The Philadelphia Eagles, who were embroiled in legal problems more than a year ago when Jerry Wolman, facing bankruptcy, lost control of the team to trucking magnate Leonard Tose, are being bounced around in the courts again. Three men, John F. Connelly, John J. Luviano and Thomas A. Riley Jr., have filed an equity lawsuit asking that they be declared partners with Tose in the Eagles operation, saying that they supplied $1.6 million of the money Tose paid to Wolman with the understanding that they would be partners. Tose held that the money was a loan and denied that the three were to be partners.
Tose has been squeezed by the tight-money situation—he used 90,000 shares of a 210,000-share holding as collateral on a loan, and the holding has had a paper loss of about $10 million—but he insists that he is not in financial trouble and is in no danger of losing the Eagles. "I've got a trucking company that makes money," he said, "and a rich wife."
Apartheid and counter-apartheid moves in sport appear to have given rise to clandestine competition. Because South Africa's table-tennis association has lost its international affiliation, players from abroad face suspension if they compete in that country. Yet a group of top-class table-tennis players from West Germany is currently touring South Africa unofficially. And, reportedly, a Rhodesian field-hockey team is at the same time quietly playing sub rosa matches in Europe without announcing the names of the players, the team or the games it is scheduled to play.
The Atlanta Hawks were supremely happy when they signed Pete Maravich a couple of months ago, but with success comes problems. Bill Bridges, eight-year veteran of the Hawks, team captain and No. 4 rebounder in the NBA, took a look at the amount of money the Hawks paid Maravich and decided to ask for a substantial raise. After all, the Hawks, without Maravich, had won the Western Division championship. "Pay me or trade me," Bridges told his bosses, to which Bob Cousins, president of the club, replied, "We have no intention of trading Bridges unless it becomes absolutely necessary. If he wants to be traded, that's unfortunate." Still, Len Wilkens was traded from Atlanta after a salary dispute in 1968, and another salary discussion led to the departure of Zelmo Beaty in 1969. Yet local observers could not help but recall Bridges' comment when Maravich was signed. "We need a white gate attraction," the veteran said then. "We'll all benefit from him." Apparently the No. 1 Hawk would like to be No. 1 on the benefit list.
THE MIND'S EYE
Dick Davis, assistant basketball coach and chief recruiter for the University of Florida, got word of an overlooked hotshot at a small high school in Indiana. He wrote to the youngster and asked him to send any films of himself in action that he might be able to borrow. Several days later Davis received a bulky envelope containing two tape cassettes and a letter. "My school doesn't film our games," wrote the player, "but I enclose the tapes of two radio broadcasts so you can hear me play."
Jack Hiatt, now of the Chicago Cubs, was traded off by the San Francisco Giants on the opening day of the 1970 season, leaving Hiatt, who had played five straight years with the Giants, stuck with a plush apartment that he had just finished redecorating. Luckily, Jim Johnson, a promising young San Francisco lefthander, needed a place, and he sublet the apartment from Hiatt. Three weeks later the Giants sent Johnson down to their minor league farm club in Phoenix, and Landlord Hiatt had to do some long-distance shopping for a new tenant. San Francisco Outfielder Steve Whitaker said he'd take the place and did—for 2½ weeks, when the Giants sent him to Phoenix. Hiatt looked around and found Bob Burda, San Francisco's veteran utility man. Burda moved in. For three weeks. Then the Giants released him outright.
At last report, Hiatt decided to close down the apartment until fall. "Right now," he said, "I don't think there's a guy on the Giants who'd touch the joint."
It may not make Cash Box's top tunes, but a new LP, Songs of the Humpback Whale, released by The Whale Fund and CRM, Inc., is one of the most unusual platters ever made. Recorded by Dr. Roger S. Payne and Frank Watlington, the songs of the humpbacks turn out to be weird and melodious whistles and scrapings from the echo chambers of the deep.
The humpback, which reaches a length of 55 feet, is among the great whales faced with extinction. Commercial whaling has cut the Antarctic stock from approximately 30,000 in 1946 to only a few hundred at present. Indeed, the last decade of whaling has been the most ruthless in history, and right whales and California gray whales have been killed in such numbers that they, like the humpback, need complete protection. The blue whale, more than a hundred feet long and the largest animal that has ever existed on this planet, is now protected, but the ban may have come too late to prevent its passing.
If the great whales do survive, it will be due in large part to Dr. Payne, a 35-year-old biologist who has all the passion of a benevolent Ahab. One wet March night he drove out to see a beached whale near Boston. "It was a small whale, a porpoise about eight feet long with lovely subtle curves glistening in the cold rain," he recalls. "It had been mutilated. Someone had hacked off its flukes for a souvenir. Two other people had carved their initials deeply into its side and someone else had stuck a cigar butt in its blowhole. I removed the cigar and stood there for a long time with feelings I cannot describe. Everybody has some such experience that affects him for life, probably several. That night was one of mine...and I decided to use the first possible opportunity to learn enough about whales so that I might have some effect on their fate."
