THE CAP FITS
The National Bumbling Association, also known as the National Boxing Association, has done it again. Given a choice between putting on a thinking cap or a dunce cap, the NBA always picks the one that best fits its pointy little head. Standing in a corner with its back to the class, the organization that pretends to rule boxing has announced that Heavyweight Champion Floyd Patterson may not fight the most recent Boston strong boy, Tom McNeeley, in September, as planned. Instead he must take on any of the top six challengers—Ingemar Johansson, whom Patterson has already fought three times; Sonny Liston, whose right to be in boxing at all is questionable (see page 22); Eddie Machen, just beaten by a light heavyweight; and the likes of Henry Cooper of England, George Chuvalo of Canada and Alejandro Lavorante of Argentina.
It is perfectly obvious, to everyone but an NBA commissioner, that the proposed McNeeley fight is intended only to keep Patterson in action while not unduly risking his title. It is equally clear that under the present tax laws Patterson has every right to meet an occasional inferior opponent provided he seriously lays the title on the line once a year. To ask otherwise is to demand that he chance defeat for virtually nothing, since the income tax bite on a second 1961 fight would scarcely leave him with training expenses. Would the NBA like to see Floyd Patterson in the bottomless tax pit that Joe Louis dug himself into?
July 16, 1961
Sometimes a sports event is just made to come out a particular way. One such occurred last week at Kempton Park in England.
A new race was on the program, called the Aly Khan International Memorial Gold Cup. Among the starters, and highly favored, was a silver-gray 5-year-old mare, all wire and whipcord, named Petite Etoile. Winner of both the One Thousand Guineas and the Oaks in 1959, she had gone on winning last year and this over both colts and fillies and was beginning to be called one of the greatest mares England has ever known.
But Petite Etoile had other reasons for winning, too. Since she had been bred and owned by the late Aly Khan, how could she miss tossing a salute to the man who at his death controlled one of the most powerful racing establishments in Europe? How could she fail to fix her own place in horse history?
Hand us the arsenic—she came in second. Maybe Lester Piggott gave her a bad ride. Maybe it was an off track. Maybe she was slammed by one of the boys in the race. Or maybe it was simply in the books that she was to be beaten by a 4-year-old colt, High Hat, whose owner is noted for his sense of history—Sir Winston Churchill.
One soft, cool summer morning recently, some 100 students from the University of Paris arrived at New York's Idlewild airport. They had been flown across the Atlantic by the Flying Tiger airline, and, though the flight had been delayed six and a half hours, the young men and women were not complaining. Their round-trip fare had cost only $99.
Flying Tiger offered this remarkable price for a practical reason. Its planes were taking American tourists to Europe, but many were returning empty. The U.S. Government was interested in the Flying Tiger experiment for an equally practical reason. Americans spend much more money abroad than foreign tourists spend here. The sum—$1.1 billion—is almost one-third of the 1960 U.S. deficit in international payments. By luring more tourists to this country—a matter which was recently made the concern of a brand-new agency, the U.S. Travel Service—the Government hopes to correct the imbalance.
Despite the lateness of the hour the French students' faces were shining and their eyes were bright as they went through customs. However, most of them did not intend to travel in this country at all; they planned to stay with friends. Others were taking summer courses at American universities. A few had purchased bus tickets (also for $99) that would enable them to ride anywhere in the U.S. during their stay. They all were extremely conscious of a franc.
We bid these visitors welcome to America, the could-be tourist's paradise, though we doubt if they and the rest of the 2,500 or so who have snapped up the Flying Tiger's bargain will help cut the deficit in international payments. Perhaps the fabled, free-spending American—the gent with the cash in his hand and the credit card in his pocket—just cannot be duplicated.
