THE INSIDE TRACK
This is an article from the Nov. 21, 1960 issue
•Now that Vernon (Red) Berry is a Texas state representative, look for a big legislative drive to legalize pari-mutuel betting and bring back horse racing after an absence of 23 years. Berry, a Democrat and onetime gambler, campaigned almost solely on the racing issue, carried Bexar County by 10,000 votes.
•The Big Ten's overpowering record (18-1-2) against nonconference opponents this fall has stalled a drive to revise its controversial financial aid plan. It is difficult for coaches to argue against the plan's restrictions on scholarships when the conference is doing so well.
•School authorities deny it, but Arkansas definitely plans to break off football relations with Mississippi after the 1961 game. Reason: the Ole Miss five-year red-shirt program, which Arkansans consider an unfair advantage.
•Skates of Boston Bruin players have been equipped with special metal guards to prevent the rear edge from slicing or spiking combatants. "We're protecting rival players," says General Manager Lynn Patrick. "I wish they'd do the same for us."
•Despite a poor gate and eight straight defeats, the NFL's Cowboys will stay in Dallas for at least another year Cowboy Owner Bedford Wynne blames rumors of a move on the cross-town AFL Texans, said wryly last week: "I'm sure a few of our players figure they'd better not buy houses. But that doesn't mean the club is moving."
•You can expect more aggressive college basketball this season because of a reinterpretation of the blocking-charging foul rule. Now the defensive man will be the guilty party unless he has his position clearly staked out before contact is made with the ball handler.
•Washington's new District Stadium, now in the cement-pouring stage, will have seats averaging 20 inches in width, four to five inches over the customary size. Stadium designers also are considering plastic seats, have already decided on a Detention Room, "where drunks and brawlers can be held to cool off."
•The NFL policy of not televising on-field fighting is giving way to truth, and viewers can now expect to see anything "in good taste." "It's always been a matter of judgment," said a CBS television official, "but under Bert Bell it was his judgment. Now we have more leeway."
ALL THAT GLITTERS
The Olympic gold medals distributed in Rome were not gold medals. They were gold-plated. Credit for the exposure of this shocking fact goes to Peter Snell, New Zealand's 800-meter winner. His medal has begun to peel, and he has complained to his manager, Joe McManemin. McManemin plans a formal protest.
According to specifications laid down by the International Olympic Committee, the medals do not have to contain more than a tiny amount of real gold so long, presumably, as they look like gold. This year's supply was cast by the Stabilimenti Artistici Fiorentini, which says it simply plated silver medals following its usual formula and that it has had no previous complaints on the subject.
The last solid gold medals were awarded at the 1932 Olympics, back in the days of sweet and honest innocence; everything since then has been diluted or a complete fake. IOC Secretary Otto Mayer promises to replace peeling medals, but this offer would not impress Mrs. Al Oerter, wife of the U.S. discus champion. Her knowing female eye tells Mrs. Oerter that not only is Al's medal not gold, but "it's finished just like a piece of junk jewelry."
WHIFF OF AMATEURISM
Every now and then somebody allows the cellar door of the snow-white castle of amateur tennis to be opened a crack, and invariably a terrible odor wisps upwards. This time the opener is Italian Davis Cup Star Nicola Pietrangeli, who has refused to play in the New South Wales Singles Championships. His complaint: Not enough money. Pietrangeli explains that he is accustomed to getting "at least $400 a week" for tournament expenses. He said, "I never move for less than that. It's the same with all the top players. That's just how it is." The air will now be filled with denials by amateur promoters that they pay players $400 for expenses. But no matter. Pietrangeli is expected to join Jack Kramer's touring pros after the Davis Cup matches this year.
Until last weekend the Seattle Seafair (SI, Aug. 22) was the best example of what an absurd parody of sport hydroplane racing has become. There, three drivers were seriously hurt and officials were unable to pick a winner until two weeks after the race ended. But that was before Sunday's 1960 Gold Cup at Lake Mead, Nev.
