WISCONSIN'S SHERMAN ACT
Now that a Georgia court has enjoined the Atlanta Braves to stay in Atlanta and a Wisconsin court has enjoined the Milwaukee Braves to prepare to play in Milwaukee, the most delicious irony is apparent. After determinedly avoiding litigation for years in order to preserve its immunity from antitrust legislation, baseball has blundered its way into a legal action almost certain to land it in the nation's highest court.
Circuit Judge Elmer Roller's January 25 ruling that the National League is liable to prosecution in his court under Wisconsin's antitrust act was in direct conflict with the Georgia decision. If the supreme courts of the two states uphold their respective lower courts—as seems likely—the U.S. Supreme Court will have a clear duty to resolve the interstate controversy. And the NL's immediately stated intent to defy the Wisconsin injunction all but destroys any chance of a backstage compromise.
Meanwhile, the Braves are 99% sure to play in Atlanta. The other 1% provides most of the amusing speculation. Under the Constitution's "full faith and credit" clause, Wisconsin theorists expect to be able to insist that Missouri, for example, honor the injunction by preventing the Cardinals from playing the Braves in Atlanta. If even one state did thus comply, the National League schedule would be unworkable.
February 7, 1966
Inertia, self-interest and lack of precedent probably will preclude that possibility and guarantee the Braves' fair accompli, but one wouldn't want to be too sure. In a previous North-South contretemps, it was Atlanta that got burned.
Two new high schools will open in San Antonio next September—Winston Churchill and Theodore Roosevelt. Nobody is willing to bet that their athletic teams won't be known as the Bulldogs and the Rough Riders.
Meanwhile, another new school, Keystone, already is active in sports, but folks are having considerable difficulty giving its young sports heroes a nickname. Why doesn't everybody go right ahead and call them the Kops and get it over with?
Spokane is a nice place to visit, but you wouldn't want to officiate there. Home team Gonzaga University was handling the University of Idaho with surprising ease in a recent Big Sky Conference basketball game, but the Zag fans—as loudly partisan as can be found anywhere—were giving the ref raucous reviews.
Referee Bill Fouts took the abuse with equanimity until, late in the game, he stepped to the sideline to give the ball to an Idaho player out of bounds. It was then that Salty, a bulldog who serves as the Gonzaga mascot, bit Fouts in the leg. "Everybody's a critic," said Fouts.
But some critiques have more bite to them than others.
ERNIE AND BERNIE
The New York State boxing commission's decision to deny Heavyweight Ernie Terrell a license because of his association with Bernie Glickman is commendable and correct. Glickman is known to have friends in the underworld—Frank Carbo among them. At the Chuvalo-Terrell fight in Toronto, Glickman was conspicuously present in Terrell's corner.
Up until that fight Terrell's manager was Big Julie Isaacson, president of the Electrical Novelty Workers Union and nonstop Guys and Dolls character (SI, March 1, 1965). Boundlessly proud of managing Terrell ("We're the Heavyweight Champeen of the World"), Isaacson was not the kind of man to sell his chief joy. Yet Big Julie gave up Terrell for $20,000 though a championship fight with Clay was in prospect—a fight, moreover, that could net even the loser half a million dollars. The suspicion must remain, despite Big Julie's claims to the contrary, that Isaacson was eased out.
The New York decision should be effective as well as correct. The Louisville group, still Clay's sponsors, has reiterated its determination to shun any challenger not approved by "a reputable boxing commission such as the one in New York or California." This is a shame in one respect: Terrell, on his boxing ability, is clearly the most deserving contender. But this is merely all the more reason for boxing to help Terrell divorce himself from mob influence.
A basketball game between Dallas Baptist College and Tyler (Texas) Junior College at Dallas Memorial Auditorium was postponed on short notice. The reason given: "too much wax on the floor."
Running in an international 5,000-meter race against fellow New Zealander Bill Baillie and some highly rated Russians, John Davies entered the last lap looking not particularly impressive. Then, in a flurry of cinders, he took off, finished the race with a 300-yard sprint, passed Leonid Ivanov, Baillie and Victor Kudinsky, and won in a respectable 13 minutes 54.4 seconds.
Praise flowed freely for the tall, bespectacled public relations man from the timber town of Tokoroa who had, in the past, been chiefly known for running second to Peter Snell. No less an authority than Arthur Lydiard said that Davies' win in this company augured real success.
Thereupon no less an authority than Davies himself explained the reason for his sudden improvement. It seems that a bee had flown into his mouth on that last lap and had stung him on the tongue.
AND IT'S STILL A SUCKER BET
Jimmie (The Greek) Snyder's winter-book baseball odds are here, and can spring be far behind? This is the way Las Vegas' premier sports analyst sees it:
National League: Los Angeles, 2 to 1; San Francisco and Cincinnati, 4 to 1; Braves, whether Atlanta or Milwaukee, 6 to 1; Philadelphia, 8 to 1; Pittsburgh, 15 to 1; St. Louis, 25 to 1: Chicago, 100 to 1; Houston and New York 1,000 to 1.
