Know what? Casey Stengel isn't going to manage the Braves next year after all and this is why. Braves owner Lou Perini was too slow in asking.
"That ball club of yours," Lou told Case one day as they both neared the end of a three-hour plane ride, "isn't going anywhere. It's too old and you'll never get it built up again. Why don't you come and manage for us?"
"Lou," said Casey, looking Milwaukee's proprietor straight in the eye, "I've been waiting over two hours for you to say that. But when you didn't I said to myself just 15 minutes ago the hell with it, I'll stay right where I am."
November 2, 1959
Oh, yes, the man Perini finally got for the job is ex-Dodger Coach and Manager (and two-time pennant winner) Chuck Dressen.
Mr. Stephens Reserves a Seat
The men who look like Harry Truman are legion and D. Mallory Stephens might well lead their parade. Smallish, bespectacled, energetic, outspoken, peppery and incisive, he is, in short, full of the Old Harry. Like Mr. Truman, he is also a retired politician, in so far as such a thing is possible. Now a banker and insurance man, Stephens was a New York State Assemblyman for 27 years. In addition, D. Mallory Stephens has a soft spot in his heart for the military, especially the U.S. Air Force.
When Mr. Stephens learned through a friend that the Air Force-Army game was scheduled to be played at West Point's Michie Stadium before a mere 27,000 spectators, with only 2,500 tickets allotted to Air Force fans, he was outraged. Generally outraged for the Air Force, that is, and specifically worried that he himself might not get a ticket to see the game.
"Besides," said Mr. Stephens last week, "I could see the trip was going to cost the Air Force more than they'd get from the game, and that a lot of the Air Force's friends and people wouldn't be able to see it. This exercised me. My eldest son had been in the Air Force and I think it's one helluva outfit.
" 'Why not get Yankee Stadium?' I said. After all, I figured the first visit of the Air Force Academy to New York should draw a real crowd and Yankee Stadium holds 67,000. I had no assurance I could get the two schools to agree to the change, but I figured I ought to have a stadium before I started anything."
Mr. Stephens settled back in his chair and hooked his thumbs in the pockets of his vest. "So this January," he continued, "I talked to some Yankee Stadium people about renting their place. 'What do you want it for?' they asked. 'The Air Force-Army game,' I said. 'You're crazy,' they said. 'People have been telling me that for years,' I told them, 'and it doesn't bother me a bit.'
"Well, I got the option and went out to talk to the Air Force people in Colorado. They said they had originally agreed to the game at West Point because they wanted to beat the pants off Army in its own backyard. Besides, being a new school, they didn't think they'd have a first-rate team so soon, one that could fill a large ball park.
"But last year's success, when they went undefeated—and then played a scoreless tie in the Cotton Bowl—made it a different story. They were eager to get more tickets. So we got to talking, myself and the Air Force and the Army and the Defense Department and a few friends I have in Washington, and everybody eventually decided the game would be better situated in Yankee Stadium.
"It was a providential move. The Air Force, instead of only 2,500 tickets, got 30,000. My office helped with the sale free of charge. We added a few extra people, had a few extra phones installed and we were in business. We stopped selling September 24 and had to return 6,000 applications as it was."
D. Mallory Stephens, politician, financier and Air Force buff, allowed himself a fleeting Trumanesque smile of contentment. "I think," he said, "it's safe to call the game a helluva financial success. All the Air Academy has to do now is win."
Questions of Ethics
Once upon a time a quarterback could tell his team, "I'll go right this time—everybody block." Those days are long gone, so long, in fact, that at Louisiana State University, Coach Paul Dietzel is obliged to resort to a method that raises some new questions of ethics.
