Last week we worried about track and field, a sport that is slightly schizophrenic because it has too much money to be amateur and not enough to be professional. This week we turn to college football, which has no such worries since it has plenty of money and is unquestionably amateur.
Two young Texas high school boys, Johnny Agan and Edwin Hall, showed up in Lubbock, Texas last week for a high school all-star football game. They were not well received because, after having signed letters of intent to go to Texas Tech in Lubbock, they reversed their fields and decided instead to go to the University of Oklahoma. Nor were Lubbock and Tech overly delighted to see the lads arrive in Agan's new Buick convertible, direct from Lake Tahoe, where they had spent the summer making as much as $188 a week as jackhammer operators. Both said that accepting Oklahoma football scholarships might possibly have had something to do with their getting the jobs. Their boss, they said, was Art Wood, a former Oklahoma City accountant who once refused for a time to let the NCAA see his books on an Oklahoma booster fund.
The boys were asked why they had changed their minds about going to Texas Tech.
"I didn't want to come to Tech in the first place," said Hall. "They talked me into it and I just changed my mind."
"I just decided I liked Oklahoma better," said Agan.
"I can't understand what all the fuss is about," Hall said. "All we did was change. Is there something wrong with that? We took some jobs at hard labor. Doesn't almost every school help its prospects get summer jobs? If you ask me, I'd say it's been blown up all out of proportion."
THE FUTURE AT 88
About the time he celebrated his 88th birthday recently, Sunny Jim Fitzsimmons walked down his shed row at New York's Belmont Park examining his stock the way a dedicated florist examines his orchids.
"Most of these horses," he said, "are good horses. That one there is Royal Record. Normally I don't run my horses on grass, but lately I've noticed that a good grass horse can pick up quite a bit of money. Royal Record has won three races for me on the grass this year.
"That horse there is Hitting Away, and he don't know it yet but he's going to run on grass, too. I've had a big fight with him over who was going to be the boss, him or me. I'm going to be the boss.
"Another thing I have is 2-year-olds. One of 'em is Henry The Eighth. He's by Bold Ruler out of Flirtatious, and I like him. But most of all I got 2-year-old fillies. Sometimes I don't even know how many I got. Every place I look there's a filly. I got one called No Resisting, one called Medici, one called Fashion Verdict and one called Bold Princess. I guess it's just a matter of throwing a saddle on them and letting them run."
At Saratoga this month Sunny Jim threw a saddle on Bold Princess and she easily won the $29,250 Schuylerville Stakes. He also put Hitting Away on the grass twice at Saratoga and he has won both times. So remember the names of those other orchids: No Resisting, Medici and Fashion Verdict.
American amateur tennis has sunk to such a low that when the U.S. Davis Cup team lost to Mexico in the American Zone semifinal—the earliest we have ever been eliminated from Davis Cup play—there was no talk of its being an upset. The superior Mexican team won at half speed, so to speak, and it was the U.S. that was fired up and almost pulled off a surprise victory. Mexico's star, 23-year-old Rafael Osuna, lost one of his singles matches, almost lost the other and won the doubles with his partner, Antonio Palafox, mostly because of the inept play of the American, Dennis Ralston. America's Chuck McKinley stunned Osuna in straight sets in the opening singles match, and then Jack Douglas played him into exhaustion and almost beat him in a five-set match. Osuna, one of the top amateur players in the world, must regain the touch that was missing in the matches with the U.S. if Mexico is to beat Yugoslavia, Sweden and India and gain the Challenge Round against Australia in December.
If they do get to Australia, the Mexicans could be tough. Osuna plays best on grass, and that's the surface he'll have in Australia. And Palafox has played brilliantly enough on occasion to beat players like Australia's Rod Laver, probably the No. 1 amateur in the world today. "When Palafox is on his game and playing with courage, no one can beat him," says Mexico's captain, Ponch Contreras. "Unfortunately, this does not occur often."
The old adage holds that pitching is 75% of baseball. Don't sneer at old adages. The Kansas City Athletics are first in the league in hitting, 10th in pitching—and stand where? Ninth.
THE WISE GUISE
It seemed like such a kindly project when Chicago FM station WCLM got a license from the Federal Communications Commission to operate on two bands. One band offered typical FM fare—all music, little news. The other, broadcasting on a special frequency that could be picked up only by special equipment, was to be a continual report of sports news, with a little general news and very little music. The idea, someone said, was to provide sports news "for old folks and shut-ins." And it was arranged for one of the special receivers to be placed in an old folks' home.
Recently, after sporadic raiding of bookie joints, the Chicago police noticed that they had confiscated nine of the special receivers out of a total of only 27 that are known to exist. Moreover, the receivers were getting race results from such distant tracks as Hialeah directly after each race, a convenience that could serve as prophylaxis against the bookie's dread disease—past-posting.
Now the FCC has ordered WCLM to show cause why its license should not be revoked. And if it is revoked, what will become of those poor old shut-in bookies?
Oh, they'll think of something.
