CAESAR'S WIFE SITUATION
The frightening specter of fixed games in professional football has stirred in its shrouds again. A Boston report says Patriot stars have been dropping in at a place near their training camp that is also a hangout for unsavory characters. Professional football's chief investigator, Bill Hundley, went to Boston last week to check on the report, and the joint is now off limits.
All pro football players are briefed at the beginning of each season against association with bookies and mobsters or visiting the places they frequent. It is a good rule and ought to be enforced rigidly.
One captain not content to go down with his ship is George MacCall, leader of the U.S. Davis Cuppers. Instead of fretting about his amateurs capsizing in the cup match at Ecuador, he is pondering a new berth as leader of the true tennis professionals—the kind named Laver, Rosewall, Gonzalez, Gimeno, Ralston and Stolle.
A 49-year-old Los Angeles insurance agent, MacCall surfaced last week at Wimbledon's first pro tournament and met with the competing athletes. Word from there is that he is in line to become the boss of the professionals, replacing Executive Director Wally Dill (SI, July 24), whom the players fired after a year and a half. Dill worked as an employee of the players, but MacCall may put them on his own payroll. According to one report, he is willing to guarantee the pros nearly half a million dollars in prize money for a 1968 U.S. circuit of six months. Like the owner of a baseball club, he would make all travel arrangements, take care of expenses, try to get TV coverage and so on. A pension plan has been mentioned, too, and that would certainly make some of the top alleged amateurs think seriously of going straight. If MacCall does take over, Manolo Santana, Roy Emerson and Tony Roche could well become professionals by January 1.
And with MacCall as boss, the pros—considered nasty outlaws for years—would draw nearer to the United States Lawn Tennis Association, since MacCall is a close friend of the USLTA president, Bob Kelleher, who retained him as cup captain.
THE WAITING GAME
The baseball game started early Saturday afternoon. The first and only run was scored early in the evening of the following Wednesday.
The United Steel Workers won the second-half championship of the South Shore Little League of Staten Island, N.Y. over Stryker's in a game that went 21 innings, was halted twice by darkness and included 67 strikeouts, 17 walks and but 12 hits.
The teams played seven innings on Saturday before night intervened, then eight more before darkness struck on Monday and went six more on Wednesday before Roy Kruckeberg, the winning pitcher, singled and scored on Ray Rudolph's double. (Tuesday was skipped because of a wet field.) Kruckeberg pitched six innings (the league maximum permissible) on each of the last two days, allowing one hit in all.
Just as impressive was Stryker's Pete March, who toiled six, six and three innings for a grand total of 15 shutout frames—without getting a victory.
Perhaps the most amazing statistic of all for Little Leaguers was that neither team made an error.
THE IN THING
Now that stuffing telephone booths and marathon Ping-Pong are passé, what will young America be doing this fall for outré sport? Painting fireplugs in the psychedelic manner, maybe.
It has already begun in Indianapolis, where the water company decided to make a radical change in the color of the city's 13,300 fireplugs. Instead of the standard yellow, they were decorated with what has been described as "an avant-garde aqua-green." This, in turn, inspired some of the citizenry, young-type, and within the shadow of the governor's Mansion on North Meridian Street appeared a fireplug decorated with red-and-white stripes, blue trim and white stars on the top, base and outlets.
"We think it's very pretty," said Mrs. Robert Bridwell, who lives in back of the masterpiece. "Painting the plugs seems to be the thing to do now among teen-agers."
At the Herron School of Art, a student groused: "That's an atrocious color they put on the plugs. I make it a point to try to paint at least a plug a week. Flowers, stripes or polka dots are big favorites right now."
The water company is not enraptured.
"It confuses the firemen," an official explained.
For way-out fishing, you might consider the offer of Father Bernard Brown, an Oblate priest who has put in 18 years in Canada's far north and now has established the most northerly fishing lodge in North America—on the shore of Colville Lake, just 200 miles south of the Arctic Ocean. The fishing, he says—and would a priest lie, even about fishing?—is terrific.
As a for-instance, three fellows from Amherstburg, Ontario took 75 trout one day. And another hooked 50 grayling on consecutive casts. The fish average about five pounds apiece, with an occasional trout running to 40 pounds. The fish are so plentiful that Father Brown puts up about 4,000 trout and whitefish each fall to feed his seven white Alaskan malamutes during the winter. When all 75 natives—Hare Indians known to other tribes as "the-end-of-the-earth people"—are in the settlement, 1,000 pounds of fish a night are needed to feed their dogs. But government biologists say there is an overpopulation of fish in the lake, and it should be thinned out.