In order to leave as little as possible to frantic mid-battle chance, he tapes what amounts to prompting cards on his quarterbacks' wrists to furnish instant hints on which plays work best when and where. Such a system served admirably against Kentucky a fortnight ago. Noting a weakness on the Kentucky left, for instance, Warren Rabb, the LSU quarterback, had only to glance at the higgledy-piggledy on his wrist (see cut) to be reminded that 2-15 RV BT to FB was just the thing to exploit that defensive lapse. Accordingly, he called a reverse bootleg to the right, fullback carrying.
"It's like walking down the street and seeing somebody you recognize but can't recall his name," explains Dietzel. "The ready-reference play-callers supply the name in shorthand and let these kids concentrate on the physical part of their jobs."
The new questions for the class in ethics:
1) Is this coaching from the sidelines?
2) Is it like carrying a pony to an examination?
The Compleat Tiddler Catcher
West of the Salisbury Plain through the great chalk downs of southern England the placid River Stour meanders peacefully toward Bournemouth; it did meander peacefully, that is, before the matter of the tiddlers, the tiddler catchers and the tiddler catchers' catcher came up.
A tiddler, the uninitiated and un-English must be advised, is any small grubby minnow-size fish. In the vicinity of Bournemouth, even a graceful silvery salmon must start as a humble tiddler.
A tiddler catcher by the same token is almost always a small boy, fresh from bolting a Saturday morning breakfast of "bread 'n' marge," and rushing to the nearest river, lake or pond with a tiny net to see how many tiddlers he can transfer from nature's waters to a water-filled jam jar carried for that very purpose. When a tiddler catcher grows up he is called a fisherman.
The man who catches the tiddler catchers is Stanley Tomkins, 60, an old spoilsport who leases the fishing rights on six and a half miles of the River Stour from the Earl of Malmesbury for ¬£2,000 a year.
It is Tomkins' position that Bournemouth's tiddler catchers "take hundreds of thousands of valuable fish every season. In one jam jar we found five salmon, three sea trout, a rainbow trout, a brown trout and seven minnows."
Conservation instincts boiling, Lease-holder Tomkins went to the Avon and Dorset River Board and demanded that tiddler catchers be prosecuted. Not on your life, ruled Douglas Pass, chairman of the board's fisheries committee, with the mien of a man who might have slipped a tiddler into a jam jar once or twice himself not too many years ago. "The children aren't doing much harm and if we prosecute we'd be laughed out of court. After all, these boys are the anglers of the future."
At that, Tomkins reeled in and cast off in another direction by ordering his bailiffs to smash the nets of any young anglers they could apprehend flagrante delicto and to return all captured tiddlers to the water. "I shall bring a test case," he publicly thundered. "I shall have the matter raised in Parliament." But public opinion and the aroused indignation of an outraged people at last served to mollify even Stanley Tomkins. "I'm not an ogre," he protested weakly last week, offering to give fishing lessons to any tiddler catcher willing to try a hook and line. "But I won't," he firmly concluded, "have those damn butterfly nets and jam jars cluttering the riverbanks."
It sounded remarkably like victory for the tiddler catchers.
The Women and the Goddess
I am not a suffragette," said the lady, "but I do not see why a group of women, animated by the love of climbing, should not try the ascent of a great peak." The peak in question was Cho Oyu, the Turquoise Goddess, which rises a formidable 26,867 feet above sea level in the Nepal Himalayas. The speaker was Mme. Claude Kogan, a beachwear designer of Nice who herself rose a formidable 4 feet 10 inches above the floor and was the holder of the altitude record for women: 25,496 feet on Cho Oyu in 1954. Last month Mme. Kogan led an expedition of 12 women from five countries, including two daughters and a niece of the celebrated Sherpa, Tenzing Norgay, up Cho Oyu's glassy slopes.
"Ours is a poor team and we cannot afford the luxuries of modern devices," said Mme. Kogan. Indeed, they had neither oxygen, portable radio transmitters nor advanced climbing gear and most of their equipment was second-hand. But she did have confidence.