THE INDEFINITE HAND
When Stirling Moss crashed last spring it was feared that the British race driver might be permanently paralyzed. He has since made an amazing recovery and looked gratifyingly bronzed and fit recently as he talked to reporters in Nassau in the Bahamas. But the fact that he was not yet driving any car, much less a racing car, and spent the interview Indian hand wrestling with a friend to exercise his left arm, indicated that Moss still had a way to go.
"I banged my head in the crash," he said, "and that's a slow job. I can see my muscles improve but I can't see my head, if you know what I mean. I can see shortcomings. The other day I went water skiing, and though I was able to ski on one leg I only lasted about 60 yards. I used to teach water skiing and do turnarounds. When I lift a cup of coffee with my left hand it's somehow less definite than when I lift it with my right. I still have an island of amnesia lasting from the night before the crash to seven weeks and four days after it.
"When I get back home I'll have my neurologist check me over. If he passes me, I want to go off quietly to test myself in a car. If I can prove to myself that I'm still as good as I was, then I will go on."
FISHING WITH AN ANGLE
Ron Bodey is a cheerful, lanky 22-year-old Coast Guardsman from Everett, Wash., where the king salmon fishing is wonderful. Bodey has been fishing for the big king since he was 5. During a two-month span this summer the size and frequency of his catches made him a celebrated, even nationally known, figure. Since June 3, when he boated a 22-pound king, Bodey has been bringing in phenomenal fish, many weighing more than 30 pounds, seven of more than 40 pounds and one 53½-pound monster.
The Everett Herald ran an almost daily "box score" on his catches. He won the Seattle World's Fair salmon derby prize of $100 two weeks in a row. His telephone rang constantly as fishermen begged his secret.
"The secret," Bodey confided to a newspaperman, but off the record, "is in balancing the plug. Most plugs tip to one side when you put them in water. I weight the light side with plastic glue, sand it down and balance it just right. But please don't print that." He said he used a monel line, 25 feet of cuttyhunk, six feet of 58-pound test steel leader and a 16-ounce sinker. But he kept one thing secret: how far from the plug he hung the sinker.
Ron Bodey's secret may never be known now. The other night he was arrested for stealing fish from a packing plant. A company spokesman said fish have been disappearing from the plant for the past month and a half—the period of Bodey's greatest successes.
The New York State Joint Legislative Committee that is investigating boxing because of the death of Benny Paret has come up with an extraordinary questionnaire it wants boxing managers to answer. There are such queries as:
How many fur coats has the manager bought since 1957?
How much silver does he have at home?
Does he have a safe deposit box?
Does his wife have a bank account?
How much money is in his children's bank accounts?
If the managers answer truthfully—and some are muttering about invasion of privacy—the results should make pretty stimulating reading. The legislators better watch out, though. Somebody might suggest the quiz be given to other groups—legislators, for example.
THE INSIDE TRACK
•Clemson Basketball Coach Press Maravich will give up the fine sophomore-junior squad that went to the Atlantic Coast Conference finals last March to take an assistant's job at North Carolina State. Reason: a clause which says that Maravich will be head coach when Everett Case retires after the 1964-65 season.
•Carry Back, scheduled to run in the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe in France in October, may not be the only American horse in the race. Art Market, trained by Hirsch Jacobs, has been made eligible, and if he shows good form in the United Nations Handicap at Atlantic City next month—in which he is expected to run—he'll be shipped to Paris.
•Don't expect Stan Musial, currently at the top of the daily listing of the leading hitters in the National League, to win the batting title again this year. The rules say he must have at least 502 appearances at the plate to be eligible for the championship, and to reach that figure Stan would have to abandon his part-time schedule and play every inning of every game from now to the end of the season.
REAL ESTATE NOTE
Most homes near golf courses sell at a premium these days, but Mr. and Mrs. Earl Rutledge, who live in a house right across the street from the Albuquerque Country Club, consider the honor dubious, to say the least. They claim that their house, which they rent, is subject to "constant bombardment" and have filed suit to enjoin club members from knocking golf balls onto their property. Their landlord is suing the club, too. He wants $15,000 for damages to the house and the yard and—oh, the irony of it—for the general devaluation of the property.
THEY SAID IT
•Orlando Pena, Athletics' pitcher, after beating Cleveland 5 to 2 in his first American League start: "I don't use a spitter. I just throw a sinking fast ball like Lou Burdette."
•Kansas State Basketball Coach Tex Winter, decrying college recruiting tactics as encouraging game fixes: "If you could check on the boys involved in the basketball scandals you would probably find that they were highly recruited. Once a person is told to cheat, it will be that much easier to cheat the next time."
•End Gordie Smith, just out of the Army, on the rigors of the Minnesota Viking training camp: "The pay is better here but the working conditions are not as good as in the Army."
•Labron Harris, Oklahoma State golf coach: "The best amateur golf in the world is played in the colleges. You let me pick a team of college players and I'll beat the tail off the Walker Cup team."