NOT NOW, RIGHT NOW
President Kennedy's stern warning to the AAU and NCAA to end their bitter war once and for all brought home to millions of Americans what readers of this magazine have been aware of since the AAU-NCAA fight broke into the open more than a year ago—that unless the struggle for control of amateur sport in the U.S. is settled this country will not have an Olympic team in 1964. The truce arranged a month ago by the President's brother, Attorney General Kennedy, was broken by the AAU, which refused at its convention to ratify the so-called "coalition" agreement engineered by the Attorney General; the "coalition" in effect gave the NCAA side most of what it was fighting for—which is practical control of the most important amateur sport, track and field.
After the President's statement, the two groups indicated they would submit the dispute to an arbitration committee. We suggest that the AAU recognize the realities of the situation—that its absolute control of amateur sport is a thing of the past. We suggest that the NCAA, and particularly its executive director, Walter Byers, recognize its new and rather frightening responsibility to amateur athletes at every level, and that it make a clear-cut statement spelling out that responsibility. And we suggest that the fight stop. Now.
December 24, 1962
•The American Machine and Foundry Company has offered to put up a purse of $200,000—with $100,000 of it going to the winner—for a golf tournament to be known as the Ben Hogan Championship. The event, which would be the richest in golf history, would be played at Fort Worth's Colonial Country Club in May, replacing the Colonial Invitational. The club has quietly agreed to approve the new tournament for 1963. The Professional Golfers Association has not yet approved, however. It is concerned that such a big money event would detract from its own championship which is scheduled for July in Dallas. The PGA would prefer to have the new tournament begin in 1964.
•Australia's longtime tennis star Rod Laver will sign a professional contract immediately after the conclusion of Davis Cup play. With a big new name, the pros will be back in the U.S. for a 1963 tour.
•The American Broadcasting Company has decided not to provide coast-to-coast television coverage for Bing Crosby's Pebble Beach tournament in January, because the finals would conflict with Arnold Palmer's Challenge Golf, a half-hour outdoor party game that is also telecast by ABC. It is an ironic turnabout, for lost is the TV exposure that made golf, Arnold Palmer and even Challenge Golf what it is today. And lost also is the TV fee of at least $75,000, all of which was headed to charity.
Baseball's official film of the 1962 World Series was shown for the first time the other day, providing unassailable proof that 1) the Yankees win it in seven, and 2) baseball diamonds are green. Other than that, the film—as always—turns out to be really no more than a box score in postcard color. All the building excitement of what is sport's greatest prolonged event is lost in an endless repetition of five stock shots: 1) pitcher winding up; 2) batter swinging; 3) batter running towards first base; 4) runner crossing home plate; 5) spectators cheering. There is no attempt to capture the mood and theme of each game, or the individual drama—for example, Whitey Ford's slow but eventually successful effort to contain the Giant attack in the first game, or Jack Sanford's bitter losing struggle in the fifth game.
Even the slow-motion reruns of key plays were uninformative. Felipe Alou's leap against the fence to deflect Roger Maris' near-homer in the first inning of the first game was depicted far more clearly in still photographs. And the most important and most debated play of the series—Matty Alou's failure to score on Willie Mays's last-inning double in the seventh game—is presented just the way it was on TV two months ago: you see Maris pick up the ball in right field and make his excellent throw to Richardson, who relays it to Howard at the plate, a bit high and a bit up the line towards third; you see another shot of Alou rounding third and being held up by Coach Whitey Lockman. But you never see Alou and the throw simultaneously, so that it is impossible for those who see the film to make their own judgment as to whether Alou should have tried to score.
In England animals get more loving care than people, and even mice have their adorers. The National Mouse Club is 67 years old and has 375 members, including, of all things, 50 women. It holds 40 to 50 mouse shows a year, with anywhere from 200 to 1,000 mice on display. One mouse fancier maintains there is more fun breeding mice than there is running a horse stud farm, since the costs are less and everything happens so much faster.
Recently the National Mouse Club made news by appointing its first woman judge, a pretty, brunette secretary called Sonia Fryer. Miss Fryer first began to love animals at the age of 3 when a horse kicked her in the face just because she had pulled his tail. Judge Fryer at last count had 70 champagne-colored mice in her mouse stable located in the garden back of her Manchester house, but, as she herself admits, "You never really know from one minute to the next." She has won plenty of prizes, but her champion is a fleet mouse called Speedy Gonzales, who recently copped a cup at a show that sent his value up from 10 shillings to ¬£2.
"A show winner," Miss Fryer says, "should have a good color, big, tulip-shaped ears, prominent eyes—the more they stick out the better—and a nice, racy look. The tail should be straight, set well onto the body and should taper like a whip. Its condition should be excellent and its coat shining."
To insure shining coats mouse handlers rub the mice every day with a silk cloth. A variety of food from bread and water to birdseed and meat also helps. Miss Fryer's mice have parakeets, tortoises and a dog as company, but no cats. "Cat is a nasty word," says Sonia.