American League: Baltimore, 3 to 1; Chicago, Minnesota and New York, 4 to 1: Detroit, 8 to 1; Cleveland. 15 to 1; California, Boston and Washington, 200 to 1: Kansas City, 10,000 to 1.
Mr. Snyder, who did right well last season (he bucked the experts to pick the sixth-place Dodgers to win the pennant), has arguments to back up his odds: "If Los Angeles could go all the way last year without Tommy Davis, the Dodgers can do it again with Tommy back, but he must return at full speed." Cincinnati may have sacrificed too much in trading Frank Robinson, who was a factor in at least 35 Red wins last season. Jimmie feels that San Francisco's trade for Lindy McDaniel and Don Landrum was the big steal of the off season.
In the American League, "Frank Robinson makes Baltimore the club to beat." The Twins have a spotty infield except for Zoilo Versalles. The Yankees will improve, but not enough, and Detroit is a sleeper ("Chuck Dressen probably is the best manager in baseball").
And those 10,000-to-1 odds against the A's? That's because the Athletics, "no better than even money to finish dead last," aren't even trying.
1066 ALL OVER AGAIN
The farcical ending to this year's Monte Carlo Rally, in which the first four cars—all British—were disqualified on a technicality, leaving a French car the winner, prompted some good old-fashioned cross-Channel persiflage.
"The Battle of Agincourt, as is well known in France, was won by the French," said an editorial in London's Daily Mail. "Although it was at first thought that the English archers had carried the day—leaving 6,000 French soldiers apparently dead—they were later discovered to have been disqualified. Instead of keeping up their garments with string like honest men, they had employed that fiendish and unfair [invention], the trouser button. As Henry V remarked at the time, 'Once more unto the breach, dear friends....'
"We must not forget Trafalgar, which many thought Nelson might have won had he not basely seized on the advantage of fighting with only one eye. 'C'est magnifique,' he observed, 'mais ce n'est pas la guerre. Kiss me. Hardy.'
"Which brings us on to modern times and the victory of 1940 which, as Hitler conceded, he had no right to claim since it depended on the technicality that the Maginot Line was not quite as long as it should have been.
"We would just remind the French that the arrow that killed King Harold at Hastings did not have the correct number of feathers in it and therefore did not count."
The British cars' offense? Their headlights could not be dimmed.
A CHIP OFF THE OLD LIP
Leo Durocher was making his first swing through the Midwest as Chicago Cub manager, and he needed something to sustain his reputation. "If any of my players don't, repeat don't, take a drink now and then they'll be gone," he said. "You don't play this game on ginger-snaps."
The Cubs let that reverberate for a while. Then they were heard from. It was Second Baseman Glenn Beckert, a rookie last year, who got the chance to speak up at a baseball writers' banquet. "It's seldom a .240 hitter gets to the speaker's table," he said humbly, "but Mr. Durocher's here, so I'm not alone."
A LITTLE BIT OF SUGAR
Standing in need of help are many citizens who doubt their ability to persevere through the cold and slush of January and February to the first thwack of ball against glove in spring training. Let us inject some poetry into their bleak winter. Do they know that the Navajo word for January means "The Thawing of Snow for Water," and February means "The Hatching of Young Eagles"?
THE SCHOLAR'S RETURN
When Cliff Richey, 19-year-old third-ranked U.S. tennis player, was dragged back home from his Australian tour to resume his studies in suburban Dallas, one thing was very clear: the overaged high school junior was not happy about his homecoming. The only thing clearer was that Richey faced a greeting from his draft board if he did not enroll in school for the second semester, and the temperamental Richey prefers his greetings to come via Hallmark.
Cliff's father George accepted the situation with the same good grace and tact. "I'm afraid this is more upsetting to the Australians than it is to us," he said. "They aren't accustomed to having anyone quitting tennis to go to school. In Australia they quit school to play tennis."
Looking for a real solid opportunity to lose money? Contact the owners of the Chicago Bulls, the newest franchise in the National Basketball Association. The owners have just paid $1.6 million for the privilege of finishing in last place by a margin that should make cellar teams like the Pistons and the Knicks look like the Celtics. They can't miss. The team has nothing going for it—not even the league.
Chicago was refused first choice in the draft (indeed, it can't pick until all nine existing clubs have a shot at the top college players). This means Chicago has no chance to get Cazzie Russell, the Michigan star the Bulls were counting on to draw fans in a city whose two previous teams failed miserably in the NBA. The reason? Many of the NBA owners toiled hard and lost money building the league; they are not inclined to be benevolent toward a new kid on the block. Their old comrade Fred Zollner of the Pistons desperately needs Russell to revive interest at the gate in Detroit. Zollner's lowly Pistons will probably have the first draft choice, meaning Russell.
Chicago won't get much help from the draft in any case. Its selections are 10th, 13th, 14th, 20th and on up—or down.
The Chicago owners are to be admired for their philanthropy.
THEY SAID IT
•Sonny Jurgensen, Washington quarterback, on Otto Graham's appointment as Redskin head coach: "It's good to have a former quarterback as coach. Otto knows what it is when they miss the blocks and make you throw with your eyes closed just before the crash comes."
•Cassius Clay, when asked if he played golf: "I am the best. I just haven't played yet."