THE MINUTE MEN
That favorite whipping boy of politicians—horse racing—was whacked in Boston recently, though this time it was in good company, assuming the U.S. Treasury is good company. The Massachusetts House of Representatives passed a resolution calling upon newspapers to stop publishing racing entries and results, pari-mutuel figures and federal Treasury balances. The reason: numbers racketeers use digits from the pari-mutuels and the Treasury balance to determine each day's winning numbers.
The resolution is arrogant nonsense. It assumes that if the figures were not printed the numbers racketeers would instantly stop bribing cops and public officials and retire. We are delighted that Boston's newspapers immediately and unanimously rejected the proposal. They will continue to publish Treasury balances for the edification of businessmen and racing news for the edification of $2 bettors and other followers of the Thoroughbred. The runners will continue to bring their betting slips to the neighborhood drop, the police will continue to look the other way, and the legislators will continue to make idle noises.
February 19, 1962
The New York boxing commission, proceeding with all possible torpor, finally has separated Archie Moore from the light-heavyweight title he has been so casually disinclined to defend, and directed Harold Johnson and Doug Jones, the top contenders, to fight for the championship.
New York thus followed the example of the National Boxing Association. That assembly stripped Moore of his crown a year ago, designating Johnson as its champion. If the British and European boxing authorities take similar action, Moore will retain token recognition only in Massachusetts, a self-serving mugwump, and California, which is selfishly motivated (it has hopes of getting a Moore-Fullmer fight in the by-and-by).
Archie is a droll fellow, and he has had a hard row, but he has defended his title only once in the last 2½ years and then against Giulio Rinaldi, a hand-picked challenger more notable for pasta consumption than boxing ability.
There is much to be said for Archie, the last of the great physiocrats. What with his eroded skills, he obviously doesn't wish to risk his title against challengers as formidable as Johnson and Jones without being amply compensated. He says fighting either would be tantamount to "financial suicide." This may be true; Johnson and Jones are poor draws. But prizefighting is supposed to be, however remotely, a sport; the prize is a reward for ability at punching an opponent, not an adding machine. It is not a recompense for uncommon good nature, durability or old abuses.
In a community of law there is provision for the compassionate exception, but Moore has strained the quantity of mercy. The championship is a public trust, not a private preserve.
POURING IT ON
All Saints High School turned out to be the class of Detroit's Catholic League basketball play this year, winning all but one game of a 14-game schedule. It was their final game that caused the trouble. The opponent, Immaculate Conception, started the game with only seven available players. By the early minutes of the second half, three had fouled out. All Saints could not resist the opportunity and went on to win 151-26. Result: the Catholic League charged All Saints Coach Mike Guza with running up the score in "a flagrant violation of ethics." Guza was put on probation for a year.
THE TIME DISEASE
"Asynchronosis" is a malaise of the jet age. It affects 70% of those who make long-distance jet flights across several time zones and is particularly disturbing to those traveling east to west, such as ballplayers and racehorses. The globetrotter, explains Dr. Hubertus Strughold, professor of space medicine at Brooks Field, Texas, experiences a phase shift that throws his physiological requirements and his social or business calendar into a sort of transcontinental cocktail shaker. For the westerner who has come East, the morning hours are the worst possible for making decisions and going out of doors. For the east-to-wester, the afternoons and evenings (usual times for sports events) can be fateful. The ballplayer is racked with hunger in the fifth inning and falls asleep by the watercooler in the seventh. The racehorse droops languidly in the stretch, having thoughts of pasture. Ray Berry of the Baltimore Colts attests that asynchronosis has been a factor in the Colts' 4-10 record on the Coast. The New York Yankees may be worried, too, but even in their asynchronotic state they still will have only the Angels to face in Los Angeles.
De-Stalinization has hit Russian athletics, whether Mao Tse-tung likes it or not. A Russian skier who competed in the Winter Olympics at Squaw Valley under the name Stalina Korzukhina turned up recently at the meet in Saint-Gervais, but this time her first name was Talina.
