For the first time in its history the Big Ten has voted to make its stadiums available to pro football teams. This complete reversal of traditional Big Ten policy was sparked by the possibility of a baseball-football conflict in Minnesota and Chicago if the Twins and the Cubs make it into their league playoffs and the World Series. The game between the Minnesota Vikings and the Green Bay Packers on Oct. 5 can be shifted from Metropolitan Stadium (the Twins' home park) to the University of Minnesota's Memorial Stadium. And Northwestern University will let the Chicago Bears play a scheduled home game on Oct. 12 at Dyche Stadium in Evanston, if the Cubs are using Wrigley Field that weekend.
It isn't just altruism, however, that brought about the move: financially hard-pressed athletic departments can use that extra rent money. Similar arrangements may be made in other towns where conflicts could occur, since 16 of the 24 pro football teams share parks with major league baseball clubs.
AT THE KNEE OF THE BARBER
August 24, 1969
In his peak years with the Los Angeles Dodgers, Don Drysdale, who announced his retirement from baseball last week, was noted for his paradoxical control: very few walks but a disproportionate number of hit batsmen. (The cynical San Francisco Giants used to claim that Drysdale practiced shouting, "Oops!" so he would be ready when a pitch got away.) The genesis of this Drysdale pitching characteristic traces to Ebbets Field—Drysdale was the last of the old Brooklyn Dodgers still active—when Don was a 20-year-old rookie and a protégé of Sal (The Barber) Maglie, who at 39 was having one last burst of success with the Dodgers.
One day Willie Mays hit a home run off Drysdale. Next time Willie came to bat, Drysdale decked him, as pitchers will. Mays knew what was coming and was on his way down before the ball was halfway to the plate; and he bounced back up, ready to hit now that that was over, almost before the ball reached the catcher's glove. Drysdale then threw another duster and Willie, really surprised, went down the way he was supposed to—a startled look on his face, his bat flying one way, his cap another. This time he got back up more cautiously.
After the game a reporter asked Drysdale about that second brush back to Mays, wondering if for once a pitch really had got away. But Drysdale, with the honest innocence of youth, replied, "Sal says sometimes you have to throw at them twice."
GONE AND FORGOTTEN
In Green Bay, Wis. last week, half a dozen Lombardi Avenue street signs were covered over with bumper-type stickers reading "Hornung Drive."
We take you back now to April 26, 1939, and there is German Luftwaffe pilot Fritz Wendel at the controls of his Messerschmidt ME-109R, zinging along at 469.22 mph to set a brand-new world speed record for piston-engine airplanes (which was the only kind they had in those days). Wendel thus superseded such notable American holders of the record as Billy Mitchell, Howard Hughes and Jimmy Doolittle. Then along came World War II and with it jets, and the old piston-drive record was all but forgotten—until last Saturday, when along came Darryl G. Greenamyer.
Greenamyer, 33-year-old test pilot and patriot, wanted the record back in the U.S., and to that end he showed up at Edwards Air Force Base in California with his 25-year-old Grumman F8F-2 Bearcat—and everybody has to admit you don't see many of those around any more. Clocked by officials of the Fédération Aéronautique Internationale, he made four passes over a three-kilometer course, hit an official 483.041 mph and that was that. The trophy will now come to the U.S., which has been Greenamyer's goal for years, including last summer when in an earlier try he burned out a piston in the old Bearcat after hitting 489 mph.
Almost everyone present was delighted to see the 30-year-old record fall. Well, except perhaps Rolf Winter, sent over by the German magazine Stern to cover Greenamyer's attempt. "This," said Winter, "is going to be another sad day for Germany."
IN THE SPRING
Frank Kush is head football coach at Arizona State, but lately he has had this odd feeling that his main job is recruiting players for Baseball Coach Bob Winkles and, eventually, the major leagues.
Kush says, "We had a fellow named Reggie Jackson here on a football scholarship, and he had a great future as a defensive back. When I recruited him I mentioned baseball in passing. He went out, hit 15 homers his first varsity season and Charley Finley signed him for $100,000 plus.
"Then we convinced Paul Ray Powell that his football future was at Arizona State. He came here and promptly became a starter in our defensive secondary. Being softhearted, I let him skip spring practice to help out in baseball last year, as a sophomore. He batted just under .300. Last fall in football he was a starter for us, and he led the nation in scoring by kicking. Baseball rolled around again. I let him play, and all he did was break five batting records, lead Arizona State to the national championship and become one of the first collegians picked in the baseball draft in June. He signed with the Minnesota Twins for $45,000. And"—Kush brushed away a tear—"he still had a year of football eligibility left."
Here is another End of Civilization note. We do not have the results for you, thank goodness, but last Sunday—Aug. 17, that is—a snowmobile drag race was held at Raymonds Airport in Phillips, Me. Temperature was 78°.
