WE GO BO
The Sporting News considers itself the bible of baseball, and we say, "Bully!" But we do wish that the good gray editorial writers of that publication would pipe down on the subject of ballplayers' behavior. Last week they climbed all over young Bo Belinsky, left-hand pitcher and pool shark of the Los Angeles Angels, and for what? Mainly for being colorful. "Mr. Belinsky apparently is being carried away by the sound of his brash quotes," said the editorial. "Some have been ridiculous. Others, if accurate, have displayed a callous disregard for the game."
Specifically, Bo should not have said, "I had more fun in the minors than I'm having in the majors; in the minors I could bet on myself." And, "I've had to learn a new pitch in the majors to replace the spitter I used in the minors." The Sporting News thinks that team officials should censure Belinsky before League President Joe Cronin (or even Commissioner Ford Frick) puts him down.
None of this would be pertinent if it weren't for the fact that baseball is being inurned these days by dreary businessmen of the diamond who conceal themselves behind a spate of clichés: "We play these games one at a time." "I'd ride the bench if it would help the team." "They put their pants on one leg at a time like everybody else."
June 10, 1962
We would trade a teamful of such players for one Bo Belinsky. Who else would say of high school athletics, "I couldn't go for that sis-boom-bah stuff," or of minor league baseball in Georgia, "It was another country." We rejoice at the way he assayed his own career: "Me?" he said. "I'm going all the way." We hope so, and we hope he keeps talking en route.
His voice always came through in a tangle of treble and bass, as if the radio dial weren't set quite right. Words tumbled from the pebbled-rubber larynx one over another, joined by an inordinate series of conjunctions: "...and the count is four, and Schmeling is up, and Donavan is watching carefully, and Schmeling is down, the men are in the ring, the fight is over...." He was as exciting as he was excitable, the sportscaster with the intimate conversational style, the best of his age, Clem McCarthy.
Now the voice is still. Gravely ill for years, McCarthy died Monday in a New York nursing home at 79. But the other day we heard a record, newly released, and there it was again. "Max, Max!" it cried for the nation to hear as Schmeling was carried from the ring in 1938, knocked out by Joe Louis. "Max! Officer! Get Max Schmeling over here! Get him! Bring him over! Max! I'm trying to get him. Officer! Get Max Schmeling!"—then, resigned—"I can't get him..."
And again at Pimlico in 1947, rhapsodizing on the horse Jet Pilot and how he had just won the Preakness; suddenly the voice is subdued. "What am 1 talking about," McCarthy says. "Ladies and gentlemen, I have made a terrific mistake. I have given you the winner as Jet Pilot, and it is Faultless.... Well, Babe Ruth struck out once."
The record (Riverside, $3.98) was cut at the expense of the record company, NBC and Ed Sullivan, who supplied introduction and commentary. Proceeds were to go to McCarthy. Now it doesn't matter, but buy the record anyway—for the pleasure of hearing Clem McCarthy again.
Arthur H. (Big Artie, Fat Artie) Samish has been a newsboy, horseplayer, lobbyist and prison inmate. Now he is running a motel for rich dogs. Artie started a swank doggery in San Francisco called Pets Inn, rates $2.50 a day to $90 a month on the American plan. He and his associates sank $100,000 in Pets Inn, and they had a grand opening recently with "champagne and oddments [table scraps?] catered from Las Vegas." The décor is posh; there are landscaped animal runs, dietary kitchens, piped-in music, and the Poochies and Marmadukes are picked up in chauffeured Rolls-Royces.
Artie went to jail in 1956 for income tax evasion and stayed there 26 months. As a lobbyist he used to boast that he could tell if California legislators wanted "money, a girl or a baked potato." Artie went to the 1949 World Series in a limousine with a window sticker reading "U.N. Counsel." "This allowed me to make a left turn in Brooklyn," he chirped. "I got it real cheap."
Big Artie says he has given up lobbying for good and now looks forward to a string of society inns for California dogs. When asked what else he had going, his flesh shook and his face beamed. "Kid," he said, "I'm wild all over; I'm wilder than I've ever been."
Que fractura mas buena (what a lucky break) it was for Costa Rica last week. The Russian soccer team, en route to Chile for the world championships (see page 90), had condescended to stop and show off their skills. Now, finding a Russian in Costa Rica is like finding a coffee bean in Beluga caviar, and when the Soviet players arrived at 11 p.m. they were royally received by customs agents (the rest of the airport had shut down for the night) who proceeded to ransack their luggage and search their persons. Trainer Gavril Kachalin blew his top. "What do you think we are?" he squealed. "Spies? We'll take the next plane out."
But they stayed, keeping indoors in a side-street hotel until Sunday when they emerged, winking and blinking in the stark white sun, to take on a local team. The crowd was large at San José Stadium. The soccer was poor. "¬øQue pasa [What's up]?" grumbled the fans as the Soviets fooled around and got tied 1-1. "We are here not to win or lose but to provide a spectacle," Kachalin explained, and everyone agreed his boys had made a spectacle of themselves.
Smarting, Kachalin accepted another match, this time with the local champions. It was a sell-out. The game grew rough. "Que lindo [This is more like it]!" cried one spectator as the Russian goalie, Vladimir Maslachenko (San José sportscasters had a grand time twisting that one around their tongues), was helped from the field with a bleeding, broken nose. The Russians won 6-2, but at Cali, Colombia a day later they were tied again, 0-0. As they left for Chile, one commentator said proverbially, "No es tan bravo el leon como lo pintan"—which is to say, "The lion is not as fierce as he's painted."