The Romans used to flood the Colosseum for mock battles between opposing boatloads of gladiators, and now promoters in Baton Rouge have done something along the same lines. No pitched battles, of course, but last weekend the 22,000-seat Memorial Stadium (where Quarterback Terry Bradshaw, No. 1 in the pro football draft, played his final college game last December) was flooded to a depth of 3½ feet for a water show that included water skiing, water kite flying and platform jumping. Memorial Stadium is horseshoe-shaped, with a five-foot wall at ground level; a dam was built at the open end of the horseshoe to hold back the lake. Agronomists at Louisiana State University assured the promoters that the field's Bermuda grass could resist five days of water cover; the show ran only three days. How sound the agronomists' prediction was will be tested in September when the stadium's busy football schedule (two to four games a week) begins.
Fifteen years ago Jacques Plante, the goalie, introduced the face mask to the National Hockey League. Highly controversial in the beginning, the mask has now become standard equipment for many goalies. But no one knows better than Plante of the need for improvement. This year in the Stanley Cup finals against the Boston Bruins, Plante, tending goal for the St. Louis Blues, had his mask cracked by a shot off the stick of Fred Stanfield, and he wound up in the hospital with a concussion.
Now with the Toronto Maple Leafs, Plante has developed and will manufacture a new mask made of woven fibers and resin that should be able to stop any shot. Plante demonstrated it recently by firing frozen pucks at it from an air-powered cannon. "We've been making tests with the face mask to see how much it can take, and it didn't even budge with shots at 135 miles per hour," he said. "That's pretty good when you consider the hardest shot in the NHL is Bobby Hull's. He shoots 118 miles an hour."
In a splendid effort to upgrade interest in women's track and field, Marea Hartman of the British Women's AAA introduced a false issue last week that leaped onto sports pages. She sternly announced that she would patrol the ladies' locker room of London's Crystal Palace stadium before the Women's AAA championships to make sure none of the girls extended themselves unfairly. "We think it is high time that built-up curves are ruled out of international women's racing," declared Miss Hartman. "We want to be sure that the real girls, not the padded ones, win in any tight finish."
Some of the flatter-chested girls had been upset because of photo-finish decisions that went against them, she said. Sprinter Valerie Peat, for example, felt that she might have been second instead of third in a race if her bust had been bigger. Buxom Lillian Board, on the other hand, declared that she wasn't for padded brassieres at all: "I take the line that what I wasn't blessed with, I do without."
Miss Hartman finally admitted, with considerable satisfaction, that it was all a publicity stunt: "It came from a friendly conversation I had with Val Peat, when she said she had a good mind to buy a falsie for close finishes in sprints. I said, 'Over my dead body,' though in fact I've never known a girl in athletics with a falsie, and we do not intend to do anything about changing the rules. Actually, the International Amateur Athletic Federation has a rule now that says, 'No false aids,' which would appear to cover bras."
The last word, as usual, came from the cheerfully outspoken Miss Board, who possesses the women's European 800-meter championship and a 36-inch bust. Asked by a BBC man if she did indeed wear a brassiere during her races, Miss Board flippantly replied, "Of course I do. Otherwise, I'd end up with two black eyes."
After Wimbledon last year Cliff Richey, the Texan with a temper, decided to turn over a new leaf. When he showed up in Paris this spring to compete in the French Open championships, he announced that he had read a book, Psycho-Cybernetics by Maxwell Maltz, M.D., in order to get his psyche in shape. "He's a plastic surgeon who treats the mind as well as the face," Richey explained. "Ugly people would end up looking good but not really believing it. Like a kid in math who fails a few times and gets in the habit. He has to live up to his negative image. Maltz taught me how to recapture my positive image."
Two days later Richey's psyche turned sour. Angry about a line call, he blew a two-set lead in the semifinals and then stomped off the court and out of Paris with his rackets and, presumably, a shredded copy of Maltz.
THEY SAID IT
•Joe Robbie, owner of the Miami Dolphins, asked whether he would give new coach Don Shula enough time to produce a winner: "Sure, he's got all summer."
•Mary Bacon, jockey, recalling the race she rode in 1969, six days before the birth of her daughter: "My mount that day was a mare in foal. I couldn't help but think about those fans betting on a pregnant horse ridden by a pregnant jockey. The four of us finished last."
•Joe Morrison, 11-year veteran of the New York Giants football team, on why his 1969 season was the best of his career: "I guess the defense overreacted. I'm slower than they think, and that fools them."
•Carol Mann, lanky pro golfer on the Ladies' Professional Golf Association tour, asked how tall she is: "I'm 5 feet, 15 inches."