TECH IS READY TO RAMBLE
Typically tenacious, Georgia Tech finessed Florida, 9-0, last week in a game of defenses played in the rain at Atlanta, but as the college football season opened there the question was not so much whether Tech would be very good in the Southeastern Conference, but how long Tech would be in the SEC at all. The answer: too long to suit Florida's immediate purposes, but perhaps not much longer. Tech, 31 years an SEC regular, dreams of being independent, of scheduling whoever it pleases, setting its own high academic and scholarship standards and restrictions, and sharing revenue from bowl game and television appearances only with the opposing teams instead of with the entire Southeastern Conference.
Already Tech has dropped Alabama, LSU and Florida from future schedules, adding Navy, Notre Dame, Southern Cal, Miami, Penn State and TCU, and games with Ohio State and Army are in the works. Soon, Tech will not even play the required number of league games (six) to win the SEC title.
In January, when the league meets, Tech probably will announce its withdrawal. Coach Bobby Dodd speaks openly of his distaste for SEC scholarship rules and Tech officials are sophisticated enough to know that athletic integration is inevitable. "What will happen," Dodd poses, "when some SEC schools integrate and others don't? Will they play?" Academically, Tech feels more kinship with members like Vanderbilt and Tulane than it does with others who have less strenuous entrance requirements. "If we were independent," says Dodd, "we could continue to play five SEC teams that are important to us and five national opponents. With a schedule like that, we could compete with the pro team that is bound to come to Atlanta one of these days."
In a nonchalant summation of the Yankees' pennant-clinching game in Minnesota last week, New York Manager Ralph Houk declared, "We all kind of like it better clinching the pennant on the road. Of course, it is nice, too, being able to clinch it at home before home folks."
LINDBERGH LAW FOR DOGNAPPERS?
Every year, shortly before the hunting season, there is a rash of dog thefts among the sporting breeds. Dognappers get from $50 to $150 or more for a likely-looking animal. This year New England has been especially hard hit. Now one of the victims, Edward W. Rogers of Manchester, Mass., has come up with a possible solution. After losing two valuable Labrador retrievers. Rogers suggested that the state department of fisheries and game adopt a canine identification system like that used to identify racing greyhounds.
Under the Rogers plan, the state would assign blocks of registration numbers and identification cards to veterinarians throughout the state. Owners would take their dogs to a vet, who would then tattoo an identification number in the dog's ear and fill out an identification card in triplicate—one for the vet, one for the owner and one for the state's master file. In a change of ownership, the registration would be reassigned. The master file would simplify tracing and identification of dogs—strayed or stolen.
A good idea, but to be truly effective it should be established on an interstate basis. Dognappers would be astute enough to ship stolen animals out of the state—as they often do now.
IT'S NICE WORK
Marion Sanderfer, former vice-president and drilling superintendent of the Henderson Drilling Corp., was ordered by his company to go on a deer hunting trip in 1961 as the firm's public relations representative. He fell from a tree during the hunt and was permanently paralyzed. He contended he was injured in the line of duty. Henderson's insurance company lawyers argued plaintiff was not injured in the course of regular employment. A jury in Houston found for plaintiff and brought in damages of $14,285 for medical expenses and $35 a week for 401 weeks as compensation, observing that Sanderfer was tending to business. This decision may get into the lawbooks and settle for all time that public relations—if not deer hunting—is work.
PLEASE PASS THE MUKTUK
Eskimos are pretty good conservationists. Of the 1,300 walrus they kill each year, they make weapons and boat keels of the ivory; split the hides of females to make umiaks, skin houses and the soles of mukluks; tan the stomach linings for drumheads; convert intestines into waterproof snow shirts; freeze the blubbery meat, heart, liver, brain and flippers for food for man and dog; expel clams from the stomachs for human food; and pretty much waste nothing whatsoever.
Except, what to do with the walrus' whiskers? Tough, strong and transparent, they are too resilient to make fishhooks or needles. The walrus uses his whiskers as clam rakes, but they have always stumped the Eskimo.
Now the white man has discovered that there is nothing quite so swank as using a walrus whisker as an hors d'oeuvre pick, especially if the pick spears a tidbit of muktuk, the fat skin of beluga whale. Muktuk has an unconquerable chewy texture and tastes like secondhand bubble gum, but Wien Alaska Airlines Inc., which carries tourists to Eskimo settlements, has found that the trippers actually enjoy it, especially if the muktuk is served on the end of a walrus whisker. The whiskers then disappear, as souvenirs, into handbags and pockets. So Wien Alaska has engaged Trader Ed R. Shepherd of Gambell to supply the whiskers, and the Eskimos are delivering upwards of 3,000 a year.
The Eskimos are delighted but, wielding pliers on the walrus just as they pluck their own scant beards, they pass a joke back and forth among themselves.
"Trader crazy man," they say. "Him want us shave walrus now."
It's always good for a laugh.
