A THINKING CHAMPION
Eight hundred friends, some old, some fair weather, gave Floyd Patterson a testimonial dinner of roast duck in New York last week. They also gave the heavyweight boxing champion of the world some sumptuous gifts, and they made complimentary remarks about him, Off to one side, Floyd Patterson said:
"Since the fight, I've been taking it easy, for one thing, and taking care of my new baby boy, for another. The doctor told my wife not to go to the fight but she did anyway. It didn't make any difference, because the boy was not born until the ninth of July. After two daughters, he is my first son. We named him Floyd II. When he was born he weighed eight pounds and two ounces, so I know he's got the material. But he'll have to be taught how to use it. That's my job. It's also my job to give him his bottle at 3 in the morning and again at 6. The two of us get along just fine.
"Sometimes I've thought a little about what people said before I won the fight. I didn't mind so much them saying Ingemar Johansson would probably beat me, but I did mind that nobody said they hoped I'd win just the same. I know we're not at war with Sweden or anything like that, but, after all, I'm an American, and didn't the sportswriters want the title back in America? I still don't understand why I got so little encouragement.
July 31, 1960
"Now, of course, everybody wants to be friendly and everybody's writing something nice about me. That's O.K., but you understand what I mean when I say they're writing it now when I really don't need it."
OUT AT SECOND
"I don't know much about baseball but I'd like to see a game," said the lady caller at the Pittsburgh Pirate ticket office.
"Fine," said the agent.
"Have you two nice seats along the second-base line?" asked the lady.
THE HERO OF BRIGHT PARK
Bill Hartack—the petulant and skillful young race rider who leads all other jockeys this year in winners ridden (190), agents parted with (two) and members of the sporting press rebuked (just about all of them); who won two legs of the 1960 Triple Crown with two different horses; who said, "I'm an athlete, not a publicity man," in January and kissed a horse for publicity pictures in May—lives for much of the year in a small, split-level house in Miami Springs, Fla.
About 10 minutes from Hartack's home is a baseball field called Bright Park. There Hartack hears things these days far different from the jeers of race fans that often accompany his appearance at the track.
This has come about since a man named Tony Parra approached Hartack and said, "I'm organizing a baseball league for little boys 4 to 8 years old. Would you sponsor one or two teams?" Hartack thought awhile and said, "Why just a couple? I'll underwrite the whole league." After starting with 40 boys the league has now grown to 200, and Hartack is still paying for shirts, balls, bats and other items that have cost him $781.15.
"I wish," said a friend of Hartack's recently, "that you could hear some of the parents talk about Bill. They adore him. They think he's the greatest thing in the world."
Let's hope none of the kids ever calls him Willie.
In Truro, Mass., on Cape Cod, two surf casters, fishing a small tidal river on a moonless night, discovered after one frustrating hour that 1) the tide was out, 2) the river and fish were out with it, and 3) the bait they had been casting was landing somewhere off in the darkness in the middle of a sand bar.
In Miami, retired obstetrician Dr. Louis Haas fought and landed a 100-pound sting ray in 35 minutes. Noting a suspicious abdominal bulge, Dr. Haas rendered professional assistance. Mother and four little rays, returned to the water, are doing fine.
Off the California coast, a bunch of the boys from the National Football League were deep-sea fishing. Big Daddy Lipscomb fell asleep, whereupon L. G. Dupre pulled in Lipscomb's line, tied a bucket on the end and threw it back in the water. Big Daddy woke up, hollered, "I got one!" and began pumping away. After exhausting runs and leaps by the fighting bucket, Lipscomb reeled his quarry into sight just below the surface of the water. "Man!" shouted Big Daddy. "Look at the mouth on that fish!"
When we left intrepid Bud Boyd two weeks ago, you may recall, Bud, his wife and his three children (ages 8, 12 and 15) were on their own in the mountain fastness of northern California. On assignment for the San Francisco Chronicle, they had with them an ax, five knives, some salt and some nylon rope and cord, and they were counting on wit and enterprise to keep body and soul more or less together for at least six weeks.
