THE INSIDE TRACK
•A real world series—Japan vs. U.S.—will be played in 1964 in Tokyo (probably during the Olympic Games) if Old Japan Hand Lefty O'Doul can convince Commissioner Ford Frick that Japanese baseball is now at the big league level (see "The Polite Americans," next page).
•Burned when Texas beat SMU by only 10 points last Saturday (Texas had been a 20-point favorite but won by only 17-7), bettors blamed a gambling conspiracy. During a seven-inch rain the night before the game persons unknown removed the tarpaulin protecting Memorial Stadium field. The water stood ankle deep next morning and the field was still wet and muddy at game time—which served to hold down the score.
•The Sun Bowl, third-oldest postseason football game, will be abandoned after this year unless El Paso, Texas voters approve a $1.75 million bond issue for construction of a 30,000-seat stadium. Sponsors say they can't meet expenses with the current capacity of 12,000.
November 7, 1960
•Look for Maryland to push back into national football prominence next year. Coach Tom Nugent, in his second season, is recruiting with the zeal of his predecessor, the late Jim Tatum, and prospects are good: of Nugent's first 22 men, nine are sophomores, eight juniors.
•Blame pro basketball's dismal debut in Los Angeles (only 4,008 in 15,000-seat Sports Arena, instead of predicted 10,000) on inept front-office operation. The transplanted Lakers did almost nothing to promote the game, thus alienated sophisticated southern California, which is accustomed to major league sport and which likes hoop-la and high pressure (half-time shows, card stunts, bands, klieg lights, etc.).
NOT SINCE DRAKE
When England beat Spain last week to regain the soccer supremacy of Europe, it was the finest hour in Anglo-Hispanic relations (for the British, anyway) since Drake sank the Armada. "Oh! Wonderful England," hallooed a Daily Express writer, "the fightingest England I have ever thrilled upon." In the closing minutes of play, the victors rubbed Spanish noses in defeat by freezing the ball (an old Spanish trick) with mocking arrogance. Latin tempers flared, British tempers responded, and there was scuffling after the final whistle. But one loser, star forward Alfredo Di Stefano, proved a sportsman. He gave England's Jim Armfield his jersey, as a prized if gamy memento of a glorious day for old England.
Anne Hayes, wife of Ohio State's Woody, showed her football-coach husband a paragraph from SPORTS ILLUSTRATED in which Darrell Royal of Texas spoke favorably of the Ohio State halfback trap play. Hayes, who abandoned the play a few years ago, quietly reinstated it for the Ohio State-Michigan State game last Saturday. First time it was used a sophomore halfback burst outside tackle and went 46 yards for a touchdown.
IT HURTS SO GOOD
The University of Wisconsin has done some experimental work involving the use of two centers of human reason: the cerebral cortex (which is man's highest reasoning apparatus) and the primitive brain centers (which are what make you jump when you're stuck with a pin). A theory evolved at Wisconsin states that in everyday, routine use the muscles are controlled by the highest reasoning centers. But in extremes—as in a crisis (when a man finds the superhuman strength to lift an overturned auto off his trapped child) or in the agony phase of exhaustion (the end of a marathon race or a 15-round fight, when the competitor unconsciously struggles on)—the cortex shuts down and the primitive brain centers take over.
Dr. Frances Hellebrandt, who headed the project, deliberately pushed and prodded her volunteer human guinea pigs to the agony phase of exhaustion in order to study this crossover effect in muscle control. The results appear to have a clear application in sport. One subject reported: "You feel some pain, but after a while lifting the handle [the experimental weight test] becomes more important than anything else. You forget the pain. You forget everything but achieving the objective."
This reaction brought joy to certain dedicated sportsmen. Mr. Bruce Hopping, who is founder, chairman and sole endower of the New Jersey Committee "for the advancement of recreational swimming," sat down and wrote: "By driving the service muscles beyond the control of our cerebral cortex and allowing the primitive brain centers to take over, the competitive swimmer will receive the superhuman strength necessary to dominate and win all competition. This objective would be obtained by training the service muscles to the point of agonizing pain."