Last fall Horace Stoneham was talking about various improvements at Candlestick Park to make it more comfortable for fans and less hazardous for ballplayers. So far, Stoneham and the San Francisco city fathers have argued about who would pay for those improvements, and very little has been done. Because of the now-famous wind, prudent fans still dress for a night game as if they were going to a football game in Wisconsin in December. They wear parkas, furs, woolen scarves, ear muffs and topcoats. They carry hand-warmers, and some are shod in fleece-lined boots. Even in the deluxe mezzanine section—glass-enclosed on two sides but open in front—the wind bites to the marrow. Luckily, deluxe-seat owners have private lockers in which they can stow extra sweaters and a bottle or two of warming beverages.
In left field there are 6,000 "unprotected" seats whose occupants, oddly enough, are relatively comfortable. This is because the wind sweeps off the local hillside and generally enters by way of center field (fans in center field, who get the blast from below, spend a lot of their time standing up). It blows toward right (one fan in right field recently attached himself to his seat with a seat belt), circles under the right-field stands and zooms toward home plate. Then it tries to gather its resources to raid left field, but by then it has no zip left.
There are other problems besides the wind. Some of the rest rooms feature nothing but cold water. The radiant heating system is ineffective. Fans in the 90¢ bleacher seats can't see the scoreboard. You have to be seven feet tall to speak directly into the opening of the box-office ticket windows. (Inside, the floor is a foot and a half higher.)
It is Stoneham's position that the city of San Francisco built the park, so let the city fix it. Anyway, the coffee vendors are happy.
Last week we left the French trotter Kracovie languishing in her stall at Roosevelt Raceway, forlorn and despairing because her mascot Brigitte, a sheep that looks like a goat, was not allowed to come over with her from Paris. Since then, the raceway people have been trying to find a substitute goat. They are aware that Kracovie may be the favorite in Roosevelt's International Trot this Saturday (July 15). More important, they remember the vast amount of free newspaper space they were able to corner when another French trotter named Jamin turned out to be a lover of artichokes, and the several bushels he brought to this country were impounded, released and then lost. They mounted a huge artichoke hunt then—and now they have their own press agent and a lot of others hunting a goat with equal zeal. The hunt last week went this way:
WED., JULY 5:9 goats taken to the raceway; 4 were male and were rejected out of hand by Kracovie's trainer-driver, Roger Vercruysse. The 5 females were doused with caramel syrup, supposedly attractive to horses. Not to Kracovie, who ignored 3, tried to crush No. 4 against the stall and kicked No. 5 after the goat nipped her on the ankle.
THURS., JULY 6: 16 goats paraded before Kracovie. After rejecting 11, Kracovie shared her drinking pail with No. 12. Two hours later the goat butted Kracovie and was hauled back to Rochester.
FRI., JULY 7: Tina Louise, the actress, brought her goat, Lili, and her press agent, Gene Aretsky. For five hours Lili and Kracovie got along, then—gaflooey. Lili was whisked out and returned to Miss Louise's farm to recuperate. A goat with horns was rejected on a peremptory challenge by Vercruysse.
SAT., JULY 8: The owners of Kracovie, M. and Mme. Van Rillas, arrived in the
Occasionally you catch the scent of time...
A prickling burr of urgency,
A visceral squeeze,
And you are in
The earthquake city of fear.
Now time is.
Not river current
Under fresh wind
Going two ways.
All senses quicken
For an illuminated fragment.
There is respect
In the presence.
A mystic exultation
Then ever after
Or the blind old hunting dog
Will sniff the wind
Hoping to catch the scent
And to embrace again the lovely enemy.
U.S. to check up on Kracovie and to see about a petition to the White House to let Brigitte come to America. A goat doused with molasses was presented to Kracovie's groom. He rejected it.
SUN., JULY 9: M. and Mme. Van Rillas went to Jones Beach. President Kennedy continued to study the problem of Berlin at Hyannis Port. Kracovie moped.