NOW PITCHING FOR DOW JONES
On the Fourth of July four summers ago, the Chicago White Sox offered 19-year-old Scott Seger $50,000 to sign a contract. Seger was willing. He got $8,000 as salary the first year, 1959, which he spent pitching in Holdrege, Neb. After paying taxes, he bought a 1959 Impala convertible, a high-fidelity set for his mother and golf clubs for his father. With the remaining $2,000 he established a portfolio of stock investments. The next year Seger received the first $10,000 installment on his bonus from the White Sox, took out a $50,000 life insurance policy, paying $3,000 in cash for the premiums, and established a college fund for himself. He put the second $10,000 (1961) into a building and loan company in Cincinnati, paid his taxes and made more investments with the third $10,000 (1962). The fourth installment arrived last month, and Seger finished paying for his schooling at Xavier University, where he will graduate next June, and took care of all other outstanding bills.
Seger is now 23 years old, has $10,000 in cash in the bank, a $50,000 life insurance policy, a new car, a home, a college education and a fat fistful of solid stocks—all courtesy of the White Sox, for whom he has never pitched a major league game and probably never will. He has trouble getting over .500 with the Portsmouth Tides in the Class A Carolina League. Is he worried? Are you kidding?
An old wartime Royal Air Force fighter pilot, Wing Commander Cornelius (Paddy) Donovan is now 52 but still full of youthful ideas. He wants to glide across the Atlantic next year in a sailplane.
Donovan's plan calls for a glider with a wingspan of 250 feet (bigger than a Boeing 707) and a pressurized cabin. He would be towed to 50,000 feet by a Canberra jet bomber, then set free to see if he could manage the 2,000 miles from Newfoundland to Shannon, Ireland. If he did make it, taking advantage of the westerly jet stream, he would get to the other side in a mere 12 to 15 hours—and to Paddy this conjures visions of cheap, quiet travel. The flight also would crack several records, not the least of which is the sailplane distance record of 535 miles.
There are hitches. The modern sailplane's maximum gliding angle is 40 to 1, meaning that from an altitude of 10 miles in still air Paddy would glide only 400 miles before touching water. To go 2,000 miles he would need a following wind of about 200 mph and, though the jet stream does reach this speed, it is only a few thousand feet thick. Eventually, it would seem, he would sink through the stream. All in all, a risky deal.
Even so, Fred Slingsby, British glider builder, is willing to build the craft for Donovan at an estimated cost of $140,000. But, added Slingsby, "I certainly wouldn't go up with him for a fortune."
STORY THAT NEVER ENDS
There are several persistent myths about the Black Sox Scandal of 1919 and all are destroyed in Eliot Asinof's Eight Men Out (Holt, Rinehart and Winston, $4.95), an excellent delving into the most outrageous swindle in American sports history. It was not gamblers, but the Black Sox themselves (specifically Chick Gandil, roughneck first baseman) who first proposed throwing the World Series to the Cincinnati Reds. It is not true that Dickie Kerr, the honest little left-hander, won the third game despite the attempts of his crooked teammates to throw it. Asinof establishes that all the players were out to win that particular game. And it is not true that the guilty players got no money for their machinations. Arch-fixer Gandil collected $35,000.
The 1919 fix was inevitable. Other fixed games were not unknown in those days, but the owners, braying piously of the game's virtue, did nothing. Baseball teetered on the brink of moral bankruptcy, led by greedy tyrants of the stripe of Charles Comiskey, who gave his players minimum meal money and sent them out to play in dirty uniforms, thus saving on laundry bills. Eddie Cicotte won 28 games in 1917, 29 in 1919. His salary after 14 seasons in the majors: less than $6,000. He had a big mortgage on his farm and he threw the first and fourth games for $10,000.
Some of the most vivid scenes in the book deal with the suspicions of honest teammates and sportswriters: Ray Schalk, the little catcher, furiously punching Pitcher Lefty Williams under the grandstand; Ring Lardner, disillusioned and drunk, reeling through the White Sox Pullman, singing, "I'm forever blowing ball games."
SPLIT-T, SPLIT-SCENE FULLBACK
Before setting off from Parsons College in Iowa to make his fortune as a fullback in pro football, young Nat Craddock had seen little of the world. Now, a few months later, Craddock has covered as much mileage and evoked as much fuss as a bevy of itinerant AAU officials. Originally drafted by the New York Giants, Boston Patriots and Montreal Allouettes, Craddock chose the Giants and lasted until the final cut. Released, he then accepted an offer to join the Ottawa Rough Riders. Learning this, Montreal claimed him as its property. By this time, however, Craddock had decided against Canadian football anyway and informed Boston, his third original drafter, that he was available. The Patriots sent him plane fare.
Impressive enough in tryouts to hang on with Boston, Craddock was still there when the New York Jets came into town for the opener. Jet Coach Weeb Ewbank caught sight of Craddock. "Where have you been?" he yelped. "I've been looking for you for four days." The explanation, of course, is that AFL have-nots Oakland and New York get first refusal on rejects from NFL teams. Entitled to Craddock under this system, the Jets asked Commissioner Joe Foss to award them custody. Foss so ruled, despite the previous draft by Boston, and Craddock went to New York (team No. 5).
But he didn't stay. Instead, strictly on his own, he went to Baltimore and asked for a tryout with the Colts. Will he stay there? See next week, maybe.
THEY SAID IT
•Darrell Royal, Texas football coach, discussing his hard-running, 5-foot-9 tailback, Tommy Ford: "If he didn't ram in there so hard, he might be 6 feet tall."
•Eddis Freeman, Greer (S.C.) high school football coach, asked if a complicated new play he diagrammed would win for him: "No, but it's one with which we can lose with dignity."