Governor DavidLawrence of Pennsylvania refused to skip the World Series to go politickingwith Vice-presidential Candidate Lyndon Johnson. Whereupon Johnson canceled hisPennsylvania trip. This is one of the smaller disturbances caused by thatannual phenomenon, the World Series. One of the larger ones is going on, dayand night, in Pittsburgh. Offers of $100 each for tickets are being turneddown. A Pittsburgh sportswriter called friends on the Chicago Daily News to askif they could fix him up with a ticket. The only groups in town satisfied witharrangements are the judiciary and the crooks. The courts are closing at noonduring the Series, because almost every Pittsburgh judge has a ticket.
For theunticketed, there are special blessings in the form of super-duper newspaperand radio-TV coverage. Yogi Berra is covering for Hearst. A kindly sportswriteragreed to dot Yogi's i's and cross his t's. The Pittsburgh Press is using DickGroat and Vernon Law; Press Writer Les Biederman is doing both columns. Thisgives Groat time to do a nightly radio analysis of each game, and maybe to playa little shortstop.
The Rotary Clubof Kansas City ordered six television sets for its meeting this week, and theguest speaker will be told to sit down and shut up. If the Series goes sevengames, two guest speakers will be told to sit down and shut up.
At ShawneeMission North High School in Kansas, the games are being piped into classroomsin an attempt to improve the students' health. In years past, flu epidemicshave hit the school at World Series time. A similar step has been taken at thePittsburgh post office to improve the health of the employees'grandmothers.
Betting has beenrestrained, bookmakers report. Before the first game, the Pirates weresentimental favorites, but betting them was to ignore (or sneer down) theYankees' winning streak at season's end (see below). Maury Schwartz, a LasVegas odds-maker and bon vivant, noted that New York held strong at 7-to-5favorites, but "the bookmakers are jittery about it." ExplainedSchwartz:
"I think somegroup in the East made these prices; they don't reflect the true situation.Over the past 10 or 12 years the Yanks have always been able to come up with arally. But the Yankee players are big moguls sitting in overstuffed chairs withbig cigars in their mouths. The Pirates are hungry. I personally expect them totake the Series in from five to seven games." You should remember you heardit from Maury.
In the last ofthe ninth, Ken Hunt beat out a beautiful backspinning bunt. The crowd began therhythmic clapping. Then Dale Long hit the fifth pitch on a flat arc into theright-field bullpen, and the crowd roared its appreciation as it tumbled towardthe exits. The Yanks had beaten Boston 8-7 to close out the season with a15-game winning streak, longest pennant-winning finish in history.
How did it feelto be riding a giddy wave into the World Series? Catcher-Coach Jim Hegan,mindful of baseball superstition, said he "almost wished we'd lostone," and Casey Stengel was scornful. "Psychological edge?" snortedCase. "If their pitchers don't curve and if they're wild, if they don'tplay as well as we do, then we got the edge."
But Infielder JoeDeMaestri, who's seen enough losers to know, felt the Yanks were one upalready. "We're in a winning frame of mind," he said, "and thatgives us an edge. The Pirates didn't play well last week, and right now they'resaying, 'Boy, the Yanks are hotter than hell.' The pressure will sure be onthem."
A youngSoutherner named Jack Evans had a notion recently which, if it had beenexecuted, might have made amateur tennis a relatively honest game. But not,alas, an amateur one. Evans, an enthusiastic though recent arrival on thetennis scene, is the promoter of the Tuscaloosa Invitational singles anddoubles tournament, now in progress in the Alabama city. His notion was to lurecompetitors with cash awards of $100 per winning round, instead of thecustomary padded expenses. The finalists would have stood to make $500 each($200 less than Lew Hoad's amateur price—SI, Sept. 12—but not bad).
Evans wasdissuaded from this honest, forthright, sensible but terribly naughty idea inthe nick of time. If he had paid his players real money, instead of expensemoney, and the word had gotten out, the USLTA—under its own curious definitionof honesty—would have had no choice but to declare all participantsprofessionals. Among other things, this would have meant Christmas athome—instead of in Australia—for the U.S. Davis Cup team.
British kids arefitter than American kids. That's what William R. Campbell of St. Luke'sCollege, Exeter told an international conference on health and fitness in Rome.What's more, he proved it.
Last yearCampbell applied the American Association for Health, Physical Education andRecreation fitness test to more than 10,000 British children, carefullyselected so as to "duplicate exact testing conditions" in the U.S. Thenhe compared the results with those of 8,500 U.S. children. "The finalresult," said Campbell, "was that British boys were far superior toU.S. boys in all the fitness tests [pull-ups, sit-ups, shuttle run, 50-yarddash, standing broad jump, softball throw and 600-yard run-walk], except forthe softball throw, which is not indigenous to the British. British boys havegreater shoulder-girdle strength, superior agility, greater abdominalendurance, leg explosive power and circulatory endurance.
"Britishgirls," Campbell said, "paralleled the British boys in theirsuperiority over their U.S. counterparts. In addition, British girls performedbetter, at corresponding ages, than the average 10-, 11-, 12-and 13-year-oldU.S. boys in five of the seven tests. In general, British and U.S. boys andBritish girls improved with age, while U.S. girls showed either littleimprovement or regressed with age.
"The physicalfitness of a nation," Campbell concluded, "is definitely not displayedin the showing of its Olympic team, or by its economic stature, but by what itsindividuals can actually do, and U.S. youth does not display good physicalfitness when judged by these criteria."
•Don't be misledby attempts to play down the Florida and Oregon football bribery cases.Investigators have now discovered some of the culprits were once involved in anattempt to fix an Ivy League basketball game, suspect other—perhapssuccessful—fixes have been tried.
•The firstlawsuit to come out of the Rome Olympics will be filed shortly by Wim Esseyas,a runner who was Surinam's only entry. Esseyas slept through his 800-meterheat, thereby became the crying stock of his tiny country. His suit will beagainst Freddy Glans, Surinam "team leader," and will claim"compensation for morale damages." Glans's sin: he forgot to wakeEsseyas up.
•Bob Elliott isdefinitely out as manager of the Kansas City Athletics. But if local interestssucceed in buying the A's, General Manager Parke Carroll, target of much abusefrom the fans, will get another one-year contract.
•Track CoachPayton Jordan of Stanford has spent many hours studying films of Russian highjumpers, now concludes that their nine-step "mintz" approach is sound.The series of short steps, instead of the American relaxed "lag" style,enables the jumper to get more "pop" or "lift" from histake-off foot.
•There is an evenchance that the University of Kansas shortly will be placed on probation by theNCAA. The charge: illegal football recruiting procedures.
•Jack McCartan,the Frank Merriwell of the winter Olympics, will have to overcome one seriousfault if he is to make it big as the New York Rangers' goalie. National HockeyLeague insiders say he tries to catch too many pucks, particularly on his stickside.
•San FranciscoGiant fans, putting pressure on Owner Horace Stoneham to dump cheery-beeryManager Tom Sheehan, are taking newspaper ads to demand that Leo Durocher behired as manager immediately.