THE INSIDE TRACK
•The long-discussed "Continental Conference," which would comprise college football powers from coast to coast that are now independents, is approaching reality. Notre Dame Coach Joe Kuharich has suggested to Miami (Fla.) Coach Andy Gustafson a lineup of Notre Dame, Miami, Air Force, Army, Navy, Syracuse, UCLA, Southern California, Washington and Pittsburgh. Kuharich's idea is for each member to play seven games within the league, the champion to meet the Big Ten champion in the Rose Bowl. Gustafson has talked this over with Army Coach Dale Hall. Hall says he is "interested" but worries whether the cadets can get the personnel to compete in such a league year in and year out.
•If Carry Back comes through the Choice Stakes at Monmouth Park on August 2 and the Travers at Saratoga on August 12 in good shape, Jack Price will be angling for an invitation to the United Nations Handicap on the grass at Atlantic City on September 16. The reason: he wants to give his Derby and Preakness winner some turf experience in preparation for a trip to Paris and Longchamp's Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe on October 8. This is Europe's richest race ($128,385 last year).
Proving there is no end to the natural hazards of golf, a large black bear invaded the Ocean Shores course near Aberdeen, Wash. the other day and lumbered around on the fourth fairway until he was driven back to the woods by a helicopter. Officials thereupon posted a sign near the first tee with revised summer rules: "If ball is picked up by bear, player may replace and take one penalty stroke. If player gets ball back from bear, take automatic par for hole."
Fans at Wimbledon were delighted last week with the antics and zeal of 20-year-old Charles (Chuck) McKinley of St. Ann, Mo., who occasionally wallops a ball over the stands when displeased with a shot, or cries: "Keep it in the court, you idiot!" when he belts a ball wide of the lines. The rages of McKinley—the first American to reach the Wimbledon finals in six years—are self-directed. About the only thing that upsets him besides his own errors is getting fired at with the tennis equivalent of a bean ball—a doubles shot aimed at his navel when all four players are in a close flurry at the net.
Ranked No. 4 in the U.S. in 1960, McKinley is a go-for-broke attacker who is called the Missile by his colleagues. Besides hitting every ball hard, whether necessary or not, McKinley has a knack of discomfiting opponents by turning "unretrievable" shots into winners. Bobby Wilson, England's No. 2, says, "I have never played against such a fantastically fast opponent." One discouraging point for Wilson at Wimbledon went like this: Wilson hit a sharp-angled crosscourt to McKinley's backhand. It looked like a sure winner, but McKinley scooted over to the ball, flicked his racket out and sent back a cripple of a lob. Wilson waited confidently at the net as McKinley crashed into the tarpaulin against the stands and ricocheted back toward the center of the court, then banged a tremendous smash. McKinley, still going at full throttle, got his racket on the ball as it whooshed off the turf and plunked it into an undefended part of Wilson's court for the point. That was the end of Wilson; he dropped his racket and watched McKinley, who had not yet reversed field, continue his charge toward the stands.
Unfortunately for McKinley, speed, acrobatics and concentration were of no avail in the Wimbledon final against the tricky Australian lefty, Rod Laver, who outgeneraled him at every turn. But no other amateur has improved as much as impetuous Chuck McKinley, and if this is not his year, 1962 may well be.
THE BROAD AMERICAN
Everybody knows that today's Americans are bigger than the pygmies who drove the Indians into oblivion and settled the wilderness. Some may question whether they have become brighter but nobody, according to the American Seating Company, can deny that they are broader. The company is working on 50,000 seats for the new stadium in the nation's capital, and research has convinced American Seating that the American rear is four inches wider than it was a century ago and three inches wider than in 1923 when New York's Yankee Stadium was built. New Washington stadium seats will be 20 to 22 inches, compared with the 17- to 19-inch seats put into Yankee Stadium. What the spreading beam means to baseball's owners is as painful to contemplate as the evidence it affords of our increasingly softer life: 15,000 fewer seats (50,000 instead of 65,000) and about $22,000 less on a sellout game.