THE SHY AND MANNERLY CHAMP
This is an article from the March 9, 1964 issue
The only other Kentuckian to win the heavyweight championship of the world was Marvin Hart, who is but vaguely remembered in boxing history. In 1905 Hart, who weighed 190, stopped the 171-pound Jack Root in 12 rounds at Reno to acquire the title vacated by James J. Jeffries, who refereed the bout. Then Hart lost the crown to Tommy Burns eight months later.
We recall him now because Hart is remembered by his friends as a modest fellow and because he is a deceased neighbor of Cassius Clay, who is not known to anyone as timid. They differ in one other respect. According to Jimmy Dell Lovell, former fight promoter for whom Hart occasionally refereed, Hart was "a great believer that a strong offense was the best of all defenses."
The old Hart farm is a mere five miles south of the Clay home and its house is no longer occupied, but in the stable there dangles an old punching bag. To Hart's sister-in-law, Mrs. Edna Silliman, who treasures several mementoes of his boxing days, Hart's finest remembrance is the plumbing he installed in her home in 1927.
"We never had any trouble with it," she says proudly.
"Marvin was kind of shy and bashful," she remembers. "He was very mannerly, especially around the ladies."
Probably never called them "foxes" in his life.
NAMES TO STICK IN A HAT
In the opinion of many, Australia lost the recent Davis Cup Challenge Round because Harry Hopman, her longtime captain, did not get down to serious work with his players until four weeks before the decisive matches with the U.S. team. Conversely, much credit for the American victory properly went to Bob Kelleher, U.S. captain, who spent the best part of a year readying Chuck McKinley and Dennis Ralston for their big moment at Adelaide.
Now Kelleher says he wants out as nonplaying captain, though it is known that Jim Dickey, newly elected USLTA president, wants him to stay on for the cup defense. But Kelleher seems to have declared his intentions firmly, and, in consequence, one must ask: to whom will the cup captaincy be entrusted?
The job is usually a direct appointment by the president. If Hopman's failure and Kelleher's success can be attributed to the time the captains spent working on their players, then President Dickey's field may be narrowed considerably. For instance, Jack Kramer, the old pro, believes Vic Seixas is "an even-money bet" for the assignment, but there is doubt that Seixas' financial position is sound enough for him to take off the time necessary to mold a top team. Here are some other prospects, all of whom could probably take the time:
Jack Bushman of Montgomery, Ala., who is past president of the Southern Lawn Tennis Association.
Bill Talbert, former cup captain, who is favored by the players but has been bluntly critical of the USLTA.
Chauncey Steele Jr., ranking senior player, who is former president of the New England Lawn Tennis Association.
William Clothier II, tennis organizer in the Philadelphia area, who has worked closely with Dickey for years.
Tom Price, import-export executive from Cincinnati, who has sided with Dickey in intratennis politics.
The problem of choice may seem less acute since both Roy Emerson and Ken Fletcher were booted off the Australian Davis Cup team for unauthorized foreign play. Actually, it is not. We should field our best team with our best captain, no matter what.
ADIEU TO THE 'ROO?
The kangaroo grows only in Oceania, but it grows by leaps and bounds. It is curiously Australian—brash, forthright and guileless—but Aussie sheep ranchers do not regard it as a brother. It multiplies carelessly, gobbles the best grass, drinks up precious water.
Now the ranchers are admitting to their lands hired guns who can plug a minimum of 60 'roos a day each. The weekly kill is in the tens of thousands. Tons are salvaged, at $1 a head, for pet food and leather, but the rest rot.
The Sydney museum's Curator of Mammals admits the indiscriminate slaughter is wasteful, and animal lovers cite as a disgraceful precedent the decimation of the American bison. But Australia's kangaroo population is well into the millions—and so far there is little official concern at the prospect of extinction. After all, the kangaroo cannot be tamed or herded. He is too tough for the cultured palate. He will not adapt to saddle or yoke. His only assets are charm and the ability to box—and there is little demand these days for charming or boxing kangaroos.
