TRAVESTY: PART II
This is an article from the Aug. 31, 1964 issue
While agents of the Department of Justice move about the American League quizzing team owners, it is becoming clear that opposition to the CBS purchase of the New York Yankees is much more profound than had been expected by those owners and baseball officials who so blandly acquiesced to it. Some National League owners, for example, are known to be bitter about the deal but are reluctant to discuss it on the ground that it is an American League matter.
Perhaps, but it is primarily a baseball matter. The leagues will hold meetings, separately, at World Series time, and the deal is then bound to be topic A. A certain informal interchange of comment between owners in the two organizations may be expected. It may even be possible—one hopes—that some American owners who voted for the deal originally in a hurry-up telephone-telegraph poll will have second thoughts once the opposition has a chance, hitherto denied, to discuss it with them.
Certainly, the opposition has not quit. And, certainly, the National League must be permitted a say about anything that so deeply affects the game. The chances are it will, though it is now being discreet.
"You must remember that this does not become final until November 2," said Roy Hofheinz, owner of the Houston Colt .45s. "So we are going to await developments until after the American League meeting in September."
The right developments would make National League action unnecessary.
If proof is needed that basketball coaches should not be permitted to pick the officials who serve the game, consider what has happened to Charley Eckman and Lou Bello, two of the most able officials in the Southern Conference and, for that matter, in ail basketball. They have been fired, though not officially notified of it. Eckman, more widely known than Bello, had no difficulty in finding a new spot. He just quit the whole college game and went back to the National Basketball Association. Bello is understandably bewildered. Last March he had been considered good enough to be selected by the Southern Conference as its representative referee in the NCAA championships.
It takes a two-thirds vote for the coaches of the Southern Conference to blackball an official, so that at least six of the nine conference coaches must have voted against these two. The votes are confidential, and therefore individual blame cannot be assessed. But it is clearly widespread.
What can be assessed is that college basketball needs to reevaluate its system of choosing officials, who should never be beholden to the teams that control their employment. Professional baseball understands the need for this precaution. Neither Yogi Berra nor Casey Stengel has a say in the selection of umpires in their respective leagues. If they did, they might be much more effective when they stand eyeball to eyeball with an umpire to jaw about a decision. The suspicion is that basketball coaches are quite often effective when they protest a decision. After all, they have the right to hire and fire.
DOG A LA TAHOE
That was quite an uproar dog lovers raised when President Johnson lightly pulled the ears of Him and Her. But it was polite protest compared to what happened when the Reno Junior Chamber of Commerce announced that, to celebrate Nevada's centennial, a roast-dog feast would be held on the shores of Lake Tahoe. It was there, the Juniors pointed out, that Explorer John C. Fremont, who discovered Lake Tahoe, dined on an Indian mutt named Tlamath when the supply train failed to reach his party. It seemed appropriate to the RJCC that the historical event be reenacted.
Response to the announcement was in large part unprintable, and lady dog lovers made hysterical telephone calls from all parts of the country. But the Juniors were adamant in the cause of history. They refused to depart from their plans. The menu: roast jumbo hot dogs, sauerkraut, potatoes, fruit salad, apple pie and cheese.
DAYS OF REAL SPORT
After the parents of Laval McDonald had been soothed, other parents in Ocala, Fla. reached for the tranquilizers. A cruising policeman came upon Laval, who is 17, struggling along the street with an infuriated six-foot alligator in his arms. Laval had caught it in Tuscawilla Pond, using heavy line, a tennis ball for a bobber and a five-inch hook baited with a perch. He was taking it home for a pet, but the police directed him to a reptile exhibit at Silver Springs.
A few days later, spurred by Laval's success, other Ocala teen-agers were alligatoring at Tuscawilla. They had improved, so to speak, on Laval's technique. They were dangling younger boys in the dark waters of the pond in an attempt to lure gators within grabbing distance. Police arrived in time.
A new fad has been originated by the high-rolling, peripatetic Texas millionaires who own or have an interest in the Dallas Cowboys. If you are in some uncivilized part of the U.S. where Cowboy games are not carried on radio, just buy a station's time and have it broadcast to you.
Thus, Robert F. Thompson, an escapading Texan who is executive vice-president of the Tecon Construction Co. in Cowboy Owner Clint Murchison's empire and is also a member of the team's board of directors, was in Santa Fe, N. Mex. a couple of weekends ago when the Cowboys were playing an exhibition game in Portland, Ore. Thompson footed the bill, and the game was aired in Santa Fe, which normally couldn't care less about such far-off doings.
Last week Murchison and his family (wife, three sons and daughter) were in the wilds of Montana on a back-to-nature camping trip. Mitchell Lewis, Murchison's public-relations man in Dallas, knew that the boss would be delighted if he could hear a broadcast of the Cowboy-Ram game from Portland. So he paid for the telephone-line charges (10¢ per air mile per hour) and bought three hours of time on the Billings, Mont. radio station. The tab: $563.26.
