NO HELLO FOR DOLLY
South Africa has given its Non-white Sportsman of the Year award to Basil D'Oliveira, a Cape Colored or mulatto cricketer who now regularly plays for England. Nonetheless, Pieter Le Roux, South Africa's minister of the interior, has stated that D'Oliveira will not be admitted to South Africa if, as appears certain, he is picked for the English team scheduled to tour there next year. After some shilly-shallying, the Marylebone Cricket Club, which administers the sport in England, stated that if Dolly (as D'Oliveira is called) or any other English player were denied admission, "MCC would find such an attitude wholly unacceptable, and the projected tour would be abandoned."
In the meantime, the sponsors of next month's match between Barbados and the rest of the world canceled invitations to three white South African cricketers, terming Dolly's rejection an "uncompromising expression of policy repugnant to all West Indians."
The only light on such a somber subject is the memory of one English cricket fan from last summer, when Dolly was scoring well off the feared bowling of the West Indies' Gary Sobers. Cried a cheerful West Indian from the crowd: "Sobers, you fool, man. Take no notice of his color."
February 13, 1967
A final note: Le Roux would seem to deserve an award, too—White Non-sportsman of the Year.
THE MYSTERY OF THE 1:44.9
On June 10, 1966 in Terre Haute, Ind. Jim Ryun ran a half mile in 1:44.9—.2 under the world record. Cause for rejoicing, or at least so one would think, yet Bob Timmons, Ryun's coach, was "concerned": Ryun had run the race in the United States Track and Field Federation Championships, and the AAU, which has the sole authority to approve records set in America, is bitterly at odds with the USTFF, which is aligned with the AAU's archenemy, the NCAA.
However, the Terre Haute meet had been declared legal by the arbitration board formed as a result of a Senate hearing on the NCAA-AAU dispute. (Legal, in this instance, means that the two parties agreed temporarily to set aside their differences.) The AAU recognized Ryun's time as an American record, and it was sent to the International Amateur Athletic Federation in London for certification as a world record.
But the IAAF returned the four-page application to the AAU. According to IAAF Secretary Donald Pain, it was "not in order." Pain declined to comment on what was out of order. Last week in New York, Colonel Donald Hull, the executive director of the AAU, was equally reticent. When a SPORTS ILLUSTRATED reporter asked whether he might see the application, Hull replied, "No, I'm sorry. You can't see it." When the reporter asked Hull if he could tell him, then, what was wrong with it, Hull replied, "No, I'm sorry. I can't tell you." All Hull would say was, "The application will be resubmitted to the IAAF for its next meeting in April, and we expect at that time it will be accepted."
These absurdly mysterious goings-on give one pause. Are the athletes' performances the raison d'√™tre for the organizations, or is it the other way around?
Avis may advertise it's No. 2, but this is too much. Teams representing the Pittsburgh Hertz and Avis agencies met in a basketball game last week, and Hertz won 96-54. At least no one said Avis didn't try hard enough.
The color orange should never be used at a racetrack, says Dr. Deborah Sharpe, a New York psychologist who is redecorating three Ontario tracks—Greenwood, Woodbine and Fort Erie. Orange, it seems, is disconcerting, stirs human tempers and is thus a distraction to wagering. Red is ideal for the area where mutuel tickets are sold, being an optimistic color that stimulates action—but, on the other hand, too much red can cause nervousness and irritability.
"Black is also one of our most stimulating colors—a fact long known by lingerie manufacturers," Dr. Sharpe told a meeting of the National Association of Canadian Race Tracks last week. "I would not hesitate to do an all black-and-white track under certain conditions. Pink would go over great, too, but the mere mention is enough to give a track owner apoplexy."
Alas, Dr. Sharpe said nothing about the bettor's favorite shade—long green.
ARBITERS OF FASHION
At the behest of the American League, Umpire-in-chief Cal Hubbard and his 20 men in blue forgathered in Boston last week. At the end of the two-day conference it was announced that with the exception of the plate umpire all personnel may remove their coats on hot days. What constitutes a hot day? That will be determined by a majority vole of the three umpires affected.
The authorized undergarment will be a long-sleeved, sky-blue shirt, which is one reason why the plate umpire must continue to sweat it out—according to a league spokesman, "a sky-blue background might disconcert the pitcher." The other reason is that if the plate umpire were in his shirt sleeves, he would have no place to keep extra baseballs.
Although National League umpires have worn short-sleeved shirts for several years, the American League selected long sleeves because several umpires—reportedly Hank Soar and Frank Umont were among them—have hairy, muscular arms and, the league source revealed, "They were concerned that the fans might refer to them as apes."
Finally, it was announced that Umpire Emmett Ashford has permission to wear French cuffs.