Around the Polo Grounds these game nights the fun for young hoods is selling private parking on unlighted, undeveloped public property at $1.50 a car (better take your valuables to the park with you, including aerials, rear-view mirrors and hubcaps). But the recent epitome of opportunistic scavenging occurred on a boat chartered out of Captree on Long Island by a group of fishermen. Rough weather soon stretched many of the paying customers on the deck. As they lay in mortal agony, the crew stole their lunches.
THE GOOD SHIP POTTER
Incompetent sportsmen may want to pause this weekend to observe the anniversary of the birth of Gamesmanship—it was June 8, 1931 that Stephen Potter perceived the basic principles of what was later to blossom into "The Art of Winning Games Without Actually Cheating." By 1947, in The Theory and Practise of Gamesmanship, Potter was able to set forth the specifics of the Frith-Morteroy Counter and the Basic Fluke Play, as well as the invaluable Second Law of Gamesmanship—which, condensed, is: "If you can't volley, wear velvet socks." Here, too, were such exquisite refinements as: "Do not attempt to irritate partner by spending too long looking for your lost ball. This is unsporting. But good gamesmanship...can be practised if the gamesman makes a great and irritatingly prolonged parade...looking for his opponent's ball."
Inferiority being what it is (prevalent), there was soon a demand for Potter's assistance in other fields, which he kindly provided in such books as Lifemanship and Oneupmanship. But it is for such basic arts as Fomenting Distrust Between Your Two Opponents and the 18 ways of saying "Bad luck" that the bulk of American sportsmen are grateful today to Potter.
THE INSIDE TRACK
•Owner Charles Finley will have the' necessary seven affirmative votes if he asks American League co-owners next month to approve his moving the Kansas City Athletics to Dallas-Fort Worth for 1963.
•Details are set: the U.S. Track and Field Federation will come into being early in July.
•Watch for this shake-up of the NBA's Chicago Packers next season: Paul Seymour to replace Jim Pollard as head coach, Pollard to be kept in front office for the balance of his contract.
•A new bond issue will be necessary to finance Houston's domed baseball stadium unless $3 million can be raised through advance seat options.
•National Football League back judges will be able to synchronize field time with the time on the scoreboard clock by use of pocket-size electronic gadget invented by an employee of Clint Murchison's Dallas Cowboys.
Trotting's Clearview Stable, owned by Norman S. Woolworth, is one of the few that brighten a horseplayer's (and, perhaps, a horse's) life by imaginative nomenclature. Clearview had twins a few years ago, and named them Tweedledum and Tweedledee. It has a broodmare, Filet Mignon, whose first son is Porterhouse, one of the fastest 4-year-olds in training today. Her next two foals were named Tenderloin (colt) and Lamb Chop (filly). Sadly, Mr. Woolworth has run out of choice cuts. He wants to name his new colt Meatball.
ON BEING DISCRIMINATE
When Jackie Robinson broke baseball's color line in 1947, Pee Wee Reese from Louisville, Ky. was the first Dodger to display his acceptance of the Negro, posing with him for pictures and kidding with him in public. Not long ago the Louisville Board of Aldermen elected Reese to a nine-man Citizens Human Relations Commission, but almost immediately the appointment was criticized by the NAACP and CORE. Reese, it seems, is a partner in a segregated bowling alley in Louisville that bears his name, so the two organizations wanted Reese removed from the commission.
The Louisville Courier-Journal leaped to Reese's defense. "He is no confirmed segregationist," it said. "He could be a useful member of the commission."
Last week Reese resigned from the commission. "I feel I can better serve the cause of voluntary integration as a private citizen," he told Louisville Mayor William O. Cowger. Replied Cowger: "It is unfortunate."
THEY SAID IT
•Sonny Liston, on Floyd Patterson's chances against him: "He won't last five rounds. I want to have more time to talk to the sportswriters. I have to be home at a certain time and I can't go 15 rounds and talk to the writers both."
•A. J. Foyt, Indianapolis "500" defending champion, after being forced out of last week's race: "I may drive for Bowes Seal Fast next year, but I'll have a different crew. They goofed up some last year but this time they were really all thumbs. The only one I can trust is my father."
•Bobby Bragan, Houston coach, on the future of baseball: "Someday all stadiums will have domes, and they'll seat around 2,500. They'll sell the television rights for about $3 million, and seeing the game live will be on a very exclusive basis, like Queen for a Day. When will that be? In about 40 years. That's how long it takes for baseball to make a change."
•Willie Pastrano, one of the fluff punchers in boxing, on the difference between fighting light heavyweights and heavyweights: "I used to hit heavyweights with my best shots, and they'd just smile at me. It was extremely depressing."
•Eddie Arcaro, retired master jockey, on eating again after 30 years of watching his weight: "I've been on a high protein diet for so long, rich food makes me sick. I love it—spaghetti and things—but my stomach just won't accept it."
•Chuck Connors, television and movie actor and former major league baseball player, discussing Branch Rickey's loquaciousness: "I heard him talk for an hour and a half on how to take a lead at first base, and he never got the runner more than 10 feet off the bag."