BAD NEWS EAGLES
The high school football team at Mayflower, which is a bit north of Little Rock, Ark., near the old Toad Suck Ferry, recently beat Cotton Plant, which is near Dixie and Little Dixie, 18-0. And to think that Gene King, the coach of the Mayflower Eagles, almost called Cotton Plant to forfeit because of a player shortage. "We added two players Friday, and we went on the field with 12," King says. "We had 11 men and one lady." The Mayflower lady, Anita Terrell, who weighs only 118 pounds, hadn't practiced much, but, says King, "When one of the boys got hurt she went in and played. She'll hit you. We had a girl before, but when she hit you it didn't hurt. This girl will hurt you."
TOO GOOD FOR HIS OWN GOOD
John Naber, the world-record backstroker, was in Grand Bahama for TV's Superstars, and he and four friends, three of them female, went for a boatride. A mile at sea, the battery went dead. Naber swam to a nearby craft for help, but its engine was blown. So he swam to shore, presumably not on his back. Said Naber, "I wish the other guy was the good swimmer so I could have stayed with the girls."
In England, the name of Don Revie has been one to revere. He is the Casey Stengel or Vince Lombardi of soccer, and perhaps you could place him even higher. Until 1974, when Revie became manager of England's national soccer team, he managed prestigious Leeds United, the dominant English team.
September 25, 1977
Suddenly, in July, Revie pulled a switch. Without notice, he threw in his England job and announced that henceforth, for a consideration of around $600,000, he would coach soccer in Dubai in the United Arab Emirates.
Well now, certainly England has not been faring well in the World Cup preliminaries, and Revie has been heavily criticized for this. And while $600,000 can buy a lot of air-conditioning to cope with Dubai's summer temperature of 120°, still his departure did appear somewhat abrupt.
Until early this month, that is, when the London Daily Mirror announced that for four months it had been investigating what it called "a series of astonishing revelations." In short, the Mirror claimed Revie had tried to fix games while he was manager of Leeds.
The main allegation dates back five years, to an end-of-season game that Leeds had merely to tie to win the rarely achieved double of English soccer—the Knock-out Cup competition and the league title. That night, Leeds' opponent was the Wolverhampton Wanderers (the Wolves) and the Mirror alleges that the middleman in the attempted fix was a Mike O'Grady who had played on both teams in the past. As Revie's agent, O'Grady approached in particular a young Wolves defender with the resounding name of Bernard Shaw.
It was a bad choice. "They picked the wrong man," Shaw told the Mirror. "They forgot that I was brought up in Sheffield around the corner from Tony Kay...." (Kay was a player who went to jail in a soccer bribery case in 1964. His father committed suicide.) Like other members of the Wolves who had been sounded out, Shaw played the game of his life. His team won 2-1 and Leeds lost the double.
Day by day the Mirror has been adding similar cases to its Revie dossier. What they seem to have in common is the lack of success of the bribery attempts. The affidavits the paper has accumulated have, naturally enough, all come from players who righteously resisted temptation.
Challenged with all this, Revie broke silence last week to announce he was suing the Mirror for libel. The Football Association, the ruling body of soccer in England, has appointed a committee of inquiry.
The first metric college football game, suggested in this space last November by Dr. Andrew Hulsebosch of the Eastern Analysis Institute, took place in Northfield, Minn. last Saturday on a field 100 meters long and 50 meters wide. With Tom Fiebiger, an 86-kilogram running back leading the attack, St. Olaf walloped hometown rival Carleton College 43-0. The extra-wide field, said Carleton Coach Dale Quist, "overemphasized St. Olaf's outside running ability. At the end, every meter seemed like a mile to us."
All was not lost for Carleton fans. The first Liter Bowl gave students the chance to sport T shirts saying CHEER-LITER and DROP BACK 10 METERS AND PUNT. And at halftime Carleton honored General Ulysses S. Gram, skier Jean-Claude Kilo and baseball's Harmon Kilogram, all figures to reckon with by any standard of measurement.
When Manager Earl Weaver of the Orioles forfeited a game to Toronto last week, a question must have flashed through the minds of some fans: has a pennant ever been lost because of a forfeit? The answer is yes, and it happened in 1889 to the St. Louis Browns who, coincidentally, became the Orioles in 1954.
In 1889, St. Louis was battling the Brooklyn Bridegrooms for the championship of the American Association, a major league at the time. On Sept. 7, the Browns played in Brooklyn and led 4-2 as the Bridegrooms came to bat in the eighth inning. The skies grew dark, and Captain Charles Comiskey of the Browns asked the umpire, whose name was Goldsmith, to call the game. Goldsmith refused, and in protest Chris Von der Ahe, the owner of the Browns, lit candles in front of his team's bench. An argument followed, and the Browns left the field. When they did not return in five minutes, Goldsmith declared Brooklyn the winner by the forfeit score of 9-0. Happy Brooklyn fans celebrated by smashing the windows in the Browns' clubhouse.
The next day, the angry Von der Ahe refused to play Brooklyn again, claiming that the police protection was inadequate. Umpire Goldsmith then awarded Brooklyn a second forfeit victory. Brooklyn went on to win the pennant with a 93-44 record, while the Browns finished second with 90-45. Had the Browns won the two forfeit games, they would have taken the championship.
