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796 B56 1957 

Best sports stories of 1945 




.-H * c. DUE 




Sports Stones 

1957 Edition 

A Panorama of the 1956 Sports Year 




NEW YORK 1957 

Copyright , 1957, by E. P. Button & Co., Inc. 

AH rights reserved 




No part of this book may be reproduced 
in any form without permission in writing 
from the publisher, except by a reviewer 
who wishes to quote brief passages in con- 
nection with a review written for inclusion in 
magazine or newspaper or radio broadcast. 




Library of Congress Catalog Card Number: 45-35124 


Preface 11 



The Million-to-One Shot Comes In, by SHIRLEY POVICH, 

Washington Post Times-Herald 19 

The Long Ride Home, by MILT GROSS, New York Post . 23 


Subject : Babe and George, by JOAN FLYNN DREYSPOOL, 

Sports Illustrated 28 


Sinister Sal Mows 'Em Down, by CURLEY GRIEVE, San 

Francisco Examiner 39 

This Was Slaughter's Day, by BURTON HAWKINS, Wash- 
ington Star 43 

It's a Brand New Series, by BOB HUNTER, Los Angeles Ex- 
aminer 46 

All Things Are Normal Again, by AL CARTWRIGHT, Wil- 
mington (Del.) J ournal-Every Evening 51 


Brooklyn's Brainiest Bum, by STANLEY FRANK, True . . 54 
A Blow for the Common Man, by BOB BROEG, St. Louis 

Post-Dispatch 67 

Jilted for the Bums, by DAVID CONDON, Chicago Tribune . 72 
What They Think abouiLFyrd pricjc,^by JOE WILLIAMS, 

Sports .... oV.tirjL^iix't 75 

The Lonesome Polo Grounds, by Si BURICK, Dayton News 90 
The Case for the Suffering Fan, by JAMES MURRAY, Sports 

Illustrated 93 

Oklahoma's Mickey Mantle, by ROGER KAHN, Newsweek 102 

Is It E = y* MV 2 , by TOM MEANY, Collier's 108 

6 Table of Contents 

The Happy Egotist, by JOHN LARDNER, Sports . . . - H3 
The Whole Story of Pitching, by DICK SEAMON, Time . 120 


And the New Champion , by RAY GRODY, Milwau- 
kee Sentinel 129 

They "Die" in the Dressing Room, by W. C. HEINZ, Red . 131 

It's Becoming a Habit, by BILL LEISER, San Francisco 

Chronicle 140 

The Heavyweight Champion, by PAUL O'NEIL, Sports Illus- 


The Ox Slays the Butcher, by HARRY KECK, Pittsburgh 

Sun-Telegraph 155 

Pro Football Comes Down to Earth, by HARRY T. PAXTON, 

Saturday Evening Post 158 

Frost on the Punkin' Heads, by RED SMITH, New York 

Herald Tribune 168 

The Greatest Game, by BEN BYRD, Knoxwlle Journal . . 171 

The Bowl Games, by TOM SIXER, Elks Magazine . ... 174 

Think or Sink! by LEN ELLIOTT, Newark Evening News 183 
The Foregone Conclusion, by CORKY LAMM, Indianapolis 

News 186 

The Ordeal of Red Sanders, by AL STUMP, Sport ... 188 


The Delinquent Juvenile Horse, by EARL RUBY, Louisville 

Courier-Journal 200 

Proud Swaps, by NELSON FISHER, San Diego Union . . 203 

How to Cover the Derby, by BOB BARNET, Muncie Star . 205 


Fidgeter of the Fairways, by DON SELBY, San Francisco Ex- 
aminer 208 

Do Ye Ken Venturi ? by FURMAN BISHER, Atlanta Constitu- 
tion 212 

All Golfers Are Mad, by MELVIN DURSLAG, Saturday Eve- 
ning Post 215 

The Trouble with Golf, by HOWARD PRESTON, Cleveland 

News 224 

Table of Contents 7 


Can Basketball Survive Chamberlain, by JIMMY BRESLIN, 

Saturday Evening Post 226 

The Fabulous Bill Russell, by BOB BRACHMAN, San Fran- 
cisco Examiner 238 


Of Such Stuff Are Dream (Miles) Made, by JACK MUR- 
PHY, San Diego Union 240 

Half-Pint in the Big Swim, by J. CAMPBELL BRUCE, True 242 


Olympic Shock? by JESSE ABRAMSON, New York Herald 

Tribune 253 

"Beware of Russia," by BILL FISHER, Lancaster (Pa.) New 

Era 257 


Down to the Sea in Yachts, by BILL ROBINSON, Newark 

Star-Ledger 260 


Another Finn Flies, by JOHN GILLOOLY, Boston Record- 
American 262 


A Grand Slam Trumped, by ALLISON DANZIG, New York 

Times 265 


The Gamest Fish of All, by RODERICK HAIG-BROWN, Out- 
door Life 268 


The Day of the Big Game, by WALTER STEWART, Memphis 

Commercial-Appeal 275 

The "Uniquest Job/' by HAROLD ROSENTHAL, Editor & 

Publisher 277 

8 Table of Contents 

"The Honorable" Frank Leahy, by STANLEY WOODWARD, 

Newark Star-Ledger 281 

Ike's Golf Course, by FRANKLIN (WHITEY) LEWIS, Cleve- 
land Press 283 

Turf Busman's Holiday, by ART ROSENBAUM, San Fran- 
cisco Chronicle 285 


Champions of 1956 287 

Who's Who in Best Sports Stories 1957 306 

The Year's Best Pictures 319 


Crossing the Bar, by Charles Hoff, New York Dally News 321 
Dateline: Saturday Ajternoon, U.S.A., by Howard Swift, 

Des Moines Register 322 

"Yer Out! 33 by Hy Peskin, Sports Illustrated 323 

The Whole Story, by Arthur Rickerby, United Press Asso- 
ciations 323 

Handstand, by George Miller, New York Journal-American 324 
Picture Play, by Harry Harris, Associated Press . . . 324 
Influencing the Decision, by Barney Stein, New York Post 325 
Look Ma, One Hand! by Don Ulrich, Allentown (Pa.) Call- 
Chronicle 325 

Upsa-Daisy, by Ralph Schauer, United Press Associations 326 
Collision at Home, by James K. W. Atherton, United Press 

Associations 326 

Prayer + Exhortation, by Marion Johnson, Atlanta Jour- 
nal-Constitution 327 

"They Shall Not Pass/' by Rolland R. Ranson, Detroit 

News 327 

Hosannah! by Bob Doty, Dayton Journal-Herald . . . 328 
It Happened this Way, by Charles Knoblock, Associated 

Press 328 

This Is Boxing? by Ed Maloney, Associated Press . . . 329 
A Champion Weeps, by Dante O. Tranquille, Utica Ob- 
server-Dispatch 329 

C'mon Get Up! by Clint Grant, Dallas News . . . _ . - 330 
Pardon Our Gloves, by Mathew Zimmerman, Associated 

Press 330 

"Lemme at 3 Em" by Andy Lopez, United Press Associa- 
tions 331 

Jockey Spilled, by William L. Seiter, Detroit News . . . 331 
Living Monument, by Arthur Rickerby, United Press Asso- 
ciations 332 

Down, Not Out, by Corky Lamm, Indianapolis News . . 332 

The Winners Collapse, by Richard Meek, Sports Illustrated 333 

Frogman Furgol, by John Lindsay, Associated Press . . 333 

Hand Off, by Roy Miller, United Press Associations . . 334 

Soc-cer, by Joseph Kordick, Chicago Sun-Times .... 334 


10 Illustrations 

The Laurel Fits, by Paul J. Maguire, Boston Globe . . . 335 

Rockin 3 and Rolling by Vincent Witek, Detroit Free Press 335 
Eating the Ball, by Harry McGonigal, Philadelphia Bulk" 

tin 336 

Schuss to the Rear, by Dean Conger, Denver Post . . . 336 


For the second time in its thirteen-year history, the Best Sports 
Stories series has a lady winner. Ten years ago, Miss Carol 
Hughes, of Coronet, won the magazine story award with an article 
on Pete Gray, the one-armed ball player from the St. Louis Cardi- 
nals. Now, in 1957, the judges have chosen Joan Flynn Dreyspool 
as the recipient of the magazine award for her conversation piece 
on Babe and George Zaharias in Sports Illustrated. 

We welcome the lady to the winners' circle. 

It was a close victory, however. As the table appended will 
show, Mrs. Dreyspool won by only a single point from J. Camp- 
bell Bruce's story on Sammy Lee, Half Pint in the Big Swim, 
which appeared in True, and from her own colleague, Paul O'Neil, 
for his story The Heavyweight Champion. She was, however, 
the only entry selected on two ballots, gaining a first place and a 
third to earn the $250 award. 

As in the past, awards were made in all three categories news- 
coverage and news-feature as well as magazine on the basis of 3 
points for a first-place vote, 2 for a second and 1 for a third. Each 
story carried no name of author. Each was identified by what is 
known in the newspaper business as a "slug." 

The judges John Chamberlain, Bob Considine and John Hutch- 
ens were in greater accord on the other two winners, the story 
of Don Larsen's World Series no-hitter by Shirley Povich in the 
Washington Post and Times-Herald, and the story of Don New- 
combe's ride home after being knocked out of the final World Series 
game, by Milt Gross, of the New York Post. 

This is the box score and the judges' comments : 

News-Coverage Stories 

Chamber- Con- Hutch- *Total 
Story tain sidine ens Pts. 

Povich's The Million-to-One Shot 

Comes In 3 3 6 

Gillooly's Another Finn Flies 3 3 

Grody's And the New Champion .... 2 2 

Hawkins's This Was Slaughter's Day 2 2 

Ruby's The Delinquent Juvenile Horse 22 


12 Preface 

Chamber- Con- Hutch- *Total 
Story lain sidine ens Pts. 

Grieve's Sinister Sal Mows' 'Em Down 1 1 

Keek's The Ox Slays the Butcher 1 1 

Lamm's The Foregone Conclusion ... 1 1 

News-Feature Stories 

Gross's The Long Ride Home 3 3 6 

Preston's The Trouble with Golf 3 3 

Smith's Frost on the Punkin' Heads 22 

Fisher's "Beware of Russia" 2 2 

Murphy's Of Such Stuff Are Dream 

(Miles) Made 2 2 

Burick's The Lonesome Polo 

Grounds 1 1 

Condon's Jilted for the Bums 1 1 

Cartwright's All Things Are Normal 

Again 1 1 

Magazine Stories 

Dreyspool's Subject : Babe an d George 314 

Brace's Half Pint in the Big Swim ... 3 3 

O'Neil's The Heavyweight Champion 33 

Stump's The Ordeal of Red Sanders 2 2 
Heinz's They "Die 3 ' in the Dressing 

Room 2 2 

Frank's Brooklyn's Brainest Bum ... 2 2 
Breslin's Can Basketball Survive Wilt 

Chamberlain 1 1 

Murray's The Case for the Suffering 

Fan 1 1 

* Based on 3 points for a first, 2 for a second and 1 for a third choice. 


News Coverage I made a lot of notes as I went along in this 
category. "The Juvenile Delinquent Horse" (by Earl Ruby) 
'good kidding/ "It's Becoming a Habit" (by Bill Leiser) 'glass- 
jaw motif, skillfully sounded.' "A Blow for the Common Man' 1 
(by Bob Broeg) 'good field, good-enough hit, for National 
League.' "The Ox Slays the Butcher" (by Harry Keck) 'you 

Preface 13 

see 'em dig in to give Engels his biggest thrill.' "This Was Slaugh- 
ter's Day" (by Burton Hawkins) 'heart-warming tale about 
Grand Old Man Slaughter.' "Another Finn Flies" (by John Gil- 
looly ) 'records yet, plus a pun to end all pun/ etc., etc. 

Reading over the notes, nothing seemed to stand out, although 
the level was, as usual, high. Now, how do you choose when there 
is plenty of competence and no obvious front runner ? Well, maybe 
a touch of the exotic is what makes the winner this year. The story 
of the marathon has just this approach to the exotic so it's my 
candidate for No. 1. For No. 2, I pick "This Was Slaughter's 
Day." Technically, the story of Larsen's no-hitter (Povich's The 
Million-to-One Shot Comes In) is on a par, but the author of the 
Slaughter story managed to strum on the heart strings, so I give 
him the edge. For third place, out of three good football stories, 
I pick "The Ox Slays the Butcher." The picture comes into focus 
and stays there longer than in the stories of Iowa smearing Notre 
Dame ("The Foregone Conclusion," by Corky Lamm) and Ten- 
nessee edging Georgia Tech ("The Greatest Game," by Ben Byrd) . 

Features The best feature by far is the one slugged "New- 
combe" (Milt Gross's "The Long Ride Home"). This story gets 
right down into the agony of a tortured man. It does it without 
pulling out any of the tear- jerking stops. 

For No. 2, I pick "Beware of Russia" (by Bill Fisher). This is 
a sound editorialized piece which puts the Olympics in proper per- 
spective . . . I'm glad somebody said this out loud. As for No. 3, 
it goes to "The Lonesome Polo Grounds" (by Si Burick), the 
story of the gloom that settles over Manhattan's northern reaches 
when the Giants Is Dead. The football story slugged "Pro Champs" 
("Frost on the Punkin' Heads," by Red Smith) is worth an 
honorable mention. So is the story about Swaps as he stands sus- 
pended in his stall ("Proud Swaps," by Nelson Fisher). 

Magazine Here the personality stories run away from all the 
rest. The one about Sammy Lee, the Olympic diving champion 
("Half Pint in the Big Swim," by J. Campbell Bruce) is a re- 
markable job of character portrayal and of technical knowledge 
of what it takes in coaching to make a champion on the high tower. 
So, this is No. 1. For No. 2, "The Ordeal of Red Sanders" (by Al 
Stump) is my candidate. This gives a lot of news about the pro- 
fessionalization of big time college football without singling any 
coach out for the "you rat, you" treatment. For No. 3, 1 like "Can 
Basketball Survive Wilt Chamberlain" (by Jimmy Breslin). I 

14 Preface 

feel I know Wilt after reading it. The profile of Floyd Patterson 
("The Heavyweight Champion," by Paul O'Neill) is honorable 
mention in my book. 


News My choices are "The Million-to-One Shot Comes In" 
for No, 1 ; "And the New Champion . . ." (by Ray Grody) for 
No. 2 and "Sinister Sal Mows 'Em Down" (by Curley Grieve) 
for No. 3. 

1. Once in the life of a baseball writer, and seldom thereafter, 
the Almighty sees to it that he is given something of utter perfec- 
tion to witness and describe. Usually, the man isn't up to the mir- 
acle revealed. But this fellow was ! Don Larsen's perfect game in 
the World Series needed perfect reporting. It got it here from the 
start : ". . . Hell froze over ... A month of Sundays hit the calen- 
dar . . ." 

2. Workmanlike account of Floyd Patterson's ascent to the 
heavyweight title. 

3. Baseball writers are more conscious of age than actresses are. 
The victory in the first game of the World Series by Sal Maglie 
brought this penchant to the fore like a flood. This piece is an 
excellent portrayal of a man who came through, somehow, even 
though he has reached Jack Benny's age. 

Features No. 1, "The Trouble with Golf" (by Howard Pres- 
ton) ; 2, "Of Such Stuff Are Dream (Miles) Made" (by Jack 
Murphy) ; No. 3, "All Things Are Right Again" (by Al Cart- 

1. Seldom has the utter woe of the golf addict been more deli- 
cately discussed or hilariously moralized than in this one. 

2. A good look at John Landy one of the few men on earth 
with a legitimate excuse for challenging Avery Brundage's charac- 
terization of himself as the Last Living Amateur. 

3. Good closeup of the wake and bacchanal which run simul- 
taneously in rival dressing rooms at the close of a World Series 
especially a 7-gamer such as the 1956 affair. You can smell the 
Mike Martin's liniment. 

Magazines No. 1, "Subject: Babe and George" (by Joan 
(by W. C. Heinz) ; No. 3, "The Case for the Suffering Fan" (by 
Flynn Dreyspool) ; No. 2, "They 'Die' in the Dressing Room" 
James Murray) . 

Preface 15 

1. The writer of the Babe Zaharias article was confronted with 
as many elements as confronted the elder Greek dramatists. He 
(she) solved the matter of brooding tragedy and the common 
touch of those engaged in its budding with the quiet sureness of a 
great reporter. This piece has the dignity of a great funeral ora- 
tion. The writer kept what could have been a maudlin thing under 
the sternest kind of control. It's a beautiful, hauntingly unforget- 
table piece. 

2. The dressing room piece is a rare illumination of a generally 
shrouded portion of a fighter's anatomy his guts. This is one kind 
of exploration and writing which TV could not invade in a thou- 
sand years of beer sponsorship. Great stuff. Revealing as a deloused 

3. The baseball fan has had this third choice article coming to 
him for a long time. He should do one of three things with it : 1 ) 
send it to his Congressman ; 2) re-read it when his life becomes too 
unbearable; 3) place it carefully under his pants to avoid bruised 
bones during twi-night double-headers. 


News 1. "The Million-to-One-Shot". Confronted by the big- 
gest baseball story in years, the writer of this one did something 
like a perfect job himself, it seems to me beginning with a com- 
pelling lead ; recreating the suspense so well that you can get ex- 
cited all over again about the game, even now; avoiding the gee- 
whiz approach but getting across the mounting frenzy as the game 
went on ; and, like a good craf tman, reporting the game as a whole. 

2. 'The Delinquent Juvenile Horse". I like this one because, be- 
sides telling you just what happened, and telling it well, it has a 
kind of lively humor rare in accounts of Great Sports Classics. 

3. "The Foregone Conclusion". How do you make an interest- 
ing, much more than merely competent story out of a 48-8 rout ? 
This story tells you, by making clear not only what happened but 
why and how. 

Features 1. Don Newcombe going home after being shelled 
out of the final World Series game. There can't be many tougher 
assignments in sports writing than the story about a loser which 
is vivid and moving without being sentimental. The author of this 
one achieved it. He not only answered the question every baseball 
fan must have asked Newcombe's reaction to his disaster but 

16 Preface 

did it with a fine, restrained compassion that had to produce simi- 
lar compassion in a reader with any heart at all. 

2. "Frost on the Punkin' Heads". A fine piece by a writer who 
took his job as a reporter seriously he told you everything that 
mattered about the playing of the game and, in addition, ful- 
filled a news feature writer's obligation to be entertaining, too. 

3. "Jilted for the Bums" (by Dave Condon). Probably an im- 
pressionistic story like this isn't the very hardest to write, but it 
must be one of the hardest to write well and convincingly, with the 
carefully selected detail found here. 

Magazines 1. "The Heavyweight Champion". A good, 
straightaway profile that tells the average non-expert but interested 
follower of boxing what goes into the making of a fighter and a 
good deal about boxing as a whole. 

2. "Brooklyn's Brainiest Bum" (by Stanley Frank). One of the 
best backstage baseball pieces I remember reading, finely organ- 
ized, mixing fact and anecdote with remarkable skill. 

3, "Subject: Babe and George". Like the Newcombe story, this 
could have been spoiled by sentimentality. Instead, it is a portrait 
drawn with fine restraint, and the more moving for being so and, 
when you go back over it, a career story as well. 

ft ft ft 

As for the two winning photos, they would be difficult to fault 
for their sharp action and the striking quality of their composition. 

So, beginning with the next page, here is the thirteenth in the 
series : Best Sports Stories 1957. Hope you have fun. 




Best News Stories 


By Shirley Povich 
From the Washington Post Times-Herald, October 9, 1956 

Copyright, 1956, 
Reprinted. Washington Post Times-Herald. 

THE MILLION-TO-ONE shot came in. Hell froze over. A month of 
Sundays hit the calendar. Don Larsen today pitched a no-hit, no- 
run, no-man-reach-first game in a World Series. 

On the mound at Yankee Stadium, the same guy who was 
knocked out in two innings by the Dodgers on Friday, came up 
today with one for the record books, posting it there in solo gran- 
deur as the only Perfect Game in World Series history. 

With it, the Yankee righthander shattered the Dodgers, 2-0, and 
beat Sal Maglie, while taking 64,519 suspense-limp fans into his 

First there was mild speculation, then there was hope, then 
breaths were held in slackened jaws in the late innings as the big 
mob wondered if the big Yankee righthander could bring off for 
them the most fabulous of all World Series games. 

He did it, and the Yanks took the Series lead three games to 
two, to leave the Dodgers as thunderstruck as Larsen himself ap- 
peared to be at the finish of his feat. 

Larsen whizzed a third strike past pinch-hitter Dale Mitchell in 
the ninth. That was all. It was over. Automatically, the massive 
226-pounder from San Diego started walking from the mound to- 
ward the dugout, as pitchers are supposed to do at the finish. 

But this time there was a woodenness in his steps and his stride 
was that of a man in a daze. The spell was broken for Larsen when 
Yogi Berra ran on to the infield to embrace him. 

It was not Larsen jumping for joy. It was the more demon- 
strative Berra. His battery-mate leaped full tilt at the big guy. 
In self defense, Larsen caught Berra in mid-air as one would 
catch a frolicking child, and that's how they made their way to- 
ward the Yankee bench, Larsen carrying Berra. 


20 Shirley Povich 

There wasn't a Brooklyn partisan left among the 64,519, it 
seemed, at the finish. Loyalties to the Dodgers evaporated in sheer 
enthrallment at the show big Larsen was giving them, for this was 
a day when the fans could boast that they were there. 

So at the finish, Larsen had brought it off, and erected for him- 
self a special throne in baseball's Hall of Fame, with the first Per- 
fect Game pitched in major league baseball since Charlie Robertson 
of the White Sox against Detroit 34 years ago. 

But this was one more special. This one was in a World Series. 
Three times, pitchers had almost come through with no-hitters, 
and there were three one-hitters in the World Series books, but 
never a no-man-reach-base classic. 

The tragic victim of it all, sitting on the Dodger bench, was sad 
Sal Maglie, himself a five-hit pitcher today in his bid for a second 
Series victory over the Yankees. He was out of the game, tech- 
nically, but he was staying to see it out and it must have been in dis- 
belief that he saw himself beaten by another guy's World Series 

Mickey Mantle hit a home run today in the fourth inning and 
that was all the impetus the Yankees needed, but no game-win- 
ning home run ever wound up with such emphatic second-billing 
as Mantle's this afternoon. 

It was an exciting wallop but in the fourth inning only, because 
after that Larsen was the story today, and the dumbfounded Dodg- 
ers could wonder how this same guy who couldn't last out two 
innings in the second game, could master them so thoroughly to- 

He did it with a tremendous assortment of pitches that seemed 
to have five forward speeds, including a slow one that ought to 
have been equipped with back-up lights. 

Larsen had them in hand all day. He used only 97 pitches, not 
an abnormally low number because 11 pitches an inning is about 
normal for a good day's work. But he was the boss from the out- 
set. Only against Pee Wee Reese in the first inning, did he lapse 
to a three-ball count, and then he struck Reese out. No other 
Dodger was ever favored with more than two called balls by Um- 
pire Babe Pinelli. 

Behind him, his Yankee teammates made three spectacular field- 
ing plays to put Larsen in the-Hall of Fame. There was one in the 
second inning that calls for special description. In the fifth, Mickey 
Mantle ranged far back into left center to haul in Gill Hodges' long 
drive with a backhand shoetop grab that was a beaut. In the eighth, 

The Million~to-One-Shot Comes In 21 

the same Hodges made another bid to break it up, but Third Base- 
man Andy Carey speared his line drive. 

Little did Larsen, the Yankees, the Dodgers or anybody among 
the 64,519 in the stands suspect that when Jackie Robinson was 
robbed of a line drive hit in the second inning, the stage was being 
set for a Perfect Game, 

Robinson murdered the ball so hard that Third Baseman Andy 
Carey barely had time to fling his glove upward in a desperate at- 
tempt to get the ball. He could only deflect it. But, luckily, ShorJ- 
stop Gill McDougald was backing up, and able to grab the ball on 
one bounce. By a half step, McDougald got Robinson at first base, 
and Larsen tonight can be grateful that it was not the younger, 
fleeter Robinson of a few years back but a heavy-legged, 40-year- 
old Jackie. 

As the game wore on, Larsen lost the edge that gave him five 
strikeouts in the first four innings, and added only two in the last 
five. He had opened up by slipping called third strikes past both 
Gilliam and Reese in the first inning. 

Came the sixth, and he got Furillo and Campanella on pops, 
fanned Maglie. Gilliam, Reese and Snider were easy in the seventh. 
Robinson tapped out, Hodges lined out and Amoros flied out in 
the eighth. And now it was the ninth, and the big Scandinavian- 
American was going for the works with a calm that was exclusive 
with him. 

Furillo gave him a bit of a battle, fouled off four pitches, then 
flied mildly to Bauer. He got two quick strikes on Campanella, got 
him on a slow roller to Martin. 

Now it was the lefthanded Dale Mitchell, pinch-hitting for Mag- 

Ball one came in high. Larsen got a called strike. 

On the next pitch, Mitchell swung for strike two. 

Then the last pitch of the game. Mitchell started to swing, but 
didn't go through with it. 

But it made no difference because Umpire Pinelli was calling it 
Strike Number Three, and baseball history was being made. 

Maglie himself was a magnificent figure out there all day, pitch- 
ing hitless ball and leaving the Yankees a perplexed gang, until 
suddenly with two out in the fourth, Mickey Mantle, with two 
called strikes against him, lashed the next pitch on a line into the 
right field seats to give the Yanks a 1-0 lead. 

There was doubt about that Mantle homer because the ball was 
curving and would it stay fair? It did. In their own half of the 

22 Shirley Povich 

inning, the Dodgers had no such luck. Duke Snider's drive into the 
same seats had curved foul by a few feet. The disgusted Snider 
eventually took a third strike. 

The Dodgers were a luckless gang and Larsen a fortunate fel- 
low in the fifth. Like Mantle, Sandy Amoros lined one into the 
seats in right, and that one was a near-thing for the Yankees. By 
what seemed only inches, it curved foul, the umpires ruled. 

Going into the sixth, Maglie was pitching a one-hitter Mantle's 
homer and being outpitched. The old guy lost some of his stuff 
in the sixth, though, and the Yankees came up with their other run. 

Carey led off with a single to center, and Larsen sacrificed him 
to second on a daring third-strike bunt. Hank Bauer got the run in 
with a single to left. There might have been a close play at the plate 
had Amoros come up with the ball cleanly, but he didn't and Carey 
scored unmolested. 

Now there were Yanks still on first and third with only one out, 
but they could get no more. Hodges made a scintillating pickup of 
Mantle's smash, stepped on first and threw to home for a double 
play on Bauer who was trying to score. Bauer was trapped in a 
rundown and caught despite a low throw by Campanella that 
caused Robinson to fall into the dirt. 

But the Yankees weren't needing any more runs for Larsen to- 
day. They didn't even need their second one, because they were 
getting a pitching job for the books this memorable day in base- 

Best News-Feature Story 


By Milt Grass 

From The New York Post, October 11, 1956 
Copyright, 1956. The New York Post Corp. 

IT is ONLY 35 miles and 70 minutes between Ebbets Field and 
Colonia, N. JL, but for Don Newcombe it was a lifetime. This was 
his longest voyage home and he wept all the way. 

He drove his Ford station wagon with his right hand and with 
his left he held a handkerchief to his face. Sometimes he put^it to 
his mouth, sometimes to his eyes and sometimes he dropped it on 
the seat between his legs. He balled it into his fist or he rolled it 
between his fingers and always he stared straight ahead, almost 
unseeing, because there was a mist before his eyes and memories 
he cannot erase. 

Only Newcombe knew the gnawing pain within him, the doubts, 
the anger, the confusion and frustration of the pitcher who was 
reached for two home runs by Yogi Berra and one by Elston How- 
ard, which beat the Dodgers yesterday. 

But it was more than the game and the Series that went with it, 
more than being KO'd by the Yankees twice within a week and 
five times in a career. It was so much more than the conviction 
that he had good stuff and threw hard and courageously. It was a 
man being torn apart worse inwardly than he was on the field by 
forces beyond his control. It was a giant of a man, who needed the 
comforting of a child. 

"It's tough, Newk," said a guy standing in the parking lot as 
we came to Don's car, "but you can't win them all." 

Last week Newcombe hit a man who needled him as he entered 
his car, but this time the words didn't seem to touch him. 

"I'm sorry, pop," Don mumbled as we drove away. 

His voice was so low, his father couldn't hear. 

"What?" he asked. 

"I'm sorry," Don repeated. 


24 Milt Gross 

"What have you got to be sorry for?" James Newcombe said 
to his 'son. 

What, indeed? What could Newcombe say or what could his 
father say? And what are they all saying today? That he doesn't 
win the big ones . . . that he chokes when it's tough . . . that he 
showered hurriedly and left the field as quickly as he could after 
being replaced in the fourth and left his teammates to their despair. 

It was all there in the car as we drove along Washington, Flat- 
bush and Atlantic Avenues, over the Manhattan Bridge, through 
the Holland Tunnel and along the Pulaski Skyway. It was all un- 
said and hanging heavy in the air like the load that's within Don. 

"How do I get rid of it?" he seemed to be thinking. "How do I 
get it out of my mind? How do I stop them from thinking that?" 

As a newspaperman I was intruding in a time that should have 
been private, but I wanted to help. I didn't have the answers, but 
I had compassion. 

"You won 27," I said. "You know there were some big ones 
among them." 

"Remember that," Don's father said. 

"I don't want to talk/' Don said. "I don't want to say anything." 

So we drove along in silence, a father and a son and an outsider, 
who had left a World Series game before it was done for the first 
time in 20 years. 

"Don't you want to turn the game on the radio?" I asked Don. 

"Not now/ 3 he said. "Not yet." 

We were at Mulberry and Broome Sts. in Manhattan when 
Newcombe turned on the radio. Announcer Bob Wolf's voice was 
saying: "After six innings it's Yanks 5, Dodgers 0. Roger Craig 
now takes over the mound." 

Newcombe listened, but seemed not to be listening. Twice he 
had to apply his brakes swiftly when his car came up on another too 

As we entered the Holland Tunnel, Billy Martin was at bat for 
the Yankees in the seventh, with one ball called. 

The radio died under the river. "Why didn't you change your 
shirt and go back into the dugout?" I asked Newk because Mana- 
ger Walter Alston instituted a rule last year after the Yankees 
KO'd Don in the opening game of the World Series that players 
must not leave the park before a game's completion. 

"I don't know," he said. "I don't know a lot of things." 

Approaching the New Jersey side, Newcombe compressed his 
lips. "I felt good," he said. "I was throwing hard, real hard." 

The Long Ride Home 25 

The radio came alive again as we left the tunnel and Mickey 
Mantle walked in the seventh. "This brings up Yogi Berra with 
no out," Wolf said. "He has had two two-run homers and there's 
two aboard." There was a wild pitch, Martin going to third and 
Mantle to second. 

"They're putting Berra on intentionally/' the radio voice said, 
and his was the only sound in the car. 

Bill Skowron was at bat. The cars whizzed by on the Pulaski 
Skyway. The Jersey meadows were barren and wind whipped the 
bullrushes when Skowron smashed his home run. 

"It can happen to somebody else, too," Mr. Newcombe said, and 
Don merely nodded his head. 

When Ed Roebuck came in and the announcer said he was 
Brooklyn's fourth pitcher, Don still seemed impassive. The fingers 
of his left hand rubbed the handkerchief he held and what was in 
his mind he didn't say until we left the skyway. 

"In the second," he said, "after I had two and oh on (Johnny) 
Kucks, Jackie (Robinson) come over and asked if I was aiming 
the ball. I said I didn't think so." 

Again we rode along in silence before I started to ask a question. 

"I was getting the ball where I wanted it to go," Don said. "Ex- 
cept the first one Yogi hit." 

"The first one," Newk said, "I tried to brush him back, but I 
didn't get it inside enough. When I came up in the third inning 
after Yogi hit the second one, he said to me : T hit a perfect pitch. 
It was perfect low outside fast ball and I hit the hell out of it/ 
Mantle may hit more, but I respect Berra more. You can strike 
Mantle out, but I don't know where you can throw the ball to get 
Berra out." 

"What about our hitters?" Mr. Newcombe said. "No hits the 
other day, two hits yesterday and what have they got today?" 

"How do you figure that Stengel?" Newk asked. "Today against 
me he throws in all righthanders. The way Collins hits me, too, 
I don't understand it. I don't know about Slaughter, but why did 
he take Collins out the way he hits me ?" 

We were outside Linden then. "Drop me' off at the house," Mr. 
Newcombe said, and Don nodded. 

All the way, nobody had recognized the car's riders, but a block 
from 1812 Clinton St., an old man did. He bowed from the waist 
and Mr. Newcombe waved back at him. 

"I'm taking Pop home," Newk said. "Come on in and have a 

26 Milt Gross 

Norman, the youngest of Don's four brothers, answered the ring. 
"Too bad, Don," he said. 

In the little parlor, the TV set was still on the game, but Newk's 
mother was in the kitchen. "Get it over with/' she said. "It's over 
and done." 

"I'm sorry, Ma," Newk said. 

"What's to be sorry," she answered. 

"A couple of guys I'll have to handle tomorrow," Norman said. 

Newk went to the refrigerator for two quarts of beer and poured 
a glass for his dad, himself and me. "Drink up," he said. "I want 
to call my wife." 

It was the ninth inning. 

"You going to work tomorrow?" Newcombe's mother asked 
her husband. 

"I don't think so," he said. 

"Why worry about it. If it happened, it happened," she said. 

"No hits. No hits at all," Don's brother said. "All of a sudden 
nobody hits. I'm biting my nails. Look at them." 

Newk came back from his phone call. "Freddy was ironing and 
watching the game," he said. "She said it's all right. She asked 
when I was coming home." 

When we were on the way, I asked Newk what he had been 
thinking about during the entire ride. 

"I was thinking about what I do wrong," he said, "but I can't 
put my finger on why I do it. It always happens to me in the first 
two innings or the last." 

For a moment Newk sat silent again. "I was running in the out- 
field at the Stadium the other day and a guy called me a yellow- 
bellied slob. How do you take things like that?" Newk said, with 

"Today," Newk said, "before the game, Pee Wee (Reese) 
said : T don't care what you do today. We wouldn't be here with- 
out you.' " 

"And other people say I choke up," Newk said, in a voice hoarse 
with emotion. "I think it's rubbed off in the clubhouse." 

Ahead, I could see the Pennsylvania Railroad. I had told New- 
combe I'd go home with him. 

"I got to pass the railroad," he said. 

I sensed he didn't want me coming with him all the way, at 
least not this day. 

"How did you sleep last night?" I asked. 

"Terrible," he said. "I was up four times. I took a pill but I 

The Long Ride Home 27 

couldn't sleep. I told my wife what's the use keeping you awake. 
She said for me to go in the other room, but I tossed and turned. 
It wasn't today's game. It was this other business I wanted to beat, 
but dammit, I can't get away from it." 

We were at East Milton and Fulton in Rahway when I got out 
of the car. My sympathy was with this tormented man, who would 
give his soul to prove the big ones are like the little ones. There 
were five boys on the corner four Negro and one white and 
they recognized Newcombe as he drove off. 

"That Newk ?" one asked. 

"How'd he get here so soon?" another said. "The game just 

"He left early," I said, and the white boy giggled. 

"Don't laugh," one of the Negro boys said. "Just don't laugh." 

Best Magazine Story 


By Joan Flynn Drey spool 

From Sports Illustrated, May 14, 1956 

Copyright, 1956, Time, Inc. 

Before Babe Didrikson Zaharias entered the hospital with new 
complications in- her continuing struggle with cancer, she and her 
husband George received Joan Flynn Drey spool at their Tampa, 
Florida home. This is the story of that visit, a warm and moving 
picture of the great woman athlete's happy marriage,, and of her 
quiet and courageous battle with the illness which so unexpectedly 
struck her down in her prime. 

"SH-SH-SH," George Zaharias cautioned. "Babe is sleeping. Yes- 
terday we went to St. Pete to the Ladies' PGA. Babe presented the 
prizes. When she walked up on the green, they all applauded for 
the longest time, the kind of applause that makes goose pimples 
and Babe had 'em. 

"She wants to go everywhere/' he added, "but she pays for it." 

His gaze strayed frequently to a black intercommunicating box 
in the kitchen wall of the Zahariases 5 modern red-wood ranch 
house in Tampa, Fla. A similar black box was at his wife's bed- 
side. When she awakened, she would call him. 

"Babe designed this whole works here/' he said, lighting a fire 
under the coffeepot. 

The kitchen was big, airy, bright ; full of copper and knotty pine 
and electric appliances. A round, Lazy Susan breakfast table was 
placed by a bay window that looked out on a patio and green lawn 
sloping into a small lake. To the right, a brassie shot away, was 
the Tampa Golf and Country Club which the Zahariases once 
owned but sold when the Babe became ill. 

"The house was finished around June last year/ 5 Zaharias said. 
"We lived in it a week and had to leave. We were in the hospital 
ever since and just got back a couple of weeks ago. We were back 
once before for a month, and then she had to go away again/' 

The former wrestler spoke softly, quietly. His poised ingratiating 


Babe and George 29 

manner and the easy fluidity of his speech seemed in strange con- 
trast to his ponderous size and cauliflower ears. 

"You're drinking out of that Spode," he observed, pouring the 
coffee. "Babe loves that Spode. Must have been 17 18 years ago, 
I said to her, 'What's the matter with that other kind of dishes?' 

" 'This is the kind I want/ she said/' 

There was a plaque on the wall, from the citizens of Tampa, 
with the symbols of track and field, basketball and golf engraved on 
it. "Presented to Babe Didrikson Zaharias," it read, "accorded the 
outstanding woman athlete of the half-century." 

"We call this house 'Rainbow Manor/ " Zaharias explained. 
"When we came down here, we were walking between those trees/' 
He gestured toward two wooden sentinels standing stately guard 
outside. "There was a big double rainbow between them. Babe put 
sticks there marking it. 

" "Honey, this is it/ I said. 

" 'Yeah, Rainbow Manor/ she said. 

"Would you like to see the house?" he asked hospitably. 

A guest room and bath opened off the back of the kitchen, and 
to the side was a double garage with two Cadillacs in it. One of 
them had a sleeping bed fixed up in back for the Babe to stretch out 
on, since sitting for too long a time is painful for her. 

In the thickly carpeted living room, softly lit shelves were filled 
with silver trophies of all shapes and sizes. Over the fireplace was a 
portrait of the Babe, painted in 1934. 

The face was young, eager, intense. Her light brown hair was 
brushed back in a boyish bob and she was wearing a sleeveless 

To the right of the mantel, in what appeared to be a place of 
honor, a glass-enclosed shadow box held a red satin, heart-shaped 
candy box cover, decked in ribbons and roses and set on blacld 
velvet. On it, in gold, were the words, "To My Wife on Valentine's 

In the right wing of the house, there were two bedrooms, baths 
and a den. The door to the master bedroom was closed. There was' 
still no sound from it. 

.George Zaharias walked quietly, speaking low if at all. 

In the den, letters to be answered were piled on the desk. A 
guitar stood idly in the corner. More trophies lined the wall and 
were scattered unceremoniously on any available space. 

"Look!" Zaharias opened a cupboard door and took out an old 
cardboard golf-ball box. "More medals." 

30 Joan Flynn Dreyspool 

They were tarnished and piled in a jumble. There were the 
Olympic championship medals she won in 1932, one for the 80- 
meter hurdles, the other for the javelin throw. There were medals 
for the AAU women's running broad jump; the AAU women's 
high jump ; the AAU women's eight-pound shot put ; and the AAU 
women's baseball throw. And the All American Women's Golf 
Championship; National Sports Award-; Texas Hall of Fame; 
All-American women's basketball player and many more. 

Zaharias opened a guest book. "We have our friends sign it," he 
said. "Babe likes that." 

An entry marked 11/9/55 had Rocky Marciano's signature. 
"My big thrill, Babe," he had written. "It's been a long time 

Jack Dempsey, heavyweight champion of another era, had 
scrawled, "The greatest champion of all time, my pal, Babe." 

Zaharias picked up a letter he had received that morning with a 
check enclosed to the "Babe Didrikson Zaharias Fund, Inc." 

"When Babe got sick and was operated on," he explained, "peo- 
ple started sending money in and we didn't have any fund or any- 
thing. I asked Dr. Robert M. Moore, her doctor, what could be 
done to help fight cancer, and he said, 'George, we need two more 
clinics where people can go free and be examined for early detec- 

"Then John Sealy Hospital Medical Center in Galveston offered 
their entire staff, every department from pathology on down to 
further this. That's where the money goes. They've named it the 
Babe Zaharias Cancer and Tumor Clinic. 

"We acknowledge everything that comes in. Just the other day, 
Babe said, 'Honey, I wish I could help you write these people and 
thank them.' " 

Leading the way into a black-and-gold dressing room, Zaharias 
said proudly, "When Babe went to Atlanta once for a tournament, 
she drew the plans for this a'nd the bathroom with two sinks and 
an extra big shower for me. She thinks of everything." 

Perfume bottles and jars of cosmetics decorated the top of the 
mirrored dressing table. 

Zaharias opened a closet door. Dozens of pairs of gold shoes, 
size 8B, were neatly stacked in boxes on an upper shelf. 

Showing a lovely pastel mink stole, Zaharias said, "Babe has got e 
furs she likes and a good watch, a good ring, good pearls, but as* 
far as loading up with jewels and stuff like that, she won't go for it. 

