SCORECARD

September 03, 1961

GETTING READY, MAYBE

It now seems Floyd Patterson will fight Tom McNeeley on Monday, November 13 in the green and gloomy Boston Garden. Originally the fight had been scheduled for late September, then "definitely" for October 23, but Championship Sports Inc., the promoters, now don't want to book Patterson-McNeeley too close to the middleweight title fight between Terry Downes and Paul Pender on September 23, also in Boston.

Boston hasn't been the site of a heavyweight championship since Joe Louis dispatched Al McCoy in six rounds in 1940. In 1940, however, the drawing power of Louis attracted 13,325 to the Boston Garden at a $10 top (capacity 14,000), even though Louis was favored at 20 to 1. McNeeley is virtually unknown—his last win was over one Kitone Lave of the Friendly Islands—but Championship Sports is planning to charge $100 top. This would seem to indicate a belief that Boston fight fans are either 10 times as rich or 10 times as stupid as they were in 1940—or, hopefully, both.

HAVING A BALL

Controversy over the liveliness of major league baseballs continued last week. Ford Frick* said the exciting AL "home-run derby" could not be interrupted, and that if something were wrong with baseballs, that would be looked into after the end of the season. Unsurprisingly, Frank Lane was blunter: "Of course the ball is livelier," he said. Dave Keefe, the traveling secretary of the A's, agreed, "The tests [Yes it's livelier, SI, Aug. 28] were very convincing in proving a valid point." Harmon Killebrew (37 homers) and Bob Allison (27) of the Minnesota Twins both disagreed. Killebrew said, "The ball is the same ball I've been hitting since I've been in the majors [1954]." Allison said: "I think they just want something to talk about. You still have to hit the ball." Calvin Griffith, who, as owner of the Twins, employs both Killebrew and Allison, differed with his sluggers: "I think that story proves what we've known all along. The ball is livelier. Better wool and better hide are bound to make a better ball. We used to get balls that had oil coming out of them. But I think the fans want the home runs, and we need to stimulate fans' interest." Jim Gentile (39 homers) of the Baltimore Orioles complained: "Sometimes I don't think I even get good wood on the ball, and it goes out of the park. But over the long run, with wind to fight and all, I don't think it makes much difference in the number of home runs." Mel Allen, the broadcaster for New York Yankee games, declared defiantly: "Mantle and Maris haven't been hitting any cheap home runs this year."

The reaction we liked best, however, came from Pedro Ramos, the thoughtful pitcher for the Twins who has given up 35 home runs this year, more than any other pitcher. "The ball," said Pedro, "has to be livelier. Everyone hit the ball too far. Can't ease up on anyone. Can't pace yourself. Even pitchers hit the ball 400 feet. I think they should do something about it."

BRING BACK THE BILLBOARDS

One of the cigarette companies used to contend that "nature in the raw is seldom mild." They may have been right at the time, but they would be wrong today. That grand invention, the parkway/freeway/turnpike, which usually is free of billboards, people and other diversions, has proved that nature in the raw is often mild and, in overdoses, a bore.

Driving from New York City to Atlantic City, for example, one gets on the Garden State Parkway in the vicinity of the Amboys. Up to that point the roadside, a jungle of chemical plants and tank farms, has had a sort of horrid fascination. But for the next 70 miles the parkway coils and glides through a mesmerically identical succession of gentle meadows and gentle fields.

Driving down from Minneapolis to Chicago, the experience is the same. There is no dramatic variance in the landscape to engage the mind; the car rolls forward, 60 miles every 60 minutes, the view broken only by the motorist's glazing eye.

One of our writers, touring Europe, was struck by the identification the lesser roads supply—France looks like France, Italy like Italy, etc. Then, heading for London from the Midlands, he got on the mighty new M-1 throughway. "I thought I was in New Jersey," he said.

We do not favor obscuring an Alp or a Grand Canyon with a billboard boosting a motel, nor are we admirers of litter. But we do say, and we would not love nature half so much loved we not alertness {i.e., living) more, that a lot of foliage loses by overexposure and that a certain amount of roadside raucous-ness keeps motorists awake. It also lets them know where they are, like what country, dad.

KEEP IT CLEAN
The 1,000 scientists who make up the International Astronomical Union came out last week for a cleaner Outer Space. What set them off was a White House O.K. on the Air Force's project to disperse 350 million copper needles beyond the ionosphere as a reflecting band for radio signals. This magazine has come, out for cleaner banks on rivers, cleaner sewage around cities and cleaner hands in boxing, and would like to add its own protest. And while we're at it, let's not draw the line just at copper needles. We. think people should be reminded not to leave cigarette butts, beer cans, sandwich ' wrappers and, most of all, vodka bottles around the celestial landscape, ruining these farthest remaining reaches of the outest outdoors for future generations.

THE BIG O

According to Frank Lane, the recently fired general manager of the Kansas City Athletics, Charles O. Finley frequently reminded him that the O in the name stands for Owner. Owner Finley, who bought controlling stock in the Athletics last year, has been much in the news but seldom with elegance or effect.

In February, for example, Finley posed beside a burning bus with the words "Shuttle Bus to Yankee Stadium" written on the sides. This burning of the bus was an attempt by Finley to pacify outraged Athletic fans, who had seen such players as Roger Maris and Hector Lopez traded to New York. Finley indicated that there would be no more such trades, but not too long ago he made a trade with the Yankees.