The Seattle Slew of Mexico is said to be a sham. The Jockey Club of Mexico voted last week to expel José and Antonio Miguel Nader, charging that the brothers falsified information about Nacel's Fast, winner of the 1977 Mexican triple crown. The Mexican authorities say they have evidence that the horse was born in Kentucky and thus ineligible to run in one of the races, the Gran Premio Nacional, which is open only to Mexican-bred horses.
The brothers, who have obtained an injunction, claim that the horse was born on their ranch and is of Mexican parentage. The Jockey Club maintains the horse was bred by Robert M. Clinkinbeard in Lexington, Ky., and Clinkinbeard agrees. He says the colt, a chestnut with a blaze and three white stockings, was sired by Twist the Axe out of Sun Elect. Clinkinbeard sold the horse as a weanling to Luis Monta√±o of Mexico, and several months ago, when Clinkinbeard had a yearling half brother to sell, he asked Monta√±o how the first horse had fared. Monta√±o said he had sold it to Antonio Miguel Nader and that it had won five races. Later, in a casual conversation with another Mexican, Clinkinbeard was told that no colt by Twist the Axe was racing in Mexico. Upon further inquiry, it became evident that the Twist the Axe colt was racing but that it had been given falsified Mexican papers and was none other than Nacel's Fast. The Jockey Club began its investigation. A blood test showed that Twist the Axe and Sun Elect qualified as the sire and dam of Nacel's Fast, and the horse's markings matched those on Clinkinbeard's U.S. registration papers.
For all the success of Nacel's Fast, it did not increase the value of his yearling half brother auctioned at Keeneland. As Clinkinbeard says, "There weren't any Mexicans up here to buy the horse."
Too early to tell about snowfall yet, but here is one prediction for this winter you can hang your ski cap on. Reports of snow conditions by resorts across the country will be more reliable than ever. Sadly, this outburst of honesty will not stem from a sudden reformation among those eager area operators who for years have referred to solid-ice slopes as "well packed," or whose report of "fair" skiing actually meant rocks, stumps and bear pits. Rather, the new candor is a reaction to a recent $1.5 million liability judgment in a personal injury case in Vermont. Ski resorts were justifiably alarmed by the decision and, although snow condition reports were not an issue in the trial, one that was was the manner in which ski areas advertise their snow-grooming capability.
The result, according to the trade paper Ski Business, will be more warily accurate reports. Dick Williams, one of the insurance brokers for the National Ski Areas Association, told the paper, "I know of one Midwestern area that will go right out and tell the public that skiing is dangerous."
And there will be another side effect. The term "safety binding" will vanish; manufacturers fear it carries an implied warranty that no injuries will occur while using the product. From now on, they'll be just plain ski bindings. Next thing we know, ski areas will be adding a new member to their ski patrols. This one will be wearing a parka like all the rest—but stamped across the back will be the word "Attorney."
Henry George Miller celebrated his 100th birthday this month. Unusual enough, but Miller, better known as Dad, is unique: he is the only golfer his age in the country who has broken his age. He shot a 99 recently on the 5,734-yard Anaheim, Calif. municipal course that is named after him. When he was 95, he came in with an 82. When 93, he used a six-iron to score a hole in one on the 116-yard 11th hole at Anaheim, which got him into the Guinness Book of World Records.
Miller, who is 5'6" and weighs 100 pounds, did not play golf seriously until he was 67 and retired from his job as an inspector with Pacific Gas & Electric. He recently became a celebrity in the Los Angeles area when he started appearing in a savings bank commercial with TV host Ralph Storey. As Storey talks about Miller's achievements on the course, Dad bends over, sticks a tee in the ground, tees up the ball and slams it down the fairway. The commercial cuts to a sand trap showing Dad blasting out. "This is the hole where I shot a hole in one at 93," he tells Storey. Dad holes out, gets back into his cart, drives to the next tee and hits another drive with his faultless swing. As Dad says in the commercial, "You never grow old playing golf. You grow old when you stop, and I don't intend to stop."
It will never run Indy out of business, but a combination road race and rally came off in grand, if somewhat sneaky, style in California last weekend. Thirty-eight drivers competed in the 118-mile dash from Santa Monica to Balboa, which included a tortuous leg through the Hollywood Hills. There were an estimated 50 police speed traps en route, and, according to the rules, anyone who got a speeding ticket was out.
The rally winner was Bob Estes, 70, a sponsor of off-road racing vehicles, who made all six checkpoints and clocked 3:27.42 in his Porsche Turbo-Carrera. Curt Lohmeyer (Carrera) and Matt Ettinger (Chevy pickup) were co-winners of the race, both finishing in 2:18.20. Not one entrant got a ticket, but then, the event was sponsored by a manufacturer of a radar-detection device who thoughtfully equipped all cars.
THEY SAID IT
•Tommy Bell, attorney and NFL referee: "During the week I practice law. On Sunday I am the law."
•Jack Martin, 90-year-old ex-Yankee shortstop, greeting Mike Gazella, 80-year-old ex-Yankee third baseman, at an old-timers' game: "Hello, kid."