THE SHADOW (CONT.)
Accounts of betting coups in AFL games, which have been reported here for the past two weeks, are now making headlines. These accounts, and their implications, are particularly inopportune: the merger between the NFL and the AFL is to all purposes a fait accompli, the supergame is within rooting distance. It is, of course, possible that the fears are exaggerated: bookies are readily spooked and have been known to see things that aren't quite there. Indeed, one NFL official has compared their alarms to flying-saucer sightings. Whatever the case, this is not the occasion for mollifying clichés. No sport where big money is bet is immune to fixing—not even baseball. We trust Pete Rozelle will see to it that the investigation is rigorously continued. Moreover, at the earliest possible moment the public should be fully apprised of its findings. If the fears prove groundless there must not be any suspicion of a whitewash; if not, the guilty cannot be punished too severely.
Probably the most eloquent tribute paid Sandy Koufax came early last spring from Gene Mauch, the manager of the Philadelphia Phillies. "For the first couple of innings," Mauch said, "Sandy stands on the mound and fusses with his cap and rubs his hand over his brow and kicks at the mound until it is absolutely perfect. This is part of Koufax the true artist, and sitting on the bench you realize that he is getting ready to paint a picture that only he wants to look at. You send the hitters up and they come back and each time they throw their bats harder and higher and they say to each other, 'O.K., Clyde, forget it. He's got it again. Tomorrow, thank God, we get somebody else.' "
Honest pitchers admit that during the course of a season they have their "real good stuff" only four or five times; Sandy probably had his only once in 1966, and then it was with the help of cortisone that he beat St. Louis in the last week of the season to put the Dodgers two games in front. Playing with a team that could score, Sandy certainly would have won 30 games each of the past two years. The most remarkable of all his achievements is this: from 1962 on he won 111 games and lost only 34, and in half of his losses the Dodgers got him one run or none.
Koufax retired last week at the age of 30 because of the pain in his arthritic elbow and, more important, because he knew he would never be 27-9 again, and he wasn't willing to settle for less. Not all of us can choose our endings, as it were; Koufax was favored and he chose a good one. We're going to miss him out there, but he'll miss it more. Oh, what an artist he was!
To Muhammad Ali, last week's bout with Cleveland Williams was just another fight, but for the working press it was a mass conversion. In effect, what they wrote was "I believe." Some agreed with Ali that he was the greatest, many admitted he was a hell of a fighter, and a few went so far as to suggest he really knocked out Sonny Liston in one round in Lewiston, Me. Welcome aboard.
As a matter of fact, the Williams fight was only Ali's third best performance. No. 1 was the first Liston fight in Miami Beach when he was, as he has said, like "Columbus sailing into the unknown." Not only did Ali make Liston quit, but he made a mess out of his great, glowering mush; from one combination alone Sonny had a mouse under the right eye, a six-stitch cut under the left. No. 2 was the one-punch knockout in Maine. This ranks below Miami Beach because in Maine Ali had Liston's number, and Liston knew it—empirically.
We caught on to Ali early in 1961, when he was 19 and had had four pro fights. He sparred two rounds with Ingemar Johansson on the Beach, and Ingo couldn't lay a glove on him. But is Ali the alltime greatest? "There has never been another like him," says his trainer, Angelo Dundee. Granted, but comparisons between present and past fighters are never very satisfactory. Let's leave it that Ali is a genius who has transformed and elevated the art or craft of boxing, and that there may never be another like him.
POWER OF NO SUGGESTION
The new, seven-story Flagship Hotel in Galveston, Texas is built on a long pier extending into the Gulf of Mexico. Not long ago a guest admiring the view from his room on the third floor saw a large redfish going by—straight up. Its destination—the sixth floor, where another guest was fishing from his balcony.
Since it opened last year, the Flagship has been trying to dissuade its clientele from fishing. "It's about 40 feet from the first floor to the gulf," explains Manager Jack Bushong, "and the guests have to use heavy sinkers. In hauling them up, the sinkers frequently swing in and break the big plate-glass windows in our dining room. It costs $609 to replace one of those windows."
Now Bushong has come up with a solution. He removed from the dresser in each room the card that read, POSITIVELY NO FISHING FROM THE BALCONIES.
Says Bushong: "Apparently it doesn't occur to our guests anymore."
Not everything went ka-pow! last week on Utah's Bonneville Salt Flats. The day before Art Arfons smashed his Green Monster (page 28), Mario Andretti took a few rides at high speed, said, "Jeez, driving on salt is really fun, you guys," and set two national records.
Andretti drove a $50,000 creation that everybody called a 1967 Mustang fast-back—but only the nameplate was the same. The Autolite division of the Ford Motor Company had crammed a 255 cu. in. Ford Indianapolis engine in it, stripped the insides, poured alcohol in the tank—and away Andretti went.
He hit 150.134 mph from a standing start for five miles, and 136.645 mph in the five kilometers, to surpass the Class C marks of 139.169 mph and 126.390 mph, made in a Studebaker Avanti.