"It is amusing this way," said Mme. Kogan when asked why she didn't include any male mountaineers on her expedition, "and we did not want any distractions. As a rule, women make better climbers than men because they have greater stamina." Mme. Kogan's confident women climbers did not even bother to arrange for weather forecasts with All-India radio, a procedure which most male mountaineers consider essential before toiling up the highest peaks.
On Oct. 1 Mme. Kogan and Mile. Claudine van der Stratten-Ponthoz, a Belgian who had climbed with Mme. Kogan in Peru, went out ahead of the rest of the party with two Sherpa guides to set up an advance camp. They established Camp Four 23,000 feet up on Cho Oyu. Between Oct. 2 and Oct. 10 the Turquoise Goddess was buffeted by a 100-mile-an-hour blizzard. A search party sent up to Camp Four in its wake found the camp completely destroyed, deserted. Experts guessed that Mme. Kogan and her three companions were either swept off the mountains by an avalanche while in their tents, or that they were blown, tents and all, into some lost chasm of the mountains which have claimed the lives of at least 90 climbers since 1895.
For televiewers watching the Tony Anthony-Billy Hunter heavyweight go at Madison Square Garden last Friday night, it was all over when the referee stopped the slaughter in the seventh round. Anthony, the former favorite, now leaning back helplessly on the ropes, was plainly done for, his entire face seemingly an open wound. But for the little group of hangers-on who followed Tony back to his dressing room, there was still the question: "Why?"
Anthony, his eyes glistening with tears of disappointment and humiliation amid the cuts and contusions, said it was because "I just felt empty, like I couldn't get started."
Dr. Vincent Nardiello, longtime boxing buff who had supervised Anthony's training, said it was because "the man came in the ring at 181," 12 pounds lighter than Hunter. "Why'd ya let him, Doc?" someone logically observed. "Can't stop a man from worrying," replied Nardiello. "He worries, he loses weight."
"You ever try tranquilizers?" asked someone else. Nardiello seemed to consider the suggestion. "Unh-unh," he said soberly. "We can't use tranquilizers."
Ernie Braca, Anthony's manager, said the boy lost because "he didn't keep off the ropes. Hunter had him on the ropes all night. Tony's a boxer, not a rope fighter. He shoulda stayed away and kept his left up, moving in and out."
There was an exchange of glances around the crowded room and some nods as the manager's judgment was weighed. Then suddenly the door was flung open, and George Gainford, a mountain of a man who trains Hunter, burst into the dressing room to offer his condolences. "Tony!" he bellowed, "Tony, I got to tell you. You fought a really great fight. A really great fight. They gotta give you that, they certainly have. They gotta give you that."
Tony's manager forced a grin. "G'wan you bum," Braca said to the other fighter's trainer in mock anger. "G'wan, get outta here. You're the biggest con man I know."
Tony Anthony himself said nothing. He just sat there and hurt.
New Use for Old Fad
Where are the fads of yesteryear? Up in the attic most likely. The pogo stick, the mah-jongg set, the bongo board, the ouija board, the fox tail for the car aerial, the Davy Crockett coonskin cap and the huge morning-glory phonograph horn, there they all lie gathering dust along with, we venture to guess, a hula hoop or two.
Year after year these symbols of mortal whim and fancy are saved, not with the thought of use by some yet unjaded generation, but because a mystique demands that fads which provided such fun can't be coldly cast away as worthless trash.
Now comes word which may help clear the attic and give new heart to sentimental hoarders. Small boys, it seems, have been observed tying three or four fishing lines to hula hoops and using the hollow plastic tubes as bobbers. The hoops, which lie in delicate balance on the water, quiver exquisitely at the slightest fishy nibble, helping them fulfill their new purpose perhaps better than any other form of bobber.
Duffy Daugherty, Michigan State University's football coach and raconteur, was telling football writers the other day about how he was sitting in his office reflecting on MSU's last-place finish last year in the Big Ten when:
"In walks this young recruit who's so big he had to stoop and turn sideways to make it through the door. He weighs 240 and stands 6 feet 6. 'Son,' I said, sizing him up, I suppose you're an end or a tackle.' 'No coach,' he answered. 'Matter of fact I'm a quarterback.'
