THE GAME'S THE THING
Despite their abysmal start (three wins in 13 games) the New York Rangers have already drawn to their first six home games some 17,000 more spectators than they did last year for the same six. And the Boston Bruins, firmly lodged in last place in the National Hockey League, are nevertheless averaging more than 11,000 per game, just as they did last year. In fact, club officials report the Bruins are making more money than last season because Bostonians are deserting the balcony seats for higher-priced locations downstairs. First-place Detroit averaged 9,600 per game at this time last year, is drawing over 10,700 this year, while second-place Chicago has jumped from a five-game total of 39,900 last year to over 54,100 this time. Only Toronto and Montreal have failed to record sizable increases. But then, who can blame them? They were SRO last year, they are SRO this year and they will be SRO next year, and the next and the next.
POSTLUDE WITH TWO FUGUES
The tragicomic aftermath of the tragicomic Sonny Liston-Floyd Patterson heavyweight title fight continues.
•Patterson returned from a trip with his wife and announced that once more he had donned false whiskers to escape attention, this time in three foreign countries that, inexplicably, he refused to name. (There is some doubt that he went abroad at all.) He said he would like to fight Liston again in March at New York's Madison Square Garden. The hitches: The Garden is pretty much booked for March; Liston is not licensed in New York and probably won't be.
November 19, 1962
•Patterson's manager, Cus D'Amato, unable to raise a $100,000 guarantee, was forced to cancel the middleweight title fight between his José Torres and Paul Pender. Torres said Patterson had refused to lend D'Amato the money. Possible reasons: Torres once decked Patterson in training and talked about it to the embarrassment of the then champion; Torres, writing in a Spanish-language newspaper, picked Liston to knock out Patterson. D'Amato, who made a rich man of Patterson, is deeply in debt because he insists on supporting a stable of nonworking fighters. Generally, it's the fighter who goes broke, the manager who gets rich.
•The unpredictable Liston, booked for his nightclub debut at the Riviera Hotel, Las Vegas, where he was to appear with Louis Armstrong and Janet Blair, lit out for St. Louis and booked himself for an appearance there, all without notifying his agent, Joe Glaser.
PASS PERFORMANCE KING
The Ivy League total offense record for a single game (337 yards, set by Cornell's Gary Wood) was broken twice last weekend and by the same player. Dartmouth's Quarterback Billy King (see page 66) did it when he completed his fourth touchdown pass against Columbia in the third quarter of a 42-0 rout. He then retired to the bench with a 348-yard record.
In the fourth quarter King returned to the game to hold for a field-goal attempt. The center's snap was high. King tried to run and was thrown for a 12-yard loss. Back went the record to Wood.
With two minutes left to play, no one on the bench was aware that a record had been made and lost. The statisticians, however, passed the information to the spotters, who passed it to Coach Bob Blackman, who passed it to King, who went into the game and passed for 12 yards and set the record all over again.
He set two other Ivy League marks as well—most yards passing in one game (324 on 14 of 16 passes) and most touchdown passes in one game (four).
FUGAZY VS. COHN (CONT.)
The breach of contract suit brought by Humbert (Jack) Fugazy against Feature Sports, Inc. and its proprietors, Roy M. Cohn and William Fugazy Jr., finally went to trial last week in New York Supreme Court. A defense motion for a postponement—it would have been the sixth—was denied. Fifty-three persons were examined before 12 jurors and two alternates were chosen. Cohn did not appear as his own counsel, but was represented by a partner in his law firm, Albert A. Blinder. Among the questions Blinder asked prospective jurors were these: Do they read Dan Parker's column in the New York Mirror? Had they seen the 1954 McCarthy subcommittee proceedings on TV? Do they subscribe to or read SPORTS ILLUSTRATED?
MOOSE ON THE LOOSE
Galumphing freely around northwestern Washington, a Canadian moose is having himself a time this fall thumbing his big, fleshy nose at hunters. He never had it so good. There is no open season on moose in the state of Washington.
For the past couple of months the moose, now known to the countryside as Bullwinkle, has been:
1) Stopping traffic along U.S. Highway 99 by lolling along the shoulders of the road;
2) Startling housewives by peering in kitchen windows;
3) Eating up remnants of vegetables still showing in home gardens;
4) Disgruntling hunters.
The presumption is that Bullwinkle got lost in the fall fogs and wandered across the international line somewhere in eastern Whatcom County. Finding the natives so hospitable, he just kept going. Of late he has been making camp in the foothills east and north of Conway, at the mouth of the Skagit River.
There has been some talk of trapping him—timid folk started it—and transporting him back across the line. But such a move would be widely opposed. Most Washingtonians have grown to like Bullwinkle. He makes them feel like pioneers in the wilds.
THE INSIDE TRACK
•Promoters of the Sugar Bowl and Cotton Bowl games are worried about the University of Mississippi's desegregation problem. Not that they would have any concern about inviting Ole Miss, but TV sponsors just might turn their backs on such a game.
•Despite rumors, best bet for next season's National Basketball Association Commissioner is current boss Maurice Podoloff, who will be asked to stay on. If he refuses, Fred Zollner, current Detroit Piston owner, and League Attorney George Gallantz are top candidates.
