Recently when Don Blasingame signed with Osaka's Nankai. Hawks, league officials decided that the former major league second baseman should change his name. "We don't want Japanese fans to struggle with the pronunciation when he comes to bat," they said. In addition, "Blasingame" was too long to fit in newspaper box scores. Several names were proposed, among them "Blast" and "Blazing," but finally the Hawks decided on "Blazer," a nickname Blasingame had 12 years ago in the National League. "It sounds snappy and even seems to evoke a spiritually stirring acoustic effect," a Hawk public-relations man said. Blazer, unstirred, said, "It's O.K., so long as it's me."
After serving as brakeman on a two-man bob driven down the bobsled run at St. Moritz by Britain's 1965 world champion Tony Nash, Cowboy Actor Hugh O'Brian declared, "I'd have given a lot for a comfortable saddle and a four-gaited horse." A few days later, however, O'Brian decided to go it alone down the Cresta Run (below), the twisty course on which a number of people have been killed and countless injured. Riding a skeleton (the aptly named sled used on the Cresta), O'Brian made it to the bottom on his first try. But after that he never even got halfway down in two days of repeated tries, often flipping some 30 feet in the air and crashing into a snow-bank. A onetime Marine boxer and parachute jumper, O'Brian said, "I thought it would be a kick—and it was. There is nothing quite like it."
Asked by the promoters to thump up interest in the Clay-Terrell fight Sonny Liston showed up in Houston and said, soon after he arrived, "It'll be a tough fight. Everybody has had trouble with that bum, Terrell." His obligations over, he spent the next few days showing off a photostatic copy of his birth certificate to reporters, who have been writing for years that Sonny is taking a short count on his age. "Read this now. What do it say?" Liston would demand. And his listeners would read aloud, "Charles Liston, born May 8,1932." Feeling that he had won this fight, Liston left town six days before the championship bout.
When Clint Murchison Jr. announced that he was considering building a new stadium for his Cowboys on the outskirts of Dallas, three weekly suburban newspapers published editorials suggesting that he be drafted as mayor. The North Dallas Times declared: "Clint Murchison Jr. is the kind of man Dallas needs at this critical time in the city's history.... He is able, ingenious, forthright and courageous." Said Murchison, "I'm not interested in the job, but I hope my mother-in-law reads those nice things they said about me."
February 20, 1967
One of Venezuela's highest honors, the Order of Francisco de Miranda, has been presented to Luis Aparicio, the noted shortstop from Baltimore and La Guaira. Usually awarded to leading citizens responsible for important public works, the order had been given to athletes only twice before. The other day Aparicio was asked to President Ra√∫l Leoni's home in Caracas and formally decorated "for brilliant action in sports and for all he has done for his country beyond its frontiers." Among the most excited spectators at the ceremony was 7-year-old Alvaro Leoni, the president's son, who wore his baseball glove. Aparicio was so moved at receiving the honor that he could hardly mumble a thank you. Explaining his choke-up later, he said, "I was overcome. This league is too much for me."
Doug Weaver, who was fired as head football coach at Kansas State last November after his team had a 0-9-1 season, has signed up with arch-rival Kansas—as a freshman law student. The 36-year-old father of three hopes to complete the regular three-year course in two and a half years and then practice law somewhere in Kansas. "I've spent 24 of my 36 years being involved with football in some way," he said when he enrolled at Lawrence last week. "I can't remember what a spectator does, but I suppose, come September, I'll be sitting in the student section at Kansas stadium."
In a recent game against the Boston Celtics, Cincinnati's Jerry Lucas was called for a foul. Protesting to the official that he wasn't anywhere near the play, Lucas was told, "It must have been you. I know it was some white guy." Oscar Robertson laughed when Lucas told him about it. "Now you know what prejudice is," Robertson said.
Two days after the Super Bowl, Green Bay rookie halfback Donny Anderson began basic training at Fort Campbell, Ky. and six months of active duty with the National Guard. A credit to his old squad leader, First Sergeant Lombardi, Private Anderson last week outscored the 239 other members of his company in the physical-combat proficiency test. He made perfect scores in the horizontal bar, 40-yard low crawl and the run, dodge and jump events (below), but he was not quite so impressive in the grenade throw ("I haven't had much experience") or the mile run, which he completed in 7:20.