Another and somewhat different voice was heard last week on the subject of Negro riots. It was that of Archie Moore, who, in a statement published in The San Diego Union, said:
"I was born in a ghetto, but I refused to stay there. I am a Negro and proud to be one. I am also an American and I'm proud of that. Don't get the idea that I didn't grow up hating the injustices of this world. I am a staunch advocate of the Negro revolution for the good of mankind. I despised the whites who cheated me, but I used that feeling to make me push on. I've seen almost unbelievable progress made in the last handful of years.
"The Negro still has a long way to go to gain a fair shake with the white man in this country. But believe this: if we resort to lawlessness, the only thing we can hope for is civil war, untold bloodshed and the end of our dreams. We have to have a meeting of qualified men of both races. Mind you, I said qualified men, not some punk kid ranting the catchphrases. Something must be done to reach the Negroes and the whites in the ghettos of this country, and I propose to do something. I have been running a program which I call ABC—Any Boy Can—teaching our youth, black, white, yellow and red, what dignity is, what self-respect is, what honor is.
August 20, 1967
"I would now expand my program, change its scope. If any boy can, surely any man can. I want to take teams of qualified people, top men in their fields, to the troubled areas of our cities. I know that the people who participated in the recent riots, who are participating and will participate, are misguided rather than mad.
"If some bigot can misguide, then I can guide. I've spent too much of my life building what I've got, to put it to torch just to satisfy some ancient hatred of a man who beat my grandfather. Those men are long dead."
Archie was always a tough fighter, and a wise one.
Little is being said about it, but Baseball Commissioner William Eckert is still considering playing some of this year's World Series games at night, when they would attract the largest possible audience. The change probably will come not this year but in 1968. A compelling reason would be the Nielsen ratings for last month's All-Star Game, which began at 4 p.m. in California and ended at 11 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time. An estimated 55 million people watched the game, compared with 12 million viewers for the 1966 All-Star Game, played in the afternoon. Something that would permit that many million more people to see weekday World Series games deserves consideration.
Virginia City, Nev., that brawling, gun-slinging western town of yore, passed an ordinance last week outlawing horseback riding on the municipal streets. The city commissioners said the horses' hooves were breaking up the pavement.
The steel-alloy tennis racket, designed by René Lacoste, the French champion of the 1920s, that is now on sale in this country has proved a smashing success with the experts. Davis Cup Captain George MacCall describes it as "possibly as revolutionary a change as the one from wood to metal skis." And after she used a Lacoste racket two weeks ago to win the Eastern Grass Court title, Wimbledon champion Billie Jean King declared, "I'll use it forever."
The racket is of tubular steel and has a head slightly shorter and wider than the standard wooden model. It has less wind and air resistance than the traditional racket and creates a kind of trampoline effect. "It's spooky until you get used to it," Bill Talbert says. "But it is superb." A player gets more depth with less effort—as much as a yard more than with a wooden racket.
Because they are difficult to manufacture, taking twice as long to string as wooden ones, Lacoste rackets cost considerably more: $60 for one strung with gut, $40 for nylon. But, unlike wooden frames, they never wear out.
FOR THE BIRDS
The Air Force rocket sled run in the New Mexico desert has doubled in recent years as the world's largest birdbath, much to the inconvenience of both the Air Force and the birds. The supersonic sleds have water brakes, and when a test on the six-and-a-half-mile track is scheduled, scientists flood the run. This attracts dove and quail, thousands of which have been killed by the sleds, which in turn have been damaged by the birds.
Various methods of eliminating the birds have been suggested and discarded as ineffective or too expensive—hawk calls on loudspeakers, a kind of bird-catcher sled to run down the tracks ahead of the experimental one, sticky substances and a seven-mile birdcage.
But now the Air Force has found a method that is a booming success. The scientists lay explosive rope or, you might say, a giant firecracker along the tracks and tie one end into the timing circuit that starts the rocket sled. About two seconds before the experimental load is launched, the rope is ignited. It goes off with a loud ripping noise at the rate of 20,000 feet a second—and sends the doves and quail scattering for their lives.
"I have just finished talking to 10 or 12 hockey players. Team managers should have no trouble signing them." The speaker was Toronto Lawyer Alan Eagleson, financial adviser to at least half the players in the National Hockey League. A cynic might interpret Eagleson's remarks to mean team owners will have plenty of trouble and are in for a long, hard winter of discontent.