Babe and George 31 

She can sew like a demon and makes dresses and drapes and every- 

"It doesn't take much to satisfy Babe/' he said on the way back 
to the kitchen, "a good golf game, a good meal, nothing elaborate 
but just satisfying; something she can do for others. If I say I like 
her hair or a new dress, they might be little things to other people, 
but to Babe they're great things. She can sit in a room with old 
people and make them feel young. She does things for them, plays 
music for them, entertains them. With her, everything jells to- 

"How did you meet?" he was asked. 

His tanned, strong-featured face came aglow. He settled himself 
in one of the captain's chairs at the round table. 

"It was at the Los Angeles Open in January, 1938," he said. "I 
was one of the top wrestlers, weighing 215 pounds. I had taken up 
golf two years before, and I was pretty good. I had just shot a 74, 
so Lloyd Mangrum told me, 'You ought to enter the Open/ 

"I was wrestling every night, but I put my entry in and forgot 
about it. Then I came back to town and picked up the pairings in 
the paper, and I was paired with Babe. I had never met her. I had 
wrestled once in Beaumont, Texas, when she was a kid I'm five 
years older than she is but I had heard about this little kid who 
was the fastest thing on two legs and could throw baseballs and 
swim and dive like nobody you ever seen, and who was a legend 
being built up in 1931, and of course in 1932 she blossomed out 
as a star of the Olympics which proved all the things that you heard 
about her. 

"Anyway, we were paired together. I was kind of scared. Will I 
miss the ball/ I thought, 'when I get out there with her?' 

" 'She's a great girl/ some friends of mine told me, 'You'll never 
forget her.' Braven Dyer introduced us on the tee. 

"I said, 'Hi, Babe/ 

"She said, 'Hi, George.' She had read the papers, too. A photog- 
rapher out there said, 'Do you mind taking a picture together? 
Put your arms around her.' 

" Tut my arms around her ?' I asked. I was embarrassed at 
doing those things to a girl I just met, but Babe looked at me and 

" 'Sure, put your arms around me/ she said. 

"Somehow with her the whole world changed." 

Zaharias wasn't thinking about what he was saying. His faraway 

32 Joan Flynn Dreyspool 

expression seemed to indicate he was thinking of the time itself 
when he met the girl who has been his wife for nearly 18 years. 

"The grass got greener/' he went on. 'The birds were singing 
sweeter, the golf got better, the crowd got bigger. They seemed to 
sense something. It seemed like electricity was popping everywhere. 
I wanted to walk close to her. After three or four holes, compli- 
ments were flying right and left to each other. 

"I said, 'Honey, you're my kind of girl.' She smiled and said, 
'You're my kind of guy.' 

"The next day, Saturday, we played again. I didn't have no 
wrestling match that night, so I asked her for a date to dinner. She 
said, 'Sure, I got to call my mother, just to tell her I'm going out.' 
I didn't get to meet Babe's mother until the morning she was going 
back to Beaumont, Texas. Babe used to take her mother to Cali- 
fornia every year. She used to love the flowers. 

"That Saturday night, Babe and I went out dancing. She's a 
great dancer, and we just fit together like a glove; close-up, easy, 
quiet dancin'. We went to the Cotton Club, the Famous Door, to 
Strangler Lewis' place in Glendale. I took her everywhere where I 
knew my pals were. I wanted to show her off, see. 

"We drove back to Hollywood and I said, Til be seein' you/ and 
she said, 'When?' 

"'Tomorrow?' I said. 

"My brother,, Chris, and my youngest brother, Tom, and my 
nephew were living with me in an apartment in Hollywood. I told 
them. 'You know who's coming, we got to have everything fixed 
up nice and clean, and we got to have something cookinV 

"They cooked a Greek dish, lamb, tomatoes, sort of a goulash. 
The neighbors came in, and Babe played the harmonica for them 
real good. They all wanted to know when she was coming back. 

"We became a pretty good Hollywood pair. Sometimes Babe 
would come by the apartment without letting me know. If I wasn't 
there, she'd leave me little notes, signed 'Romance' ! . . . I wish I 
had those little notes now," he sighed nostalgically. "They were 
wonderful; nice little things here and there." 

He looked again at the black box on the wall. Still no sound, and 
it was nearingnoon. 

"She didn't get to sleep until 4:00 this morning," he explained. 
"She had a bad night. 

"We were married that year, in 1938, December 23, in St. Louis. 
Leo Durocher was best man, and Joe Medwick was there. Babe and 
I went to Australia on our honeymoon. She played many exhibi- 

Babe and George 33 

tions over there and drew tremendous crowds. I wrestled about 18 
times over there, but Babe didn't like me to wrestle. All my matches 
were blood and thunder, like we call it in our business, and Babe 
was afraid I'd get hurt. She used to get headaches if she watched 
me. I retired from wrestling that year. Besides, my legs were bad. 
I had torn the cartilage in both knees." 

A buzzing noise came over the intercom box. Zaharias went to 
it eagerly. "How you doin', honey?" he asked. 

"Pretty good." The voice sounded far away and weak. 

"Turn your box off," Zaharias teased, "we're talking about 

"Spin off!" The old Didrikson spirit and verve were in her 

Then the whole house came alive. Eddie, the Zaharias' 19-year- 
old helper, a bandana over the pincurls in her blonde hair, started 
brewing some hot liquid mixture, and Bebe, a frisky black minia- 
ture poodle which had been playing in the yard, scratched at the 
door to come in. 

She went yapping at Zaharias' heels into the bedroom. 

Moments later, the Babe's voice, brighter, stronger, came over 
the intercom. "Eddie, will you get me some bacon and eggs, 

"She wants them fried firm," Zaharias said, coming into the 
kitchen, "in a sandwich. We'll need some fresh bread." He got the 
bacon out of the icebox and put it in a frying pan, carefully watch- 
ing and turning it. 

"She must feel better if she's hungry," he said happily. 

The intercom buzzed again. 

"Honey," the lady of the house said cheerily, "send Joan in here. 
I'd like to meet her." 

Two double beds dominated the room and Babe Didrikson 
Zaharias was in the far one. 

Twenty-two years had passed since her portrait had been 
painted, but her pillowed head looked much the same. Her brown 
hair was longer, softer. Time and laughter had etched lines around 
her eyes, but the same spark, the intensity and alertness burned in 
them still. 

Only her body, thinner, frailer, was more dormant. 

At our entrance, Bebe, the poodle, jumped on the bed, a black 
fluff snuggled protectively against her mistress' red silk pajamas. 

"That little rascal plays right here all the time," Babe Zaharias 
said. She raised her knees under the coverlet, providing a back 

34 Joan Flynn Dreyspool 

brace for the dog and propped her in front of her like a live doll. 

"She'll sit up there and chew a bone, but she'll hold it in her paws 
so dainty-like," she praised. Then apologetically, "I'm sorry I slept 
so late, but I had a rough night." 

She spoke matter-of-factly, quickly, crisply. 

"Five days were a lot, going to the women's tournament. My 
legs ache. They don't hurt, but they ache." 

"Remember, honey/' Zaharias said, "how many times we'd 
come from a tournament and I'd rub your legs?" 

"Yup," she nodded, "we'd head right for the hotel and the 

She looked admiringly at her husband. "He's quite a guy, isn't 
he ?" she said without fear of contradiction. "Look at his eyes real 
good. There's a lot of sincerity and sweetness in his eyes. I don't 
know what I would have done without him." 

"Oh, honey," he protested, "what would I have done without 

"Say, George," she had an afterthought, "the other day in the 
garage I came across the caricatures we had drawn of us the first 
night we went out together. They were pretty good. We auto- 
graphed them to each other. Remember?" 

He remembered. 

"Show her that picture of Mom and Pop," she told him. 

Meanwhile Eddie brought her breakfast in on a tray and while 
the Babe ate her sandwich Zaharias showed the picture, an old- 
fashioned daguerreotype of her parents, a handsome couple; the 
father, black haired, strong jawed, mustached ; the mother, blonde, 
pretty, gentle looking. 

"Some people say I look like my mother," the sixth of Ole and 
Hannah Didrikson's seven children, born June 26, 1914, said. 
"Around the eyes." She waited for confirmation, and when it came 
she was pleased. 

"I guess I've got my father's mouth and chin," she added. 
"Mother used to play baseball with us, run with us and do every- 
thing. We had a good time. My dad was a sailor," she boasted, 
"that's why I've always like sea stories. He carved a boat and put 
it in a bottle. I have it in the other room." 

"He went around the world 19 times," Zaharias observed. 

"Seventeen times," she corrected. 

Zaharias grinned, "That's the promoter in me. But Babe taught 
me everything I know about business." 

"Who did?" she asked. 

Babe and George 35 

"You did." 

"Thank you, dear." She was as happy as a little girl with a new 

"George and I started the Ladies' PGA in 1949," she explained. 
"I had this good golf game, but nothing to play in. There were 
three or four tournaments a year, but they'd come months apart. I 
was working most of the time, playing exhibitions, but we wanted 
this tour. We had to have players. We felt if we could get out and 
help some young players, we'd get them to play good so we could 
have competition. 

"George would give them lessons. Then they got good." She 
sat up on the pillow. " Torget the lessons, George/ I told him, 
'they're getting tough.' " 

We all laughed. 

"Then she'd turn right around and help them herself," Zaharias 
said indulgently. 

She defended herself. "You watch them and see what they're 
doing wrong," she said. "You know all of them. You tell them 
what they should be doing so they can play a little better, like 
they're going to have to play good now to keep the tour good." 

"If we can have 25 to 30 tournaments a year," she went on en- 
thusiastically, "the women will develop automatically. All they 
need is sponsors." 

"It's given Babe a big thrill to watch this thing grow," Zaharias 
said. "While she was playing in it, the most she could win was 
$1,000, and she could have made four times that much in exhibi- 
tions in four days. But money has never moved Babe much. She 
likes to play in tournaments. She likes the crowds, the competition." 

"It's just like being on the stage," Babe said excitedly. "I get 
such a kick out of playing for people." She smiled girlishly as if the 
applause of the gallery were ringing in her ears. 

"I've gotten so many letters," she went on, "40,000 or 50,000 of 
them." Then, conscience-stricken : "I haven't written a letter in ten 
months. I haven't even read my book since it's been out. (Her auto- 
biography, This Life I've Led, was published last fall.) I can't 
sit long enough to write a letter. I'd have to write it standing up.'* 

"What would you say," she was asked, "if you were to write a 

She thought a moment. There were so many things to say. 

"Dear Friends all over the world," she started, "I want to thank 
you for your prayers and your wonderful letters of inspiration. 
They have encouraged me." . . . 

36 Joan Flynn Dreyspool 

A twinge of pain interrupted her. She leaned back on the pillow 
and moved a heating pad closer to her chest. 

"I get so mad," she said. "I was feeling so good down here, 
getting dressed and going out in the sun and everything, and by 
golly, something else knocks me down, like this pleurisy." 

There was an expression of hurt on her face as though a good 
friend had let her down. 

"The thing I don't understand," she said, "is I've taken such 
good care of my body all my life. You go through it and you fight 
and you fight and you hope and you pray, then something worse 
hits you like this last one, cancer of the sacrum. It's going to make 
it tough for me to come back." 

"Last year at the Texas Hall of Fame dinner," Zaharias spoke, 
"Ben Hogan said, 'Babe has set the standard for us all, and that's 
what we're playing by. That's probably why we have Babe with us 
today, because she has prepared her body and taken such good care 
of it.' " 

Babe nodded affirmatively at her husband's words. "I like Ben 
very much and always have. I like his competitive spirit. I think 
he's the finest competitor the world has ever known in sports. He 
plays to win, but to be able to play like he wanted to play, he had 
to lose a lot of friends." 

"Now, honey, don't say that," Zaharias entreated. 

Undaunted, she continued. "It's true, but he's won his friends 
back again since then. I don't say Ben's the greatest golfer in the 
world or the greatest swinger of a golf club, but nobody ever 
worked like him." 

"Except you/' her husband said. 

"They say golf came easy to me because I was a good athlete," 
she said indignantly, "but there's not any girl on the tour who 
worked near as hard as I did in golf. It was the toughest game I 
ever tackled. Those early sports I did when I was a kid never made 
much impression on me. I just happened to fall into it. Of course, I 
was quite happy every time I won. I was like that in school, a com- 
petitor. I wanted to get the best marks. My mother encouraged us 
all in sports. So did my father. They gave us every opportunity 
they could and never stopped us from doing anything. 

"Golf was a game I always wanted to tackle but never could 
afford to play. I was 16 when I played one round with no lesson or 
anything with Grantland Rice, Paul Gallico and Braven Dyer. It 
wasn't very good golf," she said critically. 

She lit a cigarette and sipped her coffee. 

Babe and George 37 

"I started playing golf October 7, 1934 and stayed with it I 
worked 18 hours a day. I couldn't wait for daylight to- come. I 
used to be dressed and have my breakfast so I'd be ready when that 
daylight came, then I'd go out to the practice fairway. 

"All they used to talk about was my power and strength and 
'she's a long hitter.' Well, that opened my eyes that I had to do 
something with the other part of my game to be able to score, so I 
practiced around the green, chipping and putting and trap play, 
until that and my irons became the best part of my game. 

"When I got sick, I was about to play the best golf of my life. 
My ambition was to get below men's par. . . . Everyone has some 
little thing that makes them hit better. You can learn to play golf 
with the worst form in the world that's what's so great about 
golf but you'll find most champions do have a very good golf 

"A lot of people like me who get to where it is so easy to hit, get 
a little lax, and that's when a good player usually goes off the game. 
Mostly it's not looking at the ball and having too fast a backswing. 
You've got to have your backswing nice and slow to get the same 
rhythm all the time; then after you've learned to swing, you create 
a speed that gets faster and faster. 

"When you keep your eye on the ball, your body stays in posi- 
tion. If you don't, your body will weave. A lot of people claim they 
never hit the ball the same way twice in a row. They either loosen 
up or soften up, but if you keep your eyes on the ball, your body 
will stay in position and you'll have the same firmness all the time. 
Then if you follow through with the hit, you'll get yourself a fine 

"A champion has to be a very tough machine because every 
player is so inspired to beat the champion. They have nothing to 
lose so they play to win. Well, I'd get an opponent, and they'd pull 
everything out they could at me, so I'd have to spurt to build my- 
self up to where I could go ahead and win. Sometimes I'd put forth 
effort that I didn't have. 

"There have been stories," she said with slow emphasis, "that 
said I said Tm going to win' and Tm going to do this or that/ I 
read once where I said to someone, 1 guess you're going to come 
in second.' 

"The sportswriters are my friends, but I'd never dream of doing 
a thing like that. I've always thought and I guess it's been the 
bad thing in my sports career that I tried not to kill anybody real 
bad. I never wanted to get beat, yet I never wanted to beat the 

38 Joan Flynn Dreyspool 

youngsters or anybody who wanted to be in the game. If I'd beat 
them 9 and 7, it might kill their spirits and they might say, Til give 
tip the game/ 

"There was one person I played, I beat her so bad, she never 
played golf again. She could have been a very good golfer." 

"Babe shot a 29 at her," Zaharias said. 

"On two occasions/' she told him. "Then Fd go in there after 
that and try not to beat them quite so bad. 

"There was one time," she specified, "I think it was a Western 
Open. I had this girl five down in the first five holes. She said, 
"Babe, you got me beat already. Why don't you help me on my 
game?' So I helped her and got her swinging a little bit and I had 
to go 20 holes to beat her. 

"Well, I got beat a couple of times doing that you lose your 
concentration so I made up my mind thereafter that I would 
have no leniency." 

She tossed her head determinedly. 

"I have confidence that I'm going to get well," she said, "and I 
don't feel as though it's only for myself. I feel as though it's for 
those people who are interested enough to write me and encourage 
me. When I went back and played and worked so hard after my can- 
cer operation in '53, 1 hoped I would encourage other cancer patients 
that they weren't through or physically handicapped, and I still 
hope I'll be able to prove it ; that if you have the wish or sufficient 
desire, you'll be able to come out of it." 

She was getting drowsy. When Zaharias noticed his wife's voice 
was beginning to weaken he brought her a sedative and water. 

Babe took it, self-consciously. "I've never been a pill-taker," she 
explained, "but these are nonnarcotic. You should see all the stuff 
they've got in there for rne to take." 

"I'll turn the television set on for you," her husband said softly, 
"until you fall asleep." 

He turned on the set at the foot of her bed. "When Perry Como 
and Jackie Gleason are on, she makes me put two sets on top of 
each other so she can watch them both." 

Babe Didrikson Zaharias smiled absent-mindedly but her mind 
was on other things. 

"You know," she said, "I read those stories that tell why cham- 
pions retire, but I've got my own ideas about it. They don't retire 
because they're through. They retire because they're just tired of it. 
They get tired of putting on their shoes. I did, too, when I got to 
feeling bad. ... I don't feel that way now. I'd just love to get my 
shoes on once again." 

The World Series 


By Curley Grieve 

From The San Francisco Examiner, O'ctober 4, 1956 
Copyright, 1956, The San Francisco Examiner 

SAL MAGLIE, a grim and purposeful Flatbush wkrrior who cast 
his pitches as if he were using a surveyor's technique and instru- 
ments, gave President Eisenhower and 34,479 others something 
to remember here today. 

In a magnificent setting of sunshine and native laughter, Sal, in 
sinister fashion, mowed down ten Yankees on strikes and pitched 
Brooklyn's National League champions to a 6-3 victory over the 
American League's New Yorkers in the opening game of the World 

It was incredibly fantastic to see the rejuvenated old codger, 
rescued from the scrap heap and bought with a few old bottle caps 
and worn out spikes, add another chapter to his already rich saga. 

In eight days he has hurled a no-hitter, pitched the game that 
moved the Brooks out in front of Milwaukee in the pennant race 
and tamed the hated Yanks in this World Series. 

Throwing tantalizing curves that clipped corners with scissors 
precision, the 39 year old master of control recovered from a first 
inning jolt when Mickey Mantle smashed a 400 foot two run 

It was a beautiful job and his Dodgers mates showed their ap- 
preciation. This was especially true of Gil Hodges, a goat of the 
1952 World Series with the Yanks when he went hitless in 21 
official at bats. 

The powerful Hodges sent a screaming drive into the left field 
seats with two on in the third inning to seal the fate of New York 
starter Whitey Ford, and give the olive skinned Maglie the working 
margin he needed. 

That made the count 5-2 and Sal never looked back. 


40 Curley Grieve 

Taking his time, rubbing the ball, fidgeting and fussing like a 
lively cricket on the mound, he got revenge on the Mick by fanning 
him with two on and none out in the third, struck out Yogi Berra 
with two on and none out in the fifth and gave San Francisco's Gil 
McDougald one of the worst days he ever has suffered with at the 

Gil whiffed three times and never got a piece of a hit. 

"He didn't look fast but he sure knew where to throw that sharp 
curve/' Gil said afterward. "He had variety and his pitches were 
moving in and out, mostly low. I'm humiliated." 

Behind the plate, Babe Pinelli seemingly had his right arm in the 
air waving strikes all afternoon. 

The first strike was called on twenty-one Yankees and the third 
on quite a number. 

Pesky Billy Martin, who always has been a thorn in Brooklyn's 
side, slammed a home run on Sal's first serve in the fourth and was 
one of the few Yanks who didn't succumb on three strikes. 

The brash and bellicose Billy would not even admit that Maglie 
was weaving magic. 

His sharp nose was searching for something more sinister, like 
saliva or pine tar. 

Billy twice called for the ball. So did several others. Sal long has 
been charged with using the spitter in fact, the accusation origi- 
nated here along the banks of the Gowanus. 

But that was when Maglie wore the livery of the Giants and was 
an enemy. 

"There were a couple of dark spots on the ball," Martin ex- 
plained "I was looking for the same thing Ralph Buxton used in 
the Coast League with Oakland in 1948." 

That, of course, was pine tar. 

Maglie went to his mouth with his pitching hand invariably in 
key situations without picking up the resin bag, as the rule requires. 

When he fanned Mantle after Hank Bauer and Enos "Country" 
Slaughter had singled back to back in the third, the finger went to 
the lip. That was a big pitch. Clem Labine already was warming up 
and Sal, for precious moments, was hanging on the ropes. 

But Mantle didn't even lift his bat. 

Slaughter punched out three singles and Bauer two. In all, the 
Yanks got nine blows plus four walks. They had men on base every 
inning but two. But the Barber didn't weaken, he just bore down a 
little harder, shaved the corners a little finer, and kept the power 
hitters from getting a toehold. 

Sinister Sal Mows 'Em Down 41 

As for Ford, it can only be said that this so-called cemetery for 
southpaws claimed another headstone today. 

Whitey didn't have a thing. He yielded six hits in his three inn- 
ings of toil. These included two homers and a double. Jack Robin- 
son touched off the Flatbush fireworks with a four bagger off a 
fast ball to start the second. Hodges also hit a high fast ball. 

OF Case used Johnny Kucks, Tom Morgan and Bob Turley 
as he juggled his bench to get some punch. 

Of all the reserves he threw into the breach, only Turley served 
any warning. Bullet Bob pitched the Brooks' last at bats and he did 
it with finesse. 

The burly righthander fanned Hodges, broke Carl Furillo's bat 
at the handle when he grounded out to short and then whiffed Roy 
Campanella. Maybe Stengel started the wrong pitcher. 

Despite the Turley flash, the Yankees were a pretty miserable 
outfit in the dressing room. 

Even Stengel, who normally can toss off a defeat without break- 
ing stride, was glum. 

He announced Don Larsen as his hurler tomorrow and Manager 
Walter Alston said he would pitch Don Newcombe. Both are right- 
handers and both big fellows. 

Newcombe has a fabulous 27-7 record, Larsen is 11-5. 

The game will be played here before another sellout crowd, but 
the distinguished guests will be absent. 

Former President Herbert Hoover also was a visitor today and 
Ike brought along most of his Cabinet. 

The President did a fine job tossing out the first ball and he 
didn't have to wait long for the action. It was almost as if he had 
whispered to Mantle to clout him a home run as they shook hands 
before the game. The President personally greeted not only the 
players, but baseball officials and the umpires. 

Mantle's blow followed Slaughter's single in the first inning 
with one away. His was the hardest driven of the four homers, 
clearing the right field screen and landing deep in a parking lot on 
Bedford Avenue. 

The Brooks tied it up in the second which Robinson, a money 
player always, opened with a homer into the left field stands. 
Hodges dropped a fly in front of Mantle and the Mick took it on 
the bounce rather than try for the catch. 

Furillo doubled into left center and Hodges romped home. The 
pressure was taken off a'play at the plate when Mantle missed the 
rebound off the wall. He was not given an error. 

42 Curley Grieve 

The Brooks took a 5-2 lead in the third after Reese and Snider 
had singled with one away. Snider's blooper, like that of Hodges in 
the second, plunked in front of Mickey, who made no do-or-die 
effort to catch it. After Robinson had flied out, Hodges blasted 
Ford's serve into the left field deck for more than the margin 

Everybody knew Whitey was through but Casey let him get the 
final out. Martin's homer in the fourth made the count 5-3 but the 
Brooks got that one back off Kucks in their half on a double by 
Campanella and Sandy Amoros' single. 

The Brooks played errorless ball afield and got good stops from 
Robinson on Bill Skowron's hard hit grounder with two on and 
from Junior Gilliam when he leaped to grab a line drive with a run- 
ner on. This also was off Skowron's bat. 

McDougald made a flashy one-handed stop of Reese's grounder 
into the hole but he had no chance to throw him out. 

While this obviously was a National League show today from 
Maglie and Hodges to Flatbush's rooting sections, the Yankees 
didn't seem to have their old zip or confidence. They were charged 
with only one error but looked bad on no less than five plays. 

Maybe they won the pennant too easily and are not hardened to 
the competition. 

It isn't like a Stengel or a Yankee club to operate this way. After 
all, Ol' Case has won the American League race six out of the last 
seven years, and he knows the pattern. 


By Burton Hawkins 

From The Washington Star, October 7, 1956 
Copyright, 1956, The Evening Star Newspaper Company 

COUNTRY SLAUGHTER, an inexhaustible old warhorse who was 
playing baseball professionally while many of his teammates were 
in kindergarten, supplied the punch today that slapped some color 
back into the Yankees' previously pale cheeks. 

Before a vast assemblage of 73,977 in mammoth Yankee Stadium, 
the 40-year-old outfielder crashed a three-run, sixth-inning homer 
which enabled Whitey Ford and the Yankees to defeat Brooklyn, 
5-3, in the third game of the World Series. 

Ford, the accomplished lefthander who had been chased quickly 
in the Series opener at Ebbets Field, was getting the worst of a 2-1 
struggle with the Dodgers until the valiant Slaughter delivered his 
two-out smash into the lower right-field stands of! loser Roger Craig 
after Hank Bauer and Yogi Berra singled. 

Thus reprieved, Ford retained the lead, although he gave up an 
unearned run in the seventh inning. He allowed eight hits and 
struck out seven in a performance which may have lacked brilliance 
but which was considered entirely adequate by suffering Yankee 

With their first Series victory, the Yankees braked what had 
threatened to become a headlong dash to humiliation after losing 
the first two games. 

And speaking of headlong dashes, it was one of same by the 
normally reliable Carl Furillo which assisted the Yankees to their 

The Dodgers' right fielder opened the ninth inning with a boom- 
ing double to right center but, unaccountably, attempted to stretch 
the hit while the Dodgers were trailing by two runs. 

It was a senseless gamble and the Yankees promptly made him 
regret it. 

Bauer retrieved the ball, fired it quickly to Billy Martin, who 
relayed to Andy Carey at third base. Furillo was an easy victim. 
Instead of having a runner on second base, none out and a frantic 
group of Yankees opposing them, the Dodgers had nobody on, one 


44 Burton Hawkins 

out and a more composed pitcher and team arrayed against them. 

Thus plucked from a predicament, Ford finished the execution 
neatly. Roy Campanella watched a third strike and Charlie Neal 
bounced an easy grounder to Carey. 

Tom Sturdivant, a 16-game winner during the regular season 
who pitched one inning and yielded a run in the second game, will 
attempt to level the Series for the Yankees tomorrow. Carl Erskine, 
who had a 13-11 record this year, will pitch for the Dodgers. 
Erskine, appearing in his fifth Series, has a 2-1 record against 
New York and pitched a glittering game in 1953 when he struck 
out 14 to set a Series record. 

Craig, a tall righthander who hadn't won since August 22 and 
had failed to complete his last 12 starts, was giving the Yankees a 
tremendous tussle until he was Slaughtered. 

Until Enos unloaded, Craig had given up six hits, but the only 
one that hurt him was a second-inning solo homer by Martin. 

Martin's smash into the lower left-field seats, his second homer 
of the Series, tied the score, for the Dodgers had drawn first blood 
in their half of the inning. They stirred up a run after Jackie Robin- 
son walked. Gil McDougald, Yankee shortstop, made an excellent 
backhand stab of Gil Hodges' grounder, but his throw to second 
base in an attempt to force Robinson was late. 

Furillo sent a long fly to Bauer in right and Robinson dashed to 
third after the catch. Campanella got Jackie across with another 
long fly to Bauer. 

That 1-1 situation existed until the sixth, when Pee Wee Reese 
cracked a triple to right-center. Duke Snider, who struck out on his 
other three appearances at the plate, sent a deep smash to Mantle 
in center and Reese trotted across. 

At that point there were visions of it being Craig's day. In the 
third inning he had singled to experience unaccustomed elation, 
for in 61 times at bat during the regular season he had contributed 
one hit and his batting average was .016. 

But Slaughter, who destroyed the dreams of countless pitchers 
during a distinguished career with the St. Louis Cardinals, soon 
rewrote the script. 

Bauer^ opened the home half of the sixth with a single to left. 
Joe Collins flied out and Mickey Mantle popped to Hodges, but 
Berra sent Bauer scampering to third with a single to center. 

That left it up to Slaughter, acquired from the Kansas City 
Athletics late this season after being dispatched to that lowly club 
by the Yanks on May 1 1, 1955. 

This Was Slaughter's Day 45 

He carried Craig to a 3-1 count, then struck the blow for the 
aged and creaky. 

Ford walked Hodges to start the seventh and was in deep diffi- 
culty when Furillo lashed a single off the pitcher's glove. The ball 
trickled between first and second base. Martin made a dash for it, 
attempted to spear it with his bare hand and missed. Hodges alertly 
streaked to third when Martin overran the ball, but no error was 

Campanella's best was a foul outside the third base line which was 
snared by McDougald. Neal sent a routine grounder to Carey, but 
the third baseman bobbled the ball. He recovered to throw to the 
plate, but it was too late. Hodges scored, Furillo reached second 
and Neal got to first on the error. 

Randy Jackson batted for Craig and lifted a fly to Slaughter, 
and the rally died when Junior Gilliam grounded to McDougald, 
who stepped on second base to force Neal. 

The Yankees picked up an insurance run in the eighth against 
Clem Labine. With one out Neal fielded Collins' grounder but 
threw wild past Hodges to give him life. Mantle, who beat out a 
bunt in the first inning and otherwise spent the afternoon popping 
up, lifted a fly to Neal. Berra then blasted a double to right-center, 
scoring Collins. Slaughter was purposely passed and Martin flied 
to Gilliam in left. 

Then Furillo sent the corpuscles of Brooklyn supporters dancing 
through their veins with his double opening the ninth, but just as 
quickly applied a damper with his foolish dash. 

Craig and Labine, who allowed eight hits, struck out six. A 
three-time victim, par for the course since that's as many times as 
he got to bat, was Carey, while Ford twice looked at third strikes. 


By Bob Hunter 

From The Los Angeles Examiner, October 8, 1956 
Copyright, 1956, The Los Angeles Examiner 

THE STRUGGLING YANKEES made magnificent by desire pumped 
new life blood into this World Series here today by turning back 
the persistent threat and last-inning challenge of the dauntless 
Dodgers from across the river. 

Casey Stengel's American League champions, taking on a 
semblance of the class that is traditionally Yankee once they get 
into the Bronx, downed Brooklyn for the second straight day, 
6 to 2. 

Now they rack 'em up again, give 'em the green flag once more, 
blow the starting whistle and call "play ball." 

It's a brand new Series. 

It has to go back across the river, and where most of the boys 
were tapping out the obituary of the proud Yankees 48 hours ago, 
they're now fumbling around for two more tokens. 

Or Casey and his courageous club have forced Brooklyn back on 
the Flatbush side of the East River, no matter what happens to- 
morrow when Sal the Barber Maglie comes back against Don 

It's a tantalizing tossup for this key pivotal game of a Series that 
has been contested strictly along the horses-for-courses routine. 

Over in Brooklyn the papers headlined it "Yanks Moidered" 
and here in stony and staid Manhattan it's "Dodgers Slaughter-ed." 

It's more gory than glory in this 1956 set. 

Over in Brooklyn, the Yankees found Ebbets Field too small, 
and here in New York, the Dodgers have found the stadium too 

In Flatbush the Bums hit three out of the park, but here they've 
been nothing but 12 o'clock hitters, putting on a show only for the 
batting practice clientele. 

The game was decided in the fourth at bat for the American 
Leaguers the one big and tell-tale inning of this fourth contest 

In the top half the Dodgers tied it at 1-all, and in the basement 
half the Yankees drove across two runs, and the 3-1 lead was 

Ifs a Brand New Series 47 

enough for competitive young Tom Sturdivant, who started base- 
ball as an infielder. 

It was in this inning, too, you saw the managers pour the mental 
molasses on the hotcakes, with Stengel outdoing Walt Alston. To 
start the frantic fourth, Duke Snider doubled for the first hit off 

Jackie Robinson fouled high back of the plate, and you may have 
been surprised when you saw Yogi Berra carry his mask until he 
had wheeled and sighted the ball. 

Then he tossed it far back of him. 

A good catcher will cling to his mask until he knows where the 
ball will be, in order to prevent stepping on it, stumbling over it or 
getting his foot caught like a gopher in a trap. 

Gil Hodges then came up, and you saw big No. 14 single to drive 
in his eighth run in four games, within one of the all-time World 
Series record. 

By this time you should know how the Yankees have been pitch- 
ing, or trying to pitch, to Hodges, the same guy who went nothing 
for 20 against them four years ago. 

Yankee pitchers have orders to keep the ball outside to big Gil, 
from the belt down, but again Sturdivant missed the target, and 
again Hodges batted in a run with another timely hit. 

You probably could see just how far inside Sturdivant put the 
pitch better than I could, sitting at an angle, to the left of the plate. 

You were within a few feet of the pitch. 

But I know it wasn't where Case told him to put it. 

A moment later the Yanks quashed this rally as a brisk wind, 
becoming even more gusty, sent papers and wrappers and napkins 
scurrying across the field like king-sized confetti. 

Sandy Amoros lined a pitch briskly over the first base bag, which 
Joe Collins gaffed for an unassisted double play. 

Had there been no base runner, it would have been a hit, prob- 
ably for bonus bases. 

Collins, of course, was holding Amoros close to the bag, prevent- 
ing him from getting a jump on Sturdivant. 

The Dodgers like to run. 

The bottom of the inning provided even more inside baseball, 
with Mickey Mantle leading off with a walk on Carl Erskine, which 
in Flatbush is Oiskin. 

You then saw the Mick, despite a bad leg to which he won't 
confess, light out for second with Berra, one of the real old pros at 
the plate, swinging at a bad pitch to "protect" him. 

48 Bob Hunter 

In the box score it'll show a big K for Yogi, but his "give up" 
swing meant a stolen base for Mantle, a runner in scoring position 
and, eventually, a Yankee triumph. 

It's things like that, things which never appear in the averages, 
on which astute baseball men evaluate a player. 

Berra is a pro, and you don't have to fiddle in the box score to 
discover it. 

It was then that Alston made his first guess the same one I 
would have made and he guessed wrong. 

Alston ordered oF Enos walked purposely. 

What would you have done ? 

If you're a good baseball manager, you'd have walked the old 
"Gas House Kid," too, you'd have issued a pass most certainly to 
this marvelous Methuselah. 

The strategy filled an unoccupied base, it made possible a double 
play at any bag and, in finality, it gave Erskine a righthanded hit- 
ter instead of a lefthanded hitter. 

Anyway, there was Slaughter on first, meticulously picking the 
mud from his cleats, getting ready for the run for the money. 

Alston's strategy, of course, failed. 

You saw cocky little Billy Martin, the one-time roughhouse 
gamin from the alleys of Oakland, stroke the ball deliberately into 
left field. 

On the play Mantle scored and Slaughter, who had prepared for 
his dazzling dash with every little percentage an old pro will use, 
wheeled around second and bowled into third before Sandy Amoros 
could come up with the ball and head him off. 

Gil McDougald then hoisted a fly ball, and in came Slaughter 
with the golden run. 

You could have flipped the dial then and missed nothing but the 

The game, starting an hoiir later, cast shadows earlier than usual 
between the batter and the pitcher. 

Erskine and Sturdivant were pitching out of the sunshine and 
into the shadows which, pretty much, is the story of Brooklyn 
these past two days. 

This probably was the only field with five o'clock shadow at two 
o'clock, if the sponsor will pardon the reference. 

And the shadows lengthened, along with the Yankee lead, but 
the brokers and bankers in their somber Homburgs, and their 
ladies in furry epaulets, didn't mind the gray and cold. 

Their Yankees were hot. 

It's a Brand New Series 49 

Possibly, they had some misgivings early, when their team 
scored a run in the opening inning. 

No team, until today, had scored the initial run, and then gone 
on to victory. 

Also, in the second inning, Collins made a boo boo to detour 
for a moment New York's gritty comeback in the Series. 

However he had help from Jackie Robinson, probably the only 
time you'll see guys from different teams collaborate on a "double 

After Robinson walked, Hodges struck out, then Amoros sent 
that towering foul fly between first base and the Yankee fox hole. 

It was so tall that if you didn't have a 24-inch screen, you may 
have lost sight of it. 

Even though it obviously was foul, Robinson dashed for sec- 
ond base, while the hustling little Martin ran over to cover, un- 
doubtedly nonplussed by Robbie's antics. 

He yelled for the ball from Collins who, obviously taken by sur- 
prise himself, threw wide to Martin. 

They had Robinson from here to eternity, but he wound up on 
second via the error. 

Robinson had absolutely no place to go on the play, other than 
to sleep, which he obviously did. 

You undoubtedly noticed the scramble on your screen as Coach 
Jake Pitler tried to recall Robinson, but he would have had to 
tackle him to stop him. 

This was the first game in which you've had a chance to watch 
the outfielders play the treacherous walls of the cavernous stadium. 

The right field foul line, in the corner, is only 296 feet away, but 
then arcs out sharply to 344 and then to 407, much like the stave 
in a barrel. 

To play these sliding sideboards required the skill of a Willie 

You saw Collins ram one into this right field corner in the open- 
ing inning, but instead of going in after it, Carl Furillo remained 
some 20 feet away, playing it off the low curving wall. 

Had he charged into the corner, the ball would have rocketed 
past him for an extra base. 

Hank Bauer who, of course, knows the deadly angles t>etter than 
anyone, played Snider's fourth-inning double the same way, plant- 
ing himself in the exact spot to catch the carom. 

He was like a pocket in a pool table. 

SO Bob Hunter 

Outfielders practice for hours taking ricochets off these concrete 

Watch tomorrow on a ball hit into the corners, and you will 
see defensive play at its finest and toughest. 

Erskine and Sturdivant also provided some near defensive les- 
sons on covering the bag, both in the opening inning. 

First, the Yankee pitcher outed Snider on a toss from Collins, 
then Erskine hustled over just in time to grab a throw from Hodges 
to beat Mantle, still speedy despite his game leg. 

As kids on the sandlots know, but as even pros sometimes for- 
get, on any ball hit to the right side the pitcher must break for the 
bag along with the hitter. 

If he hesitates, or is slow, it can mean a base hit. 

Today it could have meant not only that, but possibly one or 
more runs in Erskine' s case. 

So, it's a new Series, with Brooklyn now the end of the line 
for one or the other Brooklyn, where the tall concrete horizon 
that encircles shabby Ebbets Field will blink the joy or wear an 
armband of darkness on either Tuesday or Wednesday night. 


By Al Cartwright 
From The Wilmington (Del.) Journal-Every Evening, 

October 11, 1956 
Copyright, 1956, The News- Journal Company 

THE WORLD SERIES came back to normal, in a nightmarish sort 
of way. 

The Yankees are the world champions, and that makes it nor- 
mal, for they now hold that distinction for the seventh time in the 
last 10 years. 

The Brooklyn Dodgers, who upset the Bronx businessmen last 
year in seven games for the first world title they ever have won, 
tried to do it again in another seventh set and that's where the 
nightmare angle enters. It was 9 to 0, on four home runs, the 
storied Yankee way. 

And up at snug Ebbets Field, too, the diamond that is supposed 
to be tailor-made, or at least Snider-made, for its National League 

Had Brooklyn won, it would have been the first time that a Na- 
tional Leaguer had repeated as a series winner in successive years 
since 1921 and '22, when the Giants beat (who else?) the Yankees. 

Warren Giles, the cheer-leading little president of the N. L., 
thought he had something strong going for him yesterday, and so 
did everyone else. But as the innings and the home runs developed, 
the hatless Giles was sinking lower and lower in that box seat near 
the Dodger dugout. 

The conference president wasn't sinking any lower than his 

Once again, the Dodgers didn't hit, and they would have had to 
be just about nine Williamses to out-hit the Yanks this day, even 
had they been able to do anything with Johnny Kucks. Pitching 
a shutout against the Brooks in their own park, after the Yankees 
had lost six consecutive games there, is perfection. Not the Don 
Larsen kind, but a special perfection of its own. 

It was a complete Yankee victory, right through that old hack 
magic of Casey Stengel. He benches Collins and Slaughter, two 
lefthanded hitters, against righthanded pitching, and starts right- 

52 Al Cartwright 

handers Howard and Skowron. Howard hits a home run. So does 
Skowron, with the bases loaded. 

After Gilliam grounded out to first to start the ninth yesterday, 
we ducked out of the press bank and down beneath the stands with 
the vanguard of the dressing-room reporters. There the authors 
waited, until inning and game were over, idly listening to the 
muffled cheers coming from above. 

Pretty soon here came the Yankees, in silent single file, the 
order and the quiet broken only by Jim Turner, who had Don Lar- 
sen by the arm and was gabbing away into his ear. They were a 
tired, drawn lot, for one that had just had a picnic, but perhaps 
there never is a picnic in anything so pressure-cooked as a World 

The Yanks clattered into their clubhouse and scores of news- 
paper, radio and TV guys immediately jammed the narrow en- 
trance. The smart thing to do was try the other clubhouse, and 
there, as might be expected, there was plenty of room. Maybe 10 
reporters, waiting until Red Patterson, the subdued public rela- 
tion man, gave them the go-ahead. 

It was a startling contrast from the Brooklyn boudoir of a year 
ago, when Podres was yelling and talking himself hoarse and New- 
combe was wearing a battered derby with beer dripping all over it, 
and everybody was delirious. Yesterday, it was like a library. 

Horatio Alger Podres was in the Navy and Newk, he was some- 
where in New York, a suffering giant tormented by the vision of 
cold-hearted, capable brutes in gray flannels, waving baseball bats 
at him. The two guys who weren't there, more than the 25-odd 
who were, told the Brooklyn story vividly. 

Once again, Newk didn't have it whatever "it" requires. You 
had to feel an ache for the man as big and as brassy and as well- 
paid as he is, shuffling off the mound and out of the game, head 
down, losing 5-0 as early as the fourth inning and wolves in the 
stands drooling over him. Once again, a big victory had been de- 
nied the biggest winner in the big leagues. 