THE TIES THAT BIND
Michigan State and Notre Dame had a basketball game at South Bend last week. With the score 65-65, a minute to go and Michigan State's ball, the Spartans went into a freeze, playing for the last shot, while the Notre Dame cheering section roared: "They're playing for a tie!" With five seconds left, Michigan State shot and missed. Its coach, John Benington, crossed the court, shook hands with Notre Dame Coach Johnny Dee, and said: "All right, we've got a tie. Let's all go home." And, arm in arm, they began to stroll off the court. P.S. Michigan State won in overtime, 85-80.
Michael O'Reilly Finnegan, 28, father of four and sales rep for a company that sells gym equipment, has a secret. Promise not to tell his wife Sandra or his father Hugh, who also happens to be his boss, and Finnegan will own up. He's the mysterious ringer who last November quarterbacked the North Central College jayvees to a 12-6 win over the University of Chicago football class—and broke his collarbone. To this day, Sandra and Hugh believe Finnegan broke it while visiting a customer. And so, in a way, he did, but not by tripping over a bench, which is what he told them.
Finnegan's fake began while he was calling on Ralph McAlister, North Central's athletic director and one of Finnegan's customers. McAlister was on the phone telling Wally Haas, the University of Chicago football instructor, that he was going to have to call the game off, since North Central was down to one quarterback, the varsity regular.
"I'll play quarterback for you," said Finnegan, who had been a defensive halfback at Iowa Wesleyan. "What the heck, it won't make any difference," said McAlister, and promptly got Haas's O.K. "Not so fast," said Finnegan. "You must promise...."
"I told him to call straight running plays," McAlister recalls. "Nothing fancy. Just hand the ball off and get out of the way." But early in the game Finnegan dropped back and threw a pass—and completed it. After that, there was no stopping him. He completed five out of 15, one for a two-yard touchdown. "He got excited," McAlister says. However, in the third quarter the pass rush began to reach Finnegan. "I noticed he was getting up slower," McAlister says. "And then he complained of a sore shoulder."
Last week Michael O'Reilly Finnegan made a full confession. "Football has always been a bone of contention in my marriage," he said. "I'm a football nut. I was married in college and had a child, but still I played. It would have been all right, I suppose, if I had been an athlete, but I was terrible. George Plimpton could have beaten me out. My wife just thought it was stupid and irresponsible for a grown man with a family to risk injury playing a game he wasn't much good at.
"Now Sandra is about to have our fifth child, and I break my collarbone. How? Playing football. I knew she would never understand. She saved my life—literally saved my life. I was in such agony, and she tended me night and day for a week until I was well enough to go back to work. But I've learned my lesson. I've matured. It came to me when I felt the pain and I began to think of how I was going to explain the injury. Then I thought—heck, this wasn't Jay Berwanger who cut me down, but some kid from the University of Chicago football class, and I was humiliated."
AROUND THE BEND
A good deal of credit for the Administration's decision last week to abandon the proposed dams in the Grand Canyon must go to the Sierra Club, which, ironically, lost its tax-exempt status by running full-page ads asking the public to protest the despoliation of the canyon (SI, July 18, 1966).
Although it is appealing the IRS ruling, the Sierra Club once again went to the people with full-page ads last month, this time to urge support for a redwood national park. "We certainly feel we have the privilege to use the most effective means in our power to bring the message to the public," says David Brower, the club's executive director. "And we are going ahead, tax-exempt status or not."
Indeed, as a result of the club's efforts and such crises as New York's recent smog alert, the nation has become more aware of its diminishing scenery and increasing pollution. "The public now looks more favorably on conservation ideas and on conservationists themselves," Brower says. "We haven't turned a full corner yet, but I think we've gone around a slight bend in the road."
The situation in Red China may be even more serious than the China watchers suspect: China last week withdrew from the world table-tennis championships, which are to be held in Stockholm in April. As Dick Miles, one of the world's foremost table-tennis watchers and 10-time U.S. champion, points out, China has won the last two world championships, and Chuang Tse-tung, who has twice been named China's Sportsman of the Year, has taken the men's singles title three times in a row. "Table tennis is one of China's few international sports," Miles says. "They've got three million players, and they're not playing down in the basement. It's only measly Ping-Pong, but to China it's the equivalent of not showing up for the Super Bowl."
Ohio University is now offering a master's degree in sports administration and, doubtless, it would be churlish to question whether or not this is illustrative of progress. At any rate, according to Dr. James Mason, a professor of physical education at Ohio, candidates will spend two quarters in the classroom studying business, law, journalism and education. "For one quarter," he said, "the student will work with the college or pro club in the ticket office, the booking department, maintenance, payroll, public relations...any phase of work." Like scheming to sell a 15¢ hot dog for 35¢, Doc, or scheduling split doubleheaders, so the fan has the privilege of paying two admissions?
THEY SAID IT
•Mike Ditka, Chicago Bear tight end, on Coach George Halas: "He tosses nickels around like manhole covers."
•Jack Hurley, manager of Heavyweight Boone Kirkman, asked if he had known that Bob Adams, whom Kirkman knocked out in the second round, was fat and out of shape: "No, he trained with his robe on."