Autolite will exhibit the car at auto shows as the world's fastest Mustang, which no one can dispute, because no Mustang ever tried for these records before. "Actually, we hold three records," said one Autolite man. "We also have the world record for blue cars driven by small Italians."
WITH AVERTED EYES
Notre Dame tied Michigan State 10-10, as nearly everybody knew at 3:07 C.S.T., November 19. Among the ignorant few were some principled fans at the Memphis State-Cincinnati game in Memphis. Since Notre Dame-Michigan State was not being televised live in Memphis but on delayed tape, spectators in Memorial Stadium were able to watch it later at home. Feeling that their enjoyment of the telecast would be spoiled if they knew the outcome, a number of them pleaded with Stadium Manager Buddy Wells not to announce the score on the public-address system. Wells compromised. The score was flashed on the scoreboard message system preceded by the announcement: "Those who do not wish to know the Notre Dame-Michigan State score please turn their heads."
The San Juan Islands, which lie in Puget Sound, hold a peculiar position in the hearts of Northwesterners. Almost everybody considers them "his" islands, and with some justice. The state has set aside a dozen spots as marine parks, and even those who have never set course for Matia, Sucia or Stuart islands have basked in the view of their rounded heights rearing up out of the inland sea. The fact that the islands are largely undeveloped (there are a few homestead farms, beach homes and modest resorts) distresses Chamber of Commerce types, but that's the way Washingtonians like their San Juans—not much different from the "unknown labyrinth of verdant ysles" described in 1791 by the explorer Francisco Eliza.
Then, last July, it was announced that about one-fifth of Guemes Island had been secretly optioned as the site of a $100 million aluminum-reduction foundry. Stunned islanders first believed that Northwest Aluminum, a New York-Texas-Japanese firm, was indulging in some sort of monstrous ruse to distract attention from the real site. Who ever heard of industry on a San Juan island, where for a century labor had been confined to pursuits like salmon fishing, and where one must walk softly lest he startle the deer and blue heron?
However, its residents found out that Guemes is on Guemes Channel, which is ideal for giant cargo vessels, and that it is, further, handy to Bonneville hydroelectric power. Some 300 property owners, armed with little more than the conviction that the San Juans are intended for the gentle purpose of recreating humanity, banded together in a Save the San Juans Committee.
Last week these idealists suffered a setback: the Skagit County Planning Commission set aside the current residential zoning to allow construction of the foundry.
But all is not lost to progress. The Washington Supreme Court has ordered the county to withhold building permits until the Save the San Juaners have had full opportunity for court review. This could take months, and Northwest Aluminum has a tight schedule calling for construction to start January 1. By then its options will run out, and it may be forced to turn to a mainland site or go out of state. Northwest is learning a fact of Northwest living: there are some values that cannot be hung with price tags, even $100 million.
Greatest Crawford used to tell Muhammad Ali that he couldn't call himself The Greatest because he was Greatest. Crawford was. His mother gave him the name. Until last week Crawford, a light heavyweight with a 15-7-2 record, had little renown; he was chiefly known to the champions and contenders with whom he frequently worked as a sparring partner. Last week in Canton, Ohio Crawford finally gained recognition of sorts; he was knocked out in the ninth round by Marion Connors and died of injuries to the brain two days later.
Despite his lack of fame, Crawford was not an anonymous man. In fact, he was a singular man whose unique attire—a beret, a business-suit jacket, unmatching pants, a tab-collar shirt buttoned at the throat but no tie, heavy work boots—made him stand out even in a training camp. Furthermore, he was an aloof, slightly reserved person whose sense of dignity was as conspicuous as his thick mustache.
Last spring, when Crawford went to camp to prepare a champion for a title fight, he found he was supposed to live with two other sparring partners in a room the size of a closet. Crawford walked out on the job "A professional fighter has pride," he said. "Nobody should push a professional fighter around, and I am a professional fighter." A few weeks later, Crawford had upset Milo Calhoun but was still hustling for a sparring partner's job. "These big wins are nice," he said, "but a man has to eat." But was boxing worth the pains and lumps, the short money, the disappointments? "Everything important takes hard work and pain," explained Crawford. "If I had spent the last eight years in a factory or shining shoes, then I'd probably have some money and a pretty good job. But I'd be a nobody. This way a few people know my name. I'm somebody. To me, that's important."
To us it's important that boxing starts caring about the Greatest Crawfords—the sparring partners who work with guys who outweigh them by 50 pounds, who go too many tough rounds in the gym too many years. Crawford's death was an accident, no one was to blame, but it wasn't inevitable. Let the boxing commissions concern themselves with the training camps, too. As Greatest said, a professional shouldn't be abused.
THEY SAID IT
•Muhammad Ali, about the World Boxing Association's recognition of Ernie Terrell as heavyweight champion: "I'd like them to check this organization known as the IRS because they recognized me as champion."
•Buzzy Bavasi, Dodger vice-president; on Sandy Koufax' retirement: "Where do I get another left-hander who can win 27 games with arthritis and pitch four no-hitters in four years and is Jewish?"