AIN'T PEACE WONDERFUL?
Now that pro football's nonwar is over, we're beset with the nonpeace. Four Detroit Lions—Darris McCord, Ted Karras, John Gordy and J. D. Smith—are holding out, nonviolently. Clem Daniels and Art Powell of the Oakland Raiders are tranquilly staging a Koufax-Drysdale: they want three-year, no-cut contracts at $50,000 a year each. Then there's John Brodie, the San Francisco 49ers' quarterback. The 49ers are in camp at St. Mary's College, Calif. Brodie is in Honolulu playing golf. Ostensibly Brodie is holding out for more than $50,000—but the word is much more. Like $1 million.
Before the NFL-AFL merger was announced Houston apparently offered—verbally—a fat, long-term contract to Brodie to join the team in 1967, after playing out his option with the 49ers. But when the merger became a fact the Oilers supposedly were told by Lamar Hunt of the AFL merger committee to "call off the Brodie deal." It now seems Brodie's strategy is to claim that the verbal agreement with Houston is a valid contract, and to threaten suit against both leagues for acting in restraint of trade if it isn't honored.
According to the standard pro contract, Brodie can't lay off a year and become a free agent. He would, in perpetuum, owe the club its option year if he didn't actually perform. So Brodie must play for the 49ers, but if he signs he is not playing out his option, and, moreover, he loses legal ground because his deal with the Oilers evidently is predicated on his playing out the option. And if he doesn't sign where is he going to play?
July 31, 1966
The solution: Brodie is reputedly willing to settle with Houston for $1 million, plus $100,000 in legal fees. Then he would be free to sign with the 49ers for that $50,000. Is Brodie kidding? Not on your life. The prospect of an antitrust action gives pro football such a bad case of the shakes that all 24 teams in both leagues were asked to contribute to a $750,000 pot for Brodie, plus $50,000 more in legal fees, which approximates Houston's original offer—or so we hear from a reliable West Coast source.
Will that do it? Says Brodie: "See my lawyer." Says Brodie's lawyer: "See you later."
NOTHING LIKE IT
During the Pennsylvania tennis championships at the Merion Cricket Club last week, Vic Seixas, 42, lost the first set of his match with William Bowrey, 22, the fifth-ranked Australian, 32-34. Seixas, astonishingly, took the next two sets 6-4, 10-8, but was eliminated the following day by Clark Graebner, who went on to win the men's singles.
According to James Van Alen, the originator of the Van Alen Simplified Scoring System, or VASSS, which, in essence, is based on Ping-Pong scoring (SI, July 19, 1965, et seq.), the memorable 66-game set perfectly demonstrates the superiority of VASSS. Van Alen points out that it took 2½ hours, while a three-set match under VASSS would have taken but 90 minutes. The gallery dwindled from 2,500 to 500, the schedule was hopelessly retarded and, since Graebner, 22, played just 19 games the same day Seixas played 94, the weary Seixas was unfairly handicapped.
Van Alen says the deuce-and-advantage scoring system in tennis, which has been used since 1877, is comparable to a miler being forced to keep running at the end of the mile until he leads by five yards. "It can but be hoped," he maintains, "that the prolonged type of match Seixas got into will make the USLTA put on its thinking cap. There is little question what the answer would be if the USLTA asks Seixas his opinion."
Well, Jimmy, we asked. Replied Seixas: "As much as I might have liked to have been playing under VASSS, strictly from the standpoint of being tired, I think that something like that kind of match is, occasionally, good for the game. If you play under VASSS you destroy one of the essential elements of tennis—playing up to peaks, having key points, and so forth. If we had played under VASSS, there would have been nothing like it."
Cassius Clay's contract with the Louisville Sponsoring Group expires October 26, and that's it, baby. Clay informs us he has decreed that Angelo Dundee, who has been managing him for the Group, be replaced by Herbert Muhammad, son of Elijah Muhammad, the Black Muslim leader. Dundee, he says, will be retained as trainer. Herbert is already on Clay's payroll as business manager and is also president of Main Bout, Inc., which promotes Clay's fights. However, Herbert's new title may well be honorary. By the time October 26 rolls around Clay could be in the army or, if he refuses to serve, in jail.
SHOOT 'EM UPS
Hunters who regard highway signs as fair game did $300,000 worth of damage in Utah last year. And it wasn't just kids with .22s; grown men were fearlessly blasting away with .30-06s. But before the summer's out the vandals may get theirs. Robert Craighead of Brigham City, Utah has invented a highway sign that shoots back.
Outwardly, Craighead's sign looks like any other, but a motion picture camera is concealed in a secret compartment, with a trapdoor covering the lens. The impact of a bullet hitting the sign triggers a mechanism that opens the trapdoor and activates the camera.
Before installing the signs, the Utah Highway Department wants to be sure the image is sharp enough to make out license-plate numbers. While they're at it, perhaps they should consider the sport who creeps up and pinks the sign from the rear, to say nothing of the sharpshooter who fires a round for effect—say at 2 o'clock—and, when the trapdoor opens, zaps one through the lens.
The death of Tony Lema, "Champagne Tony," is doubly sad, because golf has lost a seemingly ebullient figure and because, as our readers know, Lema wasn't always a Champagne Tony, and, where-ever he was going, he hadn't got there.