Taxpayers who gripe about federal spending should tip their hats to one Government figure: Smokey Bear. The U.S. Forest service has announced that Smokey's annual income, which goes toward forest-fire prevention, is headed toward $45,000. About 40 Smokey Bear products are now on the market, including dolls, cookies, kerchiefs, slippers, T shirts, belts, coloring books and, appropriately, cigarette snuffers.
Smokey was born on an artist's drawing board back in 1945, and by 1952 he had become so famous that Congress passed a law protecting him. The Secretary of Agriculture is permitted to lend Smokey's name and image to commercial products, and anyone found guilty of using Smokey without permission can get six months in a federal pen.
But more important than money, the Forest Service credits Smokey with saving millions of acres of woodland from fire. In 1957 forest fires were held below 100,000 for the first time, and the service now believes they can be cut to 50,000. Smokey averages 1,000 letters a day. One California mother summed them up when she wrote, "It is amazing how much more alert children are than grownups. There is never a cigarette thrown from our car anymore. We really get told."
THE ATHLETES TESTIFY
The huge man with the bull neck leaned back in his chair and told the group around him that he had spent much time studying The Acts of the Apostles in order to learn what Peter and Paul preached after the Crucifixion. Then an erect old gentleman with bushy eyebrows described the "testifying" that was so much a feature of the churches of his youth.
The big fellow was Don Shinnick, the Baltimore Colts' linebacker who leads the team in prayer before and after every game. The old man was Branch Rickey, who at 82 still is an active executive with the St. Louis Cardinals. They were attending a two-day retreat of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes in Tampa.
Some twoscore athletes were present, among them Vernon Law, the Pirates' pitcher, who told of the difficulties a rookie used to encounter when he joined a major league club and refused to sacrifice some of his religious principles. As a Mormon, he was considered a little peculiar until they saw the hop on his fast ball. Nowadays, he said, the difficulties are much less.
Quarterback Bill Wade of the Chicago Bears described a special arrangement with the team's trainers. He never misses Sunday services because he gets his legs taped before going to church and so is ready for a quick change afterward.
After his surprising unconditional release by the New York Rangers in late November, Doug Harvey went to the Quebec Aces and, at 38, it appeared that one of the biggest names in the game might be fading out of hockey. For the Rangers, Harvey had played in 14 games and had only two assists to his credit before his release. The Aces had been in a similar slump. On December 1 they had won only eight of their 20 starts and occupied fourth place in the Eastern Division. In the first 11 games house attendance was down 30,000 from the previous year's record.
In his first outing with the Aces, Harvey helped to draw 9,981 fans, largest crowd in three seasons. But the Aces lost that one and the next.
Then they went on a winning streak of four games and were on their way. Since Harvey's arrival they have won 27 and tied one of 41 games and have moved into first place, eight points ahead of the runner-up Hershey Bears. For the first 27 games the Aces increased their attendance by almost 18,000 over last year.
Not all the credit is Harvey's, to be sure. Another big factor has been Gump Worsley at goal. But Harvey has been going well, too, and what with bonus clauses and other factors, like the big gates he is helping to bring in, he just might make as much with the Aces as he did with the Rangers (about $25,000).
Selection of the Oakland Hills Country Club in Birmingham, Mich. as site of the Carling World Golf Championship next August was simple enough. It has been the scene of four U.S. Opens, and in tournament play has proved itself for the game's masters with an 18-hole low score of 67. Par is 70. But making the tournament truly a world championship was something else. There was the problem of South Africa's apartheid policy. South African golf associations came through. They ignored race, encouraged all golfers to qualify and one nonwhite, Sewsunker Sewgolum, placed as first alternate for the four-man contingent to represent the African zone.
Then there occurred the problem of penetrating the Iron Curtain, behind which golf has been held to be a bourgeois game. In Czechoslovakia a Carling representative found 300 Czech golfers playing with 1935 vintage clubs and handmade balls and tees. But now the government is officially sanctioning the game and Czech golfers hope to be represented in the July European qualifier. The government has even issued a formal invitation for the World Championship to be held in Czechoslovakia in 1965.
THEY SAID IT
•Bill Veeck, former Chicago White Sox owner, on Ford Frick, baseball commissioner: "Mr. Frick is the only man I know whom Dale Carnegie would have hit in the mouth."