THE KENNEDY PLAN
This is an article from the July 27, 1964 issue
The provocative plan offered by Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy on page 12 is directed at improving United States performances in the Olympics. It is a big program—the scale on which America typically does things—and is certain to stir new discussions and appraisals of our athletic status.
The Kennedy plan calls for an increasing degree of Government and private-industry participation in athletics. It is a blueprint for reinforcing our international image.
We are in sympathy with much of what the Attorney General proposes. But we do have misgivings—for instance about the flexing of our athletic muscles as an adjunct to foreign policy to impress other nations. We would be reluctant to endorse Government direction of sport to the extent Mr. Kennedy recommends.
ENTER ADAMS' ARMY
Until last week no one had ever heard of Yates Adams outside of a few people who bought dental supplies around High Point, N.C. Now he has an army just like Arnie, Jack, Tony and Chi Chi. Adams' Army was born and fully mobilized during the Amateur Public Links golf championship in Minneapolis where the 6-foot-7 young man gawked, scrambled, fought and talked his way to the semifinals with a golf swing that most observers identified with a ferris wheel and a set of nine clubs that looked as if they had been stolen from an antique case at St. Andrews.
On his way to the semifinals Yates Adams assembled an army by swinging like a discus thrower and driving 280 yards; by creeping up to his putts and tapping them in without taking a stance; by defeating Defending Champion Bob Lunn 1 up ("Nobody told me he was the defending champion," said Adams); by explaining that he was so poor he had to buy golf balls one at a time; and by using clubs with loose shafts and worn grips that made a clinking sound when he swung. "I don't worry about pressure," said Adams at one point. "I worry about my clubs."
By reaching the semifinals Yates Adams automatically qualified for a sectional round of the more sedate U.S. Amateur Championship in Cleveland in September. "I've never seen anything like him," said P. J. Boatwright Jr., assistant director of the USGA. "If he appears at Canterbury," said another USGA official, half joking, "golf may be set back 50 years."
Said Yates Adams, "If I can raise the money, I'll be there." So will his army.
GIANT, SPARE THAT BAT
After Houston Colt Nellie Fox got a game-winning, ninth-inning hit off Giant pitcher Gaylord Perry, the frustrated hurler did what many pitchers have always wanted to do. Perry stalked off the field, seized Fox's bat, walked to the San Francisco dugout with it and slammed it twice on the dugout steps, splitting it into two large and several small pieces.
Nellie Fox had had that bat since May and he had taken good care of it. "That bat had to have a lot more hits in it," Fox said as he kicked the watercooler in the Colts' clubhouse, "because I went 0 for 21 with it." He guessed he would just have to prepare a new bat—sandpaper it and work it with oil and pine tar until it got into shape.
But the Houston management was hardly so philosophical. It lodged a formal protest with Warren Giles, National League president, who ruled that the Giants would have to replace Nellie's bat, at the wholesale price of $3.
"What Perry did," said Houston Manager Harry Craft, "was like going into your home and breaking your best set of dishes."
Losing to the Colts leads to violence. Besides the breaking of Nellie's bat, Fred Hutchinson once punched out every light in the Cincinnati dugout following a loss to Houston, and after his Phillies blew one to the Colts, Gene Mauch upturned a table of food, spilling chicken and barbecue sauce over a couple of players' business suits.
The Colts' ma√Ætre de no longer serves barbecue to the Phillies, but it is hard to play ball without a pet bat.
DAM THE ELEPHANTS
Most every time the Army Engineers build a new dam the conservation interests damn the engineers; their feud has been a fine old American institution. But conservationists have now attacked with a fearsome new weapon: the reverse elephant joke. Sample—
Question: What is an elephant?
Answer: A mouse—built to Army Engineer specifications.
McVEA WENT THATAWAY
The college bounty hunters had been fascinated by the exploits of flashy Texas high school Halfback Warren McVea for years, and when he graduated last spring they were after him like a posse. All came armed with fancy football inducements, but the man who caught the most-wanted player last week was University of Houston Coach Bill Yeoman, fastest scholarship in the West.
Scouts had spotted the fleet (9.5 in the 100) McVea early at San Antonio's Brackenridge High. He scored 128 points as a sophomore, 148 as a junior and 315 as a senior—when he averaged a crushing 10.4 yards per carry. Oklahoma Assistant Coach Leon Cross scouted one game, saw McVea score six touchdowns against an opponent that had previously given up only 60 points in 10 games, and groaned, "I'd like to put him in the trunk of my car right now and head toward the Red River. But after seeing him play I know that he would find some way to get out."
Missouri, through Coach Dan Devine, courted McVea by showing that Missouri's style puts more blockers ahead of the ball carrier than other teams. Southern California stressed the Trojans' success in football, baseball and track, three sports in which McVea excels (he also stars in basketball). Oklahoma outlined a special scholastic program with McVea's talents—and deficiencies—in mind. But Houston had the best offer of all.
He would play all his home games in Houston's new, domed, air-conditioned stadium. Coach Yeoman promised McVea the guarantee of perfect weather and a dry track.