With the expansion of the league from six to 12 clubs, the limited number of top players are certain to demand and receive the highest salaries in hockey history. Eagleson is advising his 120 clients (he will not divulge their names, but he is known to represent, among others, Bob Pulford, Bobby Orr and Carl Brewer) that they are entitled to a minimum raise of 5%, because they will be playing four additional games this season. Nor are NHL owners so naive as to believe the players will settle for a mere 5%.
Eagleson is a tough bargainer, too tough to have around. He is, for instance, barred from the Toronto Maple Leafs' dressing room, and Punch Imlach has threatened to fine any player who mentions the attorney's name, except derogatorily. One rookie who consulted Eagleson last year regarding his contract is rumored to have been exiled to an AHL team for his indiscretion.
Despite these measures, and perhaps because of them, Eagleson's influence in the sport continues to grow. He is now the legal adviser to the NHL players' association and has numerous AHL and junior players under contract. In the next few years, he says, "The best hockey players will be getting $100,000 a year. It is not our intention to bankrupt clubs. That would be foolish. But I think most players are entitled to a better deal than they have been getting."
A friend of ours received the following letter from a 69-year-old acquaintance who is a track buff:
Since I've started training again for long runs, I've managed to toughen my will faster than my legs. Mentally I'm ready for 35 (miles), but my legs can't take it yet. Between 27 and 30 miles they tighten, and Eve not been able to make 35 without risking a charley horse. However, I'll have to get up to 37 since I'm going to enter a 32-miler the first week of 1968. I'm also thinking of the February 50-miler. Since it'll take me eight hours to finish, I'll have to run two or three 8½-hour stints before attempting it. I'm running between 120 and 150 miles a week—depending on how much quality running I do. An occasional day off relieves the tootsies and wards off a strain, but it leaves a mental void. It also disrupts my eating schedule. The reason for the mental void is that there is nothing like a three-or four-hour run to relieve the mind of the humdrum."
Have you had too many humdrum thoughts lately? Well....
STILL ON THE OFFENSE
It would not be surprising if the saturation coverage that television is giving to football eventually results in a waning of public interest. Already it is diluting the enjoyment of the sport. But figures provided last week by Broadcasting Magazine, a radio and television trade paper, suggest that sponsors and programmers feel football fever is still rising. Radio and TV stations and networks will pay $48.8 million this year (a 5.8% increase over 1966) for the broadcast rights to the games of 25 professional and 124 college teams.
Since last October when the Crown imposed a 2½% tax on bookmakers, the British government has had a staff of 200 men playing the horses in its interest. The idea is to try to catch bookmakers evading the payment of the tax by not recording bets in their account books. The government stakes its men and allows them to back any horse they fancy, but it takes back their winnings as well. "I would be very surprised if we come out ahead," said a government spokesman. "If our men were capable of that, why would they be working for us?"
The size of the bets varies, depending on where they are made. "You would not try to bet a half crown in the Silver Ring at Ascot," the official explains.
But this has not proved to be all a gambol for the tax men. The Crown's punters are complaining that they are not paid enough and are demanding their carfare home from the betting shops and racecourses. The government is reluctant to pay off. Maybe it thinks its horseplayers will work harder on their form charts if faced with the possibility of being stranded shillingless at a distant racecourse.
The California Senate passed a resolution last week in favor of Charles O. Finley moving his A's to Oakland. Twenty-three senators voted for the measure, but one popped up to object, San Francisco's George Moscone.
"I looked at it this way," said Moscone. "We already have the Dodgers in Los Angeles. They're eighth. Then we have the Anaheim Angels, who have the impudence to usurp the state by calling themselves the California Angels. Don't we have enough bush-league teams out here without bringing in one that wears white shoes and green-and-yellow uniforms?
"The point is, we have the finest food in the San Francisco Bay area. We have the finest culture and the biggest bridges. Must we dilute all this with a team that travels with a mule?
"Besides," Moscone said, "I'm a Giant fan."
THEY SAID IT
•Warren Woodson, New Mexico State coach, commenting on a new 300-pound lineman: "He's 6-4 and we had to have a special jersey made for him because of his 22-inch biceps. He was too big for the Army. I like 4-Fs like that."
•Lew Alcindor, while vacationing in Italy, explaining to newsmen in Milan: "My team, UCLA, is well known, certainly better than several of the professional squads in my country."
•Ken McMullen, Washington Senators' third baseman, referring to his team's 20-inning victory last week over the Twins, its 22-inning triumph this season over Chicago and a 19-inning loss to Baltimore: "We get tough after 19 innings."
•Mike Garrett, Kansas City halfback, after a free-for-all in the Houston-Kansas City exhibition game: "I had to protect my old Southern California teammate [Pete Beathard]. He'd do the same for me. I took a swing, then got out of there and watched the fight."