GROUNDS FOR STAMPING
Irish fishermen, traditionally adept at the old, cunning and dubious art of tickling a fish's belly until he is so overcome with bliss he can be plucked from the stream, have this winter revived a more forceful but equally effective fishing technique. For some time the Inland Fisheries Trust has been trying to clean the pike out of Lough Carra, a shallow lake in County Mayo. Alas, the white marl bottom is so bright the pike could see and avoid the nets and traps. But when Lough Carra froze over, the fish heard the knock of doom, viz:
Fishermen walk out on the ice, peering down for pike. When one is spotted, the fisherman stomps directly over it. The rattled pike swims off to a new stand. The fisherman races in pursuit and stomps again. A few desperate rushes, a few hard knocks and the pike poops out and tries to surface. A final sharp rap stuns the tormented fish. A hole is quickly made and the knocked-out pike scooped up. Total bag to date: about 400 up to 22 pounds.
SIGNS OF LIFE
Last September, in a belated but nonetheless valiant effort to revive boxing, Madison Square Garden began to subsidize small, collapsing and flat-busted boxing clubs (SI, Sept. 11). The Garden exacted no tribute; its only demand was that a promoter run a series of shows to indicate he wasn't selfishly trying to get rich (or go broke) in a hurry.
Last week, after five months of artificial respiration, boxing was beginning, to show heartening signs of life. Although some promoters threw in the towel despite a $250 a week grant, many more have managed to survive to boxing's common benefit, notably in Philadelphia, Phoenix, Providence, Tacoma, San Francisco, Worcester and Revere, Mass. and Union City, N.J.
Harry Markson, the Garden's boxing director, estimates the program may cost $100,000 for the first year. It is money well spent. There is too much anguished talk about boxing's ills and far too little being done.
The Dodgers' gaudy new stadium in Chavez Ravine will come complete with a new feature—love seats for young couples. This will enable people to go out in the fresh air and enjoy both of America's national games simultaneously.
THE INSIDE TRACK
•Army and Navy are both interested in Ed Lucas, Detroit high school tackle and a Negro. Army has made inquiries; Navy has gone so far as to check his marks. Neither service school has ever fielded a Negro football player.
•The National Bowling League will try to stay alive next season by shortening the season and offering the players a cut of $200,000 in prize money instead of salaries. The league would pay travel expenses; all other payments would depend on the scores of the bowlers.
•Murray Warmath, almost fired as football coach at the University of Minnesota a few years back, won a four-year contract renewal and seems headed for the job of athletic director when it comes vacant in 1963.
In an exhaustive analysis of last season's 450 major league baseball players, statisticians have come up with some interesting figures about averages. The results showed that the average major leaguer (though no such creature exists) hit 10 home runs, batted in 43 runs, made 89 hits, walked 35 times and stole four bases. The average batting average turned out to be .269. Of the regulars, Steve Boros of the Tigers with .270 and Bob Skinner of the Pirates with .268 came closest to the average batting mark, except for one player who hit it right on the button. That player was Roger Eugene Maris of the New York Yankees. It may be said that no player in history ever did so much with such an average average.
THEY SAID IT
•Golfer Jerry Barber, answering a question as to how he has compensated for his low weight (137 pounds): "I haven't. A good big man can always beat a good little man and they prove it to me every week." The solution? "Draft Palmer, Littler and those other guys and leave the tour to us old guys. The country is in trouble and it needs them."
•Middleweight Champion Gene Fullmer on losing: "There are no good losers—maybe gracious losers, because no one wins 'em all. If there's a good loser in boxing, I'd like to fight him every week."
•Doug Camilli, young Dodger catcher who has been traveling back and forth from majors to minors for two seasons: "In my new contract I'm going to ask-the Dodgers to pay me by the mile."
•Army's former assistant football coach, Johnny Rauch, now at Tulane: "I heard some of the cadets were awfully disappointed when Paul Dietzel arrived at the Point by automobile. They had expected him to walk up the Hudson."
•Cassius Clay, making a rare concession after an unknown puncher knocked him off his feet for a few trifling seconds in a bout in Madison Square Garden: "Every now and then I gotta get hit to realize I'm like other people."