No guts, they say. Yet he had struck out the great Mantle twice 
with flaming fast balls with a man on, just before Berra bombed 
him. Better to say at least kinder that Newcombe had no 
chance, the way the Yankees were fused. 

In his office, Walter Alston said that no, he hadn't lost any faith 
in Newcombe who, for his credentials, goes down as one of the 
prime World Series busts of all time. In two starts, he lasted but 

All Things Are Normal Again 53 

four and two-thirds innings, into which the Yankees rammed 11 
hits and 1 1 earned runs, including four homers. 

Alston, no doubt, will not hesitate to start the gigantic pitcher 
on the trip to Japan that begins today. 

At that, Newk cannot say that Alston was hasty. If ever there 
was a reason for a manager to pull a pitcher, it was after Berra's 
first home run yesterday. There couldn't be a tomorrow and it was 
evident already that Brooklyn might not even have a today. 

But Alston went with his starter and then some, didn't even 
visit the mound until Howard led off the fourth with his home run. 
Then it was bye-bye Newk, and with Kucks in charge, it really 
didn't matter who was pitching for Brooklyn. 

As for the Yankee hurling, all it did was decide the World Series. 

"Poor Casey/' mocked Joe Williams during the descent on the 
press elevator. "He had no pitching at all to play a World Series." 

That was the general pre-playoff handicapping, but Casey 
blinded 'em with pitching. After the Dodgers brashly strong-armed 
themselves to the first two victories, five different Yankees pitched 
five complete games and held the Brooks to six runs and 21 hits. 
Larsen and Kucks shut 'em out and Turley did too, for nine in- 

"I knew the Yankee Pitchers had the arms," said Carl Furillo 
glumly, chewing on a wicked-looking stalk of pepperoni, "but didn't 
think they'd be that effective. Control, I mean. They were always 
around the plate, gave you nothin' good." 

The Yankee pitchers are all young fellows, too, and those seven 
other American League clubs must be wondering anew if maybe 
they aren't in the wrong racket. 

They are. That is, unless they quickly can muster a pitching staff, 
a Mantle, a Berra, assorted Martins and substitutes who hit home 
runs in the deciding game of the World Series. 

Other Baseball 


By Stanley Frank 

From True, June, 1956 

Copyright, 1956, True 

ON THURSDAY, July 14, 1955, an emergency meeting was held in 
the office of Brooklyn Dodger President Walter O'Malley. Despite 
the fact that Brooklyn was llj^ games ahead, the five men who 
attended that meeting looked like candidates for a game of Russian 
roulette. The team was in terrible shape and, with 70 games left 
to play, the panic was on. Yet, on that seemingly dismal day, the 
Dodgers wrapped up the National League pennant. 

"I'm in a bad jam and I need help fast," Manager Walter Alston 
was saying. "I've got nobody to pitch. Six guys have sore arms 
Newcombe, Erskine, Loes, Podres, Spooner and Koufax. Meyer 
is in the hospital with his neck in a brace. That leaves me Labine, 
Roebuck and Hughes. I need Labine in the bull pen. Roebuck has 
shot his bolt with all the relief work he's done. Hughes is over the 

Alston snuffed out his cigarette and abstractedly lit another. 
'The trainer tells me the guys with sore arms will be all right in a 
week or ten days, but in the meantime we've got three double- 
headers coming up. In the last week three full games have been 
shaved off our lead and, at that, we're lucky. If it hadn't been for 
the All-Star break we'd be in a worse fix. We've got to< get some 
pitchers right away, or we may blow the pennant." 

The four other men in the room recoiled visibly at the mention 
of the ominous phrase, "we may blow the pennant." They had good 
reason to be gun-shy. It brought back vivid memories of the two 
most catastrophic collapses in baseball history. In 1951, the Dodgers 
were out in front by 13*4 games in mid-August and lost the 
pennant to the Giants on Bobby Thomson's sudden-death homer in 
the play-offs. In 1942, Brooklyn finished second after holding a 


Brooklyn's Brainiest Bum 55 

lO^-game lead the first week in August. Now, with nearly half the 
season to go, the Dodgers had one foot on the toboggan again and 
a slight push could send them on a sickening slide. 

Nothing was said for a long half -minute. Alston, O'Malley, Vice- 
President Buzzie Bavasi and Al Campanis, a scout, looked ex- 
pectantly at Fresco Thompson, chief of the Dodgers' farm system. 
"Are there any pitchers on the farm clubs who can help us?" 
O'Malley asked. 

Thompson nodded, turning to Alston. "Which would you rather 
have, a right-hander or a southpaw?" 

"Hell, I don't care how the guy throws as long as he can get 
somebody out!" Alston snapped. 

"The best bets at St. Paul are Pendleton, a right-hander, and 
Bessent, a southpaw/' Thompson said thoughtfully. "I like Bes- 

"What's his record this year?" O'Malley asked. 

"He's won eight and lost five." 

"That doesn't sound so hot to me," O'Malley said doubtfully. 

"He's ready for the big leagues," Thompson answered. "He can 
win up here." 

"Who've we got at Montreal?" Bavasi asked. 

"Craig has won ten out of twelve," Thompson said without 
reference to notes. "He's coming along fast." 

"Craig?" Alston said. "J eez > he was in the Piedmont League 
last year. Going from Class B to the majors in a couple of months 
is an awfully big jump for a kid." 

"He's got good stuff. He can cut the cake for you," Thompson 
said. "The best way to settle this is to get the opinion of each man- 
ager." He looked at his watch. It was shortly before noon. "We 
can't reach them by phone because they're on the way to the ball 
park. A wire will be faster." He called in a stenographer and dic- 
tated identical telegrams to Max Macon at St. Paul and Greg 
Mulleavy at Montreal : "Please advise which pitcher on your club 
can help Dodgers immediately. Urgent." 

Within two hours the answers were delivered to Thompson. 
Macon recommended Bessent. Mulleavy picked Craig. Both rookies 
were ordered to take planes to New York the following day. They 
arrived on Friday and were given a day to learn the team's signals 
and get themselves squared away. 

On Sunday, the two kids drew the starting pitching assignments 
in a doubleheader with the Reds. Craig won the opener, 6-2, with a 
three-hitter and Bessent captured the nightcap, 8-5. During the 

56 Stanley Frank 

next week the Dodgers won six games and the pair of rookies 
brought up by Thompson accounted for five of them. 

Brooklyn's sore-arm brigade, given a good rest while the two 
new men were doing the brunt of the work, came to life. The 
Dodgers went on to clinch the earliest pennant ever won in the 
National League, and then scored a more notable first by knocking 
off the Yankees in the World Series. 

"We wound up the champions of the whole, wide world, but 
nobody knew how close we were to falling flat on our kissers/' 
Thompson confides. "The fact that our pitching staff was shot last 
July was not nearly as disturbing as the team's morale. Everybody 
associated with the Dodgers gets a bad case of buck fever when a 
big lead starts to go down the drain. All of us are haunted, I sup- 
pose, by nightmares of '51 and '42. You never really recover from 
a shock like that 

"The big problem when a team hits the skids is the panic that 
spreads through the players like an epidemic. They begin to think 
they can't do anything right and the harder they press the deeper 
they go into the slump. The psychological lift Craig and Bessent 
gave the team was worth a lot more than the actual games they 

Most baseball executives spend their time sitting on their fat 
rumps and operating their teams as hobbies rather than business 
enterprises. No matter what the courts say, baseball is a business, 
and it's the businessmen who win pennants. The general managers 
and their staffs who put in eight full hours of work a day, five days 
a week, 52 weeks a year, can be counted on the fingers of one hand. 
The rest couldn't last a month in other jobs paying comparable, 
cushy salaries. 

Lafayette Fresco Thompson is a shining example of a brass hat 
who knows his job and ranks as just about the top front-office man 
in baseball today. Since 1949, when Fresco was put in charge of the 
ivory-hunting department, Brooklyn has won four pennants and 
barely missed two others on the final day of the season. The 
Dodgers unquestionably are the class of the National League, and 
rookies now ripening on the vine in the minors will make them the 
team to beat well into the 1960's. 

But it's not necessary to peer into the misty future to get a tip-off 
on Thompson's ability. More than any one man, Fresco is responsi- 
ble for bringing to Brooklyn the greatest collection of bargain- 
basement players ever assembled on one team. The talent that 
flattened all comers last year was acquired for a total cash outlay 

Brooklyn's Brainiest Bum 57 

of $118,388 in purchases, drafts and bonuses. And $42,500 of that 
figure was paid for one man, Pee Wee Reese. 

Eleven members of this championship squad were purchased 
for a total of $37,333 a fraction of the sums lavished on two con- 
spicuous busts of recent years. Billy Joe Davidson, handed a bonus 
of $125,000 to sign with Cleveland a couple of seasons ago, could 
have been picked up, in the last minor-league draft, for $10,000. 
Paul Pettit, a young pitcher who cost the Pirates a hundred grand, 
has given up the mound and is currently trying to fight his way out 
of the minors as an infielder. They were both up for grabs in the 
last draft, with no takers. 

Only two big-league teams, the Senators and Cardinals, spent 
less than Brooklyn for their players in the field last season, and 
both needed radar to keep within sight of the contenders. Before 
sandlotters began demanding and getting fancy bonuses, the 
Cardinals won pennants with squads that cost less than the 1955 
Dodgers, but those days are gone forever. It's extremely unlikely 
that a club will hit the jackpot again with an ante as small as the 
Dodgers' unless, of course, it has an ace in the hole like Thompson. 

It is no exaggeration to say that Thompson is the key man in 
the Brooklyn setup. He had a hand in scouting, signing or coaching 
every player on the Dodger roster last year except Reese and three 
second-stringers Walker, Meyer and Kellert who were acquired 
in trades. All the other Dodgers were strictly home-grown farm 

Buying established major-leaguers or outbidding the opposition 
for hot-shot bonus kids is no great achievement. Anyone with an 
unlimited bankroll can do it. The trick is to beat the bushes for 
inexpensive diamonds in the rough, make an accurate appraisal of 
their potential ability and come up with such as Podres, Craig and 
Labine. On a total investment of $10,500, these three accounted for 
all the pitching victories in the last World Series. The majority of 
the Dodgers were fantastic bargains, as the following list of pur- 
chases and bonus payments indicates : 

Pee Wee Reese $ 42,500 

Billy Loes 21,000 

Sandy Koufax 12,000 

Carl Erskine 8,000 

Johnny Podres 6,000 

Don Bessent 6,000 

Roger Craig 4,000 

58 Stanley Frank 

Junior Gilliam 3,333 

Jackie Robinson 3,000 

Ed Roebuck 3,000 

Don Zimmer 2,000 

Roy Campanella 1,700 

Don Newcombe 1,500 

Gil Hodges 1,300 

Sandy Amoros 1,000 

Duke Snider 800 

Karl Spooner 500 

Clem Labine 500 

George Shuba 150 

Carl Furillo 105 

Don Hoak 


A couple of odd items on the list, such as the $3,333 tag on Junior 
Gilliam, require explanation. That is purely an arbitrary price be- 
cause Gilliam was one of three players in a $10,000 transaction. Ac- 
tually, he cost next to nothing. In 1951 Brooklyn dickered with the 
Baltimore Elite Giants, a Negro team, for Pitch Leroy Farrell, but 
Thompson thought the asking price of $10,000 was a little too 
steep for a rookie who was still in the Army. To clinch the deal, 
Thompson casually suggested that the Elite Giants throw in two 
unknowns. One was Gilliam. The other was Joe Black, who 
wrapped up the 1952 pennant for the Dodgers with his relief pitch- 
ing. Farrell? He came out of the Army hog-fat and never was 
worth a quarter. 

Another strange entry is $105 for Carl Furillo, and a stranger 
story goes with it. We'll let Thompson, who was in on the ground 
floor, give the details. 

"Back in the fall of 1940 a guy named Eddington, who owned 
the Reading club in the Inter-State League, got fed up and offered 
to sell out to Larry MacPhail for $5,000. That was dirt cheap for a 
franchise 20 players and two full sets of uniforms but the thing 
that intrigued MacPhail was the new bus which the team used on 
road trips. This was a year before Pearl Harbor and most auto- 
mobile production was earmarked for the armed forces. 

"MacPhail figured the bus was worth $2,500 and 40 uniforms 
cost at least ten bucks apiece, making another $400 worth of equip- 
ment. That meant Brooklyn was getting 20 players for $2,100, or 

Brooklyn's Brainiest Bum 59 

$105 apiece. Conditionally, MacPhail had another angle. His son 
Lee had been graduated from Swarthmore a few months before 
and he thought Reading would be a good spot for breaking in the 
boy as an executive. I'd just been hired by MacPhail and he sent 
me to Reading to manage the team and help Lee learn the ropes. It 
was one of those screwball deals MacPhail loved and he came out 
of it looking like a genius. Brooklyn eventually realized double the 
purchase price by selling Walt Nothey, a pitcher, and Bill Heltzel, 
a shortstop. Incidentally, we're still using the bus at Vero Beach." 

And thanks to Thompson, Brooklyn is still getting a lot of mile- 
age out of Furillo, one of the 20 accessories who went with the bus. 
Listed on the Reading roster as a pitcher, Furillo had such a power- 
ful arm that he could throw the ball through a brick wall provided 
the wall was 20 feet long and two stories high. In his first mound 
assignment, Furillo faced five batters and conked three with pitched 
balls. Thompson hustled the youth out of there before he was 
arrested for manslaughter, and converted him into an outfielder. A 
dozen years later Furillo won the National League batting title 
and was recognized as the best right-fielder in the trade. 

"That's the thing that makes scouting a fascinating and a frus- 
trating job/' Thompson remarks. "You're gambling with intangi- 
bles all the time. A scatter-arm pitcher may be another Furillo and 
you worry whether you've wasted $1,300 on a muscle-bound short- 
stop and he turns out to be Gil Hodges, the best first-baseman in 

"This is the only business in the world in which you pay a kid 
money, sometimes a fortune, before he proves his ability. No mat- 
ter how good a sandlotter looks, you have no guarantee he'll reach 
the big leagues. If you sign every promising prospect who comes 
along you're going to go broke because the odds against any 
amateur making the grade as a pro are at least 50-1. But, on the 
other hand, if you pass up too many kids you'll land in the cellar." 

We asked Thompson what he looks for in casing a prospect. 

"Something you can't see," he answered, tapping his heart. 
"More than half the kids who disappoint you haven't got it here. 
It's not only a matter of courage. They may be confirmed bushers 
because they haven't the ambition to learn their trade. And you 
never know how they'll react to the hooray and adulation of the 
big leagues. A kid who sings in the choir and tips his hat to nice 
old ladies may turn into a boozer or a dame-chaser. You're guessing 
all the time." 

What are the most important physical assets in rating a rookie ? 

60 Stanley Frank 

"Good actions, fluid movement. Speed is a must because it's the 
only attribute used on both offense and defense. A good arm is the 
next thing I check because there are only two spots, first base and 
left field, where a poor thrower can get by. 

"Potential ability rather than actual performance is the big 
thing. If a prospect swings well and has nice wrist action, he has 
a chance to be a good hitter. Power is a secondary consideration. 
That may come as he develops physically. If a kid is afraid of a 
pitched ball, though, he'll never overcome it. A small pitcher must 
have more stuff to get by, perhaps, but otherwise size is not as im- 
portant as a lot of people think it is. Hustle compensates for lack 
of muscle. I'd rather have little guys like Reese, Rizzuto and Ford 
than a ton of big oafs. I won't mention any names, I may want to 
sell a couple." 

Cultivating fresh talent for the Brooklyn varsity is only one 
facet of Thompson's job. He also must produce a surplus of players 
who can be sold to other teams to cut down the annual deficit of 
$600,000 piled up by the farm system. This is a particularly urgent 
problem for the Dodgers, who have the biggest payroll and next to 
the smallest ball park in the National League (only Cincinnati's 
Crosley Field has fewer seats). It's no secret that Brooklyn would 
have wound up in the red in recent seasons if not for World Series 
windfalls and about $750,000 realized from the sale of superfluous 

The news that Thompson is a high-powered executive will come 
as a great surprise to friends and fans who remember him as a low- 
pressure ball player who seemed to be more interested in pulling 
gags than winning games. Fresco, a better than fair second-base- 
man, bounced around the National League from 1925 to 1934 and 
compiled a respectable life-time batting average of .298. In 1929, he 
climbed to the giddy eminence of .324 with the Phillies, but when 
baseball people gather in bars and hotel lobbies to cut up old touches 
they talk of Fresco's quips rather than his hits. 

There was the time the Phillies played an exhibition game at 
Brooklyn's training camp in Clearwater, Florida. The club house 
was so crowded that the visitors had to share lockers with the 
home team. Fresco was assigned to the locker used by Babe 
Herman, a redoubtable slugger who also was noted for fielding fly 
balls off his skull. Herman threw a fit when he saw Fresco sitting in 
front of his cubicle. 

"It's a hell of a note having to dress with a .250 hitter," Babe 
Herman grumbled. 

Brooklyn's Brainiest Bum 61 

"How do you think I feel dressing with a .250 fielder?" Fresco 

During the war, when Fresco went to New Orleans to manage 
the Pelicans, he received enthusiastic advance reports on a French- 
Canadian outfielder named Paul Merrinow. It developed that 
Merrinow could run like a deer and throw like an angel, but he 
was somewhat deficient with the bat. It was said that he couldn't 
hit a pitcher walking past the plate with the ball in his hand, and 
somebody asked Fresco what Merrinow 1 s trouble was. 

"He's thinking in French and they're pitching to him in Eng- 
lish/' he answered gravely. 

On the same club there was another youth who had flawless 
batting form and enough power to make new exits in fences with 
line drives, but his rhythmic swipes at the ball agitated only the 
atmosphere. "I don't know what's wrong, Skipper," the kid told 
Thompson. "I just miss the ball by this much/' He held up two 
fingers about a half-inch apart. 

"Tell you what to do/' Fresco said. "Get yourself a pair of inner 
soles, put them in your shoes and you'll be just the right height." 

Abusive fans who attempted to ride Fresco were sitting ducks 
for his squelches. For some unknown reason, a surgeon in Wil- 
liamsport, Pennsylvania, got on Fresco while he was managing the 
local entry in the Eastern League. One day late in a game, Fresco 
went to the mound to relieve a pitcher who weakened suddenly after 
going eight good innings. As Fresco went back to the dugout, the 
surgeon yelled, "Another mistake, Thompson ?" 

"Yeah, but my mistake will work tomorrow," Fresco retorted. 
Nothing more was heard from the surgeon for the remainder of 
the season. 

Toward the end of his four-year sentence with the Phillies, who 
finished out of the cellar only once, Fresco was appointed captain 
of the team. It was not the distinction it appeared to be. "I was 
tapped for the job because everybody else was conserving his 
strength for hitting and didn't want to waste it taking the line-up 
to the umpires before games," he explains. 

Before a contest with the Pirates, Fresco delivered the Phillies' 
line-up to Umpire Bill Klem, who glanced at the card and then 
turned 18 shades of purple. In the ninth position for the pitcher, 
Fresco had carefully written, "Willoughby and others." 

"Young man," Klem roared, "you are making a travesty of the 

62 Stanley Frank 

"It's a travesty all right," Fresco agreed amiably, "but don't 
blame me. Wait 'til you get a load of our pitchers." 

The Phillies used six hurlers in the game, which was par for the 
course. In that four-game series, both sides scored in double figures 
in every game. 

Nothing was sacred to Thompson in his pursuit of laughs, and 
he still enjoys one as much as the next fellow. But responsibility has 
sobered his approach to baseball. His office is the nerve center of a 
network that covers all of North America and the Caribbean and 
extends to South America. This past spring, at the central clearing 
house for rookies in Vero Beach, Florida, there were candidates 
from 38 states, five Canadian provinces, Cuba, Mexico, Puerto- 
Rico, Venezuela and Costa Rica. 

Thompson's office is a huge room, 40 feet square. Two walls are 
covered from floor to ceiling with blackboards listing all the teams 
and players in the farm system. Once the season gets under way, 
the blackboard is smudged with erasure marks as players are shifted 
and juggled to spots that will accelerate their development. The two 
other walls are lined with ordinary filing cabinets. 

"If you want to put in a touch of the cloak-and-dagger bit, there's 
our secret weapon," Thompson said recently, waving to the cabi- 
nets. He pulled out drawers at random. Each one was crammed 
with odd pieces of typewritten and scrawled papers. 

"In these cabinets we have a rundown on every professional ball- 
player in America," he explained. "All the managers in our chain 
are required to submit written reviews after each game, including 
appraisals of their own and opposing players. If they note that a 
hitter is weak on a low-breaking ball, let's say, or a pitcher tends to 
come down the middle on a three-and-two count, we know the 
faults that must be corrected. If the player gets to the majors with 
another team, we may be able to win games by exploiting his weak- 

"Since we no longer have farm teams in every minor league, our 
scouts case all the players in every circuit at least twice a year and 
give us the poop on all the personnel in it. We also keep a record on 
all the free agents we look at, including those we reject. These 
reports are especially valuable during the winter, when minor- 
league waiver and draft lists are drawn up. We can move in and 
take advantage of a slip-up in office routine or grab a player who's 
impressed us more than his own organization. For example, the 
Yankees didn't think much of Bessent when they had him at Bing- 
hamton, but our reports were favorable, so we drafted him for 

Brooklyn's Brainiest Bum 63 

"Don't get the idea I'm trying to embarrass the Yankees or build 
us up as master minds. Every team makes mistakes. Just for open- 
ers, we once turned loose a kid who became the best third-baseman 
in the business. A guy named George Kell." 

Ball games are won on the field, but the individual skills that 
achieve the end result are fed into the hopper by Thompson and 
his staff of 24 full-time and 16 part-time scouts. In the final analy- 
sis, the Dodgers are only as good as Thompson's judgment and 
there is no better testimonial to it than the world-championship 
flag flying over Ebbets Field. 

A modest fellow, Thompson is the first to point out that the pres- 
ent Dodgers are the product of three regimes. He is the link, 
though, that has given some sort of continuity to the radical 
switches in the team's talent-procurement programs. Fresco lasted 
through the regimes of both Larry MacPhail and Branch Rickey, 
learning a little here and discarding a little there, refining the tech- 
nique down to his present approach. 

Thompson's indoctrination in the Brooklyn organization under 
MacPhail was, in a sense, the worst possible training for his present 
job. MacPhail, who spent money like a drunken sweepstakes win- 
ner, was obsessed with the idea of getting the pennant at any cost. 
He poured out $888,100 for 47 players in four years, a spending 
spree topped only by Tom Yawkey a few years before. There was 
one vital difference between MacPhail and Yawkey, however. 
Yawkey did not win a pennant until 1946, long after all his origi- 
nal, high-priced stars had passed out of the picture. MacPhail put 
together a team that climbed from seventh to first place in three 

As MacPhail's liaison man in the field, Thompson was in the 
thick of the spending orgy. But the chief MacPhail talent that im- 
pressed him was not his uncanny ability to distribute funds but his 
immense capacity for work. 

After MacPhail left to go into the Army in 1942, the Dodgers 
were taken over by a man with a positive horror for spending 
money. Branch Rickey would never buy an established star, op- 
erating on the theory that he would catch enough big fish if he threw 
a net over every unattached sandlotter in sight. At one time Brook- 
lyn had nearly a thousand players under contract, on a total of 
32 farm teams. To his credit, however, it must be mentioned that 
it was Rickey who developed the nucleus of the current team 
Campanella, Robinson, Snider, Hodges, Erskine, Newcombe and 

64 Stanley Frank 

Rickey replaced most of MacPhail's assistants with his own 
men, but he promoted Thompson to the top managerial job in the 
chain, at Montreal. That could have been Thompson's springboard 
to the Dodger managership. It's a matter of record that he was 
Walter O'Malley's first choice for the job in 1953 when Charley 
Dressen was released in a hassle over a long-term contract. Thomp- 
son was itching to accept, but he turned down the offer for the 
same reason that impelled him to ask Rickey for a transfer to the 
front office a few years after taking the Montreal job. 

"When I went to the winter meetings I'd see 60 managers who'd 
just been fired hanging around looking for jobs/' Thompson con- 
fides. "There were only two or three unemployed front-office men. 
The odds looked good." 

As Rickey's field supervisor in the farm system, Thompson was 
instrumental in picking Jackie Robinson as the right man to break 
the baseball color line, and his confidential reports were largely 
responsible for the signing of Don Newcombe and Roy Campanella. 

Thompson became Rickey's trouble-shooter during the turbulent 
post-war era, and on at least one occasion found that trouble-shoot- 
ing meant just that. He went down to Venezuela in 1948 to scout 
Chico Carrasquel and Jim Pendleton. The morning after he arrived 
in Caracas, Fresco descended to the lobby of his hotel and found 
guns waving all over the joint. It turned out that there had been a 
revolution during the night and the new government had declared 
a state of martial law which prohibited, among other things, public 
assemblies for such events as counter-revolutions and baseball 

Fresco gave Carrasquel's and Pendleton's managers a hurried 
sales talk and persuaded them to stage a private workout behind 
locked gates. After a fast, apprehensive look, he signed both players. 
Carrasquel was sold to the White Sox a year later for $50,000 and 
Pendleton was trade bait in the swap for Russ Meyer. This can 
safely be called the best baseball deal ever made during a revolution. 

Meanwhile, back in Brooklyn, stockholders were revolting 
against the heavy deficits piled up by Rickey's octopus-like farm 
system, claiming it was unnecessary to support 32 farms to insure 
the trickle of young players needed by the Dodgers. 

Rickey was succeeded by Walter O'Malley, who wasted no time 
in putting through a drastic change in policy. He made Thompson 
a vice-president and ordered him to cut the farm system down to 
13 teams, and to instruct his scouts to be more selective in recom- 
mending prospects. He made it plain that Thompson was expected 

Brooklyn's Brainiest Bum 65 

to maintain a steady flow of fresh talent without resorting to either 
MacPhail's undiscriminating spending or Rickey's wholesale 

As an indication of how well Thompson has done on the tight 
budget which allows him to corral only 125 new prospects a year, 
he has already contributed Podres, Gilliam, Amoros, Labine, 
Spooner, Zimmer, Roebuck, Koufax and, of course, Bessent and 

To further complicate his problems, Thompson was also told to 
step up the output of surplus players who could be sold to other 
teams. And he had to be damn sure that he wasn't selling off a 
Willie Mays or Robin Roberts who might come back to haunt him. 
As a result of this policy there are now 40 former Dodger farm- 
hands on every major league team except the Cardinals, and the 
majority of those who brought the fanciest prices were unloaded by 
Thompson. Rickey got his biggest bundle, $50,000, for Chico 
Carrasquel. Thompson sold Billy Hunter to the St. Louis Browns, 
of all people, for $125,000. He peddled Irv Noren and Danny 
O'Connell for $65,000 apiece. The 75 grand the Dodgers got from 
the Braves for Andy Pafko should also be credited to Thompson's 
account, for he had uncovered the rookie outfielders that made the 
sale feasible. 

Among these 40 players, only eight could conceivably help the 
Dodgers now, and those chiefly in reserve roles. They are Noren, 
Carrasquel, Hunter, Dee Fondy, Paul Minner, Johnny Klipstein, 
Eddie Morgan and George Kell. The one real prize in that group 
who got away was Kell. 

"He and I are sort of baseball kinfolk because we got into the 
Brooklyn organization the same year, 1940," Thompson says. "He 
was sent to the deepest bush in the Northeastern Arkansas League 
and didn't look like much of a hitter. Nobody could. Most of the 
games were played at night and your cellar was lighted better than 
those ball parks. He always had a back misery or something, so we 
let him go. Well, as we used to say on the Phillies when we were 
losing a hundred games a year, you can't win 'em all. 

"I shouldn't be telling you this because it can hurt us when we 
try to sell players, but if we're convinced a kid is a potential star, 
we'll keep him, regardless of the price he'll bring. All our scouting 
effort is beamed to the Dodgers. 

"We're getting into a critical period now because we'll need re- 
placements soon for a number of key men who are getting up there 
in age Robinson, Furillo, Campanella, Hodges and Reese. Give 

66 Stanley Frank 

Reese a rain check. It seems to me I've spent half my life hunting 
tor Fee Wee's successor at shortstop and it's beginning to look as 
though he 11 be here forever." 

During the season Thompson divides his time between scoutinsr 
and supervising minor-league affiliates. That's standard operatin* 
procedure for all farm directors, but it is in the off-season that 
ihpmpson gets the drop on the opposition. While competitors are 
telling amiable lies about the ring-tailed wonders they've shaken 
out of trees, Thompson is doing intensive homework on the 
Dodgers secret weapon. He's digesting those voluminous reports 
for leads that turn up men like Gilliam, Podres, Labine, Amoros 
and Zimrner, making mental notes of the Craigs and the Bessents 
who can be pulled out of the hat in an emergency 


By Bob Broeg 

From The St. Louis Post-Dispatch, July 12, 1956 
Copyright, 1956, St. Louis Post-Dispatch 

WITHOUT PROMISING two home runs a game, a no-hitter every 
Sunday or a return to the old-fashioned five-cent scorecard, the 
National League has struck a blow for the common man. 

Appropriately in this cosmopolitan community, the nation's 
capital, the Nationals yesterday vindicated the voice of the fan, a 
clarion cry that for a time threatened to be drowned out by the 
caterwaul of criticism, the razzberries of ridicule. 

Now, however, Ford Frick, a commissioner who yet might rise 
to the stature required by one of the country's most respected posts, 
is certain to keep control of the annual All- Star Game in the hands 
of baseball's followers, the freight-paying customers close up and 
the cheer-leading followers far away. The commissioner now can 
follow the dictates of his basic good conscience and insist that the 
fans are right. 

Only if you listened to enough pressbox pundits or read their 
jeering opinions, could you understand the sardonic delight the 
guessperts would have taken from a victory at Griffith Stadium for 
the favored American League. The choice of the junior circuit 
really hadn't made sense in view of the obvious transfer of power 
to the older league in recent years, but it's apparent now even the 
cold calculating professional handicappers fell for the hogwash, too, 
the hogwash that the fans hadn't given bald Walter Alston a lineup 
with which the quiet, efficient Brooklyn manager could win. 

What they had given him actually was not an out-of -balance or 
bad ball club, but, as suggested here before, one in which the cart 
might have been in front of the horse. They gave him almost his 
best defensive lineup, not his No. 1 attacking team. 

"That's right," Alston confirmed in answer to a question after 
the Nationals beat the Americans for the sixth time in the last seven 
tries, 8 to 3, "We had some more power we could have used and, 
for instance, I didn't appreciate leaving Ernie Banks or Eddie 
Mathews out of there, but we got out in front. And trying to make 
it a ball game, not an exhibition, I then stayed with the best de- 


68 Bob Broeg 

f ensive players I had in there Roy McMillan, Johnny Temple and 
Ken Bayer." 

The modest Alston went farther, too, patching the only positions 
in which he could add or maintain offensive strength without sacri- 
ficing defense. Yes, even strengthening the defense. He substituted 
Willie Mays for Gus Bell, Duke Snider for Frank Robinson and 
finally Roy Campanella for Ed Bailey and Hank Aaron for Stan 
Musial, considerably happier than hurt after his thirteenth All-Star 

Stan the Man gave the game one of its most dramatic and at 
the same time amusing moments when he unloaded a record- 
breaking fifth "dream game" homer just, a half-inning after Ted 
Williams, the Red Sox slugger, had tied MusiaTs previous mark 
with a towering circuit smash. 

"That Williams/' said Musial afterward, chuckling, "is a tough 
one to stay ahead of, all right. My only chance is that we're both 
getting old." 

Musial escaped serious injury in the eighth inning when, playing 
left field after having opened in right, the high-salaried handyman 
ranged in for a short fly hit by Williams and dove to make a catch 
and avoid a collision with Ken Boyer, the Cardinals' third baseman 
who actually was the game's most spectacular performer. 

As Musial went down, one of Beyer's spiked shoes accidentally 
kicked him in his left thigh, creating a momentary muscular cramp. 
The Man was prepared to continue, but Alston and Fred Hutchin- 
son, hurrying out to make sure the 35-year-old star wasn't badly 
injured, lifted him as a precaution. Complimentary to Musial, 
some members of the 28,843 capacity crowd actually protested his 

Grinning afterward, Stan produced a telegram from St. Louis, 
a wire in which Red Schoendienst and wife Mary had messaged 
congratulations on his selection as Player-of-the-Decade in a Sport- 
ing News poll. Schoendienst was home to await the opening of a 
Cardinal-Giant series tomorrow night at Busch Stadium. 

"Too bad Red missed this one (the All-Star game), but I guess 
he got a kick out of it on TV," Musial said, nodding toward Boyer 
and adding : 

"Wonder if Red or the camera could keep up with the kid?" 

The handsome husky Boyer, who had been slumping in league 
play, gave a brilliant exhibition. At bat he collected three of the 
Nationals' 11 hits. Afield he twice deprived Detroit's Harvey 
Kuenn of certain safeties, diving to his left for an inning-opening 

A Blow for the Common Man 69 

stop and lunging to his right, backhanding a ball, leaping to his 
feet and pegging out the Tiger shortstop to end the fifth. 

Boyer hadn't played as though nervous, but had he been just a 
little excited before his first All-Star game? 

"More than a little at first/' was the sophomore third baseman's 
happy answer. "Know what my biggest thrill was, though? Just 
watching Williams for the first time." 

If Boyer was thrilled seeing the menacing long-legged Red Sox 
slugger, his joy wasn't shared by Bob Friend, round-faced young 
Pittsburgh righthander who hadn't pitched to Ted previously. 
Friend, shrugging off the effects of an infected throat, was the win- 
ning pitcher after hurling three innings of scoreless three-hit ball. 
His most trying moment came when he faced his last man Wil- 
liams with two on and two down in the third. 

"Sure, I'd struck him out in the first, but now I stood out there 
just remembering what Birdie Tebbetts said when we'd gone over 
the hitters," Friend recalled. "When we got to Williams, Birdie 
said, That's the greatest hitter you'll ever face.' " 

In the third-inning jam, relying entirely on breaking pitches, 
fast and slow curves, Friend finally got Williams to cuff a "2-2" 
grounder to teammate Dale Long at first base. Ted's homer, a 
towering drive into the right-center field bullpen, some 420 feet 
away, came with one on in the sixth off Warren Spahn, stylish 
Milwaukee southpaw. 

By then, though, the National League had a five-run cushion and, 
as a result, Friend and Tebbetts were able to kid afterward, in the 
noisy National League clubhouse. Birdie, however, sobered as he 
snapped : 

"I guess this one showed that the fans know something and 
that we've got some big league players in Cincinnati," 

Musial heard him. "Darn right," Stan- said. "Those guys didn't 
get into first place just by being nice guys/' 

The ridicule of the Redlegs, the obvious little regard in which 
they were held, apparently led to the under-rating of the entire 
National League team. For all the hitting and fielding of Boyer, the 
slugging of Musial and Willie Mays, and the pitching of Friend 
and Johnny Antonelli, the Redlegs made the greatest contribution 
to the N. L. victory. 

Two starters from Cincinnati, Robinson and Bell, played only 
briefly and Bailey merely walked once in four times up, but Mc- 
Millan and Temple, the paperweight slick-fielding second base com- 
bination, and Ted Kluszewski, who entered the lineup as a replace- 

70 Bob Broeg 

merit for Pittsburgh's Dale Long, continually annoyed the Ameri- 
can League and undoubtedly the Redlegs' detractors. 

Temple, aside from a backhanded gloved stop that resulted in an 
inning-ending forceout in the fourth, walked once and singled 
twice. One of his base hits was a safe bunt and the fiery little second 
baseman also stole a base. The bespectacled McMillan, milder- 
mannered and yet far from placid on the field, drew a base on balls, 
delivered two singles and just continued to be the steadiest, farthest- 
cruising shortstop of his day. Kluszewski walloped two doubles. 

Moreover, one of big Klu's two-base blows launched a scoring 
inning and the other capped a frame in which the Nationals tallied. 
Temple drove in a run and set up one and McMillan figured in two 
N. L. runs. And if they keep up those antics, they'll soon have every 
ball club wearing those silly softball-style uniforms with the vest 
shirts, form-fitting fronts and football-type elastic pants. 

The Redlegs, batting .400, and friends did their damage to four 
of six pitchers used by Casey Stengel, a great manager except every 
year one day in mid- July when he can't win for losing. The Old 
Perfesser, who now has been beaten five of six times as pilot of 
American League All-Stars, might have lost more than just a ball 
game this time. 

X-rays were to be taken today to determine whether Yogi Berra, 
the American League's "Most Valuable Player" and long regarded 
as key man of the Yankees, suffered a broken little and fourth finger 
on his right hand when he was struck by a foul ball in the sixth 
inning. Berra, who already had delivered two hits, was forced to 
leave the game for a pinch-hitter, one of 21 players Stengel em- 
ployed to the 17 used by Alston. 

Most of the American League's parade of performers was from 
bullpen to mound as OF Case threw in six pitchers, only two of 
whom rookie Herb Score and veteran Cleveland teammate Early 
Wynn escaped trouble. The loser was Lefty Billy Pierce. An- 
other southpaw, Ed ( Whitey) Ford, and righthanders Jim Wilson 
and Tom Brewer also yielded N. L. runs. 

Hitters of both clubs, especially National Leaguers unaccustomed 
to the white-shirted batting background in center field, complained 
before and after the game. The way the Senators play, the seats in 
center seldom are filled, observers explained. 

Musial, for one, said frowningly beforehand he wouldn't be sur- 
prised if there were 10 strikeouts on each side. The total actually 
was 17, but 12 were recorded against the Nationals. As compensa- 
tion, however, the older league's pitchers did not walk a batter 

A Blow for the Common Man 71 

while American League hurlers issued four bases on balls and con- 
tributed two wild pitches to the errorless contest. 

Briefly, the Nationals, scoring for the first time off Pierce in 
nine All-Star innings, went out in front in the third on a walk to 
McMillan, a sacrifice and a single by Temple. 

The advantage was increased off Ford in the fourth, when Boyer 
singled and Mays, batting for Bell, lined a pitch high into the 

In the fifth off Wilson, Temple's safe bunt, MusiaTs infield out, 
on which the pitcher's quick action deprived Stan of a hit through 
the middle, and Boyer' s safety to right-center accounted for the 
fourth run. 

The lead became 5-0 in the sixth when Kluszewski, hitting for 
Long, surprised with a double to left, the opposite field, McMillan 
blooped an end-of-the-bat single over Mickey Vernon's head, and 
Brewer obligingly wild-pitched Klu across. 

Spahn, who had breezed through the fourth and fifth, quickly 
ran into trouble in the home sixth. Nelson Fox singled and Wil- 
liams walloped a "2-1" delivery for his homer. When Mickey 
Mantle interrupted his three strikeouts with a line drive into the 
left-field seats, Alston brought in Antonelli. 

The choice seemed as shaky as the dwindling National League 
advantage when Sherm Lollar and Al Kaline singled in succession, 
putting the potential tying runs on base, but Kansas City's Vic 
Power, batting for Vernon, flied out and George Kell hit to Mc- 
Millan for a sure double play. Between them McMillan and Temple 
hadn't had an error in more than SO games, said proud Gabe Paul, 
Cincinnati general manager. 

Antonelli, taking charge, allowed only two singles thereafter and 
the Nationals increased their lead. Musial, tying into Brewer's first 
pitch in the seventh, lined an outside fast ball into the left-center 
field stands. And after Mays drew a two-out walk, Wonderful 
Willie was in motion as Kluszewski doubled into the right-field 
corner, and Hutchinson, coaching third, waved the Giant swiftie 

The National League was home, too, home free in the land of 
the brave after striking that blow for the common man, the fans 
who, as Tebbetts put it, "gave us a terrific defensive club with 100 
extra home runs on the bench if we needed 'em." 


By David Condon 

From The Chicago Tribune, October 1, 1956 
Copyright, 1956, The Chicago Tribune 

PASSAGE OF a few hours had numbed the first pang's of disappoint- 
ment, and now excitement and anticipation gripped the hundreds 
and thousands shoving against each other while awaiting the air- 
plane bringing home their Braves, the Milwaukee baseball sweet- 
hearts who thought they had a date with destiny but found them- 
selves jilted in favor of the Bums from Brooklyn. . . . The night air 
was clear; the stars overhead were as bright as the blinking red 
lights that were a cordon around the airport. It was nippy, and 
Dawn Brockman a 10 year old miss wearing a light pink coat 
and only anklet stockings jumped on one foot, and then another, 
to keep warm. . . . Ellen Pafko hugged a coat close around her and 
told Darlene Dittmer : "This is the second time for me. When Andy 
was with the Dodgers in '51, I had to meet him after they lost the 
pennant to the Giants in that playoff. Bobby Thomson did it then, 
and now he's Andy's roommate. They aren't going to have that 
party tonight, are they? I wouldn't want to go wearing my 
sweater." . . . The director of the 11 piece band sent his musicians 
through a trial run of "On, Wisconsin." A band of befeathered 
young men, jingling bells tied to their ankles, got the drummer to 
begin an Indian beat and they started dancing. And a sign carried 
by a non-dancing member announced: "Welcome Home Braves. 
We're with you 100 per cent rain or shine. Consolidated tribes of 
American Indians." . . . Lorene Spahn Mrs. Warren Spahn said 
it was cold, and Katie Conley asked if if d be all right to kiss her 
husband Gene right in front of the newsreel and television 

A barker buttoned up his leather jacket, shifted a cigar stub into 
the corner of his mouth, and chanted : "Fifty cents, only 50 cents. 
Got all the Braves' names on these souvenirs. Would' ve cost ya $2 
if they won the pennant. Only 50 cents now, a bargain." ... A 
blonde mother dug out a dollar and got souvenirs for two of her 
crew-cut young 'uns. ... A moment later the blonde mother said : 


Jilted for the Bums 73 

'Jimmy, get off that railing up there. You'll fall." . . . And Jimmy 
wanted to know how he could see, with all this crowd, if he didn't 
find some high perch just as lots and lots of the other boys had 
done. ... A cameraman for a television network flashed on some 
bright lights and directed them up toward the concourse, where 
thousands of fans were gathered. "If we can get 'em to wave and 
holler now, we can take a few shots and won't have to wait for the 
plane to get in/ 5 he told a second cameraman. . . . and another 
barker came around with souvenirs: "Souvenirs of the almost- 
champions," he said and an elderly lady tittered. 

