OUT WITH THE NEW
No doubt the new stadiums we see sprouting on sports pages everywhere are right up to the minute, but they leave us a little melancholy. The architects have removed the posts, which were among the lesser faults of the old parks, but they also seem to have buried the old rowdy intimacy of those parks beneath the bland symmetries and lollipop hues of the new. We'll take Yankee Stadium, posts and all, over Shea in New York, and after viewing pictures of St. Louis' vast new saucer we have a feeling that the players will look like pygmies from our seat, wherever it is. Stan Musial never looked small in Sportsman's Park when he rifled a shot into the right-field screen, nor did Carl Furillo in Ebbets Field when he played one off the wall.
When Ernie Terrell applied to the New York State boxing commission for a license last month he testified, in sum, that Bernie Glickman, who had been conspicuously and unexpectedly in his corner for the George Chuvalo fight, was no longer associated with him. Glickman is an old acquaintance of Frankie Carbo, Blinky Palermo and Tony Accardo, mobsters all, and the boxing commission was not inclined to think that old acquaintance was apt to be forgot. Even after Terrell swore that his relationship with Glickman had been at most evanescent, the commission denied him a license and thereby blew all chances of having the Clay-Terrell title fight in New York. The commission was roundly criticized by some, particularly because it offered no proof of a continuing relationship between Glickman and Terrell.
Well, if boxing commissions needed the kind of evidence that is necessary in a court of law the mob would still dominate prizefighting. Perhaps nettled by the criticism, the commission last week took the unusual step of releasing a transcript of the Terrell hearing. It disclosed that Terrell's traveling companion on a recent flight from Chicago to New York had been none other than Bernie Glickman. Not hard, fast proof of a continued relationship, to be sure, not the way the courts would want it, but it was good enough for the commission, which also may have taken into consideration the fact that Terrell blandly testified to an astonishing ignorance about Glick-man's connections with the mob. Anyone in boxing who did not know about that, and its significance, would be classified 1-Y by his draft board.
February 28, 1966
A DIFFERENCE OF OPINION
Commissioner Pete Rozelle adjourned the NFL meeting at Palm Beach in a euphoric mood. Business looked red-hot, and the new Atlanta team had been stocked with some reasonably able bodies. Rozelle discounted 1) the threat of Teamster Boss Jimmy Hoffa to unionize pro players, 2) the alleged perils of high bonus payments to rookies and 3) the idea of a common draft or any other accommodation with the rival AFL.
From out of the West came a loud dissent from an AFL (and former NFL) head coach and general manager. "They may be laughing at Hoffa now," said San Diego's Sid Gillman, "but the Teamsters Union will get in within three years unless the club owners get together and put a stop to this crazy spending on bonus players."
THE PRESIDENT'S LIBRARY
In the old days, if you were spending the night at the White House and could not sleep, it did you no good to grope around the library for something to read. There were no books in the library. Then the American Booksellers Association began donating (every four years) 200 to 250 worthy works published during each successive presidential administration. The current gift was announced last week, and for the first time it includes a good many sports books.
Mrs. Millard Fillmore, a brilliant ex-schoolteacher, could not find a single book when she entered the White House in 1850, not even a Bible. As a result of her spirited work (she also installed the first bathtub), Congress shamefacedly appropriated $250 to buy books, and the ABA has carried on.
In the past books on sports have been slighted. The current list, however, brings sport up near the top of the 12 categories into which the books are classified. The 14 sports books include such works as Alexander Laing's handsome American Sail, Jeff Griffen's The Hunting Dogs of America, Branch Rickey's The American Diamond, William Robertson's The History of Thoroughbred Racing in America and a book by our Senior Editor Robert Boyle, Sport: Mirror of American Life. It is an impressive selection of sporting literature, the works standing up pretty well among 250 titles, though the general list includes the works of such authors as Robert Frost, William Faulkner and Charles Schulz.
...IS SAUCE FOR THE HOSS
If you think you see this goose riding around on horses at the Sunland Park track near El Paso, your vision is 20-20. His name is Elmer, and he works for Trainer Bus Hoover. Elmer is a good judge of horses. He took a liking to Mc-Abbey, a promising but nervous sprinter, and placed him right under his wing. McAbbey was a frantic stall-walker, says Hoover, "but Elmer stopped him dead in his tracks by jumping into his path, flapping his wings and hissing at him." The goose then strutted up and down in front of McAbbey, honking instructions. When Hoover took McAbbey out for exercise around the tow ring, Elmer flew up and rode him like a jockey. Next time out, McAbbey won by five and a half lengths. "Most valuable hand in the stable," says Hoover.
The race book of Harrah's Club at Lake Tahoe, Nev. has just issued its winter line on the 1966 pennant races. In the National League it is Dodgers 8 to 5, Giants 5 to 2, Reds 3 to 1, Braves 4 to 1, Phils 6 to 1, Cards 12 to 1, Cubs 15 to 1, Pirates 20 to 1, and Astros and Mets 100 to 1. Harrah's odds for the American League are at odds with those given recently by Jimmie (the Greek) Snyder down in rival Las Vegas (SI, Feb. 7). Jimmie tabbed the Orioles as 3-to-1 favorites, but Harrah's handicappers like the Twins at 5 to 2. The Orioles are a mere third choice at 5 to 1 behind the White Sox at 3 to 1. The Yanks and Tigers are 6 to 1, Indians 8 to 1, Angels 20 to 1, Red Sox, Athletics and Senators 40 to 1. Unlike the Greek, who is not in the bookmaking business, Harrah's is ready to handle the action.