Runner-up coaches who missed McVea were quick to point out that any school signing a player of that reputation would have to withstand an NCAA investigation into recruiting methods. But Houston appeared unworried, and back in the McVea household Warren's mother, Mrs. Mattie McVea, had words of sympathy for all. "I just wish," she said, "I could have had a Warren McVea for all of them."
FEE VERSUS FREE
Pick an average night on television. Eight: adventures of a cowboy. Eight-thirty: doctor. Nine: lawyer. Nine-thirty: nurse. Ten: psychiatrist. Eleven: news, horror movie and off to bed. All for free. Take, on the other hand, last Friday night in Los Angeles—the West Coast debut of pay-TV. Seven fifty-five on Channel B: Dodgers vs. Cubs, $1.50. Eight on Channel A: Sponono, a Broadway play, $1.50. Ten-thirty: Upstairs at the Downstairs, a New York revue, $1.50. Eight on Channel C: Gun Ho, a surfing spectacular, $1. Nine-thirty: The Ancient Egyptian, a travelogue, 75¢.
The Dodgers beat the Cubs 3-2 that night, but the more important question of whether pay-TV beats regular TV is something that will not be decided for quite some time. The pay programming hardly seemed capable of luring thousands away from vintage Bela Lugosi.
There were only 2,500 sets in operation for the debut, a figure far short of the predicted 20,000 starting goal, and a figure that should worry the backers who say they need 80,000 subscriptions by spring to get into the black. Further, the jury is still out on how many sets were tuned in to the Dodgers, the obvious key to pay-TV's success. Those who did see the game were no doubt delighted to miss the interruptions of deodorant and hair-tonic commercials. It may be that this luxury is worth $1.50 an evening, and California has enough sweet-smelling people with well-groomed hair to think so. The gamble is on.
THE TRUE BLUEBIRD
The victory had that there-will-always-be-an-England flair. Critics above and down under had scorned Britain's Donald Campbell and his racer Bluebird in Australia. The runs had been on-again, off-again for more than a year. The few fans had long since left dry Lake Eyre. But Campbell broke the world land-speed record with a 403.1-mph dash last week and announced there will always be another go at it.
Campbell did it in a stiff-upper-lip fashion, too. His 4½-ton car spewed a seven-mile trail of rubber when the right rear tire failed. In beating the record of England's late John Cobb—394.196 mph—he missed the 407-mph mark set by jet-powered Craig Breedlove. Now Campbell is going after that one, too.
Bluebird designer Ken Norris revealed Britain has a revolutionary jet car in the works for future runs at Eyre. "We have a surprise," said Norris, "for Americans and anybody else."
HURRAH FOR OATBURNER U.
The care and upbringing of young racehorses has not changed in America for years, a condition that does not seem to unsettle most owners. The tradition has its critics, however, and one of them is moving to change it all. He is establishing the Dorchester Equine Preparatory School in November, says Florida racing figure Jack Price, and it will be to horses what Groton is to people.
First old thing to go will be the barns, says Price, whose Carry Back was a well-schooled winner of a few years ago. At Dorchester Prep in Ocala they will be called dormitories. The architect who will design them has never seen a barn, insists Price. "I didn't want his creativity messed up with a lot of archaic alleged knowledge about how a barn should be built." Further, the school will be expensive—about $3,600 each a year for 40 selected weanlings—and keyed to the atomic age. Feeding and watering will be automated; reporting students will be wormed and must undergo exacting X-ray, chemical and psychological tests periodically. Schooling will be intense.
What will owners get for all this? They will know, says Headmaster Price, exactly how far their horse can go in its career. They will know if they have a potential Derby winner.
And failing all that, we assume, there is always that framed diploma to hang up on the old barn—uhh, dormitory wall.
THE BOTCH ON THE RHINE
They were watching for deer and foxes from their scaffold in the woods, so German hunters Adolf Jochem and Herbert Stampp were startled to see five men crawling at them through the underbrush. Furthermore, the five were armed, scruffy appearing and very probably poachers. "Put down your weapons and come out," cried Jochem and Stampp bravely—and they fired off a warning shotgun blast.
The five invaders began firing back and the next few minutes at little Oppenheim on the Rhine were furious. But the ground forces were handicapped because their guns were shooting blanks; the hunters were firing real buckshot. And when the smoke cleared, four of the intruders were pretty well peppered.
But we thought they were a field problem of the war games, explained the wounded G.I.s of 12th Engineer Battalion Company C—who had been disguised as civilian bums for their role as guerrilla aggressors. But we thought they were real criminals, explained Jochem and Stampp. We think this is ridiculous, said the U.S. Army, which withheld the names of the soldiers, carted three of them off to a field hospital and marched Adolf and Herbert into custody for poaching in forest territory reserved for maneuvers.
THEY SAID IT
•Lawrence Elkins, Baylor flanker back picked for Playboy magazine preseason All-America team: "Shoot, they gave me a li'l ol' trophy, kind of a statuette of a naked gal laying on her stomach and holding out a football. Ma wouldn't even let me bring it in the house."
•Birdie Tebbetts, recovering from a heart attack, on how he has it made when he returns to managing the Cleveland Indians full-time: "When I get back I expect the players to win every game—pressure might bother me—and I'll expect Gabe Paul [general manager] not to yell at me—it might excite me."