Two chartered busses, to transport the players and their wives 
to downtown Milwaukee, drew onto the landing apron. Policemen 
clustered around. Someone said : "There's the mayor, is he going 
to talk?" ... A man was trying to tell the 11 players' wives how to 
take their husbands' arms and how to walk toward the cameras 
when the athletes debarked from the plane. . . . "Well, where's the 
plane?" shouted a fellow you'd probably see in the bleachers. . . . 
"I'll bet the bums decided to come by train," answered the wise- 
cracking kid with glasses that you always find at high school basket- 
ball games. ... a fellow came up and said : "You from the paper? 
Well, you got to give the Braves credit, don't you." ... A four 
motored plane turned from the runway and headed toward the 
terminal. A buzz went through the crowd, and those on the con- 
course waved and those outside pushed forward. But it was a 
regularly scheduled air liner. 

A policeman said he thought maybe 15,000 were at the airport. 
He said thousands were lining the streets on the route the busses 
would take down town. "Imagine if we'd have won," said Jimmy 
Fazio. "And now I've got to cancel five hotel reservations." . . . out 
on the landing strip, a plane was turning. . . . The Braves' special 
was coming toward the fans. . . . There were cheers, screeches, and 
shouts. And by the time the plane circled around and the big pro- 
pellers came to rest, the crowd had surged forward. The crowd 
waved, and men waved back from the plane windows. . . . Manager 
Fred Haney and his wife, Florence, were the first from the plane. 
Fred was bareheaded, coatless. He waved his hand high, and you 
thought you were looking at a 5 foot 9 Gen. MacArthur, the facial 
resemblance is so close. . . . Now off stepped the athletes. Andy 
Pafko, grim faced. A taut looking Eddie Matthews, a tired Billy 
Bruton. . . . wives linked their arms with husbands. There were 
kisses, and then they moved slowly toward the spotlight. . . . The 

74 David Condon 

band played, and the thousands cheered, and some spoke into the 
microphone. . . . but there were few smiles. . . . John Quinn, the 
Braves general manager, said a few words into the mike, and then 
moved on. He was grabbed by his wife, Mariam. She said, 
"Daddy," and she kissed him, and then she cried. 


By Joe Williams 
From Sports, August, 1956 
Copyright, 1956, Sport Magazine 

THIS WAS the assignment : 

"Let's see what gives with Ford Frick, the baseball boss. Has 
he been a good commissioner? What have been his accomplish- 
ments? Has he left undone anything that should be done in the 
interests of a better game? What do the club owners, the players, 
the sports writers think of him? Happy Chandler got knocked off 
trying to win a second term. What are Frick's prospects ?" 

Dutifully, and more or less promptly, representatives of the three 
specified categories, picked out of the air, so to speak, plus added 
starters from the minor leagues, infallibly described as ''harassed" 
these days, were subjected to a modified Gallup treatment. Oblig- 
ingly, virtually all of them responded, some going to great lengths 
to state their views, for or against, to commend this action, to con- 
demn that negligence. A large number came to praise Caesar; 
quite a few to bury him. A conscientious effort at detached, im- 
partial analysis was made, with the result that a digest of the returns 
adduced the following impressions : 

( 1 ) The club owners love Frick. 

(2) That's what bothers the sports writers. 

(3 ) It doesn't make the players happy, either. 

And yet, on the whole, the feeling appears to be that Frick, an 
apostate sportswriter, now nearing the end of his seven-year term 
as a $65,000-a-year baseball executive, and unquestionably inter- 
ested in more of the same, has done a satisfactory, if not a smash 
job, "under the circumstances." 

This reservation appears essential in any assessment of Frick's 
qualifications as well as contributions as commissioner. You must 
decide whether he is handicapped by the constitution under which 
he functions, or whether he merely entertains a misconception con- 
cerning where his authority begins and ends. As you read on ... 
and you will, won't you ? . . . you'll note the seeming confusion, the 
variety of opinions, some contradictory, that this question evokes. 
Even the men who defined it originally, the club owners, are not in 
total agreement. 


76 Joe Williams 

There is another proposition about which there appears to be 
both misunderstanding and misinformation, and until you get 
yourself straightened out on this one, you may just as well forget 
about trying to get an accurate line on Prick's administration. On 
the one hand, a glut of air casting of major-league games is murder- 
ing the minors by degrees. On the other, baseball, or Frick, ap- 
parently does nothing. Why? If Frick tried to stop the broadcasts, 
Uncle Sam would pinch him. Preposterous ! Well, that's what the 
man said. 

In at least one field the poll was able to speak with a clear and 
challenging voice. Among the ballplayers, and a majority of the 
sportswriters, Frick is stigmatized as a company man. One player 
and it's a pity he insisted on anonymity caustically paraphrased 
a recognizable Washington boast: "What's good for the club 
owners, is good for Frick." Of the dozen or so players contacted, 
only Bob Feller of the Cleveland Indians would stand still for a 
direct quote. 

"As player representative of the American League I have a 
delegated interest in the pension fund, and since 60 per cent of the 
World Series TV-radio money is earmarked for the fund, I feel 
that we should be closer to the operation than we are. We should 
have a voice in the acceptance and rejection of bids and we should 
be kept advised as to the status of negotiations. Surely this is a 
matter that is just as important to us as it is to the club owners." 

Inferentially the Indians' greatest all-time star seemed to charge 
that the owners got a bid-by-bid play on negotiations for the new 
contract this year while the players were ignored. The commis- 
sioner has full charge of the World Series ; if he wanted to consult 
with the owners he could have, of course, but there is no rule which 
says he must. At least that's how it used to be. But now that the 
TV-radio take is up in the fancy figures, maybe they insist on 
getting into the act themselves. 

The players have a number of familiar beefs and are ready to 
state them at the slightest provocation, but their concern over the 
pension fund and whether or not the owners are going to continue 
to support it up to 60 per cent, as in recent years, overshadows all 
else, even their heartrending sobs for air-conditioned dugouts with 
foam rubber cushions and valet service. This is the subject that 
unfailingly moves them to warm and nostalgic memories of A. B. 
"Happy" Chandler who succeeded Judge Landis and in turn was 
succeeded by Frick. Just as Frick is now looked upon as an owners' 
commissioner, Chandler was rapturously embraced as a players' 

What They Think about Ford Frick 77 

commissioner. That Chandler affected the players in this manner 
was understandable to veteran political observers who had watched 
Happy demonstrate his affection for the P-E-E-P-U-L in many 
ways in many places. 

The players credit Chandler, who has made a comeback in poli- 
tics, and is once again governor of Kentucky, for the rash of 
benefits that came their way in the late Forties, the pension set-up, 
minimum salary of $5,000 (since upped to $6,000) , the 25 per cent 
ceiling on salary cuts in any one year, etc. To the extent that the 
benefits were bestowed during Chandler's administration, the play- 
ers are historically correct, but in order to place these events in 
their true perspective, an examination of the background and a 
comprehension of the prevailing climate may come in handy. 

Baseball was faced with a two-edged threat at the time: the 
Mexican League and a move by outside forces to unionize the 
players. There had been talk earlier of liberalizing the standard 
player contract, and a few of the proposed concessions were actually 
in the blueprint stage. Frick was then president of the National 
League and he was trying to interest his owners in a form of pen- 
sion plan. 

That the 'owners turned Santa Claus a heck of a lot sooner than 
they had planned, or wished, there isn't the slightest doubt. The 
truth is, baseball has never been able to face up to any kind of crisis 
without succumbing to hysteria. Baseball's first commissioner was 
a product of fright. Judge Landis would never have been possible 
under any condition other than those that existed at that particular 
moment. A clever, shrewd man, with a harsh sense of justice, he 
was almost contemptuous of the owners' pathetic timidity, and he 
extracted from them conditions of servility without precedent in the 
history of any sport or business known to this civilization. Literally, 
he took over their business it was a form of confiscation, really 
and proceeded to run it to suit himself. A large number of people 
thought he ran it rather well, too. But how successful his adminis- 
tration would have been if a fellow named Ruth hadn't come along 
at exactly the same time is a moot question. The way Ruth began 
to pack them in, Rin Tin Tin could have had a successful adminis- 

At the time Chandler took over, the panic was not so pronounced, 
but, even so, there was a great deal of wringing of hands and beat- 
ing of bosoms and looking under beds for evil characters. So, when 
the benefits were finally and officially granted, they savored more of 
appeasement and conciliation than a spontaneously honest move on 

78 Joe Williams 

the part of baseball to keep pace with labor's forward march. And 
because Chandler was baseball's contemporary Mr. Big, the players 
centered their gratitude upon him, and though a new generation 
has arrived, or is in the process of arriving, so effective was the 
impression Chandler made in the role of the ballplayer's guardian 
angel, that he has been all but canonized. The first thing the fuzzy- 
cheeked green pea from Des Moines does when he hits the big time 
is to face east, or rather south, 'way down yonder where the blue 
grass grows, uncover and bow reverentially. 

It is also commonly believed among the players, and the state- 
ment is often made, that the owners got rid of Chandler because he 
didn't talk things over with them before closing a deal for the 
World Series TV-radio rights during his tenure. 

"That's really what cooked his goose," confided a player-pool 
participant, and his comment is repeated here not so much in breath- 
less admiration of its brightness but rather as still another com- 
forting token that no matter how vital the issue, a ballplayer never 
allows the thought of food to wander too far from his mind. 

For all that is known to the contrary, the owners may have re- 
sented the manner in which Chandler put through the deal, and it 
could very well have been influential in his dismissal. All 'that is 
known for sure is that they were openly critical of his business 
sagacity. ^The contract called for five years at a million per. TV 
then was in a state of wide and continuing expansion, with hundreds 
of thousands of new sets being purchased each year, and the owners 
sensibly contended it would have been wiser if their boy had in- 
sisted upon an escalator arrangement, with the fee increasing each 
year. At that time the owners themselves were whacking; up the 
TV swag. 

Whether Frick is an owners' commissioner with the subservient 
connotation his critics impute, or whether he simply happens to be 
an exceptionally able executive whose talents are appreciated and 
it would seem that any man who has successively been a first-class 
metropolitan reporter, a successful major-league president, and 
finally a majority choice for the commissioner's portfolio, must 
have something on the ball ... it is nevertheless interesting to note 
that not a single owner among the group reached by the poll had 
anything but high praise for him. 

Let us listen to some of them, beginning with Phil K. Wrigley, 
owner of the Chicago Cubs, whose testimony ran as follows : 

"Do you think Frick should be continued in office ?" 


What They Think about Ford Frick 79 

"Has he done a good job for baseball ?" 


"What is your stand on unlimited power for the Commissioner?" 

"I believe the unlimited power vested in Judge Landis was 
necessary at the time. I don't believe unlimited power is necessary 
under present conditions." 

"Your views on the TV-radio, minor-league problem, if you 

"It is my notion that nothing has been done because nobody 
knows just where and how the matter stands. Baseball has been 
sued for broadcasting and sued for not broadcasting, and the De- 
partment of Justice is always in the background. Furthermore, I 
have not found any two people who can wholeheartedly agree on 
what really causes the distress in the minor leagues." 

Next came Tom Yawkey, owner of the Boston Red Sox, and 
one of the most respected men in baseball. "I feel the problems fac- 
ing baseball today are more numerous, greater and more complex 
than they were 20 or more years ago. I thought Frick was a good 
man for the job and voted for him. I would vote for him again. 
Also, he has the authority to take action in any way he sees fit when 
it involves 'conduct detrimental to baseball/ " 

Then came Walter O'Malley, president of the Brooklyn club, 
who in reply to the question, "Has Frick done a good job for base- 
ball?" beamingly described the commissioner's work as "exem- 
plary," a treasured adjective which O'Malley reserves almost ex- 
clusively for cooperative politicians who recognize the civic and 
cultural value of his beloved Bums to Flatbush, and for the soul- 
warming, eye-catching fiscal embellishments incident to a seven- 
game World Series, where the owners split all the money for the 
last three games. It is hardly necessary to say that as a measure of 
his esteem for Frick, elaboration would be superfluous. 

Continuing, O'Malley said : "There is about as little difference 
in the authority of Landis and Frick as there is in that of Roosevelt 
and Eisenhower. An executive makes his own authority. You ask 
about 'restoring* the big stick. It might be more accurate to inquire 
if there has been any recent occasion to use it. As you know, it was 
rarely used in the past, and I'm sure it will be used fearlessly in the 
future if the occasion demands." 

Perhaps it should be explained at this point that the poll con- 
ductor, remembering that an important revision had been made in 
the baseball constitution, found himself wondering how much, if at 
all, the revision curtailed the commissioner's authority, and accord- 

80 Joe Williams 

ingly solicited opinions on the need, or desirability of restoring the 
by-laws to their original form, and in what manner removing all 
doubt as to the extent of the incumbent's power. 

Out of this request came the confusion and conflict referred to 
earlier. For example, Powel Crosley, owner of the Cincinnati Reds, 
holds that notwithstanding the revision, "Frick has just about as 
much authority as Landis did." Then, in what almost seems to have 
been an afterthought, and what might even be interpreted as a 
prodding nudge to a hesitant executive, the Reds' owner recalled 
that "The Judge assumed authority even when it wasn't actually 
written into the rules. " 

Let's do a fast playback on these statements. In frowning upon 
the use of uncurbed power, and seeing it as not in keeping with to- 
day's conditions in baseball, isn't Wrigley tacitly admitting that 
such an exercise of force would be impossible anyhow, because the 
constitution forbids it ? Does Yawkey's comment beg the question ? 
In any situation involving "conduct detrimental," he says, Frick's 
power is limitless. Is the implication here that such conduct must 
first be defined, and if so, by whom? And if Crosley felt Frick had 
Landis' big stick, would he pointedly call the commissioner's atten- 
tion to the fact that the old judge played his role by ear? And isn't 
O'Malley saying precisely the same thing when he points out that 
an executive makes his own authority? So what it seems to come 
down to is that (a) Frick has complete authority, (b) Frick has a 
degree of authority but nobody seems to know what it amounts to 
and how important it is, and (c) if Frick wants authority he 
should go out and buy a do-it-yourself kit. 

The writer does not subscribe to the opinion that the mere act 
of buying a ball club inevitably and inescapably transforms a nice 
decent fellow into a shifty, evasive character who is liable to frisk 
you of your right eye if you are not on the alert ; and yet he finds it 
most difficult to reconcile the insistence that Frick is the absolute 
boss of baseball with the emasculated remains of the original rule 
which treated with "conduct detrimental," and which now reads 
as follows : 

"No major-league rule, or other joint action of the two leagues, 
and no act or procedure taken in compliance with any such major- 
league rule, or joint action of the two leagues, shall be considered 
or construed to be detrimental to baseball." 

Regardless of what the legal or executive mind reads into this 
amendment, to the lay mind, at least to this lay mind, it constitutes 
a clear, unequivocal warning to any prospective commissioner that 

What They Think about Ford Frick 81 

if he is at all apprehensive as to whether he will look attractive in 
handcuffs, he had best not apply for the job. Chandler was aware of 
the presence of the amendment when he signed. So was Frick. 
The conclusion then, is they did not regard the handcuffs with 

In its original form, the "conduct detrimental" clause was Lan- 
dis' big stick ; it was all-powerful, all-embracing. Shortly after he 
died, the owners disemboweled it. It would seem to me the effect 
is obvious and indisputably dangerous. Unless I can't under- 
stand basic English, the amendment automatically destroys the 
commissioner's power of veto on legislation and effectively removes 
from him the authority to assume jurisdiction in such broad pres- 
ent-day problems as radio, TV, player relations, etc., except as there 
may be a violation of established rules. To be sure, he can recom- 
mend, he can even suggest, but he has no power of positive action 
and if this is the same difference that exists between Eisenhower 
and the days of FDR, Ike can't be having too much fun, either. 

And yet Leslie O'Connor, who was Landis' private secretary 
all the time the judge was in office, and who is currently presiding 
as president of the Pacific Coast League, says that as far as he 
knows Frick's authority is identical with the authority Landis had, 
including the "conduct detrimental" clause, amendment and all. 

"As far as the amendment is concerned, considered per se, I 
would regard it as unobjectionable," says O'Connor. "Judge Landis 
never declared any major-league rule, or major-league joint ac- 
tion to be conduct detrimental to baseball. The only thing of that 
nature that I can recall was his notifying a minor league, which had 
before it a proposal to establish an individual player salary limit, 
that in his opinion such a rule would be illegal. As concerns con- 
duct detrimental to baseball, then and now, the commissioner's 
authority is ample and not in the least detrimentally affected by the 

The minor leagues, by the way, are supposed to be dying so fast 
tfiat baseball's casket makers don't even stop to count the victims. 
There is active concern as to how the majors can expect to re- 
plenish their stock with gleaming new models of Hubbell, Grove, 
Ott, Mize, Cochrane, DiMaggio, Foxx, Boudreau and the like, if 
they persist in stifling the supply at the source. To the man in the 
street, Frick, as the commissioner, is Mr. Baseball, and what baf- 
fles him is that Frick, to all appearances, does nothing to check 
the growing menace to the game's future, not to mention the im- 
mediate peril to the smaller leagues where tomorrow's stars are de- 

82 Joe Williams 

veloped. But what the man in the street and the minor-league lead- 
ers think of Frick are two different things. O'Connor agrees that 
the TV-radio, minor-league problem is more acute today than it was 
five years ago, but adds that any criticism of Frick in this connection 
is "entirely undeserved." 

Frank "Shag" Shaughnessy, president of the International 
League, cannot always be sure from one spring to another just 
what the make-up of his organization is going to be. He has seen 
such great minor-league towns as Newark and Jersey City topple 
before an unending barrage of big-league TV and radio broadcasts 
as the Yankees and the Giants deliberately exterminated their top 
farm clubs in exchange for sponsor's gold. And a couple of years 
ago he had tradition-entwined Baltimore shot right out from under 
him when the majors needed a quick hiding spot for the dreadful 
St. Louis Browns. Now his once compact, prosperous league ram- 
bles all the way from Toronto to Havana, and Lower Slobovia can't 
be far away. 

Nevertheless, Shaughnessy is squarely behind Frick. "I know 
him better than anybody else in the minors," says the father of the 
playoff systems bearing his name. "I know he realizes only too 
well broadcasting and televising major-league games in minor- 
league territory is injurious to the box office. And I know, further, 
that he has worked harder than any other man in baseball, in his 
quiet, tenacious hard-to-discourage way, and I know that once the 
problem is resolved, as it is certain to be, he'll be the one most en- 
titled to the credit." 

Shaughnessy continues : "Naturally, I'm all for continuing Frick 
in office, but unless, and until, he is given power to act on his own, 
it is both senseless and unjust to charge his administration with 

From the grass-root leagues, the obscure minors, such as the 
old Western and the fabled Three Eye, there is likewise no tendency 
to lay their miseries at Frick's feet On the contrary, O. M. Hobbs, 
president of the Western, tenders sympathy; he is convinced the 
majors make it difficult, if not impossible for the reformed sports- 
writer to take his best holt. And Hal Totten, president of the Three 
Eye, who worked with Frick as a reporter and as a broadcaster 
yes, our busy commissioner used to be a broadcaster, too says 
it's all baseball's fault, presumably meaning the owners. 

"Frick has made many efforts to get baseball to face up to this 
situation of bringing broadcasting and tele-casting of major-league 

What They Think about Ford Frick 83 

games in minor-league cities into a proper focus. But baseball as a 
whole has cowered at every word from the Justice Department. The 
present setup is a monopoly, with major-league clubs pre-empting 
local stations with their broadcasts. In our own league, some of our 
cities can't broadcast even their own games because major-league 
clubs have tied up the local stations. In one of our cities, a cer- 
tain major-league club took over all three of the local stations. In- 
defensible and outrageous, but blame baseball, don't blame Frick." 

Okay, we won't blame Frick. But doesn't this bring us right back 
to the question of authority? Conceding that the Justice Depart- 
ment's position has not been conducive to a clear-cut, direct ap- 
proach, but, on the contrary, has been maddening in its proneness 
to call black white on Monday, and white black on Tuesday, and 
both white and black gray on alternate Thursdays, it still is im- 
possible to believe that such conditions as the president of the Three 
Eye League describes are forced upon the owners by the depart- 
ment under threat of prosecution for restraint of trade. 

This has more the color of indifference and major-league greed 
than anything else, and if Frick hasn't the authority to step in and 
put an end to this shameless type of commercial gluttony, well, he 
should take Powel Crosley's hint and assume it. 

As has been indicated, Frick grew up with the baseball writers. 
Most of them are personally fond of him, and genuinely pleased 
that he has done so well for himself. But not many of them feel 
that he has been a really good commissioner. They agree with the 
players that he is too sensitive to the owners' interests and his 
failure to demand the weapons necessary to move with boldness 
and firmness against the multiple problems facing baseball has dis- 
appointed and sorely distressed them, his best friends and severest 

Says Dan Daniel of the New York World Telegram and Sun, 
who is a highly respected baseball authority : "First, Frick's rela- 
tions with the fans For them, he does not exist. He is fighting 
nobody and nobody is fighting him. Hence for them, he is a nega- 
tive story and a negative personality. 

"His relations with the players They feel they are no longer 
represented in the commissioner's office and they have a lot of data 
that tends to support this view. 

"His relations with the club owners He is an ideal man for the 
job. He is a rubber stamp commissioner. 

"His relations with the writers They ridicule him, but then, 

84 Joe Williams 

ridiculing commissioners has long been one of their favorite pas- 
times. They respected Landis, but they belted him on occasion, too, 
as if from habit 

"Still, I think that within the limitations which Frick insists his 
contract imposes, he has done a good job and should be continued 
in office. Where has he failed ? He has not seized the chance to be 
a leader and it seems obvious he does not want to force an issue or 
do anything that might disturb the status quo. 

"Conclusions : (a) Baseball is frightened, (b) Baseball is utterly 
without leadership, (c) Baseball is administratively gutless." 

Says Franklin "Whitey" Lewis, of the influential Cleveland 

"I find I must cast a negative vote for Frick in the full picture 
of his commissionership. He has given me the impression of a man 
trying to protect a good thing, his well-paying job. In my estima- 
tion, he has been 100 per cent an owners' man. He has permitted 
practices and conditions that are pretty sorry, such as domination 
of the American League by the Yankees' Del Webb, and he has 
conveniently overlooked, it seems to me, the presence in baseball 
of some men of doubtful moral fiber. I am astonished that he does 
not crack down on the horse racing and racket elements in baseball. 
He has not made a single noteworthy decision that required ex- 
traordinary foresight, or that was in disregard of the owners. His 
handling, or failure to handle, the Arnold Johnson case, to bring 
the full details of this unique, if not incredible, financial operation 
into the open, must stand as a lasting reproach to his administra- 
tion. And as a one-time sportswriter, and a man who has been close 
to the sport scene all his life, why the hell does he need an advertis- 
ing outfit to tell him what is wrong with baseball ?" 

Says Earl Ruby of the Louisville Courier-Journal: "From the 
crumbling ruins of this once great baseball town, Ford Frick looks 
like this : 

"Maybe he is in no way to blame, but since he took office base- 
ball has gradually shrunk from an almost universal sport in Amer- 
ica to a big business enterprise, conducted by 16 big businessmen in 
16 big business cities. 

"Kids are playing baseball only when pushed into it by big busi- 
nesses, such as Coca-Cola, or by Sunday school teachers and other 
do-gooders trying to eliminate juvenile delinquency, whatever that 
is. High school games draw nothing and college baseball is grow- 
ing only in the minds of men paid to instruct." 

Says Bud Spencer of the San Francisco News: "The Pacific 

What They Think about Ford Frick 85 

Coast League started dying several years ago because in its two 
key cities, Los Angeles and San Francisco, there were civic cam- 
paigns that held out the promise of early big-league baseball. At 
about the same time we began to get unrestricted radio, and then 
weekly telecasts of big-league games, and these features further 
discouraged interest in the home teams. Pretty soon our fans began 
to say : 'It is ridiculous to pay money to see these bushers when we 
can see the big fellows for free !' 

'This was an instance where baseball flagrantly and cruelly 
failed because of lack of foresight, over-all awareness and direct- 
action leadership. Our fans were encouraged to live in this impos- 
sible dream world and to gorge themselves on the wildly colored 
heroics, via radio, of the big fellows, who almost any day, or so 
they were tempted to believe, would be appearing in the flesh in 
our home parks. Now all along, Frick, the two league presidents, 
and even their office boys, simply had to know that the circum- 
stances were such we wouldn't be able to get big-league ball for 
maybe three, four or five years. 

"But no one representing baseball spoke out and the disastrous 
nonsense ran its course, finally collapsing from the sheer absurdity 
of its pretensions, and if this frustration did not leave Pacific Coast 
baseball dead, it surely left it sicker than it had ever been before in 
all the many years of its existence." 

Says Pat Robinson of International News Service : "I used to 
room with Frick when we were making the baseball circuit. In 
those days he was a tough man with a buck, and from what I hear 
he still is. Just the same, I think he's done a better job than Chand- 
ler, or even Landis, who always struck me as something of a phony, 
anyway. I don't know whether Frick's got enough authority or 
not. If he hasn't, he should speak out, or get out. It is no mystery 
to me why no progress has been made in the TV-radio, minor- 
league shambles. The big-league owners want that quick dough 
right now. Tomorrow it might rain." 

Another wire service editor who participated anonymously in 
the poll because of policy reasons, commends Frick for a "fine 
progressive job," applauds him for "surveying fan sentiment to 
determine what might improve the game," and feels that if he has 
failed anywhere, and this he is not ready to admit, it would be in 
the area of improving conditions for the players, an area in which 
Chandler did a superior job. 

And from Denver, Chet "Red" Nelson of the Rocky Mountain 
News sees Frick as a practiced middle-of-the-roader. 

86 Joe Williams 

"I would have to doubt, though, that that kind of leadership can 
win and hold the confidence of the masses, or that it can make much 
headway against the road blocks baseball is facing today. At least 
some of the blame for the minor leagues' distress has got to be 
borne by Frick. After all, he is the head man and the situation has 
worsened, rather than improved, under his administration. Maybe 
his passive program is what the big-league owners want. Only they 
and Frick would know for sure. The able way in which he handles 
pension, union and judicial issues shows he has the touch. One 
wonders if he has the opportunity to be a real leader. Again, only 
he and the owners would know." 

But Warren Brown of the Chicago American says : "I worked 
on the Journal in New York with Frick years ago. He was my 
friend then. He still is. I think he should be continued in office. I 
think he has done a good, if untheatrical, job for baseball. As a mat- 
ter of fact, there is enough whoop-de-doo in baseball by space-lov- 
ing magnates, etc., to make Frick J s quiet conduct of the commis- 
sioner's office a welcome relief. I agree that the big-stick clause, or 
a reasonable facsimile, would be helpful to him. However, I've 
noticed no temerity on his part to get tough when the need arose. 

"I do have some ideas on TV-radio, not so much as to what it is 
doing in the minors but as a medium of reporting. All the TV- 
radio guys I know who travel with the clubs are more attaches of 
the club than factual reporters. They sin either by too much 'every- 
thing's wonderful' or are gagged into making no adverse comments, 
as any baseball writer worthy of his salt refuses to do. I think Frick 
would do a fine thing for TV and radio reporting generally if he'd 
take steps to eliminate the pollyanna methods and let the men at the 
microphones say things are lousy when they are lousy." 

It may strike the reader as strange that nowhere in all these 
comments is there any reference to a specific accomplishment by 
Frick, not even by the owners who were patiently trying to show 
that he stands aces high with them. It doesn't, of course, follow 
that his administration has been unproductive. As a matter of fact, 
he has at least two substantial accomplishments to his credit open- 
ing the ancient log jam which resulted in bringing new blood into 
the majors in the form of franchises for Milwaukee, Baltimore 
and Kansas City, and putting the pension fund on the gold stand- 
ard, thereby guaranteeing every eligible pensioner every dollar 
his agreement calls for, even if baseball should cease to exist to- 

Important as these accomplishments are to the stability of the 

What They Think about Ford Frick 87 

game, they were unspectacular in conception and execution. Proba- 
bly not one fan in 5,000 knows, or even cares, that the pension fund 
is now as sound as the Bank of England, and that it was mainly 
through Prick's efforts what Shaughnessy calls "his quiet, tena- 
cious, hard-to-discourage way" that this security was worked out. 
What do the fans remember most about Chandler? They remem- 
ber that he kicked Leo Durocher out of baseball for a year. And 
about Landis ? That he exiled a bunch of crooked players for life. 
Melodrama that dances in headlines and clinges to memories. 

Frick isn't cut out for spectaculars. His first ambition was to 
teach school. He was born more than 60 years ago in Wawaka, 
Ind., a village celebrated for its onions; he attended De Pauw Col- 
lege, took up journalism in Nevada, eventually landed in New 
York. As a reporter he was old Gus H. Dependability himself. He 
never booted a story or missed a deadline. He never stayed up too 
late or drank too much or plunged headlong into violent debate 
or stormy controversy. He was frugal with his time, his ideas and, 
as Pat Robinson mischievously recalls, with his money. None of 
which is a crime. Nor is ambition. It wasn't necessary for Frick to 
go out of his way to try to impress the men who owned the big- 
league ball clubs ; if they happened to be on the prowl for a man to 
put in charge of the shop, Frick was a natural sober, industrious, 
responsible, solid. Real solid. First, he impressed the owners of the 
National League and became their president ; then the owners in 
both leagues, and became the commissioner. 

It probably doesn't offend Frick to be called a middle-of-the- 
roader. It may even please him as an acknowledgement that he is 
not a dangerous rebel, or a crackpot. By the same token, he may 
cringe at incitements from the press box that he strike out boldly, 
slashingly, fearlessly, leaving in his wake a long line of stunned 
and speechless club owners. This sort of thing would not be at all 
in keeping with his character. 

However, to mistake such an approach for submissiveness and 
reluctance to stand up for a principle, could lead to serious error. 
Frick has a capacity for indignation and decisive action, as he dem- 
onstrated when word reached him that certain members of the St. 
Louis Cardinals planned to strike rather than take the field against 
Brooklyn with Jackie Robinson in the line-up. This was Robinson's 
first year in the majors and Frick was still serving as president of 
the National League. He promptly issued a statement that left no 
doubt whatever as to his ideas of social justice, or to what limits he 
would go to see that they were respected under his stewardship of 

88 Joe Williams 

the league. He addressed the players as follows : "You will find that 
the friends you think you have in the press box will not support 
you. You will find, further, that you are outcasts. I do not care if 
half the league strikes, those who do strike will encounter quick ret- 
ribution. All will be suspended, and I don't care if it wrecks the 
National League for five years. This is the United States of Amer- 
ica and one citizen has as much right to play baseball in our league 
as another/' 

Frick seems to place a premium on organization and group 
sentiment as distinguished from independent or lone wolf action, 
and he tosses off such terms as policy patterns, package deals and 
streamlined operations as if he were an alumnus of J. Walter 
Thompson. In line with his "let's-all-of-us-take-a-good-look-at- 
this-baby-and-see-what-we-can-do~about-it" theory, the owners 
now meet jointly with him four times a year instead of once as in 
the past. An obvious gain is that the agenda, being less crowded, 
gets a more penetrating study. Under the defunct once-a-year ar- 
rangement there was such a mass of material to go over that many 
proposals were tabled or rejected because the owners hadn't enough 
time to examine them. 

^ They had one of those get-togethers late last spring in Cin- 
cinnati and Frick returned to his home base in New York all aglow 
over how well it had come off. No stop-press decisions were reached 
but there had been a "meeting of minds" on important subjects, 
one of them being the trying and intolerable problem of major- 
league broadcasts in minor-league territory. As a result it was 
possible to state that by next December a committee appointed for 
the purpose would submit a dynamic program which Frick was 
certain "will be acceptable to all interests." 

"And once we've got this problem whipped, the minor leagues 
will be in for a long run of prosperity," he promised. 

The temptation to say "provided there are any minor leagues 
left" was strong, as I was reminded by a nagging conscience that 
the slow, steady haul in the hands of a conservative safety-minded 
driver has an appeal that is still appreciated by hordes of people. 
It may take a long time to get there but when you do you are in 
one piece. 

Be that as it may, this was another typical vignette of Frick in 
action, the earnest, fact-stuffed man in the gray flannel suit, who 
subscribes to, and obviously has faith in, opinion surveys, the man 
who earlier had put the arm on the networks for nine hours of plugs 
for opening day ball games, a promotional coup without parallel 

What They Think about Ford Frick 89 

in the entertainment world. "And while some of it may not have 
been as effective as we would have liked, it helped tell our opening 
day story to the entire nation, it cost us nothing, and, generally 
speaking, I think it did us a lot of good/* 

This was Frick in what I suspect is now his favorite role, as 
"Chairman of the Board/' and here he was doing a selling job on 
his "directors/' and instead of swinging a big stick, he was stabbing 
the air with a pencil to stress his point, after the manner of execu- 
tives from Portland to Pasadena. Hours later, as he slid a neat 
sheaf of notes into his briefcase, he told newsmen : "Boys, I think 
you can truthfully say that at long last baseball is off dead center. 
We've started to move and to think in terms of today, this minute, 
right now. We have modernized our executive machinery and 
I'm happy to say that we are beginning to get results." 

This was Ford Christopher Frick, getting closer and closer to 
his goals, enthused over a procedural reform and a measure of 
progress in attitude. These small but promising advances were as 
unexciting and unspectacular in the telling as they must have been 
in the making. But apparently these are things that have to be 
done, and this was the man who was doing them, or getting them 
done, the man of whom it is said the club owners love him, the 
players suspect him and the sportswriters belt him, the man who is 
supposed to have the most important and most powerful job in 
baseball, though there are many who question this, and there are 
many others who wish they knew, just so they would have one less 
thing to worry about. 


By Si Burick 

From The Dayton News, August 1, 1956 
Copyright, 1956, The Dayton News 

You SENSED the disinterest in the subway on the way to the ball 
game. Nobody else, it seemed was going our way. The Giants were 
to play the Redlegs a double-header, one of those twi-night things 
that would start in the gloaming. 

As you came out into the daylight from the cavern under the 
street, you noticed the lonesomeness of the box-office men. 

"It is still early/' a companion said, "but what has happened to 
the Giants in this town is one of the great tragedies of baseball in 
our time. This is a team that is living on its $600,000 income from 
television. Hardly anybody comes to see them any more and when 
they do come, they boo." 

The Giants are the team of tradition in New York. But those 
who remember the glories of McGraw and recall the championships 
that Terry and Durocher brought here cannot endure watching this 
club that is deep in the National League cellar in the second year 
after winning its last flag. Going into the double-header, the club 
had won but two of its last 19 games. In that stretch no pitcher 
had gone the route. In 30 games, there had been but one in which 
the starter went all the way. (Joe Margoneri went nine to beat 
Cincinnati last night.) 

The ball players on both benches appeared depressed by the 
vast emptiness in the historic Polo Grounds. In the visiting dugout, 
Ed Bailey put on one shinguard, then stepped out to "count the 

"They won't even be watching us on television tonight/' Ed said, 
"with Milwaukee and Brooklyn on another channel. You could spit 
in an umpire's face and nobody' d know it." 

On the way up to the pressbox, a man from Dayton stops you. 
"Do you think all the boxseats in this park are taken for tonight?" 
he asks. The answer is in the negative. "Well, at the boxoffice, 
they wouldn't sell me one and at the exchange window they said all 
these were taken." They weren't, of course. 

Another man, listening in, said, "How about a place like this ? 


The Lonesome Polo Grounds 91 

I walk up to the window and ask for a ticket and I lay down a $20 
bill and the man says he's sorry, he ain't got the change. I gotta go 
buy a beer in a joint across the street, so he can sell me a ticket/' 

"Imagine/' an usher said, "the Jints startin' a double headuh 
and they ain't five hundert in the whole Polo Grounds." 

There would be many more later, but the small house at the start 
was indicative of the spirit that had gone out of the Giants and out 
of what was left of their following. In other times, this same double 
bill might have put 50,000 in the place and most would have 
come early. 

What had happened to the Giants to bring about such a descent 
from Olympian heights in such a short space of time? From the 
world's championship in four straight games over Cleveland in 
1954 to the National League cellar ? 

You ask the cognoscenti of the Polo Grounds press corps and you 
get a variety of answers. Hardly anybody blames Bill Rigney, the 
manager who succeeded Leo Durocher after last season. 

One man said, "If Rigney was wrong, it was only in placing too 
much faith in the ball players he managed at Minneapolis last year. 
He went out on the limb for too many of them as major league 
players right now. It didn't stand to reason that so many of them 
could make the jump from the American Association. On the other 
hand, he had to stand with what he had and what he had to re- 
make the Giants was the men who came up with him from the 

Another pointed to the upper story of the clubhouse in center- 
field and said, "Put the blame there. That's Horace Stoneham's 
office. He is the owner. He runs the show. He permitted the club 
to disintegrate." 

Said another, "What has the farm system contributed ? Why is 
Carl Hubbell so easy to reach in his Polo Grounds office, when he, 
as the farm director, should be out beating the bushes? I don't like 
to put the rap on a great Hall of Fame pitcher like Hubbell, but 
his organization has not kept up with its competition." 

Said another, "Whitey Ford is a New York boy who wanted to 
pitch for the Giants. He was a National League rooter as a kid. 
The Giants ignored him and the Yankees found him. Even then, 
his father had to convince him to sign in the Yankee chain. 

"Bob Grim is another. A Giant scout watched him work in a 
sandlot game and decided he couldn't throw fast. A Yankee scout 
noticed the same thing and asked why he wasn't throwing hard. He 
found out the kid had hurt his elbow. He waited, saw him again and 

92 Si Burick 

signed him. One more good pitcher lost by the Giants and gained 
by the Yanks/' 

Another blamed Tom Sheehan, chief advisor to Stoneham, be- 
cause he has the owner's ear ahead of the manager, which was a 
factor, the man said, in Durocher's decision to leave. 

Whatever the reasons, the Polo Grounds attendance is off by 
more than 100,000 this year and will drop even farther because 
there is little hope that the club can climb out of the cellar, despite 
last night's victory over contending Cincinnnati. 

The papers talk about the Giants, whose lease is soon to run out 
at the Polo Grounds, moving over to Yankee Stadium, or moving 
out of town altogether to Minneapolis. 

One columnist has suggested that since a new bait park of 50,000 
capacity is about to become a reality in Brooklyn, why shouldn't the 
Giants share the new baseball edifice with the Dodgers ? 

"Impractical/' some say. "Since both are Eastern clubs, they 
both would be home at the same time. Which would give up its 

They could work out the problem, say others. "It would be 
better than driving the town's oldest team into the Minnesota hin- 

No question about it ; the Giants are a problem to the league, 
which wants representation in the nation's biggest city. 

As to the club itself, Bucky Walters, Rigney's lieutenant, was 
asked if he felt the Giants were really as bad as they had been look- 

"No, indeed," said the one-time Cincinnati pitcher and manager. 

"We play everybody close and we lose close. Always it's one 
little thing that beats us. One pitch, one little hit we couldn't get in 
the right spot, one play in the field we didn't quite negotiate; one 
easy chance that somebody muffed ; one little nubber that dropped 
in for the other side. These are the things that have beaten us. 

"Now and then we get pulverized and actually that isn't bad. 
You lose and there are no reasons to replay those games. But 
the close ones, they murder you away from the ball park, not 
only when you're in it." 

It was a good night for the Giants. By winning half the double- 
header, they had but one game to replay. And from the scant 500 
of the early evening, the paid crowd went to 10,564. Not many in 
a town of 8,000,000, but better than it has been, even though many 
of the paying customers rooted for Cincinnati. 


By James Murray 

From Sports Illustrated, August 20, 1956 
Copyright, 1956, Time, Inc. 

IT'S HOT. Over the vast expanse of the ancient, soot-blackened 
arena the sun glares pitilessly, slowly but surely roasting the sweat- 
ing humans in the cavernous gloom below as in an oven. Here and 
there, up the baking channels of the stadium ramps, small figures 
struggle hopelessly, blindly seeking the light above. One has al- 
ready reached his goal. We see him here, transfixed before the dis- 
tant spectacle he has come so far to view. But his ears hear not the 
muted shouts upon that far-off playing field; his eyes see not the 
graceful curve of ball in flight and runner reaching. His gaze is 
riveted for all eternity i.e., nine innings on his inevitable doom : 
a pole. 