Mr. Hopping does not indicate who would win if one agonized swimmer met another agonized swimmer in the same event, but he does say that this cheery attitude toward his favorite recreational sport parallels the ideas of Jim Counsilman, coach of swimming at the University of Indiana. Counsilman's charges include Olympic Champion Mike Troy (who in pre-Olympic training had a sheet of paper on his wall bearing the word PAIN in large letters). He stresses in his coaching the necessity of overcoming the natural human reluctance to extend oneself beyond normal limits. Counsilman says, "We cannot lower our times merely by changing our goals and shooting for, say, a 2:05 in the 200 meters. We must condition both our bodies and our minds."
Of course, all this depends to some extent on just how important lowering our times is. Or doesn't anyone remember when sport was supposed to be fun?
SLAP ON THE WRIST
Because college football has become so complex, quarterbacks have taken to wearing wrist bands that list all their team's plays. In the first quarter of a game with Florida, LSU Quarterback Jimmy Field got up off the turf and discovered that his wrist band was gone. All it contained was a complete outline of the LSU plan of action. Field told LSU Coach Paul Dietzel, and Dietzel reported the loss to the referee. At the end of the half-time intermission the official brought the missing blueprint to the LSU dressing room. "Where did you find it?" cried Dietzel in relief. "In the Florida dressing room," replied the referee. Florida shut out LSU in the second half, won 13-10.
THE POLITE AMERICANS
When the San Francisco Giants arrived in Japan for a 16-game barnstorming tour, they got a boisterous ticker-tape reception and a stack of flowers. A troupe of kimono-clad Japanese girls engulfed moon-faced Owner Horace Stoneham. Giggling schoolgirls gawked at Willie Mays and said, "Say Hi! Say Hi!" Baseball-shaped transistor radios were handed to all the players, who were then whisked off in a motorcade to a fancy dinner. Commented Stars & Stripes: "Willie Mays and associates will be killed with kindness."
They were also killed on the ball field. While 30,000 cheered, the San Francisco Giants lost the opening game to the Tokyo Yomiuri Giants 1-0. The American star known in Japan as Whirrie Mays got a scratch single and dropped a cinch fly ball. Courteous to a fault, one Japanese fan said, "The Americans are just being polite. They will catch up." But the Tokyo Times cried banzai! "San Francisco's blown-up Goliath crashed to earth yesterday afternoon with a heavy thud that reverberated across the length of Japan." Asahi Shimbun echoed: "The game upset the idea of U.S. supremacy."
There was more loss of face to come. The Giants dropped the second game of the tour 2-1 to the Japanese All-Stars. They finally won a couple, 1-0 and 5-3, then stumbled to a 10-7 loss in which they had to suffer through an eight-run Japanese inning. By the end of the week the polite Americans could show only a 4-3 record. It was the worst start for any American team in the traditional barnstorming tour, and Lefty O'Doul thought he had an explanation: "The Japanese players are getting bigger and better. I can remember when the fellas here were all 150-pounders. Now there are more and more 6-footers. And they play more nonchalant and relaxed against us, like they know what they're doing. Before they were jittery, like they were playing against God or something."
CAST OF CHARACTERS
Governor Ernest Hollings of South Carolina, on a recent trip up North, was introduced to a New York executive. "Oh yes," said the New Yorker, "you're Bobby Richardson's governor." ...
In an aside at a Maryland racing hearing, Larry MacPhail—the man who brought lights into baseball—said they should be taken out. It was "a helluva mistake," mourned MacPhail, to put baseball into nocturnal competition with harness racing and television....
Ex-ballplayer and current broadcaster Joe Garagiola, speaking at the Topps Chewing Gum lunch in New York for rookie baseball stars, recalled Branch Rickey's antipathy to the term "knockdown pitch." In deference to Owner Rickey, said Garagiola, "we called it the purpose pitch. The purpose was to separate the batter's head from his shoulders." ...
Hydroplane Driver Mira Slovak, battered in a spectacular crash last summer (SI, Aug. 22), is prepping for the climactic Gold Cup race next week. "I have heard," said Slovak, "that a bad spill gives you a mental block. Maybe so, but so far I am laughing." ...
Frank Williams of Amherst, N.Y., moping home from a no-strike evening of bowling, found a skunk in his yard. Irritably, Williams grabbed his bowling ball and let fly. Result: a clean strike and one dead skunk.