The first heats on Lake Mead were canceled by high winds, which produced what would have been merely an exhilarating chop for weekend fishermen but was a caldron of danger for the utterly unseaworthy hydros. The next morning the wind blew again, but officials sent the drivers off anyway. In the first heat, Bill Cantrell gunned his Gale V to overtake Miss Super Test II. Gale responded by leaping into the air and splattering back into the water. Cantrell bobbed alongside only half conscious. A helicopter soared out to the rescue, patrol boats raced to the scene and a stretcher was lowered. As Cantrell was whisked to the hospital, Driver Don Wilson growled, "That's not a Gold Cup out there. That's a destruction derby." The other drivers and owners agreed, and after a hurried conference they reached a decision: no Gold Cup this year. Once more it had been made clear that hydroplane racing is a sport that has outrun itself and its environment. It is a cumbersome undertaking in which huge cranes have to lower the fragile and overcharged creatures into the water, and which demands laboratory-perfect conditions before boats can be trusted. Whether the 1961 competition is held at all is a matter of grave concern to almost nobody.
THE INWARD EYE
In a California high school game Redwood beat Tamalpais 13 to 6, partly because of an awful gaffe by Referee John Hattala. In a complicated call growing out of a holding penalty on a loose-ball play, Hattala's error cost the Tamalpais team three precious downs at a critical moment.
But nobody realized this, not even losing Tamalpais Coach Jim Hanretty. There were no complaints, and the game was played without protest. Hanretty never would have known about the error except for a letter he received last week. It explained in detail just what Referee Hattala had done wrong. The writer: consciencestricken John Hattala.
TO THE SWIFT
Golden Gate Fields in San Francisco now wraps up a full eight-race card in less than three hours. By 4 p.m., an hour before traffic becomes impossible on the Bay Bridge, the happy (or miserable) horseplayers are on their way home.
The track has achieved this speedup by holding the parade to the post to 10 minutes. "We think the fans don't need 30 to 40 minutes to decide their favorites," General Manager Webb Everett says. "Everybody is delighted." Jockey Ralph Neves echoes: "It's great. We can change silks in five minutes and be ready for the next go." Mutuel clerks like the new system, too. It has brought about more even betting over the day's program. Previously, the handle on the eighth race would drop to half that of the other races. Now it's as big or bigger.
The only complaint comes from the track's concessionaires. Their liquor sales are down. To compensate, drinks are being raised from 80¢ to 95¢. Thus, progress being a mixed affair, one can spend more money in less time on drinking at the same time one is losing more money in less time on betting.
IT PAYS TO...
Annoyed by the skimpy number of prospects showing up for opening drills, Wrestling Coach Sam Barnes of the University of North Carolina placed his own "travel poster" on the gym wall. It read:
"What Do You Want?
"Travel?—Five road trips to such exotic climes as Duke, N.C. State, VMI, Maryland and Oregon State.
"Choice of job?—Flyweight to heavyweight, with six other divisions open.
"Adventure?—Hand-to-hand combat with monsters from VPI and Appalachian.
"Uniform?—Two-way stretch tights in Carolina blue and white, with space helmet to match.
"Try wrestling. We need 24 clean-living American boys.... We supply everything but guts."
Barnes was overwhelmed by 70 candidates.
CAST OF CHARACTERS
•New York Titan Owner Harry Wismer said he'd challenge the rival Giants to a postseason game "if my team didn't have so many injuries," topped that by declaring four AFL clubs could beat four NFL teams: "Houston could beat the Giants, the Boston Patriots can take the Washington Redskins, the Dallas Texans would beat the Dallas Cowboys and the Los Angeles Chargers could beat the Rams."
•N√∫mero Uno Antonio Ordó√±ez punched fellow-matador Diego Puerto for insulting ordo√±ista Ernest Hemingway. For the same reason, Ordó√±ez punched Manolete's former banderillero, who now threatens to pull Papa Hemingway's beard to even the score.
•During road trips Baltimore Colt Quarterback Johnny Unitas insists on having a Barca Lounger in his hotel room to help him relax when he's not sleeping.