He has probably paid $2.50 to view that pole. Small comfort to 
him that this pole has been holding up this structure where he sits 
for nearly half a century, because he didn't really come to look at it 
at all. He came to see a ball game, and now he wonders why he 
isn't out where smarter people are who keep up with the times 
out on the golf course, say, or trying to improve his rusty back- 
hand on the local tennis court or maybe shooting bears and buf- 
faloes with bow and arrow. In short, we have before us a specimen 
of homo spectator about to become homo participants if he can 
ever get out of this broiling hole of hell alive and hating the very 
thought of it. 

And people ask: What's happening to the fan? Where is he? 

Well, I have news. The fan is there, right where he's always 
been still tooling around the antiquated ball park in the family 
sedan looking for a place to park ; still emptying out his pockets to 
pay off that shark who steered him to a fender-denting hole outside 
the left-field wall, or giving his last eight bits to the usher, the one 
who's buying income property with the accumulated tax-free tips 
he gets for dusting off reserved seats. Could even be, in mid-game, 
he's still climbing the ramps because he didn't tip the usher and 
so got sent off in the wrong direction. But anyway, he's still around, 
the fan is, behind his pole or maybe standing in line outside the rest 


94 James Murray 

room, the one with only one door and just enough facilities to take 
care of a Cub Scout den. He's still around but maybe not for long. 

Or maybe he isn't around, at that. Maybe he finally listened 
when the little woman stamped her foot for the umpteenth time and 
said: "The ball park? That filthy hole? Not on your life! we're 
going down to Loew's High where they have Rossano Brazzi kiss- 
ing Katherine Hepburn's hand in Technicolor on a Wide Screen 
with Stereophonic Sound; and where they have those big, com- 
fortable loge seats with air-conditioning and hot popcorn and cold 
Coke if you feel like it." Maybe he thought of the splintery plank 
seats which he would get for his reserved-seat ticket, and the sweat- 
ing effort of cheering himself hoarse for a pack of athletes who 
would make obscene gestures at him or take to the public prints to 
claim he didn't deserve their services even at SO grand per year. 
So maybe he did turn to the little woman, thinking : it's just too 
much trouble to get there, it's too uncomfortable when I am there, 
they treat me like I'm not wanted anyway; and maybe he said: 
"Honey, you're right. Loew's it is. And Saturday, instead of go- 
ing to the ball game, I'm gonna try and break 100." 

Extreme? Well, possibly. But it's happening. Things are con- 
spiring against homo spectator. He's being pulled and tugged at 
from all angles. He isn't an anachronism yet, but he's in danger of 
becoming one a figure from the past, a backdrop for a TV ath- 
letic show, a potbellied object of finger-pointing by his family: 
"Daddy, Mr. Jones filled in at shortstop in Little League practice 
yesterday. How about you ?" "Honey, Mrs. Smith told me that her 
husband was out on the golf course the other day when that big 
agency man from the West was here, and he shot an 80 or some- 
thing and landed the account." The physical fitness people are after 
him, too; it's getting so a man can't spread himself at a ball park at 
all any more without thinking of what it's doing to his heart, his 
blood pressure and assorted organs he was heretofore totally un- 
aware of as he sits and urges others on to sweat and toil in the 
name of sports and glory. 

But the worst thing of all is that he's being let down by those 
whom he depends on most: the men who run the spectacles he 
wants to pay money to see. It isn't only baseball ; it's boxing, too, 
and football and basketball and even tennis, which, come to think 
of it, is one of the worst offenders, with its matches staged in re- 
mote country clubs with concrete seats (if any) and the assump- 
tion that anybody who cares about the game has a chauffeured 
Cadillac at his disposal anyway. And the effect of it is telling. You 

The Case jor the Suffering Fan 95 

can see it best in baseball, where the griping and second-guessing 
got so audible this year that Commissioner Ford Frick saw fit to 
clamp on a muzzle. Unwelcome as the thought may be to homo 
spectator, his ranks are thinning, and it's getting clearer all the 
time that if it's sport he wants, the thrill of combat and achievement, 
he's got to get out and, in the modern spirit, do it himself. It's al- 
most easier to pitch a game these days than watch one. 

Take Bob Cobb, the Hollywood restaurant magnate who is presi- 
dent, principal owner and general manager of the Hollywood Stars 
baseball team. As operating head of a franchise in a city of more 
than two million, it is his function to serve mainly as a supplier of 
baseball talent to a city of fewer than 750,000 (Pittsburgh) but, 
the fabric of baseball being what it is, he accepts this philosoph- 
ically. In fact, he thinks it's nothing compared to the indignities 
organized baseball heaps on those it ought to know better than to 
mistreat the customers. 

"Look at it this way," suggests President Cobb. "There isn't a 
ball park in the country, with one or two exceptions, that's less than 
30 years old. Baseball men haven't done a damn thing to their parks 
for decades except paint them. Show me another industry that has 
stood still like that ! Show me a hotel in a big city that was a major 
hotel 30 years ago and is still a major hotel. You won't find one un- 
less it has been renovated from top to bottom. The Polo Grounds 
is that same old plant a horse-and-buggy ball park. Sentiment? 
A lot of bosh! Would you drive a 1910 automobile to take your 
family on a long trip, sentiment or not ?" 

Cobb doesn't even spare himself. 

"Take that ball park of ours out there (Gilmore Field in the 
heart of Hollywood) . It's dirty. It's apt to be damp at night. You 
have to wipe the dew off to sit down. We don't do it for you un- 
less you're a box seat holder and are prepared to tip. We have 
the finest concession foodstuffs in baseball. But what do you get? 
Still just a hot dog and a paper cup of beer that will spill on your 

It isn't as though it was only Gilmore Field or Ebbets Field or 
the aforementioned Polo Grounds. The fans' dissatisfaction with 
what they get when they've plunked their money down and paid 
off the parking lot shark and the small boy who wants to watch the 
car and the guy who beats them into buying a program and the 
usher who tells them where to go and the usher who dusts off 
the seat when they finally get to it well, their dissatisfaction 
with the whole works is country-wide. 

96 James Murray 

"Memorial Stadium," says a Baltimore victim, "has poles that 
must be the granddaddies of all poles round, thick and made of 
concrete. The Oriole management has marked about a thousand 
seats as 'obstructed/ which they certainly are, and there's about 
another thousand pole seats for which they don't sell tickets at all. 
Parking is free," adds this fellow, "but patrons heed well the 
shouts of 'Don't forget your parker !' and toss quarters to semi- 
official persons who do nothing more than say, Tut it in there, 
Mac/ There's a sickening feeling that a quarter saved might be a 
fiat tire earned." 

In solid Cincinnati the inquirer after possible improvements gets 
short shrift from the Redlegs' general manager, Gabe Paul. "Sure, 
the seats are hard," Mr. Paul told a recent interviewer. "A base- 
ball crowd doesn't mind hard seats much, anyway. Every time 
something happens they all jump up. Besides, they've always got 
the seventh-inning stretch." 

In Pittsburgh the pigeons, left roostless when the Wabash Rail- 
road Terminal was torn down years ago, have taken squatter's 
rights to the girders of Forbes Field. The management, complain 
the fans, seems glad to have them there. At that, their control might 
well be the envy of the Pirates' pitchers. The general admission 
fans report they haven't missed the strike zone in years. Forbes 
Field is a museum anyway. It opened June 30, 1909, nearly half a 
century ago. 

In Philadelphia nearly everybody reads the bulletins about how 
street urchins let the air out of the tires of baseball fans' cars unless 
they are tipped a buck in advance not to. So nearly nobody goes to 
a ball game unless there's a big crowd, assuring adequate policing 
of the Connie Mack Stadium area. Said one reporter recently: 
"There is a large number of raucous, uncouth characters who fil- 
ter into Mack Stadium. Several times there have been riots, driv- 
ing away potential customers." It would seem that if the city won't 
do it the management ought to provide more police to protect its 

In Boston, Fenway Park may well be, as it boasts, the tidiest 
of major league ball parks, but its reserved seat sections encroach 
upon the unreserved areas in so unpredictable a fashion that only 
the unknowing fan will venture past the turnstile without a re- 
served seat. The stadium is ridiculously small (capacity 35,000), 
considering that Boston is the lone citadel of big-time baseball for 
all of New England (pop. 9,300,000). A single-decker, it gives an 
inferiority complex to the proper Bostonians, pained at the country- 

The Case for the Suffering Fan 97 

fair aspect of their stadium in comparison to triple-deck mastodons 
like the Yankees' park. Ticket sellers grumpily refuse to scour 
through their stacks to seat customers in preferred locations 
which is about par for the course for ticket sellers anywhere. 

In fact, in Milwaukee one fan stated categorically, "I hate ticket 
sellers as a class, and that goes for opera, concert, basketball, base- 
ball or pingpong. Without me this guy ain't even got a job. But he 
treats me like dirt. He is offended if I ask for a certain seat, as if 
I should feel lucky to get any old seat. He acts like he'd just as 
soon I went away and didn't bother him. I think the ticket seller 
should be hired with care, given some training in sales psychology 
and should be checked regularly by ringers who report on his tech- 
nique and politeness." 

And this specimen of homo spectator added : " After all, the great 
game of baseball, I figure, is like top-drawer vaudeville. It's dis- 

Most of baseball's fans don't yet subscribe to that kind of trea- 
sonable talk. To them baseball is indispensable. And, to be sure, 
ticket sellers as a class have improved over the years. In the old 
days in New York the ticket seller was a carny type who figured 
his salary was beside the point and his real take-home pay was what 
he could cheat out of the customers via the short-change racket. 
But this fan is right : ticket sellers represent the face of the ball 
club to the customer. If it's a surly face, his reaction is negative. If 
it cheats him, a little of his love for baseball dies. 

In Milwaukee the fans have a friend fellow by the name of 
Russ Lynch, a sportswriter who wasn't satisfied just to get the 
Braves in his home town. He insisted their deportment be ex- 
emplary once they were there. When he found women with babes 
in arms standing for hours in the broiling sun to buy tickets at the 
stadium, he forced management to open more ticket windows and 
to distribute tickets to key downtown locations for ready purchase. 
The point is that Mr. Perini, the Braves' owner, should have 
thought of it first. The Milwaukee chapter of baseball's loyal fans 
took his club out of Poverty Row and made it the most envied 
franchise in baseball today. 

In Cleveland the Municipal Stadium ramps are so steep that 
even young people are exhausted by the time they get to their seats 
in the upper stands. The aged customers won't try. Yet depart- 
ment stores have had escalators for 20 years or more. Why not 
baseball stadia? The Cleveland chapter would also like to know 
how come the choice tickets for choice doubleheaders (like the 

98 James Murray 

Yankee ones) wind up in the hands of the shady characters on 
Short Vincent Street? Are those the guys who support the baseball 

"In Chicago's Comiskey Park/' writes a friend from the home 
of the White Sox, "there isn't much you can do about the stock- 
yard stench which has preceded you to the ball park. You've bought 
a box seat for $2.50. The Andy Frain ushers in their smart blue 
uniforms keep looking at your stub and pointing toward left field. 
Finally you've gone as far down the left field line as you can go; 
a smiling usher looks at your stub and says, "There!" and you dis- 
cover you're sitting 11 rows back in box 97. You're 350 feet from 
home plate and you're playing the hitter even deeper than is Orestes 
Minoso, Sox left fielder. You will be wise not to put up a squawk. 
Remember, they can always exchange your ticket for a 'box seat' 
high in the upper tier back of first base, from which $2.50 vantage 
point you can't even see the right field corner. 

"Finally/' our friend concludes his melancholy threnody, "the 
game is ended. You fall in line for the one-hour march out of the 
park. Shuffling down the narrow aisle (narrow aisles make for 
more seating capacity) you wonder if you'll ever re-enter the free 
world. At long last you do, only to endure the ultimate indignity. 
That 12-year-old brat who offered to watch your car for 50^ 
and was turned down has taken his revenge; there is a long 
scratch running the full length of the car." 

In view of all this, it's hardly surprising that baseball attendance 
has fallen off almost one-third in net paid over the past eight years. 
To be sure, there are other reasons, which the owners cannot con- 
trol : the Dodgers- Yankee olio has been seen too much, for instance. 
But the cold facts are that the drop-off would be even more dizzy- 
ing if it weren't for the plugging of big holes by Milwaukee and 

Baseball is the worst offender but by no means the only one. If 
the reader ever contemplates laying out $50 or $100 for a "ring- 
side" seat at a really big prizefight, let him bring along a pair of 
binoculars. That "ringside" seat unless you're a big shot or a 
friend of the IBC will be 20 to 50 rows back, and if the fight is 
in a ball park the seats will be level, not elevated. At the Marciano- 
Walcott fight in Chicago there were 12,500 "ringside" seats, more 
than half the capacity of Chicago Stadium. 

In football there are stadia with seating capacities in the neigh- 
borhood of 100,000 all over the country. But fewer than a fifth of 
the seats are between the end zones. If it's a college game these 

The Case for the Suffering Fan 99 

seats are filled by the students, and no one will quarrel with that 
But if it's a pro game these seats are filled by season ticket holders. 
Now, a fan does not expect to be sold season tickets in the end 
zone, but a little planning could save some fair-to-middling seats 
for the fan who likes the home team but can't take that big lump 
sum out of the family budget to get in on the season ticket sale. 
Failing that, pro football could take a tip from department stores 
which sell their merchandise on the installment plan. People can 
even fly now and pay later but pro football apparently doesn't 
trust people. 

It's always been a rule of thumb in the sports business that to 
attract the customers all that's needed is to field a winner. As far as 
the promoters are concerned, the fans are just a bunch of fair- 
weather friends and there isn't any reason why a promoter should 
go out of his way to make the temporary residency of those who 
pay admission into their arenas any more pleasant. But this is an 
attitude which is peculiar to the sports industry alone. The auto 
manufacturers put out a good product and go out of their way to 
make it pleasant for Mr. and Mrs. John Doe who want to buy it. 
And if they don't buy, the manufacturers don't sulk and call the 
Does a family of ingrates. They just redouble their efforts to please 

The plain truth of the matter, to address a word directly to those 
responsible for the misery of The Man In The Upper Deck Seat, is 
you can't go potzing along in 1956 with ball parks built in 1891, as 
the Polo Grounds relic was, or even 1913, as Ebbets Field was. 
You can't and still expect to compete equally for the entertainment 

You're not going to lose the diehard fans, to be sure. They're 
used to the hardships and long ago were trapped by the romance 
of baseball in spite of your stubborn efforts to break them up. But 
you haven't a prayer of capturing the younger generation. They're 
used to ruffled nurseries, followed in succession by bunk beds, light- 
weight bikes with gearshifts, fancy automobiles and, at length, air- 
conditioned offices and restaurants. As far as they're concerned, 
your places of business are just damp, draughty, cramped and cav- 
ernous old architectural monstrosities, peopled with hostile or in- 
different sales personnel, insolent vendors and swell-headed per- 
formers who won't even sign autograph books. Even My Fair 
Lady couldn't draw them through an obstacle course like that. 
Your show, in short, is for addicts only. 

Perhaps baseball men have swallowed too much of that senti- 

100 James Murray 

mental pap that baseball is such a super-integral part of the Ameri- 
can scene that it will be put on sustaining even if no one shows up 
except the players subsidized like the farmers, say. If that's the 
case they would do well to look over into a more sensitive sports 
area the horse race tracks. The entrepreneurs there know that 
they're rather shaky members of the community, and they go out 
of their way to be gracious and courteous to their guests as a result. 
Take a look around the newer race tracks : escalators, a multiplicity 
of restaurants and cocktail lounges (real hot chef's food, not hot- 
water frankfurters and soupy mustard), cushions on the seats, 
clean-up crews constantly at work, plenty of police for your pro- 
tection and a setting as relaxing and beautiful as the center of 
Central Park on a summer afternoon. A baseball park ought to be 
at least a facsimile of same. 

Mr. Cobb, he of the Hollywood Stars whom we quoted at the 
beginning of this piece, agrees. "What baseball should have every- 
where," he insists, "is not another ramshackle stadium but a brand 
new baseball plant with brand new ideas and engineering. It should 
be one with power brakes and steering. What I mean is, it should 
have escalators and radiant heating, adjustable seats for box seat 
patrons. It should have a spacious restaurant with a dance floor. 
It^should have parking for 12,000 to 15,000 autos, with 1,000 
private spaces for season box holders. 

"It should be beautifully landscaped with perennial flowers and 
manicured green grass. It should have a banquet room which will 
seat 4,000 people and which will have all the major sports ban- 
quets. It should be a little like Santa Anita race track only more 
so. It should have a 90-foot-wide foyer divided by trees. Why, 
Forest Lawn is just a cemetery but it draws half a million people 
a year just because it's beautiful." 

A word from the couch in conclusion, that couch which awaits 
homo spectator if he can't make the transition to homo participans 
and finds the pole behind which he is sitting has grown into a wall. 
For years the amateur psychologists used to lambaste us poor fans 
we were taking out our aggressions in the grandstand, they said, 
and really weren't very nice people, full of repressed hostility, they 
said. Well, a prominent Beverly Hills psychiatrist to whom I talked 
says : "Not so. I would not agree it is unhealthy. It's a reasonable 
way to give vent to feelings or to have satisfied needs which if ex- 
pressed in other ways might be harmful One of the primary needs 
is to expre^ aggressiveness. It is beneficial to society and to the 
individual to have this aggression expressed in spectating a sports 

The Case for the Suffering Fan 101 

event. Prisons are full of people who were not able to take out these 
aggressions in this way/ 7 - 

But he does sound a word of warning for sports promoters, own- 
ers and general managers. "Being at a contest of any kind," he says, 
"the spectator gets a vicarious participation in it. Thus he ex- 
periences feelings and personal meanings in these competitive or 
win-versus-lose situations. Anything which restricts his ability 
to lose himself in the contest he is watching will decrease both his 
enjoyment in it and the value he derives emotionally from being 
able to express aggressive feelings in a controlled and socially ap- 
proved manner." 

In other words, Mr. Sports Manager, if it costs too much money 
or too much trouble, if it makes your customers disgruntled or dis- 
mayed to watch your spectacle, if it disrupts their home life because 
their wives won't go to "that grimy old place," then you're in 
trouble. It will all tend to dilute your customer's concentration on 
or self-identification with the contest going on down on the field. 
There's no telling what this might mean. Somewhere along the line 
one of your fans might sock an umpire. One of them might sock 
you. But one thing is sure: when the dilution reaches the point 
where the distractions outweigh the concentration, then your cus- 
tomers won't be fans any more. They'll be ex-fans. That's your 


By Roger Kahn 

From Newsweek, June 25, 1956 

Copyright, 1956, Newsweek 

BY THIS WEEK professional baseball players had again moved to 
their unchallenged places in the center of the nation's eye. From 
the crack of the bat on TV to the flash of the pitcher's smile in 
cigarette ads, it was their time of year. 

New England boys who had never heard of Robert Frost wished 
desperately that they could be like Ted Williams. Youngsters in 
New York City's Harlem who knew little about Booker T. Wash- 
ington were cheered because Willie Mays was hitting again. Al- 
most every American had a hero struggling in the major-league 
spotlight, but hardly anyone bothered to consider what the heroes 
were like, after the daily game was over. They were not all the 
same, of course, but there were many points they had in common. 

They lived with a sense of urgency because at 35 their careers 
might be done, but it was an urgency that eluded their expression. 
Few of them were articulate, or read books, or looked at paintings, 
or knew that Beethoven was a composer. Fewer cared. 

They went to Western movies and the more gunplay, they said, 
the better the picture. They followed the sports pages and on the 
long train rides between major-league cities they played hearts, 
drank beer, and sang hillbilly songs. 

Most of them came from small towns and they were suspicious of 
the people in the cities. They tended to undertip. 

They were bigger, stronger, tougher, and more selfish than 
most and there was one thing they could do really well. From 
their earliest memory, it seemed, each had been the best baseball 
player of his age in the town and even in the county. As they grew 
up nothing else really mattered. Somehow that single fact covered 
for everything else. 

When Mickey Mantle advances on home plate, his head thrust 
forward and his Homeric neck bowed, the impatient stride suggest 
a worker approaching the cashier's window on payday. Mantle 
does not actually run up to hit, but his steps are hurried enough 


Oklahoma's Mickey Mantle 103 

to convey both a sportsman's eagerness and a craftsman's sober 

Once inside the batter's box, he digs his spikes hard in the dirt, 
planting his rear foot as firmly as a stake. He sets his front foot 
down more lightly, bends slightly at the waist, and swishes his bat 
back and forth. As the pitcher winds up, Mantle abruptly cocks 
the bat. For an instant, he is a motionless, outrageously muscular 
figure that might have been hewn from solid oak. Then he swings 
and there is the sound of distant thunder. 

Mickey Charles Mantle, the current pride of the proud New 
York Yankees, wears a size 17j^ collar and at least one theory in- 
sists that his batting secret lies within the neckband. "Look at the 
kid's neck," advises Mike Garcia, a Cleveland Indian pitcher so 
massive that he is nicknamed Big Bear. "I wear a 17j^ collar my- 
self, but it isn't the same thing. I'm just big. With Mickey, there's 
this terrific muscle that sticks out right in the middle of his neck. 
When Fm standing on the mound I can see it real clear." 

Because of the neck, and a back which seems huge as Asia, Man- 
tle appears to be stocky. Actually, at 5 feet 11 he weighs no more 
than 196 pounds, and regardless of the figures, his physique rep- 
resents the realization of every scout's ultimate dream. This week, 
as the baseball season charges into its third month and his Yankees 
charge toward their 22nd pennant, Mantle has become the most- 
valuable property anywhere in the baseball world. 

Such upstart teams as Cincinnati and Pittsburgh may have con- 
fused the National League pennant race, but largely because of 
Mantle's work, the American League has maintained its customary 
order : The Yankees are out front. And Mantle has a fair chance 
to beat or equal Babe Ruth's 29-year-old record of 60 home runs in 
a single season. 

He is leading the major leagues in batting average, home runs, 
runs batted in, runs scored, and hits. His eager walk to home plate 
and his uniquely vicious swing are familiar enough among fans 
everywhere to produce a babble of boos and cheers whenever he 
comes to bat. 

"Ted Williams could never hit as hard as Mantle," insists Lou 
Boudreau, manager of the Kansas City Athletics and the inventor 
of spectacular defensive shifts that have bothered both Mantle and 
Williams. "Mantle," says Al Lopez, the cautious, thoughtful mana- 
ger of the Indians, "has more power than Babe Ruth." 

"The way this kid switches* . . ." says Bill Dickey, the Yankee 

104 Roger Kahn 

coach who was himself a fine hitter twenty years ago. "I thought 
when I was playing with Ruth and (Lou) Gehrig I was seeing all 
I was ever gonna see. But this kid . . . Ruth and Gehrig had power, 
but I've seen Mickey hit seven balls, seven, so far ... well, I've 
never seen nothing like it." 

Only slightly less remarkable than his strength is Mantle's run- 
ning speed. After taking a full swing, he has covered the 90 feet 
from home plate to first base in 3.1 seconds, at least a tenth of a 
second faster than anyone else in the majors, where speed and 
power, traditionally, are non-mixers. Beyond this, Mantle has one 
final physical attribute : A strong and accurate throwing arm. 

This season Mantle has come finally to a point where he is gen- 
erally regarded as the best baseball player in the world and is 
given a serious chance to become the best ballplayer of all time. 
Only two elements weigh against him : The questionable soundness 
of his knees and the uncertain development of his personality. 

The possessor of perhaps the brightest future in baseball is a 
blond 24-year-old, with a blank, almost handsome face, who grew 
up in an Oklahoma zinc-mining town called Commerce (popula- 
tion, 2,442) and still likes to spend his winters there. Mantle is 
probably happiest when he is hunting quail and duck around Com- 
merce with his 16-gauge shotgun. He is not comfortable in a na- 
tional spotlight and he is just beginning to understand his place in it. 

When Mantle appeared on television with Perry Como, June 9, a 
90-second chore for which he was paid $1,000, he managed to 
handle his lines passably, but next day a routine question threw 
him into confusion. 

"Was that a script or were you talking ad lib on television last 
night ?" a sportswriter asked. Mantle's head went down and the 
neck muscle bulged. "I don't know/' he muttered in embarrassment. 

Inarticulateness has been as much a part of Mantle's make-up 
as power. Even in a baseball setting, where speech patterns are 
often restricted to dialogue that might have been censored from 
"The Naked and the Dead," Mantle's ability to communicate is 

* A good curve thrown by a right-handed pitcher appears to be coming directly 
at a right-handed batter before it breaks over the plate. Even for major-league 
hitters, the tendency to recoil exists. But Mantle, a switch hitter, bats right- 
handed against left-handed pitchers, left-handed against the right-handers and 
never has this problem. The curves are always breaking where he can get a bat 
on them. 

Oklahoma' 's Mickey Mantle 105 

markedly limited. What encourages the Yankees are signs that he 
is finally breaking out of his mute shell. 

Kim Novak, the attractive actress, was on the same Perry Como 
show and Mantle had no difficulty expressing himself about her. 
"Boy is she something/' he volunteered. "She's a real^big girl, did 
you know that? Why she's got a back almost like mine." 

Even with less provocative topics, Mantle is improving. At- 
tempting to kid the star, one reporter remarked last week: "I saw 
your first network TV appearance, Mantle. It was also your last." 

"Ah," Mantle answered quickly. "What do you know? The 
phone was ringing all night when I got home. Two o'clock. Three 
o'clock. Why don't that damn Selznick leave me alone?" Although 
David O. Selznick is associated with movies rather than TV, ex- 
perts on batting-practice repartee agreed that Mantle had^ engi- 
neered a truly Shavian thrust, probably for the first time in his life. 

Yet from the day he was old enough to hold a baseball, Mantle's 
life has been pointed directly toward the major leagues. "There 
wasn't no lullabies for nie back home/' he once said in a cogent 
flurry of conversation. "Instead Dad'd play the ball game on the 
radio from some station up in St. Louis." 

No stage-struck parent ever forced a child through routines 
more intensive than the baseball drills Elven (Mutt) Mantle, a 
zinc miner and occasional semi-pro, organized for his eldest child. 
By the time Mickey was 10, it had gotten to be a joke in Commerce 
that when Mutt came home from the mine at 4 in the afternoon, 
Mickey had to stop playing and start practicing. 

Mutt's first principle was switch hitting. Against his father, 
Mickey was allowed to use his natural right-handed swing, but 
against his grandfather, Charles, he was forced to bat left-handed. 
"He didn't like it," says Mickey's mother, Lovell, "but I guess now 
he must be glad." 

During his first two seasons in the Yankee organization, Mantle 
played shortstop at Independence, Kans., and Joplin, Mo. His field- 
ing was uncertain but his hitting was so remarkable that in 1951, 
only two years out of high school, he was asked to train with the 

That spring Joe DiMaggio was fading fast and the Yankees, 
whose gate receipts have flourished through a star system, were in 
frantic search of new faces. At Phoenix, Mantle hit several balls 
almost 500 feet. The search ended For the rest of the spring the 
Yankee publicity department proclaimed the first coming of Man- 

106 Roger Kahn 

tie with evangelical persistence. Before opening day the rookie was 
baseball's biggest story. 

Partly because they are so successful, the Yankees have long been 
a favorite target of fans. ("How can you root for them? It's like 
rooting for U. S. Steel/') When Mantle, who had been switched 
to right field, started slowly, the absurdity of his whirlwind build- 
up was underscored, and fans everywhere saved their loudest jeers 
for him. Once to relieve the pressure, the Yankees briefly sent 
Mantle to the minors, but the problem was not to be solved that 
simply. Mantle's first year in the major leagues was quite unpleas- 
ant and totally unlike the picture that his father had so often 
painted. Then, early in 1952, Mutt Mantle died of cancer at 40. 

"Mickey was very close to his father and he thought an awful lot 
of him/' Merlyn Mantle, an attractive 24-year-old redhead who 
married Mickey in 1951, says. "It really affected him. He's had 
responsibilities since then, sending his sister and three brothers to 

DiMaggio retired after the 1951 World Series and Mantle 
moved into center field. He hit one ball 565 feet during the first 
week of the season and won headlines all over the country, but he 
also struck out repeatedly in attempts to duplicate the drive. Under 
relentless pressure, Mantle made fierce demands of himself. A 
failure to hit, even in batting practice, could have frightening re- 
sults. Alone in the batting cage Mantle once loosed a violent string 
of curses, which prompted someone to ask: "What's he so sore 

"Himself," a veteran Yankee said. 

Whenever Mantle struck out, he let loose a kick at the water 
cooler in the dugout. "That water cooler ain't striking you out, 
son," Casey Stengel, the Yankees' acerbic manager, volunteered, 
but Mantle continued his kicking. He struck out 111 times that 

There was no gradual transformation visible in Mantle between 
1952 and last fall. He remained sullen and moody. He refused to 
make public appearances. He showed flashes of absolute baseball 
genius, but too often they came only after long moments of utter 
mediocrity. With Willie Mays of the New York Giants and Duke 
Snider of the Brooklyn Dodgers both brilliant in center field, Man- 
tle got less and less public attention. 

Back in Commerce he moved into a simple frame house close to 
a blacktop road. Merlyn did all the cleaning, washing and ironing, 

Oklahoma's Mickey Mantle 107 

but Mickey, who once had worked as an assistant electrician 400 
feet underground in a zinc mine for $40 a week, now spent his days 
hunting. Merlyn, a drum majorette at Picher High School, Com- 
merce High's archrival, when she first met Mickey, rarely dis- 
cussed baseball when he came home. 

"I knew next to nothing about it," she says. "I still don't. Mickey 
is what you call the nervous type. He can't sit quiet. Still you 
can't hardly tell if he's worried. He keeps within himself." 

Until this season, Mantle's best batting average was .311 (twice 
bettered by Mays) and his highest home run total was 37 (three 
times bettered by Snider) . 

"But I saw the kid looked different in the spring," reports Stan 
Musial, who won the National League batting title six times. "He 
always struck out a lot but now he was letting bad pitches go. If 
he hits 60 homers and bats .400 now, I can't say I'll be surprised." 

In spring training, too, Mantle devoted more of his time to the 
off-field responsibilities of a ballplayer. Reporters discovered that 
while he was not yet glib, he regularly engaged in small talk. "Lis- 
ten," Mantle told one baseball writer, "I want to explain some- 
thing about switch hitting to you." Hours later the writer was still 
telling friends : "Imagine, Mantle explaining something to me." 

This season Mantle started with a flourish : Ten homers in his 
first nineteen games. Inevitably he was mentioned as a threat to 
Babe Ruth's long-standing, magic 60. 

"What I really want to do," Mantle says, "is hit .400, because 
the way I swing if I hit .400 I know I'm gonna be sure and hit the 
60, too/' 

This easy self-analysis clashes sharply with the cursing, sullen 
Mantle of only a year ago, but baseball men who seek the answer 
quickly suggest the same word : Maturity. 

The remaining question about Mantle was summed up by Bobby 
Feller. "His mental development," Feller says, "has got to keep 
stride with his physical development. If he can get this thing up 
here tuned up " Feller pointed to his brow "he'll sure set a lot of 

The muscle in Mantle's neck, clearly, has done about as much as 
the lower part of the head can. 


By Tom Meany 

From Collier's, September 28, 1956 
Copyright, 1956, Tom Meajny 

As THE 1956 SEASON goes into its final weeks, major-league pitch- 
ers will remember it as the year when they and the home-run 
records were assaulted on all sides. It was the year that the Yan- 
kees, in the American League, took dead aim on that circuit's rec- 
ord of 182 round-trippers in one season (set by the 1936 Yankees), 
that Cincinnati's Redlegs threatened the National League record of 
221 home runs (set by the 1947 Giants), that Milwaukee's Joe 
Adcock hit homers where none ever had been hit before, that the 
Dodgers' Duke Snider broke the same clock twice in one week in 
a rival ball park, that the Pirates' Dale Long hit homers in eight 
consecutive games, an unprecedented feat, and it was the year that 
Mickey Mantle was well ahead of Babe Ruth's record for three 
quarters of the season and hit a ball almost out of Yankee Stadium. 

In short, it was a year long to be remembered by the hitters 
with a smacking of lips, by the pitchers with the thought that they 
should have been throwing from foxholes. In a year in which 50 
home runs were hit in a single day (Memorial Day) and an even 
100 pitchers were used and misused in both leagues in that one aft- 
ernoon, there is no telling what may happen in the upcoming World 
Series. Hitters have reached the point where they are likely to ex- 
plode home-run records in any park in the country, including Yel- 

The tidal wave of homers has renewed speculation about the 
lively ball. When a home-run rash occurs, the lively ball is the most 
popular suspect since the butler in British whodunits. Halfway 
through the 1956 season, more homers had been hit in the majors 
than in any other half season, not only more but longer ones. It 
would have been written off against the lively ball, an annual ac- 
cusation, though one never substantiated, had not science stepped 

This being an electronic age, it was only natural that the long- 
hairs got into the act and the slide rule worked overtime. Terms 
like the "angular velocity of the bat," "the laws of conservation of 



energy" and "resiliency at the point of impact" were tossed around 
as carelessly as knuckle balls. 

The writer has spent 30 years following baseball clubs, but in the 
past few weeks has barely been able to see a game due to the neces- 
sity of covering the latest in baseball news at the University of 
Wisconsin, the Pels Planetarium in Philadelphia, the Maroth En- 
gineering Company, and various research and statistics depart- 
ments of both major leagues and several sporting-goods manufac- 

At the University of Wisconsin, for instance, varsity baseball 
coach, Professor A. W. (Art) Mansfield, and Dr. R. J. Francis 
have been experimenting with baseballs for some years. This pair 
prepared an 18-page paper, Studies on Certain Physical and Per- 
formance Characteristics of Baseballs, which was read before col- 
lege-baseball coaches in New York in 1955. It dealt with such mat- 
ters as the twists per inch of yarn used in various types of baseballs, 
their seam width and their "fatiguing characteristics. 5 ' 

But science offered eternal proof of only one fact : no one can 
ever prove whether today's baseball is livelier than in past sea- 
sons. These are the steps which led to this conclusion : 

In the A, G. Spalding & Bros. Inc. factory in Chicopee, Massa- 
chusetts, where major-league baseballs are manufactured, officials 
declared no change has been made in the specifications or manu- 
facture of baseballs for at least three decades. The quality and 
quantity of the materials are standard. 

However, the major leagues never have included in their con- 
tract with Spalding a specification on resiliency of the ball. And 
resiliency is what every fan is talking about when he argues the 
lively ball. So, somewhat alarmed by the home-run hullabaloo, the 
manufacturers decided this year to establish a resilience formula 
for the official ball. The B. F. Goodrich Company built a machine 
which measured how lively the 1956 ball is and which will do the 
same chore in the years to come. But it was unable to offer evidence 
whether the year's model has more bounce to the ounce than its 
predecessors because baseballs deteriorate so swiftly that after sev- 
eral months they cannot be tested. From this year on, we'll know 
whether the ball is getting livelier, but the arguments about pellets 
of the past must rage without the help of science. 

Physics did provide aid and comfort, however, to the growing 
minority which argues that the home-run cannonade is largely due 
to today's lighter bat. The average weight of bats used by top hit- 

110 Tom Meany 

ters has decreased by eight ounces and the handles have become 
thinner during the years since 1929, according to statistics sub- 
mitted recently by Hillerich and Bradsby, manufacturers of the 
Louisville Slugger bats. Babe Ruth, for instance, used bats ranging 
from 38 to 42 ounces in 1929; Stan Musial today used a 31- or 32- 
ounce bat. The lighter bat, it is argued, has more whip to it, thereby 
increasing the hitter's wrist action and causing a corresponding 
increase in the speed of impact when the bat strikes the ball. And 
this argument can now rest firmly on the mathematical formula, 
E = y* MV 2 , which means energy equals one half mass times 
velocity squared, which means that Mantle can swing the light bat 
with more velocity, thereby getting over 400 feet of energy into the 

Up in Wilton, Connecticut, Arthur Maroth, an inventor, de- 
vised a bat with a built-in speedometer at the top of the barrel, 
which registers the velocity of a player's swing in miles per hour. 
Yankee and Dodger players, invited to test the meters, complied 
so enthusiastically that, in the case of the Dodgers, vice-president 
Buzzy Bavasi ordered the bats locked up until further notice. Six 
major-league teams have already purchased the Maroth bats with 
the expectation that they may provide a mathematical method of 
grooving a perfect swing. 

Recently the writer took three of the bats to a Yankee batting 
practice. The players' first reaction is to see who can swing the bats 
fastest ; on this occasion Bill Skowron set the top speed of 1 16 miles 
per hour, followed by Bob Cerv at 115 and Mickey Mantle at 114 
(right-handed) and 112 (left-handed). However, the basic theory 
behind the gauged bat is for the player to determine the top speed 
at which he can swing it with enough control to hit a long ball. 
You've still got to establish contact with the ball before that veloc- 
ity squared begins to pay off. When Mantle, for example, was 
having his picture taken for this article, he hit the ball 450 feet into 
the Yankee Stadium bleachers, and the bat registered a mere 95 
miles per hour. Once a player discovers his most effective speed, 
he then can groove his swing to it, and figuratively hit homers 
all afternoon, all summer. 

Livelier bats, livelier baseballs or livelier players? 

Dr. I. M. Levitt, director of Pels Planetarium in Philadelphia, 
dropped baseballs of 1956 and 1955 vintage some 85 feet to the floor 
of the planetarium, and concluded that there were no discernible 
differences in their respective resiliencies but that the ballplayers 


were getting smarter. He reached the latter decision without having 
to drop ballplayers 85 feet to the planetarium floor. 

"Ballplayers have improved vastly in intelligence through the 
years," declared Dr. Levitt. "They know that the formula for 
energy is one half mass times velocity squared, so they are swing- 
ing lighter bats, swinging them faster and hitting the ball farther." 

Admittedly ballplayers have come a long way from the period 
when Lee King a Philadelphia player, by the way angrily dis- 
puted decisions in a Giant series at the Polo Grounds and came up 
with this startling theory about umpires : "New York is called the 
Empire State because the Giants get all the close ones." On the 
other hand, five will get Dr. Levitt ten if he can find even today 
a dozen among the 400 major-league players who can explain 
"E = y 2 MV 2 ". 

Major-leaguers' bodies have grown along with their brains. A 
bulletin issued by Dave Grote, head of the National League Service 
Bureau, shows that players, at least in the senior circuit, average 
two inches more in height and are 20 pounds heavier than the 
players of 20 years ago. Compare these first basemen : 

1936 Height Weight 1936 Height Weight 

Buddy Hassett 5-11 180 JoeAdcock 6-4 210 

Phil Cavaretta 5-1034 157 Gil Hodges 6-2 200 

Dolph Camilli 5-10}^ 185 Ted Kluszewski 6-2 240 

Rip Collins 5-9 165 Dale Long 6-4 210 

Dr. Levitt says ballplayers are smarter, Grote says they're big- 
ger. Ergo, more home runs. 

So much for science. Major-leaguers, managers and players 
listened carefully to the theories, formulas and statistics. Outside of 
admitting that the home run is here to stay and that the assembled 
data was formidable, they reached a conclusion which was summed 
up by Professor Charles Dillon Stengel, who received his horsehide 
diploma some years ago and now holds the chair of philosophy at 
Yankee Stadium. Casey refuses to be bewildered by statistics. "Put 
it this way," he declares. "Everybody's hitting more home runs. 
Right? So they're hitting them because the ball is livelier or be- 
cause they're hitting the ball harder. So how can you tell and what 
difference does it make? Personally, I think everybody is swinging 
harder, so the ball goes farther. That makes sense." 

After looking at major-league games for better than 30 years, 
the writer can say only that more homers are being hit and that 
more players are hitting them because baseball's basic strategy has 

112 Tom Meany 

changed. It was Ruth who pointed the way to home runs, begin- 
ning in 1919. The Babe, however, was finished in 1935, and there 
has been a steadily growing impetus in home runs ever since. 
Fresco Thompson, head of the Brooklyn farm system and himself a 
big-leaguer of note, ascribes the post-war rise in home runs to 
Ralph Kiner, who hit a total of 145 for Pittsburgh in three seasons, 
1947-'48-'49, and became the highest-paid player in the National 
League, drawing $75,000 a year. 

"Kiner was not a good all-around player," declares Thompson. 
"He caught fly balls only in self-defense, rarely threw out a runner 
and had a lifetime average of less than .280, yet he drew the top 
salary because he could belt the ball out of the park. When Ralph 
jokingly remarked, 'Players who hit homers drive Cadillacs/ he 
was nearer the truth than he suspected. In our minor-league system, 
I've tried to educate some of our prospects to choke up on the bat 
and try to punch the ball. They smile and go on swinging from 
Port Arthur, telling me, 'The money's in the big end of the bat.' " 

So let us give science one last swing at explaining the home-run 
rash. A lot of modern physics and mathematics rests on the theory 
of probability, and it seems the only real explanation for this year's 
cannonade is that with so many players taking the big cut, the 
obvious probability is that more four-baggers will be registered. 

It's equally obvious that free swinging leads to more strike-outs 
and to lower batting averages. In the last two decades, major- 
league homers have increased 63 per cent, but strike-outs are up 
32 per cent. In 1936, there were 51 major-league regulars (400 at 
bats) who hit over .300. Last year, there were 20. 

There is an analogy between the increase in homers and the wide- 
spread use of the forward pass in football. What does it matter if a 
couple of passes are incomplete, if you connect on the next one for 
long yardage? Similarly, the home-run attempt is a calculated risk; 
the batter has three swings and it takes only one to ring up the 
jack pot. 

Baseball has changed in its technique and its concepts since the 
end of World War II. Everybody's going for the long ball. Purists 
may decry baseball's jet age but you don't see anybody walking out 
in the late innings. The batter, like Rocky Marciano, always has the 
big one left. 