The things he did that made headlines were impulsive and often out of character: the champagne-for-all cry that earned him his nickname (he didn't really think much of it as a drink) and the bubbly flow of quotable wisecracks.
Even after he became famous he wasn't sure he wanted to be a golfer. Once, in Puerto Rico, when he had to eat with strangers because the hotel dining room was crowded, he passed himself off as Sam Lema, owner of a chain of shoe stores. Asked why, he said, "Nobody wants to talk to a golf pro."
He was a loner. While working on his book, Golfers' Gold (SI, March 23, 1964 et seq.), he was asked to do a chapter on the groups of friends that hung out together on the tour. "No," he said. "There aren't any such things."
When he married a blonde airline stewardess—Betty, who was killed with him last Sunday—people said, "Ah, the perfect girl for Playboy Tony." They were surprised to find she was shy and introspective.
Tony never had much heart for the role he played. It's a pity he didn't have the time to become the real Tony Lema.
SAFE BY A FOOT
Although the Atlanta Braves are unable to break even on the field, they're doing great in the stands. The Braves are averaging better than 20,000 paid at home and should exceed 1½ million in attendance this season, which tops any one of their last six years in Milwaukee.
Once in a while the Braves even give all those fans their money's worth. Last week, for example, they won one by booting the ball. Atlanta and Cinci were tied 8-8 in the eighth, when Braves Manager Bobby Bragan called Pinch Hitter Mike de la Hoz back and sent up Pitcher Tony Cloninger. Billy McCool's third pitch hit Tony's shoe, but Umpire Tony Venzon didn't see it and called it a ball. Third Base Coach Grover Resinger asked for the baseball and showed Venzon a telltale smudge of black shoe polish. Cloninger went to first, and Felix Mil-Ian, who ran for him, eventually scored the winning run. It was almost a rerun of the fourth game of the 1957 World Series, when the Braves beat the Yanks after Tommy Byrne hit Nippy Jones on the shoe and the polish left its mark.
"Just one of the little tricks we use every nine or 10 years," said Third Baseman Eddie Mathews.
Bragan disagreed. "I'd say we won the game on superior managerial ability," he said. "I have De la Hoz up to hit, but then I decide on Cloninger. He wears a size 10½ shoe, De la Hoz only an 8½."
"Ryan Snellstrom's sister got hit in the nose with a bat. We were playing baseball. She had to go the hospital. And his mother was ill."
That's the news in the Eugene, Ore. Grasshopper, which has "world-wide distribution" (California, Washington, D.C. and one reader in Tripoli), 231 paid subscribers at 25¢ a month and a young, hustling staff, including a foreign correspondent.
Not too many papers have reporters who talk to trees—and get quotes—but, then, not too many papers have an age limit of 9 for staffers. Here's Sammy Breger's exclusive interview with a doomed tree, as told to Karen Hulteng. "We talked to that tree that will be cut down. The tree is mad. It almost bited Karen." Sammy's in kindergarten and, although he can't write, the kid knows how to ask the right questions.
From Foreign Correspondent Katy Gontrum, whose family is spending a year in Germany, came this analysis of the international situation: "In Germany none of the children have freckles! But they are very nice."
And the stories on the sports page are admirably free of clichés, brief and to the point, e.g., "All I know about sports is Oregon won UCLA."
NO SALOONS, PLEASE
All right, they said after England's Graham Hill won the Indianapolis 500. But there's still 100%, red-blooded, All-American stock-car racing. Like the Daytona 500. And we'd like to see any foreign sporty-car driver win that mother.
All right, stand by. Negotiations are under way for Hill, plus Scotland's Jimmy Clark and Jackie Stewart, to try the Daytona 500 next. The Britishers' idea is to collect more big U.S. purses ($140,590 for the Daytona race) and to put on a show for Viewsport, Ltd., the closed-circuit TV outfit that beamed the Indianapolis 500 back to Blighty.
They went wild for Indy over there, and Viewsport figures that the prestigious Daytona 500—provided some of their drivers were in it—would draw just as well. And, says Daytona's Bill France, "We would welcome them."
Hill, Clark and Stewart would be a welcome addition to stock-car racing, at that. But one thing we shall have to be firm about. If they do run in the Daytona 500, they simply have got to stop referring to it as a saloon-car race.
RED, WHITE AND BLUE
If you tend to hit under your golf ball, try hitting a red ball. If you regularly top it, use a blue one. That, anyway, is the advice of Colonel Vincent I. Hack, a prominent authority on color.
Colonel Hack, who is directing a color-research program at Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio, says his experiments indicate that red makes an object appear larger, and thus closer, than it really is, while blue makes an object seem smaller and farther away. White is a neutral color and makes for accurate depth perception.
So, if you're hitting under a white ball, a red one will seem closer, and this should make you subconsciously correct your swing, and smack it squarely. And if you're topping a white ball, a blue one will appear farther away, and so forth. And if you skull a blue ball into deep, green rough and try to find it, you're on your own.
THEY SAID IT
•Harold Paddock, teaching pro from Cleveland, after shooting an 84 in the first round of the PGA: "I missed so many putts out there I was afraid to eat lunch for fear I'd miss my mouth."
•Art Modell, Cleveland Browns owner, assessing the qualifications of Charley Harraway, a leading candidate for Jim Brown's old fullback job: "Physically, he looks like Brown."