It is late of an evening and the Associated Press man is taking a report over the telephone in Miami. "Dennis Riggs is the new middleweight champion of Florida!" the caller announces—and goes on to give details of the main event in Jacksonville and the masterful manner in which Riggs kayoed Tommy Torino in the sixth round. Thanks for the report. And may we ask who is calling, you know, just to check for accuracy? "Oh," says the correspondent, "this is Dennis Riggs."
And baseball fans can expect to hear similar reports these days on the thrilling activities of the Ridgewood-Paramus Barons. The Ridge...what was that name again? Well, it's this team off in northern New Jersey's semi-pro Metropolitan Baseball League, see, and one of the ace hurlers on the club is Jim Bouton, who also has been known to mention the team in his other capacity as a sportscaster for ABC-TV.
Any guy with a title and name like Prince Alfonso Hohenlohe is bound to feel pretty frisky now and then. Maybe that's why Prince Al, who owns the Marbella Club in southern Spain, offered $20,000 to anybody who could beat him at three of his four favorite sports activities: shooting, auto racing, golf and skiing. And, whoops! back came an acceptance from Austria's Toni Sailer, now 35, the former world ski champ. Well, uh, sure, said Prince Al—but I'll tell you what we'll do. We'll add water skiing to the list of events and make it a sort of modern pentathlon. And, uh, listen: each contestant must put up a $500 entry fee. And there's got to be a minimum of, say, 10 competitors in each of the five events, right, Toni?
At the last count, Prince Al's $20,000 still looked pretty safe, although a few big sports around the world are said to be expressing some interest. Watch this space for further exciting bulletins.
July 4, 1971
Preseason Football Tip:
Never bet with Judy Carter, who roots for the Cincinnati Bengals. Last season Judy bet some gentlemen seated next to her in the stands that for $5 she could call the Bengals' first play from scrimmage. She predicted correctly and the men, figuring it was a fluke, went for 3 to 1 that she couldn't call the next one. Judy did, and "by the time we ran the first eight plays she had made more money in the stands than I did on the field," says hubby Virgil Carter, who just happens to quarterback the team. He also has Judy help him memorize each game's first eight plays.
They were winging along routinely from Midland to Hereford, Texas when the electrical system failed on the twin-engine airplane. Conk: the left engine shut off and, next, the landing gear wouldn't go down. The pilot headed for Lubbock on one engine, then circled over the field for 15 minutes. "That's the scaredest I've ever been in my life," allowed one passenger, Debbie Patton, Miss Teen Age America of 1970. But another passenger saved the day: he wrestled with the gear, finally knocked it loose and lowered the wheels manually. "I was just a little bit nervous," said Terry Bradshaw, the Pittsburgh Steelers' quarterback.
Atta boy, Terry. Way to go. Win one for the Gripper.
No word yet from Saratoga, Wyo. on whether or not Ken Harrelson will be the new Ben Hogan. But the man who traded the Cleveland Indians for the PGA tour is studying hard under Bob Toski, who has handled "no less than 50" pros now on the circuit. Toski, who helped Tony Jacklin among others, says he hopes to teach the Hawk that "it's a different kind of pressure on the tour than on the baseball diamond."
Got that, Ken? Remember now, one never spikes Arnold Palmer. Do not dust off Nicklaus. A Louisville Slugger is Frank Beard.
The Corniest Gimmick of the Week is the "Life Saver of the Month" award presented to Henri Richard of the Montreal Canadiens. Golly, did Henri perform some act of heroism we hadn't heard about? No, this was for scoring the tying and winning goals against Chicago in the final game of the Stanley Cup series to bring the trophy back to Montreal. Sponsor of the "Life Saver" award—better they should spend the money on a new promotion department—is, well, you decide.
A Sporting Welcome to the Summer Silly Season with these selected items:
First, Lorraine O'Keefe married Charles Tolbert in a lawn ceremony, specifically, right there on the 9th green at the Mayfair Country Club in Sanford, Fla. Isn't that sweet? After which the bride and groom joined separate foursomes and played 18 holes.
There was another nifty wedding, this one at first base in Lefty Hamilton Park in Williamson, W. Va.: Nancy Spaulding married A. J. Ball.
Last year Mayor Moon Landrieu pitched for the city officials in their annual game against the City of New Orleans softball team—and got shelled 19-0. Undaunted, he went in again this year. He lasted four innings and left, trailing 4-1, and his team lost 8-3. Same old story: Blew Moon.
Note to sports headline writers everywhere: Best-named player since Penn State Defensive Tackle Steve Smear is Alabama Linebacker Jeff Blitz.
Finally, the Free China Weekly reports that 22-year-old Chen Ta-niu and 12 young friends escaped mainland China and swam to freedom and asylum in Hong Kong. What does that have to do with sport? Well, they kept afloat by carrying plastic bags filled with Ping-Pong balls.