By John Lardner 

From Sport, February, 1956 

Copyright, 1956, John Lardner 

CHARLIE DRESSEN has been thrown out of baseball, temporarily, 
two different times, by two different high commissioners, Judge 
Landis and Happy Chandler. Serious thinkers believe that these 
moves were necessary, for the country's good. Dressen' s exuberant 
confidence in Dressen must, they feel, be checked and subdued at 
regular intervals. If Charlie had not been banished in 1943, and 
again in 1947, he might have run for President in 1944 and 1948. 
If he had not been removed from the big leagues once more in 1953, 
with Mrs. Dressen' s help, he might have been ready to seize na- 
tional or global power in 1954 or 1956. 

This theory goes a little too far. Dressen doesn't want to be 
President. He merely wants to help the President out or, generally 
speaking, to be sure that nobody, anywhere, has to go without ad- 
vice from Dressen, if Dressen is in a position to give it. When 
Charlie was a coach with the New York Yankees, he noticed that 
Joe DiMaggio was trying to get hits the hard way that is, without 
Dressen's help. So he gave DiMaggio tips on hitting. Also, as is his 
custom, he tried to save Joe the trouble of thinking, by working 
out a private system of letting him know what the next pitch would 
be, fast ball or curve. Once, when Dressen tipped the wrong pitch 
or, what is more likely, when DiMaggio misunderstood the signal 
the famous batsman almost got cracked in the ear. He immedi- 
ately asked Dressen to stop calling pitches for him. 

"Desist, before I get killed," said the ungrateful slugger, or words 
to that effect. 

"Okay," said Charlie, more in sorrow than in anger. He did not 
add, "You'll regret it," but it's a fact that three or four years later, 
DiMaggio was all through. 

At the opening of the 1955 season in Washington, Dressen, now 
manager of the Senators, heard that D. D. Eisenhower, the right- 
handed, crowd-pleasing Chief Executive, had bursitis in his pitch- 
ing arm. 'Til tell you how to fix that," Dressen said to the Presi- 
dent. He then described a machine he had just discovered (and 


1 14 John Lardner 

maybe, if the truth were known, had invented) for curing sore 
arms. "I'll make a note of the name for you," Charlie said. From 
this, it is only a short step to installing- a wire to the White House 
from Dressen's office in Griffith Stadium. Then, when and as 
necessary, Charlie can steal Bulganin's hit-and-run sign for the 
Administration, tip off Mao Tse-tung's fast ball, and decide 
whether Dulles should bat ahead of Wilson. But and this is the 
point if the government doesn't ask him, there's a fair chance that 
Dressen won't tell them. It has always been good will, not a thirst 
for power, that has led Charlie to give advice. If Eisenhower doesn't 
need him, Dressen will have enough to do running a ball club, or 
ball clubs. 

In the spring of 1955, Dressen managed two clubs. The Wash- 
ington team expected it, having hired him for the purpose. To the 
Brooklyn team, it came as a surprise when Dressen, during the 
training season, announced which Dodgers would be cut from the 
squad, mapped out a Brooklyn batting order, and stated confidently 
that the Brooks could not fail to win the pennant. Walter Alston, 
the manager of record, turned a lively mulberry color when these 
remarks were quoted to him. On recovering his powers of speech, 
he sought out Walter O'Malley, the Brooklyn president. 

"This Dressen/' he said. "Are you sure he's not still managing 
the club?" 

"Absolutely, Walter," said Mr. O'Malley. "I distinctly remember 
letting the fellow go. He didn't want or his wife didn't want a 
one-year contract." 

O'Malley had strong reasons for liking one-year contracts. Once, 
when the Brooklyn club fired Casey Stengel before his three-year 
contract was up, it found itself obliged to pay him $15,000 a year 
not to manage. The memory left a scar. "It must not happen again," 
said O'Malley firmly. "With a one-year contract, when we fire a 
manager, he's through." That's what O'Malley thought. Dressen 
simply reversed the Stengel pattern. Where Casey stopped man- 
aging but went on collecting, Dressen stopped collecting, but went 
on managing. 

His post-graduate advice to Brooklyn much of which Brooklyn 
was forced to follow, because it was good advice annoyed many 
Dodgers besides Alston. 

"Dressen should keep his mouth shut," said Tom LaSorda, 
young Dodger lefthander. "He'll have his hands full managing his 
own blank blank blank ball club, without trying to run this one." 

"The trouble with him is, he can't keep his mouth shut," said 

The Happiest Egotist 115 

Ken Lehman, another young Brooklyn southpaw, a few days before 
he was cut from the squad, just as Dressen had said he would be 
cut. "That's why he's managing those humpties in Washington, 
instead of a real team." 

It's true that Dressen is managing, in Washington, a team of 
what appears to be humpties. But that's not to say that he won't 
eventually produce a winner. The record suggests that there is more 
in the talent of this Napoleon-sized advice-distributor than a busy 
epiglottis, a sunny smile, a tuneful whistle, and a tendency to imi- 
tate Emily Post. As a coach or player, he has been in World Series 
with all three New York clubs. ("I'm unique," says Charlie shyly, 
if inaccurately, inasmuch as Casey Stengel also played in the Series 
for the Dodgers and Giants and managed the Yankees in a few 
recent classics.) As a manager, he won pennants in Oakland in 
1950 and 1954, and in Brooklyn in 1952 and 1953. 

It's also true that Dressen talks too much, mostly in sentences 
beginning with "I," "I'm," or "111." (It should be remembered 
that he spent some of his formative days in the Three-I League.) 
But the men on his side have usually liked and admired Charlie. 
Pee Wee Reese, who doesn't deny that he has thought of being a 
manager himself some day, says that he studied Dressen's methods 
closely, and with profit, when Dressen had the Dodgers. Now and 
then, with his own players, Charlie will even listen as he listened 
one day to Lee Grissom, a large, fast, strong-willed pitcher who 
worked for him in Cincinnati in the 1930's. Dressen was going 
over the New York batting order with Grissom, before a Giants- 
Reds game. He came to the name of Johnny McCarthy, New York 

"Now, with this guy " Dressen began. 

"You don't need to tell me about him/' said Grissom, brushing 
McCarthy aside. "I pitched to him in the minors. He could never 
get a foul off me." 

At the last moment, McCarthy was replaced at first base and in 
the batting order by the solid-hitting Sam Leslie. Dressen let nature 
take its course. Coming up against Grissom, Leslie lined a single to 
right field. After the inning was over, Charlie took Grissom aside. 

"What's the matter, Griss?" he said. "I thought you knew how 
to pitch to McCarthy?" 

Grissom scratched his head. "I don't know what the hell hap- 
pened," he said. a ln all the years I worked against him, he never 
got his bat on the ball before." 

"Maybe it's because he's put on weight," said Dressen. 

116 John Lardner 

"You're right," said Grissom, relieved. "He's as fat as a pig." 

After Dressen left Brooklyn, the question came up, would he 
have won the pennant for Brooklyn in 1954 where Alston or 
something, or somebody failed? There were three possible an- 
swers to the question: No comment, no, or yes. Two of these 
answers are good ones. Dressen selected the third. "Why, yes," 
said Charlie. "Even with injuries last year, the Dodgers had enough 
stuff on the bench to do it. I knew those fellas better, and I could' ve 
gotten more out of them." 

Once, in the season of 1952, while the powerful Brooklyns were 
pouring it on the helpless Cardinals, Dressen made remarks and 
gestures that inflamed the temper of Eddie Stanky, then managing 
the Cardinals. "I don't mind jockeying at all," said Stanky later, 
"if it comes from a man of character." It's not easy to say where 
Dressen falls short in the matter of character, but it may be that 
Stanky had in mind the fact that Charlie is not overburdened with 
education. A year later, when Dressen made the sudden and 
accurate remark, "The Giants is dead," his words were quoted 
all over the country. The sentence became a national institution. 
Dressen was surprised at first to hear it repeated so often. Then he 
realized that his grammar had something to do with it. At once, he 
made the position clear. 

"You know," he said eagerly, "I can talk English either way 
good or bad. If they wanted The Giants are dead/ I could' ve given 
it to them that way, too." 

Charlie is nonchalant about education so long as you take note 
that he could have had it if he'd wanted it. When he was a youth in 
Illinois, hitting, fielding, pitching, punting, passing, and thinking, 
he got an offer of an athletic scholarship from Millikin University. 
At the moment, Dressen was making $67 a week playing quarter- 
back for the Decatur Staleys, the forerunners of the Chicago Bears. 
"Can you imagine what 67 bucks meant to a kid in them days ?" he. 
says. He passed education by, and went on using brains in its place. 

While pitching semi-pro in Illinois, for $7.50 a week, he had 
already learned enough to be able to tell pitchers how to pitch for 
the next 35 years. With Minneapolis and Cincinnati, as a third- 
baseman, he learned to tell fielders how to field, and hitters how to 
hit. Along the line, he learned about horses. 

History shows that when Dressen is thrown out of baseball, or 
out of a league, it is usually because some great idea or principle is 
at stake. In 1953, the principle was Walter O'Malley's right to fire 
managers yearly. In 1943, it was Judge Landis' right to hate 

The Happiest Egotist 117 

horses. Dressen at that time was a Brooklyn coach. Leo Durocher 
was the Brooklyn manager. This combination representing the 
strongest concentration of intellect in the annals of the game had 
worked harmoniously for four years. There was some card-playing 
on the club, and some horse-playing, too. As regards racing, 
Charlie's approach was similar to Napoleon's approach to war: 
He thought he could handicap all the tracks in the country simul- 
taneously. Most of the time, however, he and Durocher devoted 
their minds to baseball. Some doubt existed as to which of them 
was the true brains of the team it depended on which you talked 
to, Durocher or Dressen. There is no doubt that Brooklyn practi- 
cally crawled with genius. But Commissioner Landis did not look 
at it that way. When Branch Rickey took over the Dodgers in 1943, 
the Judge grabbed the telephone. 

"You must break up that nest of horse-players and card sharks !" 
the Judge said. 

Rather than fire the whole team, Rickey fired Dressen. Appar- 
ently, the gesture satisfied the Judge. It also pleased Rickey, for 
other reasons. Charlie had been getting $10,500 a year, the highest 
salary ever paid a coach, up to then. A few months later, when the 
heat was off, Rickey hired him back for $6,500. It was one of the 
great man's most sagacious strokes. He had saved the club $4,000, 
appeased the commissioner, and he still owned the smartest coach in 
baseball. It took Dressen three years to work his way up again to 
his old salary. At that point, Larry MacPhail offered him $20,000 
a year to coach the Yankees. 

"You'll be sorry," Rickey said to Dressen, when he heard this 
painful news. "I was just going to raise you to $12,500." Charlie 
brought his keen brain briefly to bear on these figures, and joined 
the Yanks. 

In 1947, he was sacrificed to principle again. War had broken 
out in the spring of that year between MacPhail on the one hand 
and Rickey and Durocher on the other. The new commissioner, 
Happy Chandler, showed his iron hand by tossing Durocher out of 
the game. 

"But, Happy," wailed Mr. Rickey, "where is the equity?" 

"The what?" the commissioner said. 

"We must have equity," said Rickey. "You have punished us. 
What are you going to do to punish MacPhail ?" 

"I'll think of something," said Happy, and suspended Dressen. A 
month later, however, Charlie was back, teaching DiMaggio how 
to hit. 

118 JohnLardner 

Dressen's brainwork reached its finest flower when he was lead- 
ing the Dodgers of the 1950's against Durocher's Giants. The clash 
of mind against mind was audible for miles. One day, Durocher put 
in a pinch-hitter with a big Coast League reputation, Artie Wilson, 
to bat for the pitcher. Dressen had managed Wilson in Oakland. 
With an irritating smile of wisdom, he called in Carl Furillo, his 
rightfielder, to play between first base and second, and stationed 
three men between second and third. Thus though Wilson was a 
lefthanded hitter Dressen was leaving the whole right field open, 
and playing a five-man infield. Durocher's haughty face turned 
gray with strain as he waited to see what would come of this in- 
sulting strategy. Wilson grounded out. 

"I knew this fella just can't pull to right field/' said Dressen. 

"#$%&%$# !" said Durocher. 

It used to be said of Dressen, when he was coaching the Yankees, 
that the American League didn't understand him. His "I told him 
there was something wrong with his swing/' and "I told Mac- 
Phail/' and "I said to Harris/' and "I taught him how to throw a 
screwball/' and "I used that same play myself in 1935" were a 
little too brash for the big, rich, stuffy tastes of the big, rich, stuffy 
Yankees. Charlie, they said, with his noisy ways and his happy, 
lowdown egomania, belonged in a lowdown league, like the Na- 
tional. That may have been true of Dressen's stay with the Yanks. 
They were proud and standoffish. Charlie didn't fit. They looked 
at him, as MacPhail once admitted, down their noses. They looked 
at MacPhail in somewhat the same way. 

But what was true for the Yankees, in regard to Dressen, may 
not be true for all the American League. Going back to the Ameri- 
can League last year, for the second time in his life, Charlie cast 
his lot with a pretty lowdown club. Right away, he let the Senators 
know as he let President Eisenhower know that Charlie Dressen 
knew what was best for them. 

Dressen introduced the Dressen Foreign Policy : how to handle 
Spanish-speaking ballplayers. Under the Dressen Policy, Dressen 
doesn't learn Spanish, the Latin-American players learn English. 
"They're bright enough to learn," says Charlie. "They don't have 
no trouble ordering their meals." In other words, why should the 
manager, at his age, take the trouble to learn the Spanish word for 
"I"? The boys from Venezuela and Cuba, he figures, should be 
able to master five simple signals, with 109 sub-divisions in each. 
At last reports, things have improved since the day last spring 
when, with a Cuban runner on third base, Dressen gave the squeeze 

The Happiest Egotist 1 19 

sign. The runner did not know the squeeze sign. Charlie called for 
another player to interpret. The interpreter failed. By this time, 
everyone in the park, except the runner, knew that the squeeze was 
on. So Charlie put the interpreter on third in place of the Cuban, 
changed from "squeeze" to "hit away/ 5 and formed the Dressen 
Foreign Policy. 

"If I can't squeeze when I want to squeeze/' he said, "where 

He also introduced the Dressen Women Policy : spread the wives 
out. Washington players' wives were told to scatter around the 
stands, instead of sitting together. "When they sit all in one box," 
said Charlie, "they needle each other about their husbands, and the 
next thing I know my ball club breaks up. I seen it happen once 
in 19" 

These are deep waters. There are no profounder questions in 
the world than the woman question and the foreign question. And 
Charlie Dressen has them well in hand. And the government knows 
where to find Charlie. 


By Dick Seamon 

From Time, May 28, 1956 

Copyright, 1956, Time The Weekly Newsmagazine 

MOVED ONE DAY by intimations of mortality, that bibulous phi- 
losopher, W. C. Fields, looked back on his arid boyhood home and 
chose his modest alternative to death : "On the whole, I'd rather be 
in Philadelphia." 

The 20th century's beneficiaries of William Penn's "Holy Ex- 
periment" in "Virtue, Liberty and Independence" might even share 
this sentiment. A sip of their chlorine-loaded tap water and they 
understand why Fields shunned the liquid all his life ; a trip down- 
town and they know why he hated the city's narrow, crosshatched 
streets. A baseball park should be a place to get away from all this, 
but these days even a trip to Connie Mack Stadium is seldom a 
pleasure. The Philadelphia Phillies, now the only major-league 
team in town, are stumbling through their 1956 schedule with all 
the grace of corporation lawyers cutting up at a church picnic. 

Yet Philadelphia's tiny army of baseball fans can still look the 
world in the eye. The Phillies may not add up to much of a team, 
but for the moment it is more than enough that they boast the best 
pitcher in baseball. This season, as for many a long summer, Phila- 
delphia's oft-punctured pride rides high on the strong right arm of 
a visiting Middle Westerner named Robin Evan Roberts. 

The muscular (6 ft. 1 in., 190 Ibs.), 29-year-old fugitive from 
the chores on an Illinois farm is almost too good to be true. Ever 
since he came up to the Phillies in 1948 after two brief months in 
the bush leagues, he has plodded out to take his pitching turn with 
every-fourth-day regularity. Dedicated to the old-fashioned notion 
that he is getting paid for throwing the ball over the plate, and not 
for demonstrating some trick delivery or practicing some offbeat 
vaudeville act for the TV cameras, Roberts has performed his job 
with ^ an efficiency deadly to 1) opponents and 2) baseball records. 
In his third major-league season he won 20 games a record no 
other Philly had even flirted with since the hard-drinking days of 
the late great Grover Cleveland Alexander. Now, six years later, 
he has yet to fall back below the 20-game mark. No major-leaguer 


The Whole Story of Pitching 121 

has done so well since the days (1925-33) of the Philadelphia 
Athletics 7 Lefty Grove. 

Aside from 1950, when he pitched the Phillies to the National 
League pennant, Roberts has been playing for a club that has never 
wound up better than third. But over the years he has started, 
finished and won more games than any other active major-league 
pitcher. And always, even losing, he has found the plate with such 
grim routine that in an astonishing total of 2,272 innings of big- 
league ball, he has been charged with only 500 walks (less than two 
a game), has made only 19 wild pitches, hit only 28 batters. He 
has thrown 1,179 strikeouts. 

For a while, such heady success seemed too rich for Philadelphia's 
blood. The monumental indifference that was ultimately to run 
Connie Mack's old Athletics all the way to Kansas City was far 
from dissolved by Roberts' effortless and somehow unexciting 
pitching. And if winning ball games was not enough, off the field 
the young man was about as colorful as the third fellow from the 
end in the class picture. The few real fans in town felt like Huck 
Finn trying to warm up to the Widow Douglas : "It was rough . . . 
considering how dismal regular and decent the widow was in all 
her says." Robin Roberts was an earnest young man interested only 
in giving the enemy its lumps, while the fans, as one of them ex- 
plains it today, were looking for a player "who can give us lumps 
in the throat." 

Unfortunately the rest of the team also cried out for color. There 
are men who still insist that Owner Bob Carpenter was desperately 
hoping to find some headline-catching shenanigans when he hired 
a private eye to shadow some of his players two years ago. At any 
rate Millionaire Sportsman Carpenter learned nothing that he has 
not known for years : all his money has yet to buy him a polished 

Still, in the 1956 Phillies the nucleus is there. Behind the plate, 
crafty Veteran Andy Seminick makes up in pure baseball savvy 
what he lacks in hitting ; Granny Hamner at shortstop is a real pro ; 
Richie Ashburn and Del Ennis belong in any man's outfield. As for 
pitchers, though, unless Southpaw Curt Simmons gets back his 
"bonus baby" form and until the trade for the Cardinals' Harvey 
Haddix pays off, Robin Roberts is the Phillies' only reliable per- 

The Philadelphia fans have learned to appreciate him, and now 
they understand what his opponents mean when they call Right- 
hander Roberts an old-fashioned pitcher. He never bothers with 

122 Dick Seamon 

fancy stuff but makes do with what he has : a dinky curve, a sneaky 
but unspectacular fast ball, and a frustrating change of pace. He 
offers no single dramatic talent he has no counterpart of Carl 
Hubbell's spectacular screwball, Walter Johnson's terrifying fast 
ball, Bobby Feller's strikeout touch. Pitch for pitch, many of his 
contemporaries have what the trade calls "more stuff/' pitches that 
are harder, faster, or trickier. But better than any of them now on 
the mound, Robin Roberts can put the ball where he wants. There 
is one precious-diamond word for him control. 

In this era of short fences and hopped-up baseballs, Roberts' 
achievements are not easily come by. Managers flash their signals 
from the bench and teammates bawl their encouragement. But 
pitching is a loner's art. Once a man places his forefoot on the white 
rubber slab and takes aim at the plate 60 ft. 6 in. away, he is on his 
own. Only his craft and strength can whip the ball safely past the 
waiting batter. 

Time was when pitchers got a better break. Before Babe Ruth 
taught club owners that home runs and high-hitting games mean 
cash customers, the game was played with a dead ball. Often when 
a home team took the field for the first time they used a "refrigera- 
tor" ball, carefully chilled in the clubhouse icebox to make it even 
deader. There was no rule against spitballs, so with a cud of chew- 
ing tobacco or a wad of slippery elm, a clever man could keep the 
ball hopping all afternoon. After roughing up one side of the ball, 
pitchers used to shine the other side on a part of their uniform 
heavily dosed with paraffin. Thus treated, the ball would really 

Unlike modern games, where dozens of new balls are used in 
nine innings, the games of the memorable days of Cy Young and 
Rube Waddell, Rube Marquard and Jeff Tesreau and Ed Cicotte 
used the same ball inning after inning. Batters pounded it until it 
was brown and hard to see, pitchers doctored its horsehide; every 
thing was stacked against the hitter (everything, that is, except for 
the occasional inspirations of such old-timers as the pre- World War 
I Phillies' Otto Knabe and Mike Doolan, who once broke up a 
game with the Giants by swabbing the ball with capsicum salve, an 
irritant that sent Spitballer Jeff Tesreau to the showers with pain- 
fully swollen lips after only three innings) . 

Today occasional pitchers may still get away with an occasional 
outlawed spitter, but that dangerous pitch has all but vanished. Just 
about the only survival from baseball's rowdy youth is the "acci- 
dental" beanball, the close pitch that keeps a batter honest by fore- 

The Whole Story of Pitching 123 

ing him back from the plate, that keeps him from taking a toe-hold 
and getting set to powder the ball. If the Phillies' Coach Whitlow 
Wyatt, who learned his baseball manners as one of Leo Durocher's 
Dodgers, had his way, Philly pitchers would put the brush-back 
pitch to constant use. "I think you ought to play it mean/' says 
Whit, "like Durocher did. They ought to hate you on the field." 
Pitcher Roberts does not fill Coach Wyatt's prescription. "He won't 
knock down a batter," complains the coach. "Says it don't do him 
any good, doesn't help him any. Well, it sure helped me. Hell, if it 
was my own brother, I'd knock him down as soon as I would any- 
one else. It's my meat and bread he's trying to take away." 

In his stubborn refusal to toss beanballs, Roberts resembles the 
late great Walter Johnson of the lackluster Washington Senators. 
The "Big Train" was a self-confident competitor who occasionally 
went so far as to serve up fat ones to hitters suffering from nerve- 
racking slumps. But throwing at a batter was unthinkable. Johnson 
never even waited for the umpires to discard scuffed balls; as soon 
as he saw one he tossed it aside, for fear it might force him to throw 
his fast one wild and injure the man at the plate. 

Even an intentional walk is alien to Robin Roberts' kind of pitch- 
ing. He plays the percentages, counts on his control to put the ball 
where the batter can hit it, but not safely. "Take a .333 hitter," says 
the Phillies' Coach Wally Moses. "Well, he's only going to get a 
hit once out of three times. Take Willie Mays ; he comes up about 
500 times a season, and he hits SO homers. Hell, that's only one in 
ten. It'd be silly to walk him. Well, Roberts figures those are pretty 
good odds." 

The odds would be even better if Roberts were willing to throw 
a few close ones to keep hitters loose. But his opponents know that 
he won't, so they occasionally scrounge off him. They step into the 
batter's box with complete confidence that he will put the ball near 
the plate ("The inclination is just to say 'Strike! Strike! Strike!' " 
says Umpire Jocko Conlon. "He's so close you gotta watch him 
like an eagle.") If the hitters happen to be hot, they can dig in and 
hammer him unmercifully. This refusal to throw anywhere but over 
the plate has earned him at least one unenviable record : last year 
he allowed 41 home runs, a major-league record. 

A calm man, Roberts recovers quickly from even the most awe- 
some shellfire. This season, after winning his first three games, he 
was beaten in the next three, knocked out of the box twice. Another 
pitcher might have wondered whether that inevitable slide down 
had begun. Not Roberts. One night last week, with his cool and 

124 Dick Seamon 

easy motion on the mound and his reckless behavior on the base 
paths, he beat the league-leading Milwaukee Braves almost single- 
handed, 2-1. He struck out ten men, allowed only eight hits, tore 
home from second on an eighth-inning infield single, slid head first 
into big Del Crandall at the plate, jarred the catcher loose from the 
ball and scored the run that tied up the game. When Roberts took 
his turn again, four days later, the red-hot sluggers of the Cincin- 
nati Redlegs sighted in on his polite pitching and beat him handily, 
5-1. There was never a sign of wildness ; it was just one of the days 
when the percentages ran against him. 

Such hell-bent base running something of a rarity among 
pampered pitchers who figure that their only work waits for them 
on the mound is typical of Roberts' attitude toward baseball. He 
loves every minute of the game. He is a better-than-average fielder, 
can knock down the line drives that whistle back from the batter's 
box, moves fast and surely to field bunts. Despite his dainty, minc- 
ing style at the plate, he is a competent (.250) switch-hitter. "I'm 
happy as can be out there," he says. "I enjoy all of it fielding and 
swinging at bat and all that stuff. If you enjoy baseball and are 
out there playing when you're a kid, you can become all-round." 

Robin Roberts began the rounding-ofif process early. By the time 
he was seven he was nourishing a well-developed dislike for his 
allotted chores on the Roberts farm near Springfield, 111. ; every- 
thing came second to learning how to play games basketball, base- 
ball, anything at all. "He never had a ball out of his hand," his 
mother Sarah Roberts remembers. "Ah well," says his proud 
Welsh father Tom. "He could' ve done a lot worse." 

But at the time young Robin's fold-bricking held less appeal to 
a man who had come up the hard way from the back-breaking labor 
and pocket-pinching strikes of a Lancashire coal mine. Father 
Roberts recalls his barely controlled anger the day Robin deliber- 
ately broke a hoe to avoid work. The outraged father took a fly 
swatter to his son's well-padded bottom ("It don't hurt your hand 
and it don't mark the kid"). But Robin went right on playing. 
When he couldn't talk one of his three brothers into playing catch, 
he would prop an old mattress against the garage door and fire 
away for hours at a home in the middle. All the while, the braying 
porch radio kept him up to date on Chicago Cubs ball games. "If 
people knew what I thought about pitching," says Roberts now, 
"they'd think I was nuts. They make it so complicated. They're 
always saying I studied control from the time I was a little kid. 
That's silly. It's just that it's tough to play catch when nobody's 

The Whole Story of Pitching 125 

around. I threw to that mattress for fun. I never thought about 
control at all. It just never entered my mind that the purpose of 
pitching wasn't to get the ball over the plate." 

Impartially athletic, Robin switched to basketball with the sea- 
son. When his mother would try to get him to do some work around 
the place, he would put her off : "Naw, Mom. I'm a ballplayer. You 
just wait till I get into the major leagues. Then I'll build you a 
house." Even Tom Roberts came to respect his son's determina- 
tion. "You just had to go along/' he says today. "He wouldn't do 
nuthin' else." 

On the way to bigger things, Robin stopped off at Springfield 
and Lanphier High Schools, where he pitched and played third, was 
a competent end on the football team and a promising shotputter. 
When he went to Michigan State in the fall of 1944, he was good 
enough to earn a basketball scholarship the next year. (He majored 
in physical education, graduated in 1948 with a B.S. degree.) 

When Roberts tried out for the State baseball team, his hitting 
was too weak for an infielder, so he asked Coach John Kobs for a 
chance to pitch. "I liked his motion," says Kobs. "He threw it 
someplace around where the catcher held his glove, and that made 

An unspectacular success as a college pitcher, Roberts got his big 
break when the University of Michigan's baseball coach Ray Fisher 
took him to New England in the summer of 1946 to play in the old 
Northern League. Roberts balked often out of sheer awkwardness, 
fell down fielding bunts, was so eager he threw before he got the 
catcher's sign. But Fisher saw things worth working on a tireless 
arm, an indomitable will to win. An ex-major-leaguer (with the 
New York Yankees and Cincinnati), Fisher put the finishing 
touches on the boy. 

Fisher did so well that by the end of his second season in New 
England, Roberts had excited the scouts of half a dozen big-league 
clubs. The St. Louis Browns offered him $225 a month to play 
Class B ball. A few days later the Phillies offered him $10,000. 
Roberts hesitated and the Phillies raised the ante to $15,000, then 
to $25,000. Roberts signed. "I would've signed for $2,500," he 
admits now, "only they didn't know it. When they got up to $25,- 
000, I knew I was going to be able to buy a pretty good house for 
Mom, so I said yes. She really got a belt out of that house." 

Now, nine successful years away from those awkward summers 
in Vermont, Robin Roberts still turns for help to the man who 
polished him up for the Phillies. Last fall Roberts surprised his old 

126 Dick Seamon 

coach by stopping off in Ann Arbor and asking permission to work 
out with the Michigan pitchers. Puzzled, Fisher said, "Sure." He 
watched Roberts throw a few. Fisher saw right away that the 
familiar three-quarters motion had been replaced by a side-arm 
delivery ; Roberts was unconsciously favoring a sore arm. Fisher 
walked over. "Robby," he said, "you've changed your delivery, 
haven't you ?" Roberts smiled with relief. "That's what I wanted to 
know/' he said. "You know, in Philadelphia I'm Robin Roberts, 
and they won't tell me anything." 

Roberts' first season with the Phillies earned him an unexciting 
record (seven won, nine lost) , but it also earned him the confidence 
of his manager and teammates. And it convinced him that he had 
been right all along: baseball was all he wanted out of life. The 
small kid who had cried over lost basketball games took naturally 
to the habits of grown men who sat around and brooded, morose 
and silent, after a defeat on the diamond. Like all baseballers be- 
fore and since Ring Lardner's busher, he learned the tired routine 
for killing time on the road, "the one bad thing about baseball/' says 
he. He went to every movie in town ("I don't care what's playing; 
I like 'em all"), slept for long hours, read the sports pages, stared 
blankly out of bus and train windows, sat slack-jawed in hotel 

By the time he got home that fall, Robin had begun to suspect 
that there might be something else besides playing ball. He asked 
his sister Nora if she knew any girls he might ask for a date. Nora 
fixed him up with a young grade-school teacher fresh from the Uni- 
versity of Wisconsin, a pretty brunette named Mary Ann Kalnes. 
Mary had never seen a big-league game; Robin could talk only 
about baseball. So the happy couple went to the movies, where con- 
versation is sometimes helpful but not compulsory. "We evidently 
got along," says Robin. Little more than a year later they were 

Today the Robin Robertses live on Robin Hood Road in the 
Philadelphia suburb of Meadowbrook with their two children 
(Robin Jr., 5, and Danny, 2) and a 3J^ -year-old Welsh corgi pre- 
sented to Robin by an upstate New York fan. Mary Ann, who duti- 
fully goes to Connie Mack Stadium when Robin is pitching a home 
game and turns on radio or TV when he performs on the road, 
still makes no pretense of being a baseball buff. She admits to know- 
ing precious little about how the other players are doing, is sure 
only that so far this season has been all slump for the Phillies. "I 
don't even bother to check the standings," says Mary Roberts. 

The Whole Story of Pitching 127 

Roberts professes to be unconcerned with the fact that he is using 
up his career pitching for a losing club. "Getting traded or staying 
isn't a deep ingrained thing with me," he says. "This club always 
could potentially win the pennant. Especially when I pitch, it isn't 
a fourth-place club. Usually they get the runs for me." 

Last year, in fact, from the All-Star game to Labor Day, the 
Phillies were perhaps the best in the National League. Then Third 
Baseman Willie ("Puddinhead") Jones was hurt. First Baseman 
Stan Lopata was beaned, and the team faltered. "You look back on 
a season/' says Roberts, "and you see two or three games, here and 
there, that if you'd won might have made the difference/' 

Mild-mannered Manager Mayo Smith agrees. "If we had an- 
other like Roberts," says Smith, "it would make a tremendous dif- 
ference. I agree with Connie Mack that pitching is 70 per cent of the 
game. If you have it, you're always in the game. Even if you haven't 
the power hitting, as we haven't, you can work things like the 
sacrifice, the stolen base and the hit-and-run." 

Smith and the Phillies' management are sure that in Roberts 
they own baseball's biggest bargain. Even in front of a losing team 
he wins so often that he more than earns his salary (about $60,000, 
including income from endorsements) and incidentally disproves 
Indiana Humorist Kin Hubbard's snide crack: "Knowin' all about 
baseball is just about as profitable as bein' a good whittler." 

To Roberts' slowly growing collection of hot fans, his own suc- 
cess seems adequate denial of his own most cherished belief : that 
pitching is essentially a simple art. "Anything is simple to an artist," 
snorts Umpire Larry Goetz. "For the rest of us," echoes Outfielder 
Ashburn, "there must be more, or everybody would bat .400 and 
win 20 games a year." But Robin Roberts insists that it is all much 
simpler than that : "I've been given credit for stuff I don't do. I 
don't even divide people into the tough and easy. It's never the 
same. With Willie Mays, for example, I don't put on anything 
special. I just try to mix up the pitches on him. I can't pinpoint 
what I pitch. I pitch the same to everybody low and away, or 
high and tight. 

"You don't have to make a fantastic proposition out of anybody. 
I live and pitch by a few basic rules. You don't have to make a big 
study of batters beforehand. When I have good stuff I throw four 
fast balls out of five pitches. You can basically confuse yourself by 
typing each hitter or worrying too much about righthanders and 
lefthanders. I don't have any special trouble with lefthanders." 

If he has any trouble at all, says Roberts, it is his shallow curve. 

128 Dick Seamon 

"I'm always hoping I can improve that curve. I must have changed 
that curve nine or ten times. I'll see Maglie throw and say, 'Gee, it'd 
be nice to have that curve/ But if I try to throw it that way, it 
hurts my arm. Mainly I try to count on a good fast ball that moves. 

"Anyway, when you take up a hitter in a clubhouse meeting, no 
matter what his weakness is, it's going to end up low and away or 
high and tight, and the curve ball must be thrown below the belt 
That's the whole story of pitching. 

"It don't do me a bit of good to tell people this. I try to tell peo- 
ple and they just won't believe me. They want to believe you have 
everyone taped and baseball is like mathematics or something. But 
I'm telling the truth. It's like I say, keep your life and your pitching 
real simple and you'll get along." 



By Ray Grody 

From The Milwaukee Sentinel, December 1, 1956 
Copyright, 1956, The Milwaukee Sentinel 

YOUNG FLOYD PATTERSON showed no respect for his elders to- 

The phlegmatic, 21 -year-old Brooklyn speed boy, flashing his 
fists like lightning and punching with thunderous power, won the 
world's heavyweight title by knocking out aged Archie Moore at 
two minutes and 27 seconds of the fifth of their scheduled 15- 
rounder at Chicago Stadium. 

Young enough to be Moore's son, Patterson administered a good 
old-fashioned thrashing before ending the fight and sending the 
39-year-old light heavyweight king into fistic oblivion. Thus did 
the flashy former Olympic champ hit the top as the youngest titlist 
in heavyweight history. 

It was almost like a cat and mouse game Patterson played with 
his elderly opponent until pouncing on him in the fifth. The two had 
closed in, each waiting for the other to make a move when Patter- 
son suddenly lashed out with a powerful, short left hook to the chin. 
Moore dropped as if hit by a bolt of lightning. He sat there, a pic- 
ture of bewilderment. 

Then came the struggle to get himself off the floor. This was a 
real old man tottering to his feet at nine. Patterson charged at 
Moore, loosed a beautiful, eye-catching one-two combination and 
Archie found himself on the deck again. Now all the heavy wear 
and tear of some 20 years of fistic life lay heavy on' his shoulders. 

Moore sat there as if anchored. He finally roused himself and 
instinctively reached for the rope in an attempt to pull himself erect. 
But his strength had been sapped and Referee Frank Sikora tolled 
off the 10 count before Archie wobbled to his feet a thoroughly 
beaten old man. 

It was all over as the crowd went wild, to say nothing of the 
Patterson entourage. The new champion was hoisted in the air for 
all to see and the gesture was met with a thunderous ovation while 
a crying old gent was led to his corner. Moore, fighting his 157th 
bout, thus failed for the second time in little over a year to win the 
heavyweight crown. He was stopped in nine rounds in September 
of 1955 by the retired champion, Rocky Marciano. 


130 Ray Grody 

The announced attendance was 14,000, with gross receipts of 
$228,145 and a net of $187,585. 

Moore was waging a losing fight when the end came. Referee 
Sikora had it scored 20-17; Judge James McManus, 20-16, both 
for Patterson, while the other judge, John Bray, had it even at 
18-18. This writer's scorecard showed it 20-17, giving Moore only 
the fourth round. 

Patterson, in racking up his 31st win in 32 professional starts, 
fought a mature, cool, calculating fight. He kept himself well 
covered while on the defense, employing a crouching, weaving 
style, then poured it on when the occasion presented itself. Moore, 
his arms folded in self -embrace, also attacked from a crouch, but 
his blows seemed to lack any snap. 

Patterson won the first round with several good body smashes 
and a few stinging left jabs. Moore was trying to dig into Floyd's 
midriff when the two got in close and did succeed in finding the 
range a few times. In the second session, Patterson, moving quick as 
a cat, flooded Moore with his amazingly fast punches, raking him 
from^head to body. Floyd did particularly well when he backed 
Archie into the ropes. Moore appeared to be playing a waiting 
game as he opened up only on a few occasions with a long right 
or jab. 

The third round saw Patterson open a cut on the bridge of 
Moore's nose and then follow with a thunderous left hook to the 
body that made this ancient gypsy of the ring wince. This could 
well have been the turning point of the fight, for it appeared to put 
Moore into more of a shell than ever. 

However, looks can be deceiving, for the still alive Archie came 
out jabbing with a stiff left, trying to put the pressure on his youth- 
ful foe. He also sent home a couple of good rights to the body and 
head and it seemed as if he had straightened himself out. 

But Patterson, calling on his fast combination punching and a 
sharp left jab, stepped right out in the fifth with all the assurance 
of a man dedicated to carrying out an important mission, which, 
of course, this was. Those dazzling hands of his poured it on until 
Moore grabbed to stem the tide. 

^ As the two again reached punching distance, Patterson unloaded 
his lethal left hook and in a few moments it was all over. 

And so did Moore, the nomad of the boxing game, say good-by 
to most of his life a life that had led him for over 20 years into 
practically every nook and corner of the boxing world. 

Archie just couldn't defy the calendar any more. 


By W. C. Heinz 

From Real, February, 1956 

Copyright, 1956, W. C. Heinz 

THE BRAVEST MEN I know in sports are the prizefighters. I do not 
know any bullfighters, but I have known many prizefighters and I 
have watched them suffer. No man is a coward who crawls through 
the ropes for his second fight, and although I envy the ones who 
are calm and unafraid, I have come to the conclusion that the 
bravest of them all are those who know fear, but who nevertheless 
fight, for without fear there can be no courage. 

This is a truth I first recognized during the war in Europe, where 
I watched men go into battle the first time ignorant and unafraid. 
Then I saw them go in the second or fifth or tenth time, and now 
they knew what it was and they were afraid and truly brave. 

There is no one, of course, who will ever question the courage of 
Jack Dempsey, yet he was a dressing room pacer. Sam Golden, who 
seconded him against John Lester Johnson in his first fight in New 
York, recalls how Dempsey walked the floor and how, as they 
started for the ring, they met Johnson. When Johnson said some- 
thing to Dempsey, they had to pull Jack off him, so great was the 
tension under which he suffered. 

Rocky Graziano and Tony Zale fought three of the most vicious 
fights of our time, but recently Graziano was telling me that a num- 
ber of times in his corner before the first bell he was unable to con- 
trol his water. Bummy Davis once almost failed to make it to the 
ring, but a year later he died with a bullet in his neck fighting three 
armed holdup men with his bare fists. Hurricane Jackson, among 
the current heavyweights, is apparently fearless as he wades in 
winging punches, but prepares himself for a fight as other men do 
when they believe they are about to meet their Maker. 

"As soon as Jackson gets into his dressing room before a fight," 
Lippy Breidbart was telling me not long ago, "he takes out the 

"Can he read?" I said. 

"Not much," Lippy said, "but he concentrates and meditates. He 
imagines what he's reading." 

We were talking, standing in the lobby of the International Box- 
ing Club in Madison Square Garden. Lippy manages Jackson, the 


132 W. C. Heinz 

primitive, bony, long-armed Negro who, when he fought Nino 
Valdes and was knocked out in two rounds in Madison Square 
Garden in July, 1954, was only one fight away from a chance at the 
heavyweight title. 

"I never saw anything like it/' Lippy said. "We don't bother 
him for maybe a half hour, and then we get him into his gear. After 
that he sits in silent meditation for maybe another half hour, and 
then he asks either Whitey Bimstein or me to read. One of us takes 
the Bible and sits down with him, and the other gets out. 

"He tells us what chapter to read, too. I don't know how he 
knows the chapters, but when you finish a verse that he likes he 
says : 'Amen/ Sometimes, like before he fought Dan Bucceroni and 
stopped him in six, tears even come to his eyes." 

"For him," I said, "it's a real tough way to make a living." 

"He worries the same as anybody else," Lippy said, shrugging, 
"but I never had a fighter behave like he does. He's like a child. 
When he's finished shadow-boxing and it gets almost time to go 
into the ring, he wants me to stand near him. He rubs my arm with 
his hand, and sometimes, while he's sitting there waiting, with me 
standing next to him, he puts his face against my arm." 

"It's pathetic," I said. 

"He wants friendship before a fight," Lippy said. "Friendship 
and faith." 

There isn't a one of them who doesn't want these things. They 
are the most lonesome of all athletes, for they know that once the 
bell rings and their corner men disappear down the steps, there is 
no one who can help them, 

"Take Walcott going into the second Marciano fight/' Dan 
Florio was telling me once. "He was a changed man." 