In June, after giving Manager Joe Gordon a public vote of confidence, Finley fired him. Two weeks ago Finley tried to intimidate the Kansas City Star's sports editor, Ernest Mehl, by giving him a "poison pen award," because Mehl had criticized Finley's interference with the running of the ball club on the field, one of the sorriest things any owner can do. (Last week Baseball Commissioner Ford Frick publicly apologized to Mehl "in the name of all baseball" for Finley's childish stunt.)

Even though major league baseball has two exciting pennant races going for it this season, the drawing power of Roger Maris and Mickey Mantle and two new franchises, over-all attendance is down 1,122,784 compared to 1960.

We believe that the owners of baseball are responsible for this decline. It is the dreary result of their essential lack of respect for the sport. Charles O. Finley is a particularly egregious, but by no means singular, case in point. O may stand for Owner, but it also stands for zero.

GOOD OLD CHARLIE ATLAS
The proponents of physical fitness, from Bonnie Prudden to Pittsburgh Pirates' Dr. Jay Bender, pretty much agree that tensing one's muscles without moving the exterior corpus does about as much good as tossing boulders around. The scientific name for this concept is "isometric contractions." It used to be called bunk, or worse, when that famous 97-pound weakling, Charles Atlas, first marketed it in The Twenties under the name of "Dynamic Tension." Ah there, Charlie.

GUBERNATORIAL VIGORISH

Governor Rockefeller of New York has bet Governor Swainson of Michigan three bushels of New York apples to one bushel of Michigan apples that the New York Yankees will beat the Detroit Tigers for the American League pennant.

This probably does not mean that Rocky, who has not been to a major league baseball game since 1958 or a race track since 1959, is revising his well-known opposition to off-track betting in New York. But he should have given Swainson five to one—which was the correct odds when he clinched the bet.

CAST OF CHARACTERS

•Willie O'Ree, who played with the Boston Bruins of the National Hockey League last season (four goals, 10 assists in 43 games), has been traded to the Montreal Canadiens. O'Ree, the first Negro in the NHL, is not considered good enough prospect to make parent club this season. The Canadiens probably will farm him to the Hull-Ottawa team or Quebec Aces.

•Ted Erickson, a 33-year-old research chemist, became the first person to swim 36¾ miles across Lake Michigan (time: 36 hours and 37 minutes). He fought high waves, a driving rain and darkness. At one point his wife, rowing alongside, lost him for 10 minutes. When he staggered onto the shore, one of the first things he asked for was a shower.

•Jockey Mike Sorrentino, who became a rider in July for the famous Greentree Stable of John Hay Whitney and Joan Whitney Payson, parted with the stable last week: Once powerful Greentree has now lost four riders in the last four years (others: Ted Atkinson, John Ruane, Sam Boulmetis). Sorrentino's last ride for Greentree was aboard Trial Balloon, which finished sixth in a field of seven. In his first start against his old employers Sorrentino drove Jaywalking to a nose victory—over Trial Balloon.

•Sam Graham, a Ruthophile from Phoenix, Arizona, recently quoted statistics which proved to him that The Babe stood far above either Maris or Mantle as a home-run hitter. Graham points out that Ruth's 60 home runs in 1927 were 13.7% of the American League's total while Maris, because of the large number of homers hit in the American League this season, accounts for only 4%.

•Philosophical Light Heavyweight Eddie Cotton, who after 14 years finally got a shot at some portion of a title by fighting Harold Johnson for the NBA light-heavy championship this week, said in a story in The New York Times: "You get promises, promises and then they fall through. But you still get up early every morning, do your road work and go into the gym. You figure one day maybe somebody by mistake will give you a break."

ALL THE ANGLES

A catalog for con men called Blue Book was presented last week for the enlightenment of the U.S. Senators who are currently inquiring into the ways and means of gambling. Blue Book is a mail-order product of K. C. Card Co. of Chicago, and it offers customers loaded dice, tools to measure and balance dice, marked cards and devices to read them without being caught and shot. For $350, for instance, you can buy K. C.'s Radio Cue Prompter, card-pack size, and by a dot-dash system it enables you to tell your card partner what you're holding. There is also a line of contact lenses for reading the backs of cards and contact-lens cards, which reveal their markings only to lens wearers. You can also get coins made to spin heads or tails, and there is even one made to spin fair. K. C. Card Co. has one item for use of the connee instead of the conner. It's a book called Protection, and it exposes "slot machines, card backs and their marks, etc."

For the superstitious and the mystic who also like to gamble, K. C. sells pairs of lodestones at $2 a pair, "used as a luck charm by mary people." One stone is to drive away evil, the other to draw luck. The Sixth and Seventh Books of Moses, translated from the ancient Hebrew, and Albert us Magnus, containing the secrets of ancient Egypt, sell for $2 each.

In the introduction to Blue Book, which is not to be confused with the opus by the same name written by the founder of the John Birch Society, there is this pious notice: "Goods in this catalog are not sold to perpetrate a fraud or for any illegal purpose." When asked where most of these con goods were sold, a timid Senate subcommitteeman said: "In Texas—but don't tell Lyndon Johnson."

*The Commissioner of Baseball, who has slated that if Roger Maris or Mickey Mantle breaks Babe Ruth's record of 60 home runs in 162 games, said record will be posted in record books with a demeaning asterisk to denote that they did not hit the 60 home runs in 155 games as Babe Ruth did.

ILLUSTRATION

HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
OUT
HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
IN
Eagle (-2)
Birdie (-1)
Bogey (+1)
Double Bogey (+2)