Almost nothing about that Sugar Ramos-Floyd Robertson fight in Ghana has escaped criticism—Ramos' performance, which was lackluster; the decision, which seems to have been bad; the Ghana government's reversal of the decision, which was high-handed. M. R. (Bob) Evans of Louisville, treasurer of the World Boxing Association and State Boxing Commissioner of Kentucky, aimed some of his most pointed barbs at Ed Lassman, the Florida restaurant owner who is president of the WBA and who served as a judge at the Ghana fight along with Ramon Velasquez, chairman of the Mexican Boxing Commission. Evans said the practice of WBA officers serving as fight officials was "deplorable." He said they "put themselves in the position of being judge, jury and prosecuting attorney." In a letter sent to members of the WBA executive committee, he urged that "no official in any capacity in the WBA should judge, referee or in any way associate himself with decisions...either in the United States or without."
This denunciation of Lassman could carry considerable weight, since Evans is a prime candidate for the job of U.S. Commissioner of Boxing, if Congress ever gets around to creating a Federal Boxing Commission.
May 24, 1964
The latest fad in golf is personalized tees. It was started by Richard B. Watson, a Miami real estate man, who has been selling so many tees to pros and other golfers that he has abandoned real estate for the art of tee marking.
The tees, multicolored, sell for $5 a gross. Most golfers want their names imprinted, but some have slogans and even commercials. A new father had "8 lb. 13 oz. Baby Girl" printed on his. Tommy Bolt was given some labeled "Tempestuous Tommy Bolt." Tommy showed his around, and 16 other pros at the Doral Open put in orders. Watson gave Mickey Mantle a batch and suggested he give them to kids asking for autographs. "I'm going to take them home to my own kids," Mantle said proudly and reordered.
Watson operates the business from his home with the help of his wife and two children. "I started working on the idea when I was playing golf, and I thought so much about it that I went from a low-80 to a 90 player. Now I'm so busy I don't have time to play at all."
BANE OF THEIR EXISTENCE
A few weeks ago (SI, May 4) we mentioned a blacksmith named William Bane, who had invented an operation for vulcanizing cracks and splits in horses' hooves. Northern Dancer suffered a quarter crack on his left front foot last autumn, and Trainer Horatio Luro had Bane perform a seven-hour operation on him, similar to one he had done earlier on the great harness horse Su Mac Lad. Last Saturday, William Bane must have been brimming over with pride and satisfaction. In the afternoon Northern Dancer won the $176,700 Preakness. That night Su Mac Lad took the $25,000 Speedster Trot at Yonkers Raceway. Not a bad double at all.
CBS announced the other day that there would be some changes made in the telecasting of National Football League games next season. For one thing, they are going to put one announcer right down on the field, where he will range up and down the sidelines doing color or play analysis or whatever else he finds interesting. Bill MacPhail of CBS-TV says that the sideline announcer will in no way interfere with the coach or the players. Coach Don Shula of the Baltimore Colts warns that that is the way it had better be. "I don't mind them on the sidelines," Shula said when he heard the CBS plan, "but I don't want anybody disturbing me or my players during a game." Baltimore fans agreed with Shula. "We got enough trouble winning now," one said.
Another new departure will be an "isolation" camera which will ignore all other action and concentrate on a single player, such as Lenny Moore racing downfield for a long pass. After the play is over a tape of Moore's action from start to finish, as caught by the camera, would be run off for the television audience. CBS figures that unavoidably it will pick the wrong key man a good part of the time, but that at pleasingly frequent intervals it will come up with rare shots of a player doing something really spectacular.
The number of commercials will be increased from 16 to 18, with one coming at half time and the other inserted after a missed field goal, a departure from past practice. A one-minute commercial for the NFL championship game sells for $110,000. A one-minute commercial on a regular-season game goes for $72,000. Bill MacPhail says he has only two minutes of time left for sale for the championship game. Better hurry.
ONE DOG'S MEAT
War Storm, a pointer known to his friends as Jake, will be given the Purina Award in St. Louis this week for being "Top Field Trial Bird Dog of the 1963-64 Season." An impartial panel of five bird-dog experts selected Jake, who won three important field trials during the season, including the National Championship, but the award itself comes from the Ralston Purina Company, makers of Purina Dog Chow and Purina Dog Meal ("extra running and staying power in every bite...tastes great, too!"). C. C. (Tex) Fawcett of the Ralston Purina Company says, "Obviously, we have given our name to the award as a public relations move, but acceptance of it by the winner should in no way be construed as an endorsement of or a testimonial for Purina Products."
That's probably just as well, because Jake's owner, Bethea McCall of Birmingham, happens to be president of the Western Grain Company, which makes Jim Dandy Dog Food.