But their experiment to find out how "the last family on earth" might survive an atomic war has ended in failure after only 12 days. As we rejoin the family, we hear Bud, through the daily journal he kept, saying:
"Our first night was horrible. For the first time in my life I am afraid of the mountains. It rained, it hailed and it was bitter cold.... It was uncomfortable beyond words."
Having failed to finish a satisfactory shelter before the storm struck, Boyd conceded that after only a few hours in the wilderness he and his family "were in a desperate plight." Building a fire with a shoelace-powered drill "took ages," two lean-tos Boyd erected were "miserable failures." "This weather could kill us," he concluded. "I don't know what we'll do."
What Bud did do was go fishing, on the third day, in Lower Lipstick Lake. He fashioned a barbless hook from daughter Sharon's ring, made line by raveling his nylon cord, cut a pole from an alder sapling. The seven trout he managed to land helped out, but Boyd still wrote: "These have been the most brutish, hellish, most miserable days in our lives."
In succeeding days, things took a turn for the worse. The Boyds harvested dandelion leaves and skunk cabbage tubers but failed in their first attempts to cook them in a hot mud pack. ("We threw the whole filthy mess away....") Boyd lost his finger-ring hook to a fat, ferocious trout, had to improvise other lures from manzanita twigs and nylon fluff. A marauding bear ("a great black hulk of darkness framed against the star-glow sky") leaned into the lean-to one night. The fire went out. The children whimpered in their sleep. Scratches, insect bites and blisters became infected. Clothes began to disintegrate. "Do you think we live like animals?" Boyd scribbled. "We do not. The animals are better off."
Finally, on the 11th day with hardships mounting apace, one of Boyd's rope snares trapped a fawn. The meat, their first, was the family's undoing: they all took sick with dysentery and Bud was compelled to summon help and return to San Francisco.
Boyd's travails were not over. He was back before even the first of his daily installments (brought out of the woods by a messenger the Boyds never saw) had appeared in the Chronicle and 41 other U.S. newspapers. The Chronicle, for circulation reasons, held off saying so. The rival San Francisco Examiner, for obvious reasons, was delighted to say so, and even implied that the "last-family" story had been a hoax from beginning to end. The Chronicle replied huffily that if the experiment had been a hoax, it would not, of course, have ended in failure. And to back up their righteous indignation, the Chronicle and Bud Boyd are suing the Examiner for $2,105,000 for libel.
STEERING THE ROPE
Roping a steer, that old-timy pastime of the old West, has come full circle.
As Huron Hawks of Hollis, Ark., described his idea to the U.S. Patent Office: loop of lasso is attached to long pole, pole is edged up to edgy steer, loop is steered over steer's head, pole is withdrawn, rope is pulled tight, steer is yours. Patent No. 2,944,518 granted. Yippee—also Timber!
BET WITH BETTYE
Bettye Stark is a pert 14-year-old who says she'd "rather be around a race track than any place else." She has been spending most of her vacation at the Longacres track near Seattle.
"I sure wish I had a race horse of my own," she said recently, for the umpty-umpth time. "Well, now you do," said her father, and he brought out Alibhai Buz, a 3-year-old chestnut colt he had been able to buy for $400. The reason for the low price was that Alibhai Buz had earned $170 in 1959 and nothing at all in 1960. Undismayed, Bettye last week entered her horse in a $1,200 claiming race at Longacres. Out of $10,551 in the mutuel pool, he drew only 27 bets totaling $63.
Naturally, Alibhai Buz breezed home by two and a half lengths, paid $284.60 to win, and made the holders of 27 tickets awfully happy that Bettye Stark was vacationing at their race track.
When facing a formidable hitter, White Sox Pitcher Early Wynn sometimes seems to aim directly for the batter's ear. It helps square things. At Chicago's Comiskey Park last week, Wynn was giving his 18-year-old son, Joe Early, some batting practice. Joe Early lined one, sizzling, past his old man's head.
Sure enough, the next pitch came in high, hard and about a foot inside. Joe Early threw himself into the dust just in time.