Chuck Latourette, punter for the Houston Texans of the World Football League, also is a resident in radiology at M.D. Anderson Hospital. Logically enough, when Halfback Ward Walsh cut his chin in a recent practice and needed stitches. Trainer Bob Burkart summoned Dr. Latourette. In best Ben Casey fashion, Latourette washed up and neatly sutured the wound. "It feels good," said Walsh afterward, fingering the five stitches. "He did a good job." Minutes later, Walsh didn't feel quite so good. He learned that he had been unconditionally released. Walsh thus achieved a real pro football distinction. He was cut twice on the same day.
In 1898, at the age of 23, Charlie Lay of Tynemouth, England, smoked his first cigar. Forty years later, at the age of 63, he rolled his first lawn-bowling ball. Lay is now three weeks short of 100, still smoking and bowling, and he credits his longevity to cigars, bowling and rum, which he doesn't specify when he first imbibed. "They do me a power of good," he rasps. One suspects that such a claim rests more on the toughness of the centenarian than on the formula prescribed, and in this case there is sound evidence. Lay mentions that he once nearly had to give up bowling because arthritis crippled two of his fingers, affecting his game. Not a bloke to take half measures, Lay had the fingers amputated, and resumed bowling.
Willie Mays has admitted that he often intentionally made easy catches look hard. "You gotta entertain people," he insists. Although Mays did not say it, his friends in San Francisco also remember that Willie often took unnecessary headfirst slides at home plate and sometimes made it appear that he would never rise again after a minor collision. "He did things just acting that others couldn't match going all out," says Bill Rigney, his former manager.
Here we have two movie stars, one ex-and one X, off to the races. Dapper Douglas Fairbanks Jr. did not exactly lose his shirt at the Derby, though he did lose a little cash when Snow Knight won and the horse he bet on finished out of the money. He would have been well dressed in any case. Can as much be said for Linda Lovelace as she headed for Ascot? Well, maybe. The star of Deep Throat would not in any case lose her shirt, having already done so.
Robert Cates of Baltimore got involved in a game of dice with an Air Force sergeant who later admitted to being something of a pro, and lost a quick $500. Two days later, Cates recouped part of his loss even faster—by pointing a pistol at the sergeant and forcing him to hand over all the money in his pockets. That amounted to $180, the other $320 being the cost of the dice lesson. Arrested and convicted of robbery with a deadly weapon, Cates appealed. His lawyers argued that gambling is illegal. (In fact, anyone who loses at gambling in Maryland can sue to recover his loss.) Therefore, they said, Cates had a right to the money and it was not robbery to take back his own property. The appeal judges conceded that Cates could be acquitted under the laws of some states, mostly in the West, but sniffed, "We decline to adopt that reasoning and to substitute, in this state, the rule of the gun for the rule of reason."
When the trading deadline passed without the Houston Astros making a deal for him, veteran Phillie Outfielder Billy Grabarkewitz was sorely disappointed. "My home in San Antonio is 198 miles from Houston, and I could almost commute," Grabarkewitz explained, "but that's not the entire reason. I've been wearing this mustache, which I don't like but my wife does. She told me that if I shaved it off, she'd cut her hair real close. I figured if I was traded to Houston I'd have to get rid of the mustache because of Manager Preston Gomez' policy, but my wife would still have to keep her hair long because shaving wasn't my choice." To want to go from a division-leading club to an also-ran, a man must really hate his mustache.
The new insect-ingesting champion of the 1974 Survival Symposium at Camp Murray, Wash. is Staff Sgt. Charles Chapman. He munched 102 live red ants in three minutes, thus claiming the world freestyle ant-eating title. "They had a sour almond taste," Chapman reported.
When Terry Tata was announced as one of the umpires for a baseball game at the Astrodome, a press-box wit observed, "Tata? He must be from Idaho." To which another reporter added: "Could be. They say he has a good eye."
Michael Featherstone and his wife Margaret, who operate a pub in Yorkshire in England, have won the world shouting contest. Mrs. Featherstone retained her title as loudest female mouth with a 109.7 decibel yell (a jet plane just after takeoff is 88), and her husband took the male division at 110 decibels. They are open to offers as cheerleaders, and we are closed to clever remarks about that 0.3 decibel differential.
Jockey Clyde Mahoney, a solid performer at River Downs in Cincinnati, missed a few days' work after suffering severe lacerations in a fall. It was not a horse that Mahoney fell from. He was thrown by a 10-speed bicycle.
Montreal Expo Pitcher Steve Rogers struck out a computer. Rogers has a degree in engineering, and became a member of the Society of Petroleum Engineers quite some time ago. But no one consulted the society's new computer, a creature of limited imagination. Rogers sent in a change of address and "the computer went bananas," in the words of the society. It simply didn't believe that a professional baseball player was a member or ever could be. So it threw Rogers out at first and even after being corrected is still complaining that Rogers threw it a curve with a little oil on it.