BASEBALL—In the final week of interleague trading the Milwaukee Braves further strengthened their infield (in two previous weeks the Braves had obtained Reserve Infielder Billy Martin from Cincinnati and Second Baseman Frank Boiling from Detroit) by trading two pitchers, Juan Pizarro and Joey Jay, to the Cincinnati Reds for Shortstop Roy McMillan. The Reds in turn kept Jay but traded Pizarro and Pitcher Cal McLish to the Chicago White Sox for Third Baseman Gene Freese. Then in a straight swap the Boston Red Sox gave Pitcher Frank Sullivan to the Philadelphia Phillies for Pitcher Gene Conley, both right-handers. On the final day of trading, the new Washington club swapped veteran left-hander Bobby Shantz (obtained from the New York Yankees a week before in the American League draft to stock its two new teams) to the Pittsburgh Pirates in exchange for three ex-major-league minor leaguers: First Basemen R. C. Stevens and Harry Bright and Pitcher Benny Daniels. Also on the last day the Yankees, in an effort to strengthen their depleted second-line pitching, bought Lefthander Danny McDevitt from the Los Angeles Dodgers. Over the entire three weeks of interleague trading there were only 10 transactions involving 23 players.
Dick Groat of the Pittsburgh Pirates was officially declared the National League's batting champion with a .325 average, the lowest winning National League batting average since 1919.
BASKETBALL—The BOSTON CELTICS once again found themselves leaders of the Eastern Division when Philadelphia dropped two games, first to Detroit and then to St. Louis. The Celtics quickly solidified their lead with a 140-112 victory over the Los Angeles Lakers and had such a commanding lead by the fourth period that Coach Red Auerbach played his second five for the last six minutes of the game. The New York Knickerbockers, 11½ games out of first with 21 defeats in 29 starts, purchased Guard Phil Rollins from St. Louis. To make room for Rollins, Carl Braun, the Knicks' relaying coach, put himself on the inactive list. While the ST. LOUIS HAWKS continued to head the parade in the West, the Cincinnati Royals took over second place from Los Angeles by beating the Lakers 130-116 in a game at Cincinnati.
In the NIBL, the CLEVELAND PIPERS increased their lead in the Eastern Division to two games with a 120-119 win over the Denver D-C Truckers, despite a 46-point effort by Denver rookie Horace Walker. The Seattle Buchan Bakers gained a half-game lead in the Western Division by splitting two games with the New York Tuck Tapers.
December 26, 1960
BOXING—EMILE GRIFFITH took on fast-punching but frequently clutching Luis Manuel Rodriguez of Havana, handed the Cuban his first defeat in 37 bouts with a split decision win at Madison Square Garden. With victory the 22-year-old Griffith, who has been boxing professionally only two years, earned a shot at Benny Paret's welterweight title.
BOWLING—The St. Louis BUDWEISER bowling team, winners of the national championship in four out of the last five years, will be disbanded in what team sponsor Anheuser-Busch, Inc. called a change of emphasis from team to employee participation. Though the bereft bowlers said it was doubtful that they would join the new National Bowling League, scheduled to start next September, NBL Commissioner Dick Charles hailed Anheuser-Busch's action as "a major breakthrough" for his league.
FOOTBALL—PENN STATE, with two powerful units, wore down Oregon for a 41-12 victory in the second annual Liberty Bowl game at Philadelphia. Oregon scored first with an 88-yard drive, but in the second quarter Penn State ran for three touchdowns and took a 21-6 lead. In the third quarter Oregon scored on a 10-yard run to get back into contention. But the game turned to a rout in the fourth period when Penn State scored three times. Dick Hoak, voted Most Valuable Player in the game, intercepted two Oregon passes, ran 11 yards for one touchdown and two minutes later passed 33 yards for another. It was Penn State's second straight victory in the Liberty Bowl. In the Blue-bonnet Bowl at Houston, Fullback Ray Poage led Texas on a 71-yard fourth-quarter surge to set up a successful 20-yard field goal that gave the Longhorns a 3-3 tie with Alabama. The field goal, kicked by Dan Petty, came with four minutes left in the game. At the final gun an interference penalty at the Alabama 18 gave Texas a chance to break the deadlock, but the game-ending field goal attempt was wide. Alabama had scored its field goal in the third quarter on a 30-yard kick by Tommy Brooker, after a scoreless first half in which the Longhorns stopped a 57-yard Alabama drive inches from the goal line.
HARNESS RACING—Year-end tabulation showed ADIOS BUTLER as the fastest pacer of the year. The 4-year-old broke Greyhound's 22-year-old mark of 1:55 with a record time of 1:54 3/5 for the mile, fastest ever recorded by a harness horse. ELAINE RODNEY was the fastest trotter, set a new world record for 3-year-old with a 1:58 3/5 clocking. In all, 106 two-minute miles were recorded in 1960 for pacers, 14 two-minute miles for trotters. DEL MILLER of Meadow Lands, Pa., won the harness racing drivers' purse championship for the year with a purse total of $567,282. Miller had stiff competition for the title from Stanley Dancer, William Haughton and Clint Hodgins, each of whom earned over $500,000.
HOCKEY—The MONTREAL CANADIENS, with substitute goalie Charlie Hodge still in the nets, continued their winning ways, beat Boston 4-2 for their 10th victory in last 11 starts. Montreal's Bernie Geoffrion scored in his eighth consecutive game (Maurice Richard set the NHL record of nine straight in 1945), now leads the league with 24 goals. Toronto handed the Canadiens their one defeat, won 4-2 with three last-period goals. MONTREAL first, TORONTO second, DETROIT third in NHL standings.
SOCCER—The 2,700 members of Britain's Professional Footballers' Association called a strike for Jan. 14. The players' demand: a minimum wage of ¬£15 ($42) a week, abolition of the maximum wage ($56), and freedom to negotiate length of contract (at present one year). The clubs offered to raise the maximum to ¬£30 ($84) and extend the contract period to three years, conditions that were rejected by the association. If the strike occurs, the clubs insist they will play their games with any men available, including amateurs and members of the ground crews.
TENNIS—The USLTA, its revenue cut when the U.S. Davis Cup squad failed to make the Challenge Round, turned to Jack Kramer and his professionals for financial help. Kramer tentatively agreed to assist by turning over 5% of the gross gate at every one of his American appearances, provided the local promoter agreed to the cut.
MILEPOSTS—RETIRED: BILL NIEDER, 26-year-old Olympic shotput champion and world record holder (65 feet 7 inches, with a pending record of 65 feet 10), on his doctor's orders following a new aggravation of an old knee injury, at San Francisco. Nieder's Olympic victory was a personal triumph; labeled by archrival Parry O'Brien as a "cow-pasture performer" who choked in big meets, he barely made the Olympic squad as an alternate, but he came through in the Games to set an Olympic record of 64 feet 6¾ inches, and outheave O'Brien, the defending champion, by nearly two feet.
DISMISSED: MIKE NIXON, head coach of the Washington Redskins, after his team won only one NFL game this season.
RETIRED: WARREN GIESE, after five years as head football coach at the University of South Carolina (his record: 28-21-1). Giese will remain as athletic director. In his first act he hired Marvin Bass, assistant coach at Georgia Tech, as new head coach.
DIED: ROBERT CONNELL, member of the Ohio State swimming team, and DARNESS MALLORY, freshman football and basketball player at the University of Omaha, in the two-plane air crash over New York City.