THE MOB AGAIN
We thought the New York State Athletic Commission had a valid point when it refused to license Ernie Terrell as an opponent for Cassius Clay (SCORECARD, Feb. 28), and recent events have strengthened that opinion. New York based its refusal on Terrell's association with Bernard Glickman, himself a pal of the Chicago mobster Anthony (Big Tuna) Accardo. Now it develops that Glickman was badly beaten early last month in his suburban Chicago apartment, allegedly by the hoodlum Felix (Milwaukee Phil) Alderisio, on underworld orders. Glickman subsequently sought the protection of the FBI.
No one knows for sure why Glickman was mauled, but there are hints that he angered the mob by flying to New York with Terrell, thus openly exposing his continued association with the challenger—and bringing on the commission ban. This supposition rests on the notion that, for reasons not disclosed, the underworld was urgently desirous of having the fight held in New York. A federal grand jury in Chicago has begun digging into this steamy situation and a number of boxing people, including some with underworld ties, have been subpoenaed to testify.
This new development is vastly more important to boxing than the furor created by Clay's puny protestations against reclassification by his draft board and his expressions of apathy about the war in Vietnam. Instead of worrying about the political opinions—repugnant or otherwise—of professional athletes, the authorities should concern themselves with the serious matter of the reemergence of the underworld as a power in boxing. We welcome the federal intervention.
April 4, 1966
THE USTFF BACKS DOWN
The United States Track and Field Federation, a group closely allied with the NCAA, announced last week that it was offering a "peace gesture" in its current administrative battle with the Amateur Athletic Union. The gesture was to change the date of the USTFF national championship meet from June 24-25 to June 10-11, thus taking it out of conflict with the AAU's meet on the same weekend—the slot the AAU has occupied for 20 years. Chick Werner, USTFF executive director, was vague concerning why his organization had chosen the conflicting date in the first place, except to say that it was "convenient for us." What it looked like, however, was simply an attempt at harassment.
Unfortunately for the Federation, the AAU holds all the cards. Teams for this July's dual meets with Poland and Russia will be chosen on the basis of performances in the AAU's championship, in New York City, and it is doubtful if the USTFF could have mustered much of an entry list on the original date.
"This is a gesture of good faith to the arbitration panel that is attempting to settle the overall dispute," said Werner when he announced the change in dates. "We don't want to do any favors for the AAU."
Maybe not, but it is certainly a favor—if a grudging one—to the college athletes who might have been pressured into bypassing New York for a trip to the Federation championship.
GOLF'S GREENER PASTURES
The professional golf tour has become so lucrative that the player who stubs his toe and skips just a routine event may be losing $20,000 in potential income. Last year the prize-money total on the U.S. tour came to $3.6 million, this year it will be more than $4 million, and next year, with the announcement last week that two more rich purses are being added to the calendar, a season's pot of about $5 million seems assured. This is almost three times the amount offered just four years ago. The new entries are the $200,000 Westchester Classic (sponsored by the United Hospital Fund of Port Chester, N.Y.) and the Alcan Golfer of the Year Championship (sponsored by Aluminium Ltd.), at which 12 pros off the U.S. tour will qualify to play with five British pros at St. Andrews, Scotland for a first prize of $55,000.
Is this a permanent trend or just a bull market that is bound to turn bearish? As we see it, the fact that big business and big charities are eager sponsors means that the boom has only begun.
"I would not be surprised to see a $500,000 tour event in the near future," says Jack Tuthill, the PGA's tournament supervisor.
Fathers with an eye toward comfortable retirement had better slip a wedge and a putter into junior's crib along with the traditional baseball and football.
THE CUP CAPER
When a thief soft-shoed into London's Central Hall last week and walked out with the 12-inch-high, solid-gold Jules Rimet World Cup trophy—valued at about $8,400 for its gold content alone and insured for $84,000, but worth a fortune to the soccer-mad countries—there was an international furor. Brazilians, with a chance to retire the trophy and make it their own with a third straight victory, were mad enough to spit coffee beans.