FOR THE BIRDS
If there is anything an Englishman cherishes more than his dog or his pint of bitter, it is rare birds. The hobby, a small falcon that resembles to an extent the somewhat larger peregrine, is one of the smallest and rarest birds of prey and, like so many others, is threatened with extinction. Recently a nest of young hobbies was discovered right in the path of a ¬£2 million pipeline being constructed by the Esso Company in Surrey, near London. The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds appealed to Esso to hold up work on the pipeline until the young birds, which were nearing maturity, grew large enough to fly safely away. Esso, which maintains a bird sanctuary of its own at its huge ¬£100 million plant near Southampton, was quick to comply.
The halt of two days until the hobbies upped and left cost Esso thousands of pounds and the highly skilled, highly paid workmen a loss in wages. But all parties seemed happy to have been able to save their hobbies.
Judge Roy Hofheinz, the Astrodome man, testified before the Texas state senate the other day in opposition to a proposal to levy a 3.5% state tax on tickets to professional sports events. Hofheinz claimed that Texas now attracts $1.4 billion in tourist dollars from outside the state, compared to only $600 million before the Astrodome was completed. "To single out professional sports for new taxes, an industry that spends more each year than the state in promotion to attract tourists, doesn't make sense," Hofheinz argued. "Our team is only three games out of first place now, and this is the first time I have been able to say that this late in the season. It's been a long road. Had we been subjected to this proposed tax, there is not a single year in which we could have earned a profit equal to the amount of the tax."
The committee before which Hofheinz testified had already voted to omit the admissions tax from the bill it was considering. But Hofheinz, a former member of the Texas house of representatives, was familiar with sudden, last-minute form reversals by legislatures (the tax could be restored by a conference committee) and he wanted to make his position absolutely clear. Except, perhaps, on the prospect of intrastate competition.
A Fort Worth legislator asked him, "Would you favor a major league team for Dallas-Fort Worth?"
Hofheinz, given credit by Dallas-Fort Worth people for the new major league franchises in San Diego and Montreal, fielded the hard-hit grounder smoothly.
"Senator," he answered, "when that comes up in a bill I'll come here to discuss that."
Last spring Franklin Mieuli of the San Francisco Warriors scored a publicity coup when he drafted a girl basketball player named Denise Long (SCORECARD, May 26) who had scored 111 points in one game. But, as Mieuli insisted at the time, it was not just a one-shot stunt to grab some headlines. Mieuli brought Denise from her native Iowa to San Francisco and, after the usual whirl of newspaper and TV interviews, had her work with Warrior players at a series of 30 clinics at local high schools. Now he has agreed to pay her tuition at the University of San Francisco for four years and has put her on the Warriors' payroll. Eventually, Mieuli insists, she will be the leading light of a four-team women's professional league and, indeed, more than 100 girls begin tryouts for the teams this month.
OH YOU SWEET
The Pirelli Tire Corporation ran a computerized Driver Personality Test at the New York Auto Show last April, in which a study was made of the relationship of traffic violations to drivers' personalities. A final report on the test, just released, says that contrary to popular opinion, alertness is not the most important factor in maintaining a safe driving record. Far more significant are mood, personal outlook and attitude. In other words, a courteous, considerate driver is a better safety bet than one with quick reflexes.
The report also says, rather airily, "Though men were quick to rate themselves better drivers than women, we found no difference overall—at least on the basis of our test sample." But there are differences in different age groups. Men between 16 and 25 and between 26 and 45 commit more traffic violations than women in the same age groups, but past the age of 45, women are the greater offenders. The report indicates that women over 45 tend to go to extremes (which is nothing a husband doesn't know). It says, "The woman over 45 who is a bad driver is a very bad driver (she has a greater number of violations), while the woman over 45 who is a good driver is a very good driver (she has fewer bad driving habits)."
Young men between 16 and 25 rate highest in alertness, lowest in mood and attitude and, predictably, have a large number of traffic violations. What will come as a surprise to fathers around the country is that the safest drivers are girls between 16 and 25. They had fewer traffic violations than any other age group, male or female.
Now, Daddy, about that convertible.
The scene is the 14th green.
"What did you have?"
"I picked up. Give me an X."
"Hmmm. I had an X, too. But I get a stroke on the 14th, so I win the hole."
THEY SAID IT
•Tom Day, veteran defensive end for the Buffalo Bills, on playing football in the Astrodome: "I hate playing there. You can't dig in. You can't even spit. You remember you're inside on a rug, so you don't allow yourself to spit."
•Lindsey Nelson, TV sportscaster, after broadcasting the Browns-49ers game played on Astroturf: "It makes a better football game. The players I talked to were enthusiastic. The runners said they felt faster and the receivers said it was easier to make their cuts. From an announcer's standpoint it's simpler to identify players because uniforms stay clean."
•Bill Meek, Utah football coach, giving his players permission to ski: "I point out the beautiful mountains as part of my recruiting talk, so how can I tell them they can't use them once they sign up? Besides, I didn't have a guy hurt skiing last year, and I had three hurt in a pickup basketball game."