"Then he tells me he can run the 100 in 9.7, that he threw 11 touchdown passes and scored 12 himself last year, that he set a state basketball scoring record and was valedictorian of his class. By now I'm almost crazy with anxiety. 'Son, you must be the greatest thing ever to hit sports,' I said. 'You run, you pass, you're big and a good student. Tell me. Isn't there anything wrong with you...just one little flaw?' The kid blushed a little and answered, 'Yes, there is, coach. I'm inclined to lie a little.' "
Well now, it wasn't more than a couple of days later that Duffy was bending the ear of the football writers again, this time extolling a huge MSU freshman tackle named Jim Bobbitt as "the greatest college lineman anywhere today." The newsmen exchanged weary looks of here-we-go-again and waited for the tag line. But for once Duffy was dead serious. His new boy was for real.
"This Bobbitt," said Duffy, "has just finished three years of service ball. He is 5 feet 9 and weighs 240 and he can handle any two men you put on him. He could make any pro squad right now. I tell you, he's the greatest."
Duffy met Bobbitt last year while conducting a coaching clinic at Berchtesgaden, Germany for the Air Force. Big Jim had just been named for the second year to the All-Air Force team in Europe, and a look at some Bobbitt film clips was all the MSU coach needed. "I told him to place his career in my hands, and he did," recalls Duffy.
Bobbitt is pleased he accepted the offer. "I'm at MSU for football and an education," he said recently. "I like this place. I fell in love with it last spring. The flowers and everything were real nice."
Last week the MSU varsity got its first look at this football Ferdinand in a scrimmage. "He's like a mountain out there," said one reserve end. "This is a freshman?" asked a varsity back. "I think the Army sent a tank and kept Bobbitt."
Freshman Bobbitt is still in need of discipline and training, and his coaches are not about to follow Duffy Daugherty out on his All-America-prediction limb just yet. But they also are not writing off his high praise of Bobbitt as another Duffy Daugherty gag.
This boy is no joke.
D'ye Ken Never-Never?
Hire-purchase is the official British name for buying on the installment plan, but most Britons, content to relax in a state of more-or-less permanent debt, call it simply the never-never.
Last week the never-never and an older British watchword, tallyho, met on the rolling countryside of Sussex as the tradition-encrusted Old Surrey and Burstow Hunt adopted an installment plan of membership.
Members of Old Surrey and Burstow may now pay their $112 subscription "at convenient periods" during the November to April fox hunting season and even avail themselves of a new cut-rate family plan by which a husband and wife can hunt for $182, and their children for $21 each.
Said 67-year-old Colonel Sir Ralph Clarke, Old Surrey and Burstow's joint master, "We're very much against hunting being a rich man's sport. For people who are not too well off and might feel the pinch, we hope this will help."
Here is a harness race, by heck,
The kind that we endorse,
Where harnesses race neck and neck,
Unhampered by a horse.
They Said It
Rocky Marciano, retired heavyweight champion: "Archie Moore showed me more tricks in one round than any other man I ever faced did in 15."
Eddie Erdelatz Jr., football playing (San Jose State, freshman) son of the former Navy coach, after being benched for a minor injury: "If my old man were coach of this outfit, I'd be in there right now."
Warren Giles, president of the National League, in a more or less unintentional summation of what's wrong with big league baseball: "When two or three of our people indicate they are against (something), any consideration is a waste of time since our rules call for unanimous approval."
Jack Curtice, Stanford football coach, on married athletes: "The psychology is bad. A single fellow gets a bruise and his girl friend is there to pet him. A married man comes home with a little cut and his wife says 'When are you going to start thinking about earning a living?' "
Arthur Mail of England, after running 100 miles nonstop: "I must be crazy."