Ottorino Barassi, vice-president of the Italian Soccer Federation, was particularly dismayed because throughout World War II he had kept the cup out of the hands of military authorities who wished to confiscate it, by constantly changing its hiding place.
By early this week, however, the British had muddled through to a successful conclusion. First, a 47-year-old London dock laborer was arrested and charged with the theft, after a $42,000 ransom note had been received by soccer officials. Then, oh happy day, a mongrel dog named Pickles sniffed out the trophy from its hiding place in the garden of a house in a South London suburb.
THE DEATH ON THE EIGER
The somber, 13,000-foot-high Eiger in Switzerland represents the same challenge to alpinists that Indianapolis offers to auto racers. Last week, for the first time in the Eiger's history, its sheer, 5,800-foot North Wall (SI, Oct. 1, et seq., 1962) was successfully scaled by what is known as a direttissima—a perpendicular assault. The ascent was not without bitter repercussions, for John Harlin, an American climber, tragically lost his life in what Swiss alpinists have termed a scandalous commercial venture.
Harlin, 30 years old and a former U.S. Air Force test pilot from California, seemed a perfect man for the Eiger. He had successfully zigzagged up the Eiger's North Wall in 1962. He was physically powerful and had hands like massive steel claws. In February, backed by three British papers, Harlin assembled a five-man British-American team to begin an assault. Just as they were ready to start, a rival team of West Germans, backed by a number of West German publications, arrived to begin a direttissima of its own. At this point preparations that should have been made with the utmost care seem to have been unduly rushed by both sides. The two teams began their climb on March 2. By March 5 the Germans had built up a 500-foot lead, but Harlin, taking more than usual risks over stretches of bare rock, caught up two days later. On March 20 after being pinned down for 10 days by avalanches and bad weather, both groups joined forces.
Then on March 22 Harlin was killed, apparently when one of his fixed ropes snapped as he was climbing alone about two-thirds of the way up the wall. Both sets of sponsors, after consultation, agreed to continue the venture and named it the John Harlin Route. Success was finally achieved last weekend, but its smell was not entirely sweet. The Swiss were indignant.
"Like the gladiators of ancient Rome," announced the august Swiss Alpine Club, "they have been pushed into dangerous adventures for the sake of financial gain."
A TALE OF TWO COACHES
Don Haskins, whose Texas Western team had just won the national basketball championship from Kentucky, showed up last week in The Bronx—the home of three of the Miners' stalwarts. He attended the New York public school championships and watched Nat Archibald and Mike Switzer lead DeWitt Clinton High to the title. There followed a simple case of a victor collecting spoils, for though-Haskins had never before met them, both Switzer and Archibald said they would like to play for Texas Western next year.
Meanwhile, in Lexington, a large gathering assembled to salute Adolph Rupp and the Kentucky team that had lost to Texas Western. "This is the grandest bunch of boys a man ever had," said the coach who was supposed to be too gruff and vain for sentimentality. When he said it there was a tear in his eye.
Congratulations, Mr. Haskins. Congratulations, Mr. Rupp.
Nathan Hale High School and Shore-crest were in the middle of their dual track meet in Seattle last Friday night when Nathan Hale's Paul Trammell stripped off his warmup suit and stepped on to the track to take the baton for his leg of the 880-yard relay. It turned out to be one of his fastest performances of the year and the crowd's ovation was resounding. Trammell, however, scooted for cover. The cheers were more for his courage than his speed. As he had stepped out of his warmup suit to take the baton, Trammell had also stepped out of his running shorts.
THEY SAID IT
•Bob Hope, asked if it is true that he will soon buy the San Diego Chargers: "We're interested, but Barron Hilton's price isn't exactly right. We only want to buy the football team—not the hotels."
•Minnesota Fats, king of pool hustlers, after watching contestants in the World's Pocket Billiard Championship tournament in New York performing in black tie: "Dressing a pool player in a tuxedo is like putting whipped cream on a hot dog."