CRY ME A RIVER
Shelby Metcalf is a homespun Texan who knows how to appeal to a country boy. As assistant basketball coach at Texas A&M, he will go to long lengths to appeal to a prize prospect—even promise him a river.
When John Reynolds, definitely a prize prospect from Possum Walk, Texas ("That's nine miles from Groveton," Metcalf explains), arrived on the A&M campus for a visit last spring, Metcalf took him in hand.
"I didn't even show him the campus," Metcalf said. "We went to the Brazos River and caught a mess of channel catfish. We cleaned them and iced them and John took some with him.
"When he got out of my truck all he said was: 'I like your river. I believe I'll go to school here.' "
He did and the fishing remains good.
TRICK OR TREAT?
The customary fate of a losing college football coach is to be hanged in effigy during the season and fired at the end of it. Somewhat different treatment has, up to now, been the lot of Bill Hildebrand, coach of a Wake Forest team that lost its first seven games this season.
One night after that seventh defeat Hildebrand was baby-sitting with his two sons and brooding a bit, when he was all but blown out of his living room by the blare of a band and accompanying cheers. Opening the front door, Hildebrand was greeted by the Wake Forest band and some 300 cheering students. Dumfounded, he accepted a handsome scroll pledging the students' full support to both coach and team.
So on Saturday Wake Forest lost its eighth straight. Old-fashioned we may be, Wake Forest, but we suggest a return to the sound, conservative effigy policy.
CARRY AND CASH
Ben Cash, a fisherman from Kennett, Mo., was arrested last week by a state conservation agent for possessing three trout over the legal limit. For this he paid an $8 fine and $11 in court costs. Ben is chairman of the Missouri Conservation Commission.
THE HORSY LOOK
Japanese with cameras have been observed lately in Harrisburg, Pa., Washington, Toronto and Dublin, Ireland. What these cities have in common is international horse shows. What the Japanese with cameras have in common is that they are getting ready for the 1964 Olympic equestrian games in Tokyo. Nothing sinister about it. The Japanese are just putting together scouting reports on the techniques of international jumping horses and riders in the hope that they may improve their own techniques.
There may have been an omen at the National. The winner of the Irish Mist working hunter trophy was named Daily Nip. He beat out Swing 'n' Sway.
EXPORTS TO JAPAN
As Japanese baseball fans settled cozily on their tatami mats to discuss the news from the hot hibachi league, the talk last week centered around the comings and goings of U.S. major leaguers. The past season had marked the first appearance of name players—the names, either shopworn or a trifle dim, included Don Newcombe, Larry Doby, Larry Raines and Kent Hadley—but there were promises of more to come. Few Americans past their prime in the U.S. leagues fail to give some consideration to bids from Japan, where the pay is high and the odds to stick are long.
Although Larry Doby, paid $24,000 to play half a season for the Chunichi Dragons, has been released (a fast-ball hitter, Doby saw nothing but curves from the Japanese pitchers), the Dragons' Newcombe will be back next spring. The Dragons also have signed journeyman Jim Marshall (on loan from Pittsburgh) and hope to acquire either Billy Goodman of Houston or Gil Hodges of the Mets (Japanese teams are limited to three foreigners). The Nishitetsu Lions, meanwhile, have signed Outfielder George Wilson, a minor leaguer who played briefly in the majors, and they have a scout prowling the U.S. for another outfielder and a strong-arm pitcher.
Pitcher Joe Stanka of Nankai (SI, June 25), a hero in 1961 with 15 wins, won only eight games this year, and Taiyo's Al Grunwald had a dismal 2-8 record. American pitchers have a hard time measuring up to Japanese pinpoint standards, and they need too much rest to suit Japanese managers, who are accustomed to wringing 350 innings or more out of a pitcher in a 130-game schedule. Moreover, they throw too many fast balls—fatal in Japan's relatively shallow outfields.
The Dragons didn't even consider Newcombe as a pitcher. Miserably out of pitching shape at 270 pounds and long removed from the time when he could blow his hard one past hitters, Big Don was hired for his hitting potential and stationed in left field.
Hitters, on the other hand, once they learn to cope with the Japanese strike zone, which ranges, as Larry Doby puts it, "from armpits to knees and a few inches either side of the plate," can become valuable property. Infielder Jack Bloomfield, who came to the Kintetsu Buffaloes three seasons ago after two fairly good seasons in the Texas and Pacific Coast leagues, sets a good example for perplexed newcomers. "I hit about .070 my first month here," says Bloom-field, "because, like most Americans, I waited for the fast balls that never came. Then I got smart." This year, wised up, Bloomfield hit .374 to win the batting title and was unanimous choice as the league's all-star second baseman.
THEY SAID IT
•Darrell Royal, Texas coach, on his giant 6-foot-3, 260-pound freshman tackle, Jerry Oliver: "He has the biggest hands and feet I've seen. We're going to X-ray his big toe. I think it has a liver in it."
•Happy Chandler: "I thought baseball was a sport when I became a commissioner. I was mistaken. The semibandits own it."
•West Point Coach Paul Dietzel, on criticisms of the Cadets' cheering section: "Compared to the cheering sections at LSU, Mississippi, Florida and Georgia Tech, the Cadets are the most polite guys in football."