Edwin Ahlquist, Ingemar Johansson's adviser, is talking up a Johansson-Liston fight to take place in Sweden this summer in Goteborg's 62,000-seat Nya Ullevi Stadium. A few details remain to be cleared up, like Sonny Liston's return-bout contract with Floyd Patterson, but Ahlquist is roaring ahead with his plans, including a ticket scale with ringside seats going for 600 kronor, or about $115. Ahlquist has already sold 40 ringsiders, so even if the fight doesn't come off he'll have at least one record to boast of—the highest-priced ringside seats in the history of heavyweight boxing. The previous top was $100.
BINGO IN FLORIDA
Tropical Park in Florida has begun to experiment with 10-race cards on Wednesdays, Saturdays and holidays, a device designed to squeeze more betting into a day's activity and, concomitantly, more revenue out of it. Gulfstream Park, which originated the idea and obtained approval from the Florida State Racing Commission, will also run the 10-race cards when its meeting begins later in the winter. Hialeah Park will not.
The reason for the increase to 10 races is not necessarily—or immediately—the added income. In Florida the three major tracks (Tropical, Gulfstream, Hialeah) split the racing season. The track with the highest mutuel handle gets its choice of next season's dates. Hialeah has led the mutuel parade for years, and therefore has held its meeting during the peak of the tourist season (1963 dates: Jan. 17 through March 4). Gulfstream's season comes later when sunbathers and horse-players are moving north with the spring. If Gulfstream runs 10 races on Wednesdays and Saturdays its mutuel handle could eventually exceed Hialeah's, and it would get the choice of dates. If that happens, Hialeah's superb schedule of stakes for 3-year-olds (an exciting and necessary prelude to the Kentucky Derby) will be disrupted, to the detriment of racing all over the country. Eugene Mori, chairman of the board of Hialeah, says his track will not go to 10 races a day. "Nine races is more than enough," he says. "In fact, we'd be just as happy running eight races a day."
We recognize that horse racing is a business, and that businesses like to make money. But it is also a sport, and that fact should never be forgotten. If income is the only reason for racing, the number of races per day could conceivably grow to 12, 15, 18, and our race tracks would become gigantic outdoor bingo parlors. The Florida State Racing Commission should put a stop to this 10-race nonsense right away. Or else change its name to the Florida State Bingo Commission.
FOGGY NIGHT IN LONDON TOWN
Last week in London a fighter billed as Belarmino Fragoso, Portuguese lightweight champion, was knocked out in the third round. Shortly afterward Fragoso, from his home in Portugal, informed officials of the British Boxing Board of Control that not only hadn't he been knocked out, he hadn't even been out of Portugal. "Well," said Teddy Waltham, secretary of the BBBC and referee of the bout: "It was a very foggy night...."
Dodger President Walter O'Malley, a man of impeccable taste—though it so very often runs to things green—is rewarding loyal Los Angeles rooters with a landscaping program for Chavez Ravine that is costing $1 million. Sore-footed National League ballplayers will be delighted to hear that the program includes extensive work on the playing field. It has been plowed four times to a depth of 20 inches to help eliminate the hard surface that aroused so much criticism last season.
But the major aspects of O'Malley's beauty treatment are being concentrated off the field. On the parking lot banks, for instance, there will be red bougainvillea and blue plumbago, and petunias in cantilevered bowls. And beyond the outfield the once barren perimeter hills will be dressed by summer in the dazzling hues of California poppies, larkspur, paintbrush, wild pansies, lupine and Johnny-jump-ups.
Not only that, but the stands, too, will blossom even more than they did in 1962, with a greater-than-ever array of blooming Angelinos, clinging Holly-woods, creeping Anaheims, climbing Burbanks and wild Beverly Hillbillies—season ticket sales are up 71% over last year already.
NEW HOPE FOR TENNIS
Ted Avory, chairman of the Lawn Tennis Association of Great Britain, has some refreshingly vigorous views on tennis: "My strictly personal view is that our lawn tennis association should break away from the international federation and stage our own open championships at Wimbledon. I will go even further than this in saying that I consider that the words 'amateur' and 'professional' should be removed from the rules governing lawn tennis, and that everyone should be called 'player.' Only in this way can the hypocrisy that is so often associated with our game be eliminated."
These are by far the wisest and most practical words we have yet heard spoken by anyone in authority on the tennis scene. We hope that Avory's "strictly personal view" quickly becomes official policy.
I REMEMBER MOLESKIN
For those who like to sprinkle their cocktail conversation with In terms from professional football, here are some late words of advice:
Don't ever say "hard-nosed." No one uses it anymore except lady columnists and cub scout leaders. Call a tough player a "load" or a "horse" or a "stud" as in "Jim Taylor's a load" or "What a horse that guy is" or "There's a real stud."
Don't use aging expressions like "red dog" or "blitz," even though these are still accepted terms in the game. Say "storm" or "shoot" or "fire" or "rocket" and call the linebacker who does it a "plugger."
Instead of saying a team is "up" or "hot" or "on fire," mutter casually, "They're really putting on a club rush, aren't they?" Dick LeBeau of Detroit explains, "Heck, you can give a steak a club rush. You just fall on it and devour it."