There was just one catch: How to get word to Murchison in the wilds that the game would be on the air? The station agreed to run one-minute promotion commercials about the broadcast on the day of the game. But it balked at selling additional time for the message, "Attention, Clint Murchison, wherever you are...." The Billings station's call letters are KOOK, but it has to draw the line somewhere. So the game went on with no one knowing whether Murchison got the message.
A FLAME IS LIGHTED
Yoshinori Sakari, a freshman at Waseda University, has been chosen as the Olympic torchbearer who will light the flame at Tokyo National Stadium to begin the 1964 Games. The flame symbolizes, among other things, peace. Sakari was born August 6, 1945, near Hiroshima. That day the atomic bomb was dropped.
GIRL WITH A GOAL
Track and field has become a way of life in Oregon—host the past three years to two NCAA national championships, the U.S. Track and Field Federation championships, the national AAU decathlon championships, the Oregon Invitational and the NCAA Western Regional Indoor championships.
World-class competitions have become commonplace there. But no world-record holder we ever heard of could claim this accomplishment: first in the two-mile, first in the mile, first in the half-mile and first in the quarter-mile, all in the same meet on the same afternoon.
The phenom is 8-year-old Teresa Lillard of The Dalles, who loves blue ribbons. During July alone she collected 12 of them, including the ones listed, in Portland All-Comers meets.
Forty-eight pounds of competitive spirit, Teresa has collected 21 blue ribbons this summer, running mostly against girls of her own age. But she has beaten older girls, too, and in one meet she ran against a field of boys. She won.
Some might consider four distance races in an afternoon a bit strenuous for an 8-year-old, but Teresa's family doctor approves. So does Teresa.
Every year Frank Broyles, Arkansas football coach, pores over the new football rules with as much interest as a tax attorney searching for loopholes in the revised internal revenue code. Now Broyles's study of the 1964 rules has convinced him that jumping offside may be one of his Razorbacks' most guileful maneuvers this season.
"If you see us line up in punt formation and jump offside, don't worry," he reassured some Arkansas fans the other day. "The new rules provide for unlimited substitutions following a penalty. Say we have a fourth-down-and-three situation. We'll jump offside, take our five-yard penalty and then send in 11 defensive men, including a punter. It will be worth five yards to get those defenders in the game before we have to kick the ball."
FRANKLIN TO LINZ TO BERRA
The harmonica, which made front-page sports news last week, is a musical instrument much favored by athletes, soldiers and other traveling men because it is so compact. When the harmonica's progenitor appeared (from Asia) in central Europe in the middle of the 18th century, however, it was hardly that. It was a collection of beer glasses filled to varying heights and plinked delicately with sticks. When Benjamin Franklin, that ubiquitous genius, heard one in London, he came home and designed a compact affair, more easily transported and musically more true. He called it an "armonica." The H was prefixed later. It soon became an accepted orchestral piece. Mozart and Beethoven, among others, composed for it and, occasionally, these compositions are still performed.
It remained for an Englishman, Sir Charles Wheatstone, to devise in 1829 a small instrument with movable reeds that could be musically agitated by the human breath. It was not a true harmonica, however, and neither was the instrument Phil Linz blew to such devastating effect, offending the sensitive ears of Yogi Berra. Both, properly, should be known as mouth organs or aeolinas.
NO FAVORS, PLEASE
When the Houston Oilers announced they were lending Quarterback Jacky Lee to Denver they raised some interesting questions as well as eyebrows. It was done because, under the American Football League player limit of 34, the Oilers could not keep all three of their quarterbacks (George Blanda and Don Trull, as well as Lee). So Houston negotiated a lend-lease agreement with Denver, and Lee is to be returned to Houston in 1966.
The transaction, which to most fans seemed highly irregular, was quite permissible under AFL rules, which permit lend-lease deals if the agreement between the two clubs is a written one. This, in the view of AFL officials, made the Jacky Lee transaction quite all right.
Now, then. Houston closes regular-season play against none other than Denver on December 20. The game could easily have a bearing on the Eastern championship, since the Oilers are one of the division favorites. What if Jacky Lee, an honest and conscientious young man, suffers through half a dozen interceptions, and these enable his former and future teammates to win the game and the division championship? Or if Oiler rushers ease upon Lee, who would be with them in a future year? What effect would either development have on public confidence in pro football?
There is no need to answer. But it must be said that pro football is a competitive business and ought to be conducted as such.
THEY SAID IT
•Alvin Roy, isometric tension instructor for the San Diego Chargers, when a 6-foot player asked him if he could prescribe exercises to make him taller: "Son, if I could do that I'd be 6 feet 5 looking down at you instead of 5 feet 6 looking up at you."
•Warren Spahn, asked if the Milwaukee Braves will move to Atlanta: "I'd be the last to know. I'm the guy who bought the diner next door to the park in Boston just before we moved to Milwaukee."