Colville Lake is covered with ice from early October until mid-July, though sometimes a floatplane can land in open water near shore in late June. The fishing lodge sleeps six, but if enough sportsmen show up Father Brown will build more log cabins. He is an expert at this and has built a church for his mission, a 200-foot dock, some 20 log cabins for the natives and an underground ice house in the permafrost. He is indeed a man of many talents. He serves as a doctor and dentist, when necessary, and is a radio operator. He is an artist whose paintings show a great feeling for the outdoors. And he is a superb fisherman.
BUCK BENVENUTI RIDES AGAIN
Unafraid, unshorn and with an electronic punching bag among his gear, Nino Benvenuti, the middleweight champion of the world, was cruising leisurely aboard the luxurious transatlantic liner, the Raffaello, toward his September 28 return bout with Emile Griffith at Shea Stadium, New York.
It was first-cabin treatment all the way for Nino. The ship's loudspeaker system played songs and marches from his Trieste homeland. The Raffaello's gym was rigged especially for him. His cabin was amidships on the sun deck, where the vibrations are least.
His hair and his 19th-century sideburns are longer than when he took the title away from Griffith last spring.
"Let my hair be," he warned. "I'll cut it only after I've defeated Griffith. I don't want to be a Samson."
As for Griffith: "I'm worried because I don't fear him. But even if what I'm saying seems to be a paradox, I'll be sure of winning 100% only when I begin to fear Griffith. Try to understand me. When one is too convinced of his superiority, the most unpardonable errors can be committed. I have this defect."
He really does talk that way.
Trainer Libero Golinelli brought along colored balls to throw at Benvenuti in order to sharpen his reactions. "Now we have some new sorcery," Nino said. "It's an electric punching bag. I hit it at various points and a panel lights up telling me the number and intensity of the punches."
Lights out, Emile?
Remember that story about the five poker players from Brooklyn who bought their first horse for $8,500 and wound up with the best 3-year-old pacer in the world (Having a Romance with Romeo, SI, Oct. 3, 1966)? Well, a funny thing has happened to the owners of Romeo Hanover during the years in which he has won $632,867. They have changed from delighted novices into good, professional-type horse owners. Last week they proved this in the most traditional of ways: they broke up with their trainer.
Jerry Silverman, 31, had picked out the brilliant colt and trained him to 34 victories before he went lame in June. But now the members of the Lucky Star Stable have decided that Silverman can no longer handle their horse. They told this to Trainer-driver Billy Haughton when they asked him to take over Romeo. Haughton said he wondered what Silverman had been doing wrong during all those wins, and turned the owners down. Part of the reason was that Billy was committed to drive his own Romulus Hanover, Romeo's younger full brother, in many races in which Romeo might start. Undaunted, the Lucky Star people persuaded the other top "name" driver in New York, Stanley Dancer, to take their horse. Silverman, only months ago hailed as a good young trainer, had announced his resignation the day before. Welcome to big-time racing.
Dean of Big Ten football coaches and now beginning his 17th season at Ohio State (page 98), Woody Hayes has spent the last two summers visiting our troops in Vietnam. And he is also fighting on the home front.
"Let me tell you," he said the other day, "all our weapons are not in Vietnam. The hard headgear is one. For 13 years we've padded our headgear at OSU inside and outside. We're now using a synthetic rubber 20 times as absorbent as foam rubber.
"We protect our opponents with that outside padding—figure that 85% of the protection is given the team we're playing—but we can't get much support from other schools.
"In order to do a good job of blocking and tackling, you have to aim with the head. If you aim with the shoulder, you'll miss. If that headgear isn't protective, however, it's a dangerous weapon. But we can't get many other schools to go for protective headgear."
What percentage of Big Ten teams pad their helmets outside as well as inside?
"Ten percent," Woody answered. "Us."
Horseplayers are given to buying and taking all kinds of information, and in New Zealand they do not mind if it comes from the stars. Betting sheets publish horoscopes with suggestions for watching certain numbers on the program and certain colored silks on the jockeys. At least eight papers in New Zealand carry these horoscopes. One publication heads its predictions "The Stars Look Down," and another bylines a "Stargazer." The tipsters are anonymous, but it is reported that one of them at least might be the ideal combination of an amateur astrologist, keen on racing, who is also a free-lance journalist.
Punters born under Sagittarius must have been confused recently, for "Stargazer" advised betting No. 2 and giving thought to "silks that are mainly royal blue," while "The Stars Look Down" told them: "Keep 5 and 8 in mind as good numbers, with scarlet and gold as best colors."
In New Zealand's betting shops one often hears women and men muttering: "Well, I've got to follow my horoscope." Without a computer there is no ready way to tell how successful the stars are but they surely are as reliable as most turf-bound tips and gyps.
THEY SAID IT
•Fresco Thompson, Los Angeles Dodger vice-president, discussing the team's offense: "We don't have a guy who can hit a sacrifice fly far enough to score Jesse Owens from third base."
•Vice-President Hubert Humphrey, parrying a request that he predict which league will win the World Series this year: "I take a national view of the American League and an American view of the National League."