lung starry shirt, dish harpy cobble felon luff rat aware an, fur lung, day war becalming horse barn an waif. Door prance tucker prances hum tutor gorges palates toe lift wetters fodder an murder an oily udders inner kink's lodge firmly.
Ware day harpy? Dun asthma! Effervescent fur wan ladle think, dish cobble miter ban furry contended an congenital, butter prances, hoed jest slapped furry hunter cheers, dint wander goiter slip akin, enter pore horse barn hatter stare wake oil gnat lung, lessening tour tuck aboard oiler pimple inner palates an spatially a boarder murdering lore, door coin!
New Ball, Please
Baseball leaves the pitcher's hand,
A little spheroid of white;
It is a fast-breaking ball,
So it shatters while in flight.
They Said It
Yogi Berra of the American League All-Stars, weighing the disadvantages of trying to catch a ball coming out of the sea of white shirts in the Los Angeles Coliseum bleachers against the advantage of a 95,000 seating capacity at World Series time: "Lead me to the bank. I'll find those pitches if I have to feel for them." HOYT WILHELM, evaluating the short left field fence in the same manner: "A pitcher's nightmare. But I'd love a Series here. The cut we'd get! I wouldn't care if they put the fence at third base." TED WILLIAMS, summing up: "I'd never holler. A major leaguer can adapt to any park."
Frankie Carbo, boxing's Hoodlum No. 1, keeping mum on boxing while being transported by police from New Jersey to New York (where he was subsequently released on $100,000 bail), but essaying an observation on baseball: "That Willie McCovey may give the Giants the pennant, though I still like Milwaukee. Of course, you understand I'm not a gambling man."