THE FRANCHISE RACE
As for another sporting proposition—the race for the 16th franchise in the National Football League—our resident expert, Tex Maule, sees the odds this way: Houston the 2-to-1 favorite, Cincinnati and New Orleans strong contenders at 3 to 1, Boston 6 to 1, Seattle 8 to 1, Phoenix 15 to 1 and Portland, Ore. 20 to 1. Maule feels that the lure of the domed stadium in populous and booming Houston will tip the scale, despite Commissioner Rozelle's assertion last week that rumors of Houston having a cinch were "absolutely false." The NFL's decision will be made in June.
Want to know who is in the real Rat Pack? Well, not Frankie, Petuh, Sammy or Dino, that's for sure. The real members of the Rat Pack are a lot of fancy young nobs in Britain, such as Cephas Goldsworthy, Christopher Cousins and Michael Pearson, 21-year-old heir of the Viscount Cowdray. Messrs. Pearson, Cousins and Goldsworthy and 14 other gents comprise the membership of the Ancient Society of Ratte Catchers, known to the Bright Young People in Chelsea as the Rat Pack. The society throws boisterous dinner parties, and members wear rat-catching hunt uniforms—olive-green frock coats with lace ruffs. They take to the field about once a month in answer to calls from friends who have infested estates at hand. Members hunt their quarry on foot, armed with swordsticks and canes. "No poison is used," says Mr. Pearson. "That would be unsporting. There is a real element of danger from a cornered rat." Mr. Goldsworthy knows that firsthand; he was bitten on the nose by a rat during a recent chase through a Northamptonshire barn. Like all similar societies, the Ratte Catchers are planning to hold a hunt ball.
The problem of long-lining oceanic game fish (SI, Jan. 31) is still unresolved in Washington. Japanese long-liners continue to haul in such fish as white, blue and striped marlin. The Interior Department recently studied the Japanese catch in the Atlantic, and it totaled far more than originally thought. The guess was that the catch would be far below that of the Pacific, but in fact it was as high.
Something must be done soon, or big game fishing may be doomed. Interior is waiting for Congress to act, and Congress, in turn, is apparently waiting for a public outcry. Concerned readers would do well to write their Congressmen asking them to get with it.
In an age surfeited with drab personalities, it was sad to note last week the death of Steve Ellis. Only 50, Ellis led up and down and up again careers as a sports broadcaster and fight manager, and no matter what his faults, drab he was not. Afflicted with a game leg, he had a nimble mind. He once even gulled the cunning Al Weill into believing he was Ellis' silent partner in the management of Middleweight Chico Vejar. When Ellis broadcast the New York Giant baseball games on radio, he used the mike at such length to laud Vejar that Horace Stoneham thought the fighter was a hot hitter in the farm system. After leaving the Giants, Ellis put his full energies behind Vejar's advancement in the ring. One night in Stamford, Conn. Vejar was flattened by an opponent early in the first round. In the midst of the excitement Ellis hopped, skipped and jumped around the ring to bang the bell, ending the round at a minute-and-a-half. Thus saved, Vejar was revived and went on to win a decision. Whatever Ellis did he did with relish, and Tallulah Bankhead, no drab person herself, was once moved to say, "Mr. Ellis is a beau sabreur, a man who knows a forceout from a fielder's choice. Please let the parish know that his recital of a Giant triumph is a prose epic, a victory hymn. He always has his heart and his liver and lights in everything he says over the air."
Following the mile run at last week's New York Athletic Club indoor games, ABC found a taped prerace interview with Oregon's Jim Grelle too long to be usable on its Wide World of Sports program scheduled for the next day. ABC still wanted a prerace interview, however, and got it—after the event. Kansas Freshman Jim Ryun was the winner by a yard over Grelle in 4:02.2, coming from far behind in the last lap to overtake Notre Dame's Ed Dean and hold off the Oregonian. An hour later, Ryun and Grelle—who have now split even in 10 meetings—were put before ABC's cameras to tell how they thought the race would go. Here is sample dialogue:
Interviewer: Do you fellows think you can get under four minutes tonight?
Grelle: Perhaps. If someone will go out and set a fast pace.
Interviewer: You two have met often before. How do you stand now?
Ryun (forgetting his role): We're about 50-50 now.
"When he asked us how we thought the race would go," the disgusted Ryun said later, "I felt like saying that Dean would jump out to a big lead right at the start, and that Grelle and I would catch him with a lap to go. But I guess I didn't have the guts."
ABC was not lacking in guts, however, and ran the phony interview into its show the next day without blinking a picture tube.
THEY SAID IT
•Gordie Howe, Red Wings hockey star, asked if he considered the Rangers' Reg Fleming a "hard-nosed player": "I don't know; I never felt his nose."
•Bob Lilly, Dallas Cowboys tackle, declaring he would not start all over again as a pro for $50,000: "My first year I broke five ribs, a wrist and a thumb, hurt my knee and sprained two ankles. You don't get hurt when you know what you're doing."