The U.S. track team that goes against Russia in Los Angeles next July, in the annual dual meet between the two countries, will be coached by Sam Bell of Oregon State. It is an honor, but Sam is not happy. The Amateur Athletic Union has decided that the U.S. team's makeup will be based on performances at the AAU national championships in New Brunswick, N.J. on June 27-28. Sam holds that this is unfair to collegians, who must be at their peak for the National Collegiate championships in Eugene, Ore. a week before the AAU meet, and, once again, a week after the AAU meet, for the Randall's Island Olympic trials in New York. He argues that a collegian who goes all out at the NCAA meet and again a week later at the AAU championships may find himself off peak form for the Olympic trials.
"It's not fair," says Bell.
It is also confusing. Once the supreme U.S. track meet, the Olympic trials at Randall's Island seem to have degenerated into little more than a publicity device for the New York World's Fair—and a sort of preliminary for a second Olympic trials to be held in September in California. The charge has been made that the New Brunswick sponsors of the AAU championships insisted that their meet be the qualifying event for the Russian meet or they would not put up the substantial guarantee they were offering to land it.
If all this is true, it would appear that the AAU has gone into the business of peddling track meets as though they were so much salable merchandise, alterations included free.
Mark McCormack's prediction (SI, April 6) that the Masters can mean a million dollars to the winning pro was straight down the middle of the fairway. In fact, if anything, Palmer's astute adviser may have underestimated the impact of a Masters win. It seems now that Arnie's Army is trooping to department stores and men's shops to buy its hero's golf clothes just as fervently as it dogged his heels at Augusta. Before the Masters, Palmer-labeled sportswear, like Arnie himself, was in the doldrums. In the month since then, according to Jules Rosenthal, managing director of Arnold Palmer apparel, retailers have carded a bonus of almost half a million dollars in sales of Palmer's golfwear as a result of the tournament.
TEXAS JOKE NO. 573
The wealthy Texas oilman visited New York City for the first time and fell in love with the place. He explored every part of the metropolis, and when he returned to his immense ranch in south Texas he took with him a New York city block that he had purchased, complete with tenements, stoops, lampposts, manhole covers, everything. He had it reconstructed on the ranch and then proudly led his children out to see it. "There it is," he said. "It's all yours. What do you think of it?" The kids looked at it dubiously, and one of them said, "But Daddy, what is it?" The wealthy Texan exploded. "What is it?" he said. "What the devil do you think it is? It's a stick-ball court!"
IS IT GOOD FOR GENERAL MOTORS?
General Motors assembled the press at its big Milford, Mich. proving ground last week to maximize the value of proving grounds and, without naming names, to minimize the racing activities of its principal competitors, Ford and Chrysler. "Racing," said Board Chairman Frederic G. Donner, "is not essential to our responsibility to our customers." He said racing cars are different from passenger cars and that racing does no more than prove out racing cars.
But the GM board chairman did not actually condemn racing. This left the giant corporation free to hit the circuits when and if it becomes "essential" or even desirable. In past years GM factories have aided unofficial racing teams driving Chevrolets and Pontiacs in stock car competition, which helped transform the Chevrolet-Pontiac image from stodgy spinster schoolmarm cars to slick, snappy fire breathers. And GM models are called Grand Prix, Le Mans, GTO and Monza—names used for no other reason than to bootleg a little racing glamour. Nor do current Pontiac ads in the car magazines shrink from talking hot, hot performance. "There's a tiger loose in the streets" is the teaser for Pontiac's 421 model, and the copy goes on to talk of "a big-engined Something" rumbling by, and how lovely it is when "extra throats get kicked wide open and start vacuuming air by the cubic acre."
Mr. Donner is the boss, and there can be no doubt of his personal sincerity in wanting to keep GM off the tracks—at least for the present. But somebody up there certainly seems to be itching to get back.
49ers IN THE FAMILY
When Vic Morabito, managing owner of the San Francisco 49ers, died on May 10, there was speculation that the team might be up for sale. But Mrs. Morabito and Mrs. Josephine Heintzelman, widow of Vic's brother Tony, the 49ers' founder, who died in 1957, have announced that in accordance with the wishes of their late husbands, the team will remain "in the family." The ladies, who own 55% of the stock between them, named Lou Spadia, general manager of the team under Vic Morabito for six years, as the new managing owner. Spadia has 5% of the stock.
Vic Morabito expressed the wish that when he died his son Rick should take over. Rick is 19 years old and is having trouble with his studies. His parents often chided him with knowing every statistic about pro football but not enough arithmetic. A potential power in the future of the 49ers is Franklin Mieuli, radio-TV producer who owns 10% of the stock and also owns 35% or more of the Warrior basketball team. Mieuli is respected by other 49er owners and has a highly cordial relationship with the San Francisco press, a status the Morabitos did not enjoy. Mieuli insists he is entirely satisfied with Lou Spadia, but his own influence will be great within that management.
THEY SAID IT
•Harry Craft, of the Houston Colt .45s, on rumors that he will be fired as manager: "It's one of the hazards of the job. If a man doesn't want to be fired, he better not manage. He should go in the Army."
•Gene Sarazen, two-time U.S. Open winner, three-time PGA champion and winner of the British Open and Masters, describing the Congressional Country Club, site of this year's U.S. Open: "The fairways are so narrow the player and his caddie will have to walk them Indian file."