Jersey Joe Walcott is the man who stood up to Joe Louis in two 
fights, knocked him down twice in the first fight, when he might 
well have been awarded the heavyweight crown, and was knocked 
out in the second fight after flooring Louis again. When, ulti- 
mately, he won the title and defended it against Rocky Marciano 
in Philadelphia, Walcott was a party to what, except for the Demp- 
sey-Firpo fight, would probably be recorded now as the greatest 
heavyweight battle of all time. 

In that fight Walcott dropped Marciano with a hook in the first 
round, the first time the current champion had ever been on the 
floor in a fight. After that Walcott fought his challenger punch for 
punch and was leading on the cards of the officials when, in the 
13th round, a single desperate right hand took him out. 

They "Die" in the Dressing Room 133 

"I don't think he ever got that punch in Philadelphia out of his 
mind," Florio said. "I think that punch made all the difference in 
the second fight. He just didn't believe in himself any more." 

Florio trained Walcott, and Dan's brother, Nick, worked the 
corner with him. The three of us were talking about this one day 
in Stillman's Gym. 

"He didn't sleep much the night before the second Marciano 
fight/' Dan said. "He didn't eat all that day." 

"I flew into Chicago the day of the fight," Nick said. "As I 
got to my room in the hotel, Walcott was coming out of his room. 
He said : 'Hello, Nick.' That's the only thing I heard him say all 

"In the dressing room," Dan said, "I couldn't get him to get 
dressed to go into the ring. He kept shaking me off." 

"It was a nine o'clock fight out there, for television," Nick said. 
"There was a guy from the commission kept coming into the dress- 
ing room and saying, 'It's 8 :30. It's 8 :40.' I looked at the guy and 
I said, 'Boy, you never missed a train in your life, did you, Mac?' " 

"Finally," Dan said, "at twelve minutes to nine Walcott is in his 
stuff, and I never bandaged a guy's hands so quick in my life. He 
just wasn't right." 

That was the fight in which Walcott ducked under a hook in the 
first round and moved into a short, right-hand uppercut. He 
landed on the seat of his pants, and that is where he still was when, 
at two minutes and 25 seconds, the referee finished the count. 

There was, however, probably no man in the entire history of 
the prize ring who inspired more fear in his opponents than Joe 
Louis. The leading authority on this subject is trainer Ray Arcel, 
who seconded ten men against Joe and dragged so many of them 
back to their corners that Jimmy Cannon of the New York Post 
labeled him "The Pallbearer of Pugilism." 

"Some of them who fought Louis," Ray was saying as we sat 
in his office, "weren't afraid of anything. Jim Braddock went out 
there like he was boss. After all, he was heavyweight champion 
when the fight started, and he lasted eight. Al McCoy was ice wa- 
ter, and he went six. Sharkey was nervous, but he was always 
nervous. He knew he had laid off too long, and in three rounds he 
found out." 

"Who were the ones," I said, "you had to feel sorry for?" 

"Lou Nova, for one," Ray said. "He had the best chance to lick 
Louis of anyone I worked with." 

Nova was out of California and he had been the National A. A.U. 

134 W. C. Heinz 

and international amateur heavyweight champion. He was over 
six feet tall, weighed a little over 200 pounds, was perfectly propor- 
tioned and, by the time he fought Louis, had proved his gameness 
many times. 

"He fought Max Baer twice/ 5 Ray said. "He took Baer's best 
punches blows that would have felled a horse and he stopped 
Baer twice. His fight with Tony Galento in Philadelphia was the 
most vicious, bloodiest fight I ever saw, and, when Nova couldn't 
see any more, the referee had to stop it in the fourteenth round. 

"For the Louis fight we pitched camp in Pompton Lakes. Nova 
had some peculiar ideas, and there was a man in carnp who used 
to talk to him about something called the 'Cosmic Theory' and the 
'Dynamic Stance/ When the fight was drawing close I could see 
something was happening to Nova. He was always nervous in 
his dressing room, but this time it was like the day of execution 
was drawing near, and he was like a guy doomed to die in the 
electric chair. 

'The day of the fight we drove into New York for the weigh-in, 
and now you could see that something had happened to Nova. He 
didn't say anything and I didn't say anything to him, but I could 
see he didn't have the spirit he had when he fought Baer and Ga- 
lento. After the weigh-in and the examination, Dr. William 
Walker, who was the boxing commission physician then, said to 
me : 'Did you give this fellow a cup of coffee before you came here? 5 
I said : 'No, why? 5 He never answered. 

"We went up to Ray Carlin's apartment," Arcel said, referring 
to Nova's manager. "Nova ate his dinner, and we tried to take a 
walk. He just didn't have the snap to walk, so we came back and he 
lay down. I remember him lying there on the bed, and he said to 
Carlin : This mental torture is terrible/ 

"We got to the dressing room and I got him undressed, and he 
lay down on the rubbing table and I put the blanket over him. I 
tried to say something to him. I said : 'Look, Lou, you've got the 
greatest opportunity of your life coming up. You don't feel just 
right, but what about the other fellow? He's been having trouble, 
too. You don't know anything about his mental state/ 

"Louis had read about that 'Cosmic Theory' in the newspapers, 
and he didn't know what to expect. He came out in a crouch, and 
Nova was up too straight and too stiff. It was one of the worst 
fights you ever saw in your life. Nova was so tense that once he got 
his feet crossed and Louis had to smile. Near the end of the sixth, 

They "Die" in the Dressing Room 135 

Louis hit him with a tremendous right and he went down. When 
Nova got up, Arthur Donovan had counted him out, but Lou 
wanted to go on. 

"Like Johnny Paychek," Ray went on. "He won a lot of fights 
out around Des Moines. He was a pretty good boxer, and the show 
was for Finnish relief, so they put him in with Louis in the Garden. 
Before we started for the ring I said to him: 'Johnny, you're a 
pretty good boxer. A boxer can always do things a slugger can't. 
Go out and box your fight. Remember, you're boxing a human 
being. He's only got two arms/ 

"It was like talking to that wall," Arcel said, pointing. "When 
we were in the center of the ring, getting instructions, he shook like 
a leaf, but with all that it was amazing how game he was. He backed 
up, sure, but when Louis got him against the ropes and hit him and 
he went down, he got up. That takes gameness. 

"Buddy Baer had it, too. When he fought Louis, he knew what 
he was going in with. His brother, Max, had been knocked out by 
Louis, but Buddy showed them in that first fight with Louis that 
he had it inside. He put Joe through the ropes. 

"Louis did funny things to people he fought, though. They never 
forgot it the second time around. He left something with you. In 
the dressing room before the second Louis fight, Buddy was dif- 
ferent. He was full of little complaints, like : 'Rub my neck . . . My 
shoulders are stiff . . . I'm tired/ 

"He never got by the first round, but that would have been a bad 
night for any fighter fighting Louis. Some fighters 'die' in their 
dressing rooms. Some of them lose their fights going down the 
aisle, and I've seen a lot of fights lost during the playing of 'The 
Star Spangled Banner/ 

"This night it was a war relief show, and there were a lot of in- 
troductions and speeches, and Buddy had to sit in the corner wait- 
ing through all of this. Wendell Willkie made one of the speeches, 
and he turned to Buddy and he said : 'Max' he had Buddy mixed 
with his brother 'I fought a champion once myself/ 

"That was a fine thing," Ray said, thinking about it and shaking 
his head, "for Buddy to have to hear." 

It was Max Baer who, probably in an effort to convince himself, 
talked more in training camp about what he would do to Louis 
than any other fighter who fought Joe. By the time Baer reached 
the dressing room, however, he gave up the sham, and while Jack 
Dempsey talked to him in an effort to bolster him, Max just kept 

136 W. C. Heinz 

nodding, put on one sock and one shoe, and then attempted to put 
the second sock on over the first shoe. 

"Anybody who wants 'to see the execution of Max Baer," he 
said after he had taken a cruel licking, "is going to have to pay 
more than $30 for a ringside seat." 

When they brought Paolino Uzcudun back from Spain to fight 
Louis, the Basque had been fighting for over 13 years. At 36, 
Uzcudun was going against a man IS years his junior, and who 
had won his first 25 fights, 21 by knockouts. As the Spaniard sat in 
his dressing room, waiting, one of those who stopped in to see him 
was Harry Markson, then a New York sportswriter and now the 
managing director of boxing at Madison Square Garden. 

"Paolino' s manager, Lou Brix, was with him," Harry recalls. 
"He ^ said, Taolino, this is Harry Markson, a newspaper man/ 
Paolino was sitting with his head down, playing with a toothpick. 
Without looking up, he said, 'All newspaper men, they're crazy/ 

^ "So, trying to think of something to say because I felt sorry for 
him, I said, 'But I'm the newspaper man who picked you to win to- 
night/ Actually, I hadn't, but I said it, and then Paolino looked 
right at me. 'Now I know you're crazy,' he said to me." 

Those who saw that fight won't forget it. For most of four 
rounds, Paolino moved around behind a shield of his gloves, fore- 
arms and elbows. In the fourth, however, he opened his arms to 
take a good look, and Louis shot his right hand through the open- 
ing. The punch knocked Uzcudun's mouthpiece out, drove his teeth 
through his upper lip and stretched him flat. It was, students of 
Louis claim, the hardest single punch Joe ever threw. 

The following year they brought Max Schmeling back from Ger- 
many for Louis. By now Joe had won 23 of 27 fights by knockouts 
and was 10 to 1 to beat Schmeling who, after seeing Louis fight, 
had convinced no one but himself when he had said : "I will beat 
him. I see something/' 

What he had seen was Louis' weakness against a right cross. 
This knowledge, plus complete confidence in his right hand punch, 
made Schmeling the calmest man in his dressing room, which is 
where he differed from the others. As he sat there under the stands 
at the Yankee Stadium, Tom O'Rourke, an aging former promoter 
and manager of fighters and a friend of Schmeling, stopped in to 
wish him well. 

"Good luck, Max," O'Rourke said. 

"Thanks," Schmeling replied, taking O'Rourke's hand. 

"Schmeling," someone called from outside, "you're on now." 

They "Die" in the Dressing Room 137 

O'Rourke stepped back. As he did, he fell across the doorway, 
dead, as it turned out, from a heart attack, 

"Don't worry about it," one of Schmeling's handlers said, as the 
fighter paused to look down at the body of his friend. "He just 

"No," Schmeling said, still looking down. "He's dead." 

He stepped over O'Rourke, and walked out the door and down 
to the ring. Fighting his waiting fight and driving the right hand 
in after Louis' jabs, he knocked Louis out in the 12th round. 

The night that they almost failed to get Bummy Davis into the 
ring was the night he fought Bob Montgomery in Madison Square 
Garden. Bummy was a highly emotional, erratic, undisciplined kid 
out of the Brownsville section of Brooklyn with a great left hook. 
He was managed by Lew Burston and Johnny Attell. 

"Going into the Montgomery fight," Burston told me, "we gave 
Bummy a plan. We told him : 'Now, what you have to do in this 
one is walk right out, throw your right and miss with it. Mont- 
gomery will grab your right arm, and that will turn you around 
southpaw and then you hit him with the hook. 7 " 

They knew that this was the only chance Bummy had. If Mont- 
gomery, the boxer against the puncher, got by the first round, he 
figured to move around Bummy and cut him up. So they drilled 
Bummy on it over and over, and they kept rehearsing him in the 
dressing room the night of the fight. 

"Now what are you gonna do ?" Attell would say to Bummy. 

"I'm gonna walk right out and miss with my right," Bummy 
would answer. "He'll grab my arm, and that'll turn me around 
and I'll hook." 

"Okay," Attell said, finally. "I guess you know it." 

Bummy sat down on one of the benches against thb wall. He 
had his gloves on and his robe over him, and he was ready to go 
when there came a knock on the door. 

"Don't come out yet, Davis," one of the commission inspectors 
said, calling it through the door. 

When Bummy heard that he looked up. Attell says there was a 
peculiar expression on Bummy's face, and then he keeled over in a 
faint on the floor. 

Attell and Freddie Brown, the trainer and corner man, rushed 
over and picked Bummy up. They "carried him to the dressing table. 

"Now we weren*t worried about him remembering what he was 
supposed to do in the ring/' Burston was telling me. "We were 
worried about getting him into the ring in the first place. 

138 W. C. Heinz 

"Freddie Brown brought him to, though. We got him into the 
ring, and I asked him what he was supposed to do, and he answered 
right and I climbed out. When the bell rang he walked right out 
and threw his right and missed around the head. Montgomery 
grabbed the right arm, and when he did Bummy threw the hook 
and Montgomery went down. When he got up Bunimy hit him 
again, and that was all. Montgomery was 10 to 1 over him that 


Every fighter, I have concluded, has an intimate acquaintance 
with fear, but only some of them show it. This is not necessarily 
the fear of physical harm. Ten minutes before Rocky Marciano 
went in to knock out Joe Louis and at that stage in his career this 
was his most important fight they had to wake him as he lay 
stretched on the rubbing table. Yet he told me, shortly before he 
defeated Don Cockell in San Francisco last May, that before every 
fight he has to forcibly put out of his mind the thought of being 
beaten and of what losing would mean to the plans he has for him- 
self and his family. 

"By the time Rocky goes into the ring, though/' Charley Gold- 
man, Marciano's trainer who molded the raw kid into the heavy- 
weight champion, said recently, "he's secure in his mind. He knows 
he's in condition because there never was a fighter who trains like 
him and he knows he's got the moves and punches/' 

The good fighters rationalize their fear, and in that way put it 
away. This was best explained to me once by Billy Graham, the 
welterweight who should have been champion of the world, except 
for a questionable decision he lost to Kid Gavilan one night in the 

"Look at it this way," Billy said. "I'm not afraid of getting hurt. 
I was never knocked down in my life, and I know I can smother the 
other guy's leads or handle anything he can do. I'm nervous, sure, 
but I'm just nervous about not fighting my best fight." 

"A good fighter goes into a ring," said Charley Goldman, who 
was standing nearby, "like an actor goes out to do a turn." 

I recall sitting in Stillman's once with another young man who 
spoke much as did Billy Graham. His name was Lavern Roach, and 
he was out of Plainview, Texas, where he had been reared to be a 
fighter since he was ten years old. His mother cooked special foods 
for him, and each morning at six he got up to run on the road 
before going to school. 

When I spoke with him he had just been matched with Marcel 

They "Die" in the Dressing Room 139 

Cerdan, the French Moroccan who later became middleweight 
champion of the world. We were talking of that coming fight. 

'Til have to be in shape/' Roach said. "I'll have to be in very 
good shape." 

'I've never known a fighter," I said to him, "who seems to get 
as much fun out of a fight as you do." 

"Yes," he said. "I enjoy it. I really like it." 

"Why, I actually see you smile during a fight," I said. "I've seen 
a smile on your face." 

"I know," he said. "They tell me I smile. That's when a fight is 
going right, when I've got the other fella doing the things I want 
him to do." 

"Aren't you ever afraid ?" I said. 

"What's there to be afraid of?" Roach said. "I won't get hurt. 
Sure, you get hit some, but you're so keyed up you don't feel it." 

Many fighters have told me this since then. Roach was the first 
to say it to me, however, so I asked him more about it. 

"Actually you don't feel any pain when a punch lands on you," 
he said. "Maybe the next day you'll be a little sore in a couple of 
spots, like you're bruised, but during a fight the only way you know 
you've been hit, if you don't see the punch, is when you feel it jar 
you. I'm never afraid of getting hurt." 

He had lost only one decision in 25 fights when he fought Cerdan 
in the Garden. Cerdan knocked him down a half dozen times and 
gave him a frightful beating before putting him away in the eighth 
round. Seven fights later, Georgie Small knocked him out in the 
tenth round in the St. Nicholas Arena, and the next morning, in a 
New York hospital, Lavern Roach, who sat there so young and 
clean and intelligent and told me so convincingly that there was 
nothing for him to fear in fighting, was dead of his ring injuries. 

That this can happen all fighters know. That is why I make them 
the bravest men I know in sports. 


By Bill Leiser 

From The San Francisco Chronicle, May 18, 1956 
Copyright, 1956, The San Francisco Chronicle 

EXERCISING A HABIT to which he became addicted some six years 
ago, middleweight champion Sugar Ray Robinson knocked out 
Carl Bobo Olson in front of 18,251 slightly bored customers as- 
sembled in the Wrigley Field baseball park just before sundown 
this pleasantly cool afternoon. 

The bout ended this time after two minutes and 51 seconds of 
the fourth round. 

That is exactly six fighting minutes or two rounds longer than 
the Hawaiian-born Bobo lasted when he lost the title to Robinson 
last December in Chicago. 

The 35-year-old champion slapped on the clincher in the same 
precise fashion as before, calmly waiting for the proper opening, 
then jamming a right swing to Olson's body which hurt plenty, and 
following immediately with a left hook to the chin which caught 
Bobo on the rebound and left him falling on the flat of his back. 

Bobo turned over and tried to get up but referee Mushy Callahan, 
waving his arms like an umpire calling Sugar Ray safe at home, 
counted ten and terminated the agony. 

The punches were just like those at Chicago except in reverse 
order. It was a left which straightened Bobo up in that affair while 
the right finished him off. 

And Sugar Ray, only man ever to win the middleweight crown 
three times, can go on holding it forever if they bring him enough 
Bobo Olsons to fight. He started knocking Bobo out on October 26, 
in Philadelphia, before he became champion the first time. He 
neglected to kayo Olson in just one of their four meetings, content- 
ing himself with a 15-round decision in San Francisco March 13 

Prior to the knockout the fight must have pained those who paid 
up to $25 per seat to watch. The first round was nothing. Robinson 
got in the first punch, a j-ight to the head. He landed a couple to 
the body along the way, and won the session by a 10-8 margin if 
you count that way. 

Olson, who entered the ring looking meek and scared, wiggled 

It's Becoming a Habit 141 

like a bundle of nervous energy and he moved forward a lot but 
tried little punching. He clinched at every opportunity and locked 
Ray up as long as permitted each time. 

There was more of the same in the second round, though it was 
scored a bit closer, 10-9 in our book, and the third could have been 
called even if you gave Olson a shade the best of it. 

In the fourth, Sugar Ray first missed a couple rights, then 
landed a couple. Bobo acted as if he wanted to fight a bit and ad- 
vanced a bit and it happened. 

Sugar Ray, scaling 165% pounds to Olson's 160 the exact 
middleweight limit, was ahead on the score sheets of the three ring 
officials going into the fourth. 

Judge Frankie Van gave him all three rounds. Judge Tommy 
Hart gave him the first two and called the third even. Referee Calla- 
han favored Sugar Ray in the first two rounds and Olson in the 

The gate was an estimated $200,000, which, if accurate, would 
be a California fight box office record. 

Both fighters may have exercised for nothing. Bobo's purse was 
attached by his wife, resulting from a suit for separate maintenance. 
Sugar Ray is $81,904 in tax arrears with Uncle Sam and Los 
Angeles tax collectors have orders to "get all they can" out of his 

Call it a glass chin or whatever you want but Bobo can't take a 
sharp punch to the head. He could never beat the skillful old oppor- 
tunist punchers such as Robinson or Archie Moore unless he could 
hide his face, a difficult thing to do when inside the ropes with either 
of these aging gentlemen. 

"What could I do," said Bobo in his dressing room when able to 
talk. "Gee, I didn't feel hurt, in the jaw or in the body. I didn't even 
see the punch that did it. I didn't know the fight was over." 

That's a perfect description of a glass jaw if there ever was one. 
Bobo right now is a befuddled, bewildered 27-year-old man who 
can't understand why he was the greatest middleweight in the world 
just a year ago and today is only a pigeon for an oldtimer whose 
fighting days should have ended long ago. 

As manager Sid Flaherty put it, "Bobo was in perfect condition. 
He had no excuses. If he could have held out through the fifth or 
sixth rounds he might have pulled through. I guess Bobo has just 
had to fight too many battles in and out of the ring." 

"They told me to press starting the fourth round," Bobo offered. 
Perhaps that did it. By clinching and locking, Olson survived three 

142 Bill Leiser 

rounds without being hurt, and he could probably have lasted 
through six or seven. Even so, you get the definite impression that 
Sugar Ray would nail his man for sure whenever the fighting really- 
started, whether in round 4 or 14. And if it had gone IS the way it 
was going the champion would have won from here to South San 
Francisco anyway. It was better to have the thing done with. 

It was really only a moment that Bobo pressed, if he pressed at 
aU. Referee Callahan had to part the fighters 13 times in the fourth 
round before the knockout. That's far more clinching than fighting. 

Robinson said that just one punch, the left hook which travelled 
no more than eight inches, really did the business. He didn't appear 
to think so much of his preliminary right. It was the left he had 
been waiting to plant as soon as Bobo gave him the opening. 

And so the fabulous old man goes on. He has now won 150 pro- 
fessional battles, 90 of them by knockouts. And he has lost just four 
bouts in the 16-year span that saw him win and give up the world 
welterweight title before shooting for and taking middleweight 
honors three times. 

Can he now beat the rest of the middleweights, since his specialty 
of knocking out Olson can no longer prevail ? We don't know, but 
we doubt if there's another around with the same convenient one- 
punch glass jaw. 

Asked what he thought of Robinson now, Flaherty summed up 
the situation neatly, "Whatever he's got he's given us enough 
of it." 


By Paul O'Neil 

From Sports Illustrated, January 30, 1956 
Copyright, 1956, Time, Inc. 

FEW OLDTIME fight managers can look at a young heavyweight 
without experiencing an unsettling sense of despondency; if hope 
suggests a dozen reasons for believing the tyro will become a walk- 
ing gold mine, experience supplies 100 for suspecting he will not. 
Apprentice pugs are constantly the prey of their own doubts and 
fears; both their confidence and their reputations must be built as 
carefully as a pousse-cafe and can be destroyed by one damaging 
fight. Even if the aspirant has a reckless appetite for brawling, he 
may never get past the seventh grade of his education for the ring, 
or may be kayoed by the Demon Rum. Nonetheless, it is now as 
clear as anything can be in the future books of boxing that a lithe 
young Brooklyn Negro named Floyd Patterson who celebrated 
his 21st birthday this month by challenging Rocky Marciano 
will be the next heavyweight champion of the world. 

This does not mean that Patterson who was the boxing star 
of the 1952 Olympic Games at the tender age of 17 can be ex- 
pected to demolish Marciano this week or the week after. In The 
Ring's year-end ratings for 1955, in fact, Patterson is not even 
listed among the heavyweights (although he is considered the No. 1 
challenger for the light heavyweight crown). His own handlers, 
until recently, have been tormented by the ghastly suspicion that he 
might quit growing before he weighed 175 pounds, and might thus 
be stranded forever just out of reach of big gates and big money. 
But despite this and despite his youth, Patterson could very well 
end up facing Marciano in the ring before 1956 is out and, in doing 
so, could inspire one of the biggest gates of modern times. 

He has, in the last few months, demonstrated a heartening 
tendency to keep on getting bigger. He weighed 178^2 pounds, 
trained fine, in December, and was nudging 180 pounds last week 
only five pounds short of the weight at which big men are classi- 
cally considered at their most efficient. He has always been an 
exciting fighter and one with rare natural talent. But he has also 
shown an awesome capacity for improvement in nine fights last 
year, all won by knockouts or technical knockouts, he proved him- 


144 Paul O'Neil 

self an increasingly finished and balanced technician in the ring. In 
his last bout he so outclassed the fifth-ranking heavyweight, Jimmy 
Slade (now reduced to ninth place as a result), that the referee 
stopped the chase in the seventh round. 

In the opinion of the Brooklyn matchmaker Teddy Brenner and 
the veteran promoter Ray Arcel, Patterson today is the "best young 
fighter of any weight in the world" and both believe he will outclass 
all other leading heavyweights within the year that his speed and 
reflexes will be too much for seasoned contenders like Ezzard 
Charles, Tommy (Hurricane) Jackson, Nino Valdes, Bob Baker 
and Bob Satterfield, and that he already is much more than a match 
for New Orleans' Willie Pastrano, Philadelphia's Joey Rowan, De- 
troit's Chuck Spieser and other relative newcomers. 

But what would be Patterson's fate if circumstance pushed him 
into combat with the champion as early as next September or, for 
that matter, even with Archie Moore? 

Patterson's manager, white-haired Constantine (Cus) D'Amato, 
a shrewd and cautious man, has a tremendous respect for the 
Marciano bludgeoning power. But D'Amato firmly believes that by 
next fall a 21 -year-old Patterson would be too much for a 3 3 -year- 
old Marciano or a 40-year-old Moore. Patterson's trainer, an old- 
timer named Dan Florio, who maintains a cynical detachment about 
fighters for all his pedagogical attachments to them, puts it more 
bluntly. "It'd be no contest," he says. "Patterson is just too fast. 
I've trained lots of old guys. I trained Joe Walcott. They get tired, 
and if you get tired in there against Patterson, then God help you. 
Fd B hate to be the guy. A year, he'll be ready for anybody. I've 
trained 500-600 fighters and I've never seen anything like this boy." 

This sort of rash soothsaying has a good deal of foundation in 
present performance. At 21, Patterson is known as a "fellow who 
will leave you for dead." He is a good-looking six-footer with lean 
hips, long arms and broad shoulders powered by slabs of smooth 
muscle. There is still a gangling, faintly schoolboyish air about him, 
but he fights with the expressionless eye and violent gracefulness of 
a large cat hunting its dinner. He is a rarity a good boxer with a 
knockout in either fist and an instinct for pressing his man. He has 
lightning reflexes, fast hands and can punch in bewildering combi- 
nations. He is hard to hit, but he has been clobbered, upstairs and 
down, without losing his poise or aggressiveness. He has never 
been knocked out. He has lost one professional fight ; that, however, 
was^ a debatable eight-round decision to wily old Joey Maxim, the 
ex-light heavyweight champion, with whom he was matched at 19. 

The Heavyweight Champion 145 

"He can belt good/' says Joey, "and he had my tail dragging after 
the fourth round." 

Fighters, like most other athletes, do not reach their peak of 
physical efficiency until they are mature, grown men (an Irish 
fighter, according to ring legend, may not develop fully until 25, 26 
or even 27 Latins and Negroes are generally expected to mature 
at around 23). But fighters should also start young, and Patterson 
already has a veteran's poise. He began fighting at 15, had 44 
amateur fights (38 of them won by knockouts) and since then has 
easily beaten top middleweights, top light heavyweights and main- 
event heavyweights. He suffers from nervousness before a fight, 
but is able to fall asleep while waiting in the dressing room, a trick 
of relaxation few boxers have ever achieved (among the few : Gene 
Tunney and Joe Louis) . The idea of losing does not seem to occur 
to him. "The other guy always looks big when we weigh in/ 7 he 
says, "but it's funny he always seems smaller than me when I see 
him in the ring." 

As a main-event fighter of note and (ah, glorious distinction) a 
contender for the heavyweight championship, Patterson lives at 
present in a curious state of suspension not unlike a man cau- 
tiously savoring the rigors and surprises of Space Platform One 
while preparing for a trip to the moon. The platform, at the mo- 
ment, is a lackadaisically furnished bachelor den in Brooklyn's 
rugged Bedford-Stuyvesant section, just a few hazy dreams away 
from riches and world fame, and just a few blocks from a crumbling 
Old Law tenement where his father, a hard-working garbage truck 
driver, and his mother live with nine of their 1 1 children. Patterson 
is basically a shy and sensitive youth ; he is shrewd and knowing 
about the ring and the mores of the slums, but he sometimes reveals 
a grave and boyish innocence about the big outside world into 
which growing fame is projecting him. Pending that great day 
when he supposes the transition will be complete, Floyd keeps to 

"I don't have many acquaintances," he says. "You get an ac- 
quaintance and, the first thing, they start doing things for you 
favors for you and the next thing they want to borrow." For 
companionship Patterson relies heavily upon a 24-year-old uncle 
named Charley Johnson. Patterson gets up at six each morning, 
drives with Uncle Charley to Brooklyn's Prospect Park where 
heavily encased in long underwear, overalls, heavy Army shoes, 
sweatshirt and hood he runs from two to five miles. He goes back 
to his room, drinks a cup of tea and sleeps until midday. He goes to 

146 Pa*d O'Neil 

a movie and then to Manhattan to work out in Manager D' Amato's 
grimy gym. 

On Saturday night he occasionally invites Sandra Hicks an 18- 
year-old Brooklyn high school senior whom he has known for years 
to the movies. When asked how he met Sandra he says proudly : 
"We were introduced/' He is a Roman Catholic convert, and on 
Sunday morning he usually goes to late Mass. But he spends most 
evenings holed up in his apartment. He seldom visits Madison 
Square Garden to watch fights, even though he can get in for 
nothing. "The crowd throws you off/' he says. "You keep looking 
around. I'd rather watch them here on television ; this way I'm by 
myself and I can learn something." Patterson has a motion picture 
projector and he runs and reruns kinescopes of his televised fights; 
sometimes, in search of his own mistakes, he stops the reel and 
examines it frame by frame in a film splicer. He often wanders back 
to his mother's kitchen. He dislikes steak, supposedly the only trust- 
worthy protein for athletes, and his mother feeds him large quanti- 
ties of pork chops and "yam potatoes" a diet Manager D'Amato 
has moodily approved on the theory that Patterson has digestive 
juices capable of anything and must be constantly stoked, no matter 
what the fuel, in the awful struggle for more poundage. He goes to 
bed early. "Floyd," says D'Amato approvingly, "is a fellow who 
sleeps a lot." 

Patterson's life, however, is not all training and self-communion. 
He grossed $25,000 last year and about as much so far this year. 
Expenses, his manager's cut, his trainer's fees and taxes take a big 
bite out of these earnings, but for a 21 -year-old he nevertheless en- 
joys a heady solvency. He contributes heavily to the support of his 
family. He is a youth with a secret inclination toward dudishness; 
he cultivates sideburns and treats himself to good clothes. He owns 
a small monkey named Connie a lively beast which he has sta- 
tioned at Sandra's home, where it runs up and down the curtains, 
takes the telephone off its cradle, turns on the family television set 
and, if not constrained, dabs itself with lipstick. He drives a cream- 
colored 1956 Cadillac Eldorado hardtop (a Caddy is standard 
equipment for all but the most impecunious main-event fighters, 
and this one is Floyd's third) and occasionally guides it to Man- 
hattan to attend a rock-and-roll session at Harlem's Apollo Theater 
the manager not only welcomes him joyously and gives him seats 
on the house but introduces the pleased, if bashful gladiator to the 
crowd (which cheers vociferously) during the intermission. 

Patterson, for all his natural talent, has not reached this Dauphin- 

The Heavyweight Champion 147 

like estate without a struggle. His case, in fact, dramatically illus- 
trates the pitfalls and difficulties which must be skirted and over- 
come in bringing any boxer within range of a championship. It 
also illustrates the fact that professional boxing, for all its seamy 
background, its haremlike jealousies and its pitiful human flotsam, 
can be a power for good in shaping the character of young males 
not all of whom are born for the ministry, atomic science or Wall 
Street. Boxing and the long-maligned New York public school 
system, in fact, converted Patterson from a troubled boy who 
seemed hell-bent for jail into an eminently stable young man with 
that proprietary regard for order which seems to come naturally to 
any leading citizen. 

As a boy in the asphalt jungle, Patterson was a lonely, disturbed 
and defiant being the third in a family of 1 1 children, whom his 
parents, for all their toil, could barely feed. "Broke into store with 
gang . . ." old school-system reports on him note. "Runs away from 
home . . . truant . . ." He was not a stupid boy his IQ was average 
but he virtually refused to talk. He also refused to learn at 12 
he could not read. School only increased his sense of being rejected 
and he fought against it, just as he fought on the sidewalks and 
escaped at every opportunity. "I liked Coney Island," he recalls. "I 
liked to watch people going on the rides. And the Sheffield Farms 
kept their trucks across from P. S. 93. They left the keys in them. 
I used to sneak out and start them up. I'd run them ahead a little 
and back them up a little. Once," he adds with a faint grin, "I drove 
one home. Seven blocks. Had to. The man was chasing me." 

Patterson's mother, a woman of force and character, decided on 
a drastic cure. "I acted real quick," she says. "The twig is bent 
early." She had Floyd committed to the Wiltwyck School, an insti- 
tution for problem children in the country near Esopus, N. Y. The 
boy was shipped away, sullen as a trapped wolf. "I thought _ they 
were going to have bars on all the windows and keep me in jail.' 5 
But Wiltwyck let him roam the woods and gave him kindness and 
understanding. He came back to New York after two years, was 
enrolled in P. S. 614, a city grammar school for backward boys on 
Manhattan's grimy, noisy lower East Side, and blossomed into a 
star pupil and the school hero. P. S. 614 still plays a big part in 
Floyd Patterson's life : he telephones his former teachers regularly, 
makes a pilgrimage back to the school in the afternoon before every 
New York fight and has presented it with a big silver loving cup 
which is annually awarded to the pupil who excels in sportsmanship. 

Cus D'Amato's Gramercy Gymnasium & Health Club (pro- 

148 Paul O'Neil 

nounced Gramacy on the East Side and so spelled by the forgotten 
painter who put the name on the door) is just a few blocks from 
p^ . 614 Patterson was still a pupil there when he first climbed 
the long dim stairway up from 14th Street, passed the two garbage 
cans on the landing, walked through a scabrous hall and entered the 
dingy and barnlike gymnasium. 

The Gramercy Gym, at first glance, might well stir a reformer's 
ire. There is a hole in the entrance door, patched by chicken netting, 
and when the gym is locked a vicious dog peers through, growling 
horribly at all callers. Only four people D'Amato, two trainers 
and Patterson are privileged to "know the dog" and the place 
cannot be entered until one of them arrives and ties the beast up in 
a back room. The space inside is bare except for a ring, two heavy 
bags, a light bag, a shelf with an opened jar of vaseline, a rubbing 
table, some cracked mirrors (for shadow boxing), a few folding 
chairs, a shower and some steel lockers. The grimy windows are 
kept tightly closed, the air is close and hot and the stench of sweat 
overpowering. To the police of the 13th Precinct, however, the 
gym is an oasis in a gritty wilderness young hoodlums who be- 
come fighters attain a dignity which usually keeps them out of 

To Floyd Patterson, as to many another slum boy, the prize ring 
seemed the only avenue of escape to a better world. His uncle, 
Charley Brown, was a fighter. His oldest brother, Billy (now re- 
tired with a detached retina and a bitter man), was a middle- 
weight with a tremendous punch. His second brother, Frank, was 
an amateur heavyweight. Floyd climbed the stairs almost as a mat- 
ter of course. He was told the rules which have applied at the gym 
for almost 20 years. "I let any boy come in here and train," says 
D'Amato. "It costs them nothing. We teach them. They don't have 
to fight. But if they do, then they're my fighters. I'm like a pros- 
pector and here is where I look for gold for a fellow like Floyd. 

"Let me tell you about these boys. Maybe a boy has the stomach 
for fighting but he's scared when he climbs those stairs. He's scared 
when he gets into the ring too nobody can get into a ring the first 
time with another man across from him and not be scared. The boy 
knows he is scared, but he thinks the other fighter is not afraid and 
so he believes the other fighter is made of different flesh. I tell these 
boys all that. I tell them that fear is useful fear gives a deer extra 
strength to escape a hunter. But the fighter must not run. He must 
learn to control his emotions and he must go forward attack He 
must be a soldier and obey his manager's orders no matter how 

The Heavyweight Champion 149 

dangerous they are. I'll tell you where a fighter gets tired in his 
head, in his brain. The thing that makes him tired is fear. A fighter 
is always tired when he has been hit hard ; he cannot admit to him- 
self that he is afraid and so he tells himself he is tired. But if he 
begins hitting the other fellow he gets a resurgence of strength. He 
is not tired any more. So he must know himself, control himself. 

"There are five places you can be hurt in the ring. On each side 
of the jaw, in the pit of the stomach the solar plexus and the 
liver, here on each side just above your belt. The worst is the liver; 
the pain is excruciating. The next worst is the solar plexus ; the 
diaphragm is paralyzed and you cannot breathe. I remember when 
I was first hit in the solar plexus I thought I was dying. It sounds 
funny but I could not breathe -any more and I could see matches 
burning in the dark outside the ring where everyone was lighting 
cigarettes and it looked like funeral candles. But I kept circling and 
finally I got a little breath and after that I was not afraid when I 
got hit there. A fighter learns to be hit. The easiest place is the jaw 
it does not really hurt ; it is more of a shock. 

"I tell the boys all this just like I told Floyd. They must have 
confidence, and I show them how to avoid being hit in these places. 
A fighter must keep his hands high. He must keep the right hand 
near his chin and his elbow down where it can guard his body. He 
must keep his chin behind the left shoulder and the head tilted a 
little so blows will glance off his temple. Now he is guarded from 
punches on either side. For the jab he must learn to duck, to slip. 
This sounds simple it is simple, but it is not simple to do under 
pressure and some fighters never learn. But I first teach the posture 
of defense. Then I teach a boy to fight out of the posture of defense/' 

Floyd Patterson, who was a tall, skinny welterweight at 15, had 
hardly begun to acquire all these necessary reflexes in fact he had 
hardly learned to do anything but keep his hands up near his face in 
moments of peril when he made a tremendously invigorating dis- 
covery. He had his first fight as a subnovice in the Golden Gloves. 
He was sick with nervousness when he climbed into the ring but 
after less than a round of wild flailing he knocked out a sailor whose 
name he has forgotten but whose weight (147) he still recalls. "I 
was surprised," he says. "I hit him and he fell down. I thought it 
was a lot harder to knock somebody out. I used to see lots of shoot- 
'em-up movies and those cowboys used to hit each other with their 
fists and break chairs over each other's heads and fall over the table 
and never seemed to get hurt. But it was easy." 

This made him a more difficult student "It's awful," says 

150 Paul O'Neil 

D' Amato, "trying to convince a fighter he has made a mistake if he 
does not get hit doing it" but it gave him a sudden feeling that the 
world was his to conquer. It also taught him that the other fellow 
seldom hits you while you are hitting him. He lost three amateur 
fights in the months that followed, but he learned : 'This fellow had 
me on the ropes and he was hitting me and the lights started to go 
dim and I couldn't hear the crowd any more. Then I remembered 
that if a fellow's hitting you in the head you must throw a flurry to 
his belly. I did' and he backed up and I knocked him out." After 
two years and two score of fights Patterson found himself at 
Helsinki, Finland, wearing the blue blazer of the U. S. Olympic 

"I didn't know what to expect/' he says. "But when we went into 
the Olympic Village the Russian boxing team was all lined up, 
standing in their blue sweatshirts. They had an instructor standing 
in front of them. He would holler an order and throw a jab at the 
air. Then they would all jab. He'd throw a right. They'd all throw 
a right. After that I didn't worry, except the sun stayed up so long 
I couldn't sleep good/' Patterson, who now weighed 160 pounds, 
fought as a "heavy" middleweight (there are two Olympic middle- 
weight divisions, one with a limit of 156 pounds, another with a 
limit of 165). One boxer, a Frenchman of excessive caution, stayed 
upright for three rounds, but he all but decapitated a Rumanian, 
a Dutchman and a Russian. He was fully as sensational when he 
mounted a dais to receive the victory award he put one hand on 
his stomach, the other against his back, and gave the crowd a deep 
dancing-school bow. 

A few days later, back in New York, he turned professional and 
was sent to Trainer Dan Florio at Stillman's Gym for advanced 
instruction. "He had to learn everything," says Florio. "His stance. 
He fought with his legs too far apart. He hopped around all the 
time. He'd jump like a kangaroo and throw a right. He didn't keep 
his hands up. But he was born to fight and he could punch and he 
was strong as a horse. He was easy to train." Few present-day 
fighters have been brought along as shrewdly and cautiously as Pat- 
terson. "I never let him fight anybody at first that one of my other 
fighters hadn't tried out," says D'Amato. "I had to know the 
opponent's ceiling of performance. 

"You must take a young fighter from peak to peak. First four- 
rounders. Then sixes. You must test him and then wean him and 
give him something harder and then wean him again. Some fighters 
slip back on you. Put them in fours and they're fine. Put them in a 

The Heavyweight Champion 151 

six and they fall apart on you and you must start all over again. 
But Floyd never slipped back. It was hard getting fights for him. 
When he came back from Europe people said, 'You'll never get 
anywhere with that boy/ They meant he was too tough. He'd 
knock you out with either hand. Would you put your young fighter 
in with him? But I kept calling him a light heavyweight and that 
way we got middleweights. He looked big; they thought he'd be 
weak at 160 pounds, but he could make it easy." 

"I also made a deal with Emil Lence at a clambake over in Jersey. 
Emil Lence is a dress manufacturer, and he promoted Eastern 
Parkway Arena in Brooklyn. I told Emil I could make him the big- 
gest man in boxing. I said Mike Jacobs got there because he had 
Joe Louis and he rose with the fighter. 'I have such a fighter/ I told 
him. Naturally he was interested. We fought for Eastern Parkway 
until they lost their television contract and closed up and so we got 
dates there and I got the right to pick the opponent. Even so I was 
careful, very careful. Some match-makers, after a fighter has won 
four or five times, want to put him in against a fighter who will 
beat him. Destroy him ! Not because the match-maker is vicious, 
but because it is his business to make exciting fights. I turned down 
many opponents for Floyd when he was coming up ; but I also had 
to pick some very tough opponents tough for his stage of develop- 
ment at the time that I believed he could beat. A fighter must sur- 
mount obstacles, he must reach peaks or he will never grow. I 
made some mistakes too but Floyd saved me." 

In the three years and four months of his professional career 
Patterson has fought a good share of "name" fighters. But the two 
fights he considers his hardest, the two he thinks of as milestones, 
were against relative mediocrities Dick Wagner, a crude, hard- 
punching light heavyweight from Toppenish, Wash., and Esau 
Ferdinand, a rough 175 -pounder from California. 

"Dick Wagner hurt me," he says. "I'd only been a pro seven 
months then. He could punch. He hit me in the body, hit me in the 
body. Every round he hit me in the body. I kept thinking he would 
switch to the head. I kept waiting for him to bring them up. But he 
never did. They say, 'Beat the body and the head must die/ I guess 
that's what he was thinking. Fourth round, he got me in^a corner 
and beat me. I could hear people hollering, 'He's out on his feet !' I 
thought I was I learned then not to listen to the crowd. When I 
came back to the corner Cus just said : 'If you're going to be the 
champion go out there and fight like a champion/ 1 got the decision, 
but I couldn't eat for three days just a little soup. 

152 Paul O'Neil 

"Esau Ferdinand was different. He walked out in the first round 
and hit me in the eye with a left hook. I couldn't see for a minute, 
so I went close to him. I didn't want him to know. But I couldn't do 
anything with him. He bullied me in the clinches. Kept on bullying 
me in the clinches all through the fight. He'd get me close and hit 
me and say nasty things to me. I was a boxer up until then. I 
couldn't fight inside. He'd say, 'Why don't you punch me, why 
don't you punch me?' I got the decision, but the next morning I 
went to the gym and I started trying to learn to fight inside get 
my feet on the floor and slug." 

Patterson fought return engagements with both Wagner and 
Ferdinand. Wagner was so badly damaged after the second fight 
that he retired from the ring. Ferdinand was battered too Patter- 
son fought him close and inside all the way. "Box him, box him," 
groaned D'Amato. "Want to beat him his way," said Patterson. 
"He didn't say anything to me in the second fight," says Patterson, 
somberly. "In the tenth round I said something to him. I said, 
'Why don't you punch me?' He didn't say anything. Then I 
knocked him out." 

Patterson does not consider his losing battle with Joey Maxim 
a hard one. In fact, he still grows indignant at the decision. "He's 
the only fighter that never hurt me once." But at the same time he 
is still full of respect for the ex-champion ; he has run and rerun the 
kinescope of the Maxim fight so often that the film is faded and 
worn. "Every time I look at it I see him doing something to me I 
didn't know about," he says. "Look at the dinky little jab. You 
can't feel it. Now look at his head. He carries it wrong. That head 
is up there looking around all the time, looking around all the time. 
Looks as though you could knock it right off his shoulders. But 
now watch see he pushes me off balance with the jab. Touches 
me. I can't hit him. 

"Look at me struggling in the clinches," he cries in horror. 
"Watch Maxim. Look at him layin' on me. I'm struggling and he's 
resting. He can do that to you seven different ways. Look at me go 
under the jab. Got my left a foot from his belly. But I don't hit him. 
Too busy hopping around. I don't do that any more. But now I'm 
hitting him. He takes a good punch, but I'm hitting him. I should 
have won that fight." 

^ To salve his soul after watching the Maxim film he runs the 
kinescope of his fight with Don Grant, a fast and able young light 
heavyweight from Los Angeles who many believed could beat him. 
"He should have boxed me," he says. "He was fast. But they sent 

The Heavyweight Champion 153 

him out to fight inside and he didn't know how. It shows you 
shouldn't plan your fight before you start fighting. I was going to 
box him, but when he started fighting inside I did too if I hadn't 
he would have been the aggressor. See he's holding his arms 
crosswise, trying to be like Archie Moore. So I just went over and 
under and I punched faster than he did." The Grant fight, held only 
seven months after he fought Maxim, was a revelation ; in that short 
time Patterson had refined and simplified his style, stopped his 
wasteful bobbing and jumping and turned himself into a terrifyingly 
efficient instrument of attack. Grant ended up sitting on the canvas 
with his back against a ringpost in the fifth round, a wrecked and 
senseless man. He was, in a sense, a sort of ceremonial sacrifice; 
the fight dramatized Patterson's present estate as a main-event 
light heavyweight who can fight a great percentage of the men in 
both upper divisions "for breakfast, lunch and dinner." 

For any fighter, however, the road to the championship is bor- 
dered by quicksand. A fighter like Patterson is enough to make 
boxing's gang-gray eminence, Frankie Carbo, lick his chops in an- 
ticipation. "No tough guys have a piece of Floyd," says D'Amato 
fiercely, "and I'll carry a pistol before they do." Neither has 
D'Amato gone "exclusive" with Jim Norris' IBC c Tm a free 
agent. But I can't get fights in the Garden. We don't get on tele- 
vision. We fight out of town." 

But Patterson is not without wildly enthusiastic backers. Cus 
D'Amato is a friend as well as a manager. "Floyd is going to be 
the heavyweight champion," he says firmly, "and he must be a 
credit to boxing and himself. I do everything I can to help him get 
ready for that. Floyd is learning he went to a lunch with the 
Mayor of New York a few weeks ago and I was proud of him. I 
try to make him independent of me. He decides how much work to 
do now, when he is training, and I accept his ideas about how to 
fight, unless I know he is absolutely wrong. Floyd is usually right. 
He must learn to live his own life." A wealthy operator of Bronx 
gas stations, Mike DeGregorio, is among Patterson's friends; so is 
Charles Schwefel, owner of Manhattan's dignified Gramercy Park 

Schwefel, a hearty, robust, gray-haired man with a lively interest 
in politics, was instrumental in setting up New York's "600 
schools" for backward boys. He was so impressed by Patterson's 
record at P. S. 614 that he all but adopted him, and has been his 
self-appointed guardian angel ever since. "I investigated Cus 
D'Amato up one side and down the other when Floyd started 

154 Paul O'Neil 

fighting/' he says. "After Floyd had his first professional fight I 
got him down here at the hotel and put three $100 bills on my desk. 
That's what he had earned. I said, 'Floyd, that looks like lots of 
money but it isn't. I want you to go to work here at the hotel in 
between fights.' He did until he made enough money fighting to 
live right and help his family." Schwefel now employs Patterson's 
sparring partners to be sure they can afford to be present when 
needed : he made sure that the borough presidents of both Brooklyn 
and Manhattan attended Floyd's 21st birthday party with tele- 
casters, sportswriters and assorted promoters, priests and lesser 
politicos. "There is going to be another heavyweight champion from 
New York pretty soon," he says, "if I have anything to do with it." 

To Floyd Patterson, at the moment, the future seems faintly 
hazy but delightful. He hopes to buy his father and mother a house 
in the suburbs and to get his younger brothers and sisters out of 
the slums ; he also hopes to make a million dollars and buy a farm. 
"I want to raise horses," he says. "I'd like to have a farm and 

But before him stands the bulky figure of Rocky Marciano. "I've 
thought of how I would fight him," he says. "He looks sloppy in 
the ring. But he is a good fighter, a real good fighter. There are 
lots of ways you could fight him. I could make him miss but Joe 
Walcott made him miss for almost 13 rounds. I think there is only 
one way. They say Marciano is the fighter who can't be hurt. But if 
you want to beat him you have to fight him and make him back up. 
I think of Rocky Marciano a lot." He smiled, faintly. "Maybe," he 
said, "Rocky Marciano thinks of me." 



By Harry Keck 

From The Pittsburgh Sun-Telegraph, October 21, 1956 
Copyright, 1956, Hearst Publishing Co., Inc. 

OHIO STATE waited 44 years to get even with Penn State today for 
a 37-0 defeat in their only other meeting, in 1912, but failed miser- 
ably before a crowd of 82,584, sixth largest ever to see the Buckeyes 
play in their home stadium. 

Penn State not only refused to play the part of a three-touchdown 
underdog but outplayed the team that is seeking its third straight 
Big Ten championship all the way to notch a 7-6 victory. 

In the closing minutes, a kind fate intervened to make sure the 
victory was not snatched from Coach Rip Engle's embattled legion 
when it saw to it that Frank Kremblas' kick for a tying point went 
wide to the left. 

Kremblas had to boot with the ball scrimmaged on the seven- 
yard line following a penalty for a twelfth man on the field in the 

This was a contest that long will be remembered by the wild-eyed 
Ohio State supporters. They had come to see a slaughter and 
stayed to see the ox slay the butcher. 

Before the game, an OSU All-American of some years ago confi- 
dently told me the score would be about "40 to or whatever 
Woody (Hayes) wants it to be." 

Well, the Buckeyes were back on their heels all afternoon and 
it was not until 1 1 :25 of the final period that the Scoreboard showed 
anything but zeroes. 

Then, after Bruce Gilmore scored from the one-foot line after 
two smashes had failed to bend the 1 1-man line Ohio threw tip in 
the emergency, Ohio State, which had tossed only 11 passes in 
three previous games this year, in desperation put together two 
long ones for 65 yards to reach the Lion four-yard line. Don Clark 
went over on the next play with only 1 :58 remaining. 


156 Harry Keck 

Ohio would have settled for the tie, but Coach Rip Engle's 
charges were not to be cheated of well-earned victory by this dying 

Off to a roaring start in which it made seven first downs against 
none in the opening period, Penn State wound up on the long side 
of this statistic at 18 to 15 and matched the vaunted attack of the 
Buckeyes on the ground with 12 first downs apiece. In passing, the 
first downs stood 6 to 3 for the victors. 

Total yardage by rushing was 173 for the Lions and 188 for the 
Buckeyes, but the Lions completed 9 of 17 passes (all by quarter- 
back Milt Plum) for 115 yards as against only three completions by 
the Bucks out of 10 tries for 89 yards. 

The manner in which Penn State controlled the game is reflected 
by the fact that it ran off 75 plays as against 58. 

Interceptions balked two Penn State scoring bids in the first 
quarter that might have turned the game into a rout. Then the 
Lions had to fight off two Ohio threats, one a missed field goal try 
from the 18 after recovery of a fumble at the start of the second 
quarter and the other a 93-yard grinding drive that ended when 
Gilmore intercepted a pass from the three-yard line in the end zone 
in the third period. 

Aside from this march, on which Clark and Jimmy Roseboro, 
flashy Negro halfbacks, alternated in short gains on 12 consecutive 
plays for 59 yards, these two big guns of the Ohio attack were held 
in check. 

If any of the Penn State heroes were to be singled out for excep- 
tional play they would have to start with Plum, who quarterbacked 
and pitched a great game; Gilmore, who stopped the dangerous 
Clark on the four-yard line after a 22-yard ramble around right end 
and then intercepted a pass from the three-yard line and ran the 
ball out of danger on the 21 and subsequently scored the winning 
touchdown. Also halfback Billy Kane, who caught five passes for 
81 yards, rushed 12 times for 41 and made an interception. 

And, of course, the men in the trenches, the stalwart linemen, all 
were steeped in valiant glory up to their helmets. 

Ohio's proud boast has been its "unstoppable 5 ' running game, 
which had enabled it to go to the air only 1 1 times in three games 
up to today. Penn State made it throw 10 times. 

Penn State ran the opening kickoff back to the 24 and moved 
from there in seven plays to the Ohio 20, where a pass intended for 
Kane was intercepted. 

Following a punt, the Lions moved 51 yards back to the 20 and 

The Ox Slays the Butcher 157 

again were balked by an interception. Ohio failed to get beyond its 
own 36 in the first period. 

In the second period Ohio missed its field goal try from the 18 
after recovering a fumble by Kane on the Penn State 45. 

Penn State picked up where it had left off as the second half got 
under way and moved from the kickoff to the Ohio 25. This time 
it was stopped by a fumble by Ray Alberigi which was recovered 
on the 13. 

From there, Ohio State put on its lone long stampede of the day, 
all the way to the three-yard line before Gilmore's end zone inter- 
ception stopped it. 

A "bonehead" play by Quarterback Frank Ellwood in the fourth 
period set the stage for Penn State's score. He failed to cover a 
punt by Plum which hit alongside him on the 25-yard line and 
rolled to the thr^e. A short return punt went only to the Ohio 45 
and the Lions were in business. 

They moved in short gains to the 10 and, on third down, Plum 
passed to Kane on the one-yard line, from where Gilmore scored 
three plays later. Plum converted for the payoff. 

Penn State's kickoff after the tally went into the end zone. From 
the 20-yard line, Clark picked up 1 1 in two tries. 

Two do-or-die passes, one for 25 yards by Roseboro to right end 
Leo Brown and the other 40 yards by Clark to Brown, swiftly 
moved play to the four-yard line. Clark roared into the end zone 
on the next play. 

Then the pulsating climax the missed try for the tying point ! 

Coach Rip Engle gave full credit to his boys while Coach Hayes 
took the blame for a couple of decisions that affected the outcome 
and said Penn State's defense was the best he's seen all season. 

Engle summed it up : 

"This was my greatest thrill in football." 


By Harry T. Paxton 

From The Saturday Evening Post, December 15, 1956 
Copyright, 1956, Curtis Publishing Company 

FOR ALL THE booming popularity of professional football, one thing 
about the game has bothered a lot of fans. This is the terrific em- 
phasis the pros put on the forward pass. The artistry with which 
they flip the ball around is admirable, but, after all, football is sup- 
posed to be a physical-combat sport. In recent pro seasons it often 
appeared that the elemental business of bumping heads, although 
still very much in evidence, had become secondary in importance 
to the basketball stuff. 

Now the pros are running with the ball again. This is the biggest 
development of the current National Football League season. No 
longer is it the regular practice to sum up a professional game as if 
it were a baseball pitching duel, with Bobby Layne, of the Detroit 
Lions, throwing against Tobin Rote, of the Green Bay Packers. 
Increasingly, the story in this year's games has been the explosive 
ball-carrying of Rick Casares, say, for the Chicago Bears, or Frank 
Giff ord for the New York Giants, or Ollie Matson for the Chicago 

The running game never actually disappeared in professional 
football, of course. But it got subordinated to the point where the 
pro teams as a whole were averaging almost thirty passes a game, 
and gaining nearly 60 per cent of their yardage that way. 

By 1954 only two of the twelve NFL teams both of them also 
rans pounded out the bulk of their yardage along the ground. 
Everybody else was moving the ball mostly through the air. 

That was the passingest year ever in the National Football 
League the climax of a quarter-century trend. Last year things 
abruptly began to swing in the other direction. The league's rush- 
ing yardage nearly caught up to its passing yardage, as the offensive 
balance on half a dozen teams including the champion Cleveland 
Browns, Otto Graham and all tipped over to the running attack. 

Now the run has gone ahead of the pass. This season the rushing 
game has been the biggest producer for a majority of the teams. 
Among them have been the leading contenders in each division. In 
fact, by the time the season had reached the two-thirds mark, the 


Pro Football Comes Down to Earth 159 

four teams with the best winning percentages were also the four 
teams with the top running records. 

On one recent Sunday, Cleveland threw the ball only four times 
while beating Green Bay 24-7, to break a three-game losing streak. 
On the same day the Chicago Bears and Chicago Cards each em- 
ployed a modest seventeen aerials in the course of winning their 
games. The only victorious team to throw as many as twenty 
passes that afternoon was. the New York Giants, who heaved 
twenty-three. And the Giants wound up netting more than two 
thirds of their yardage on the ground. 

"It's a return to basic football the running attack/ 7 says the 
Chicago Bears' George Halas, a founding father of the National 
Football League. Mr. Halas says this fondly, as befits a man who 
started out in an era when brute force had it all over finesse in foot- 
ball. All this may suggest that the league has been swept by a sud- 
den revulsion of feeling against fancy-Dan stuff, and a correspond- 
ing determination to get back to beak-busting fundamentals. 

But this hasn't been true at all. The change has come about for 
practical rather than philosophical reasons. Few NFL coaches 
show real enthusiasm over the revival of the running game. On 
offense, many seem to regard their new stress on ball carrying as 
something that circumstances forced upon them. On defense, their 
main preoccupation continues to be the forward pass. 

Take Ray Richards, whose Chicago Cardinals this year became 
the first professional team to install the split T as its basic offense. 
Primarily a running attack, the split T has been adopted by a great 
many of the leading college teams, but the pros have felt that it 
would never work as a steady proposition against the huge linemen 
of the National Football League. 

This year the Cardinals decided to give the split T a real trial. 
"We knew we had some good ball carriers, and our passing hadn't 
been too good last year/' the mild-spoken Richards explains dep- 
recatingly. "We experimented with the split T during the last half 
of the 1955 season, and we found that it was giving us ball control." 

So, after concealing their intentions during the exhibition 
schedule, the Cards swung into the split T on opening day this fall. 
Advancing the ball chiefly via the ground route, they were an early 
sensation, winning five of their first six games. At this stage Ray 
Richards was modest about the initial success of his new offense, 
possibly anticipating some of the troubles that later came his way. 

When the conversation switched to defense, though, Richards' 
thoughts centered on passing, and he spoke with much greater 

160 Harry T. Paxton 

intensity than he had when discussing his own rushing attack. 
"There's nothing that takes the heart out of your team more than 
having the other team throw a pass for an easy touchdown instead 
of having to grind it out/' Richards declared. 

This attitude is prevalent among the league's coaches, and the 
explanation of the running revival starts right there. Somewhat like 
the atomic scientists and their bomb, the football pros over the 
years have sharpened the forward pass into a weapon so devastating 
that they're terrified of it themselves. They've concentrated to such 
a degree on stopping the pass that they've opened new opportuni- 
ties for the run. 

Once upon a time the general idea in pass defense simply was to 
have a man covering each receiver. As the throwing game stepped 
up, this no longer was enough. So the pros began putting two men 
on the best receivers. The next stage was to try for double-teaming 
on all the receivers which is where things stand right now. 

In pro games today, as many as seven men may fall back to de- 
fend against a forward pass. Defensive teams frequently operate 
with what amounts to a four-man line. At the start of a play they 
may have seven men on or near the line of scrimmage, but only the 
interior four all of whom have the size and capabilities of tackles 
are reasonably sure to function as linesmen. If it's a pass play, 
three line-backers may drop off to help out the four men in the 
secondary on covering receivers. 

They vary their tactics from play to play, of course. Sometimes 
only two line-backers will drop off for pass coverage, or only one. 
Periodically nobody will drop back, and they'll put on a seven-man 
rush "red dog/' or "blitz," as it variously is called. When you 
see a passer buried under a surge of tacklers before he can throw 
the ball, this generally is what has happened. 

The blitz technique can be very effective, but it also is very risky. 
If the passer does get the ball away, his receivers have all sorts of 
running room. Every team does some blitzing to keep the other 
side guessing, but the most-favored approach is to drape those 
seven-man nets around the receivers. 

"In some situations they'll even drop an extra man deep on you/' 
says Wilbur "Weeb" Ewbank, coach of the Baltimore Colts. "Say 
it's near the end of the first half, and you have the ball in your own 
territory with time for just a couple of plays. They'll figure that 
you're going to shoot for a long touchdown pass before the clock 
runs out. So they'll put a fifth man deep in the secondary. They'll 
say, 'Let 'em run with the ball if they want to. We'll give them ten 

Pro Football Comes Down to Earth 161 

yards.' They're playing for an interception. If they can get the ball 
that way and run it back far enough, they'll at least have time for a 
field goal before the half ends." 

This very situation arose when the Green Bay Packers played at 
Baltimore this year. With about thirty seconds to go until halftime, 
the Colts had the ball on their own twenty-eight-yard line. The 
Packers sent an extra man back deep. Sometimes the offensive 
team will counter by sending out the maximum five receivers. But 
the Colts didn't go for the long pass on this occasion. Instead, they 
ran Lennie Moore on a reverse, and the swift rookie halfback from 
Penn State didn't settle for any ten-yard gain. He went all the way 
for a touchdown. 

Later in the game Moore took a pitchout and traveled seventy- 
nine yards for another score. These two running plays made the 
difference in a 28-21 Baltimore victory. This is indicative of how 
the whole ball-carrying trend has come about, for, although the 
Colts have been rushing more in the last two years 'they ran for 
305 yards and passed for just five while beating Cleveland last 
month, 21-7 coach Weeb Ewbank has not deliberately empha- 
sized the ground game. He places a high value on the passing po- 
tential of his young T quarterback, George Shaw, who has been 
disabled part of this season. Like virtually all pro coaches, Ewbank 
says his goal is to have a balanced offense. 

On any given play, a variety of factors determines whether you 
should run or throw. More and more often these days, the pros are 
finding that the situation calls for carrying the ball. In the phrase 
of coach Buddy Parker, whose Detroit Lions this year have jacked 
up both their rushing yardage and their league standing, "The 
defenses today invite the run/' 

Paul Brown, of the Cleveland Browns, who has never before 
failed to win at least the division title in ten years, first in the All- 
America conference and then in the National Football League, puts 
it this way : "There was a time when you passed so you could run. 
Now you have to run to establish your passing." 

Brown feels that the caliber of pro passers is changing and he 
isn't just talking about the loss he suffered with the retirement 
of Otto Graham. "There aren't many 'pure' passers left. I mean 
fellows like Otto, who step back and throw from out of a pocket. 
There are more roll-out passers today. That's the way they're being 
trained in the colleges, where they've really gone overboard on the 
running game. Most of the newer passers have to be given the run 
in order to throw. George Shaw, of the Colts, is a runner. Then 

162 Harry T. Paxton 

you have wee fellows like Marchibroda, of the Steelers, and McHan, 
of the Cardinals, and LeBaron, of the Redskins. They like to roll 
out. They're so short they have trouble throwing from out of a 

"Of the old-timers, Bobby Layne, on the Lions, has always done 
a lot of running. On the Rams, Bill Wade, a roll-out passer, seems 
to be taking over from Van Brocklin, a pocket passer. That's the 
trend all over the league." 

Not everybody agrees entirely with Brown's analysis. In the case 
of such passers as the Cards' Lamar McHan whose team fined 
and suspended him for "insubordination" last month and the 
Colts' George Shaw, their coaches say that the opposing defenses 
often keep them from rolling wide and force them to pass from a 

Coach Jim Lee Howell, of the New York Giants, points out an- 
other reason why more passing is being done on the run. Often the 
object is to make the defense think you're going to run with the ball. 
The Giants, who have one of the best ground attacks in the 
league, have scored some of their key touchdowns this season on 
what Howell terms the "play pass." This simply means a passing 
play that starts out like a running play. 

All this sometimes leads to "what you might call firehouse foot- 
ball," says Hugh Devore, coach of the Philadelphia Eagles. "Take 
a fellow like that little Marchibroda of Pittsburgh. He can drive you 
crazy when he rolls out. He'll start forward as if he's going to run. 
Then he'll drop back as if he's going to throw. Then he'll start 
forward again. 

"You don't know what he's going to do. Sometimes his own 
team doesn't know either. The patterns on both sides get com- 
pletely disorganized. In our first game with them this year, there 
was one time when he finally threw the ball to a man in the clear. 
But the man wasn't even expecting it, and he didn't catch it." 

So much for the current array of T quarterbacks, who are still 
indispensable cogs in any pro-football machine. What about the 
ball carriers ? The consensus is that although the best runners today 
are no greater than the stars of the past, there are more of them. 
It isn't only for tactical reasons that the rushing game has been 
picking up. There are also plenty of fellows around who can make 
a running attack go. 

It takes a lot of man to carry the ball in pro competition. Natu- 
rally he must be utterly fearless about hurling himself against 
mammoth defenders. He must also have exceptional speed and 

Pro Football Comes Down to Earth 163 

drive. His speed must be of the quick-accelerating variety, so that 
he is going full tilt almost from the moment he takes off. 

Many of the best runners are essentially the straight-ahead, bat- 
tering-ram type, like the Bears' Rick Casares and the Giants' Alex 
Webster. Elusiveness alone isn't enough for a pro ball carrier, 
although there are some comparatively small scatbacks who operate 
successfully on a spot basis such as Ron Waller, of the Los Angeles 
Rams; Billy Wells, of the Washington Redskins, and Perry Jeter, 
of the Bears. A few runners combine speed, power and shiftiness, 
including Hugh McElhenny, of the San Francisco Forty Niners, 
and Frank Gifford, of the New York Giants. 

The increase in the number of high-grade ball carriers is in line 
with the ever-expanding supply of good football material from the 
high schools and colleges. It probably also reflects the recent domi- 
nance of the running game in the colleges. Another factor could be 
the restoration of the one-platoon system in collegiate football. A 
back who survives this is likely to have the durability it takes to 
stand up under the violent contact in professional ball. 

The man who runs with the ball is back in the limelight, but it's 
still not like the early years of the National Football League. Then 
the rushing attack was virtually the whole show. Through the 
1920's and well into the 1930 J s, most of the big names were ball 
carriers, such as Red Grange, Bronko Nagurski and Beattie 
Feathers, of the Chicago Bears ; Cliff Battles, of the Washington 
Redskins ; Dutch Clark, of the Detroit Lions ; Clark Hinkle, of the 
Green Bay Packers; and numerous others. 

Steve Owen, long-time coach of the New York Giants, who now 
works with Hugh Devore on the Philadelphia Eagles, recalls 
vividly how things were. Owen first came into the league as a 
tackle in 1926, and was joined the next year at the other tackle 
position by Cal Hubbard, an all-time great pro lineman, and cur- 
rently supervisor of American League baseball umpires. 

Hubbard was six-five and weighed 265 pounds. This would be 
almost commonplace for a pro tackle today, but at that time it was 
truly awesome. "We could pass even then, but we didn't have to," 
Steve Owen reminisces. "I remember Cal used to say that anybody 
who threw a ball instead of running with it was a sissy." 

A couple of years later, though, the Giants got Benny Friedman, 
of Friedman-to-Oosterbaan passing fame at the University of 
Michigan. They found that there was something to this throwing 
game after all. The next season, 1930, Arnie Herber began tossing 
the ball around for the Green Bay Packers. 

164 Harry T. Paxton 

It didn't take league officials long to realize that the forward pass 
was making pro football a more spectacular and crowd-pleasing 
attraction. In 1933, long before colleges took similar action, the 
pros repealed the old rule-book restrictions on the forward pass, 
and made it legal for a team to throw as often as it liked, from any- 
where behind the line of scrimmage. By 1935 the pros were getting 
40 per cent of their yardage through the air. 

That was the year when Don Hutson, who was to catch more 
passes than any pro receiver before or since, started his long career 
at end for Green Bay. In 1937 Slingin' Sammy Baugh broke in 
with the Washington Redskins, and in 1939 Sid Luckman came to 
the Chicago Bears. The game was opened up still further around 
that time as the Bears evolved the modern T formation, featuring 
the use of a man in motion and wide pitchouts to spread the de- 

By the start of World War II, the passing game was accounting 
for half the yardage in the pro league. After the war the ratio con- 
tinued to climb. For a while the championship still went occasion- 
ally to a team which emphasized the running game, like the Phila- 
delphia Eagles with Steve Van Buren in 1948 and 1949. But the 
over-all trend was the other way. In 1950 the Los Angeles Rams 
won their division title and nearly beat Cleveland in the champion- 
ship playoff with an offense which produced a record 3709 yards 
by passing and only 1 71 1 by rushing. 

When the countertrend finally set in last season, the team which 
led the way was the Chicago Bears. Veteran owner George Halas, 
who was also his team's head coach until he handed the job over to 
Paddy Driscoll this year, says that with the Bears, the running 
change-over was strictly intentional. 

"In 1954," he relates, "we led the league in passing, but we hardly 
gained anything running." (The actual figures were 3104 passing 
yards and 1142 rushing yards.) "Although we finished in second 
place, we weren't satisfied. Our offense was way out of balance. 
Last year we set out to get more running. We wound up leading 
the league in rushing, and we were just half a game and a couple 
of breaks away from getting into the playoff." 

" The Bears this season have been ahead again not only in rushing 
but also in total offense. They were hitting for good passing yard- 
age, too, with exceptional receivers like Harlon Hill and Gene 
Schroeder to catch the tosses of Ed Brown. The Bears were show- 
ing the kind of offensive balance every pro coach dreams of. 

Professional teams prepare for their games so intensively now- 

Pro Football Comes Down to Earth 165 

adays that it's a wonder anybody is able to move the ball at all. In 
addition to sending scouts to the enemy ball parks, they freely ex- 
change the latest movies of one another's games. In its planning 
each week, a team generally will have studied and completely 
charted the films of the coming opponent's last two or three games. 

Since everything they do is so well known to the other fellows, 
teams make it a point to change things. The Bears, for example, 
put on their greatest running show of the season in their first game 
with the San Francisco Forty Niners this year. They rolled nearly 
400 yards along the ground and passed for only eighty-six yards in 
recording a 31-7 victory. But in a return engagement two weeks 
later, with the Forty Niners presumably primed to check that run- 
n i n g g arne ) the Bears did a greater amount of throwing. While 
their rushing was going down to 233, their passing yardage went 
up to 207. The score this time was Bears 38, Forty Niners 21. 

The teams that do the least passing sometimes are the most effec- 
tive at it, since the opposition is paying more attention to the run- 
ning attack. The National Football League ranks passers according 
to average yards gained per passes thrown. Going into this month 
the No. 1 passer in the averages was Ed Brown, of the hard-run- 
ning Bears. No. 2 until he began getting into difficulties last month 
was Lamar McHan, of the Chicago Cardinals, who, with their split 
T, had been throwing fewer passes than any other team in the 

The Bears and the Cards both stepped up their ball-carrying on 
purpose, but on many of the teams, it seems to have happened as 
much by chance as by design. The Detroit Lions have had good 
offensive balance this season, after several years of being primarily 
a passing team. However, coach Buddy Parker says one big reason 
is that he has much more ball-carrying talent this year. Then there 
was the comeback of Bobby Layne, who last year was hampered by 
a stiff shoulder. 

The San Francisco Forty Niners have also been dividing pretty 
evenly between passing and running yardage this season, but if 
anything, they are going counter to the trend. The point is that for 
years the Forty Niners were the league's big running team. They 
were No. 1 in ball carrying from 1952 through 1954. They were 
usually in contention for the division title, but they always fell short. 
So the feeling grew in San Francisco that they weren't doing 
enough throwing. Last season and this, a greater proportion of their 
yardage has come from the passing of Y. A. Tittle and others. And 
coincidentally or not, they have been having less success than ever. 

166 Harry T. Paxton 

The new San Francisco coach, Frankie Albert, was one of the 
great T quarterbacks and passers. However, he fully recognizes the 
present importance of the ground game. But Albert adds, "Any club 
that can come up with another passing artist who can thread the 
needle like Otto Graham will still be able to dominate most games. 
When it's a third-and-five situation, a Graham can get you those 
yards with a short pass, where a runner might be held to three or 

In any event, during much of this season the teams with the 
highest passing ratios have been getting beaten consistently the 
Los Angeles Rams, the Pittsburgh Steelers, the Green Bay Packers. 
When the Rams finally came up with a good win over San Fran- 
cisco, after losing five straight, they did it primarily with a rushing 
attack. It should be mentioned, though, that with losing teams, high 
passing figures sometimes are misleading. 

For instance, in going down to defeat at Baltimore this year, 
Green Bay threw the ball thirty-eight times, and gained nearly 300 
passing yards while rushing for the paltry total of only twenty 
yards. Baltimore's Weeb Ewbank relates, "After the game some 
of the sportswriters were asking Lisle Blackbourne, the Green Bay 
coach, why they'd done so much passing. He said, We should have 
passed more!' And he was right. They were behind almost the 
entire ball game. When you're behind, you have to keep passing to 
try and catch up/' 

Jim Lee Howell, of the New York Giants, speaks of good pass- 
defense men as the rarest jewels in the league today. "If I had my 
choice right now between getting a good running halfback and a 
good defensive halfback," Howell declares, "I'd take the defensive 

Hugh Devore, of the Philadelphia Eagles, makes another point 
about the passing game. Says Devore, "It takes a long time to build 
up good passer-receiver relationships. A passer can throw much 
better to a man when he knows his style and can tell exactly what 
he's likely to do. It hurt us on the Eagles this year when Pete Pihos 
retired. Both our passers had a good relationship with him. That 
left Walston as the only receiver they were really familiar with." 

Last season the Eagles were top-heavy on the passing side. Upon 
taking charge at Philadelphia this year, Devore undertook to de- 
velop more running while preserving the aerial weapon. He seemed 
to be succeeding in the early games, but by midseason forward-pass- 
ing problems were holding down his entire offense. 

The Washington Redskins, who for so long relied chiefly upon 

Pro Football Comes Down to Earth 167 

the slinging of Sammy Baugh, have been basically a running team 
for several seasons now. It was with a ground attack featuring 
Leo Elter and Billy Wells that the surprising Redskins broke the 
six-game winning streak of the Detroit Lions this year in a thriller, 
18-17. Paul Brown has been restoring rushing balance to the Cleve- 
land attack since 1954, although this year he has been dissatisfied 
with both branches of the Browns' offense. However, the running 
of Preston Carpenter and the now-sidelined Ed Modzelewski has 
been a bright spot. 

The general trend is clear. For the first time in ten seasons, more 
touchdowns have been scored by running than by passing in the 
National Football League this year. The pro teams are averaging 
only a little more than twenty passes per game, compared to the 
peak of thirty they reached three years ago. The proportion of rush- 
ing yardage has gone up from a 1954 low of 41 per cent to well over 
50 per cent. 

The ball carrier is a big man again in the pro league, but he hasn't 
pushed the forward passer out of the picture. The pros won't revert 
to the old era when two teams just plugged away along the ground. 
They won't get as conservative as today's ''possession football" 
college teams, who keep five-yarding the opposition to death in 
efficient but often monotonous fashion. 

However, professional football had been going too far in the 
other direction. Now things are back in proportion. For the tacti- 
cians, it is a better-rounded game. For the average football fan it is 
a more satisfying spectacle. 


By Red Smith 

From The New York Herald Tribune, December 31, 1956 
Copyright, 1956, New York Herald Tribune, Inc. 

FOR TEN YEARS the theory lay doggo that football was a game fit to 
be played in New York in December. Yesterday some fiend in pro- 
moter's form revived the bizarre notion, and the metropolitan in- 
telligence quotient dropped like a plummet when 56,836 sub- 
scribed to it. 

They came trooping and whooping into Yankee Stadium in 
parkas and woolies and ski togs and furs with mufflers snugged 
about the ears, and everybody was ridiculing himself. "Hi," a guy 
would shout, meeting an acquaintance, "how about this ? Am I an 
idiot or ain't I ?" 

"Look," said a man making a compact with his companion, 
"promise we'll leave if it gets lopsided, like 7 to 6." 

He couldn't have foreseen how early the reprieve would come. 
Scoring from the opening kickoff, the New York Giants drove the 
Chicago Bears into the frozen ground like tacks and rushed on rub- 
ber-soled feet to their first professional championship in eighteen 
years. With a bright sun shining and the temperature practically 
soaring around 20 degrees, Mara's mercenaries built a lead of 34 
to 7 in the first half. Hustling to keep warm after the sun slid behind 
the towering green masonry, they ran the final score to 47 to 7. 

Ten years ago when the National League last defied New York 
pneumococci after the season's close, a couple of Giants had been 
playing footsie with a fixer, and the town built up a considerable 
head of stearn over that untidy business. This one, though, was 
played with the wraps off and basketball footgear on, and elders 
were reminded not so much of the Hapes-Filchock-Paris shenani- 
gans of 1946 as the Ken Strong-Doc Sweeny coup of 1934. 

That was the year of the Giants' first championship, and their 
opponents in the title play-off were the Bears then, too. Cleats 
skidding on a frozen field, the Giants got in trouble in the first half, 
13 to 3. Dr. Francis Sweeny, the team physician, sent an emissary 
dashing to the Manhattan College gym to swipe every pair of 


Frost on the Punkirf Heads 169 

sneakers he could find. Changing footgear between halves, the re- 
doubtable Ken Strong got traction in the second half and led New 
York to victory, 30 to 13. 

Consequently, the Giants' coach, Jim Lee Howdl, checked track 
conditions at 12 :30 p.m. yesterday with two of his halfbacks, Ed 
Hughes wearing cleated shoes and Gene Filipski wearing sneakers. 
The cleats didn't hold, and so the giants showed up for the kickoff 
shod like roundball players. Only a few of the Bears had sneakers 
at the outset. 

There was a light dusting of snow outside the side lines. The 
playing field was virtually clear but hard as a tackle's skull. Shod 
for sprinting, Filipski raced fifty-three yards with the opening kick- 
off and momentum took New York to a seven-point lead before 
the struggle was three minutes old. 

On the next kickoff, Chicago's Ray Smith slipped and fell on his 
12-yard line. He hustled off immediately to change to sneakers, and 
by the time the second half started all the Bears were shod with 
rubber. By then it was too late. 

As a matter of fact, when the game started at 2 :05 p.m. it was 
already later than the Bears thought Especially on defense, the 
Giants were ready for this one. They didn't just tackle the Chicago 
ball carrier, they snowed him under, and the Bears' passer, Ed 
Brown, was rushed like a blonde in a logging camp. 

Having scored from the first kickoff, which they received, the 
Giants demonstrated their versatility by scoring from the second, 
which they delivered. On the Bears' first official play from scrim- 
mage, Rick Casares fumbled and Andy Robustelli recovered for 
New York on Chicago's 15-yard line. When his playmates were 
unable to run the ball over, Ben Agajanian kicked it over for a lead 
of 10 to 0. 

Agajanian's first field goal traveled seventeen yards and he was 
to kick another forty-three yards. Meanwhile the Giants ran and 
passed and caught passes and above all they tackled, smashing the 
Chicago attack. The^Bears scored only after recovering a fumble on 
New York's 24-yard line. They looked cold and unhappy. The 
Giants were hot, all bundled up like mother's little darlings, this one 
wearing thin cotton gloves, this one bright red mittens. 

Late in the second quarter, a rather flabby-looking New York 
kickoff rolled and hopped and skipped deep into Chicago territory, 
putting the Bears in a deep hole. Roosevelt Grier kept them there, 
twice flinging his 275 pounds of gristle into the Chicago backfield 
to flatten the ball carrier close to the goal line. 

170 Red Smith 

When Brown tried to punt out, Ray Beck blocked the kick and 
Henry Moore fell on it. This was New York's fourth touchdown, 
making the score, 34 to 7. "We want more!" the customers 

They were hollering for points, when what they needed was 
brandy and a hot mustard footbath. It made a guy wonder about 
the future of this civilization. 

In a few minutes the half ended and out came a band led by nine 
peach cakes, their pink shanks flashing. One drum majorette was 
bandaged like a $700 plater but all the other knees were bare. 
Strong men turned pale and fled. 


By Ben Byrd 

From The Knoxville Journal, November 11, 1956 
Copyright, 1956, The Knoucville Journal 

THE GREATEST football game I have ever seen (Tennessee 6, 
Georgia Tech 0) has been over for 15 minutes now. The slate gray 
horseshoe stadium is almost cleared of fans, except for the bright 
orange patch across the field in the east stands, where the Tennessee 
band continues to blare out, piping hot, in concert with the hand- 
clapping and footstomping jubilance of Volunteer fans. 

They seem reluctant to leave the scene of this magnificent battle 
in which violent gridiron armies clashed with all their hopes and 
dreams at stake. The echoes linger on. The roar of the battle is 
still with us. You can close your eyes and hear again the crackling 
of leather against leather, and the chant of the Tennessee fans as 
they counted off the last fleeting seconds of the game. 

"Fifteen . . . fourteen . . . thirteen . . . twelve/' 

The Vols huddled in their end zone, the ball resting on the four- 
yard line. 

"Eight . . . seven . . . six , . . five." 

Tech's valiant linemen stood at the five-yard line, like pall- 
bearers, helpless as the count droned on. 

"Three . . . two , . . one ..." 

Pandemonium. Chaos. The end of the game, the end of the world 
for Georgia Tech. 

It was an orange-colored world. Orange people streamed off the 
Tennessee bench. Down at the goal line, other little orange men 
went into the buck-and-wing. Orange pennants unfurled and flut- 
tered in the breeze. And orange music burst from the horns of the 
Tennessee band. 

How did it happen, this epic outcome of an epic football game? 

It came to pass because of many things. The eternal vigilance 
of the Tennessee team that gave inches where yards were needed, 
first downs where touchdowns were necessary. The grand strategy 
of the coaches. You could almost hear the wheels grinding in Bow- 
den Wyatt's skull as he swapped checker moves with Bobby Dodd. 
And, lastly, there was courage. The courage of a team to cling to a 
shaky lead through 20 hectic minutes, against a great opponent, 


172 Ben Byrd 

and without the benefit of its great mainspring, Johnny Majors. 

It was the kind of game that saw pressure, extreme at the outset, 
build with each passing minute. Every play bore the weight of life 
and death. Every run, every pass, every punt was a climax in itself. 

Defense? You never saw such defense. Kicking? Magnificent. 
Strategy ? Man, we're up to here in strategy. 

If Bobby Dodd looks back at this one, a personal guess is that his 
biggest regret will be the decision to punt on fourth down with four 
yards to go at the Tennessee 28 in the first quarter. Tech keynoted 
its conservative campaign right at that moment when Johnny Men- 
ger was dropped back to punt. 

It was a good kick, rolling dead on the Tennessee five. But some- 
thing else rolled dead with the ball. Tech's big chance. For Ten- 
nessee brains went to whirring here, and two plays later the oval 
was 78 yards downfield. 

And what did Wyatt use to bail out of trouble here ? Something 
new and fancy just out of the Paris shops ? No, he went back to the 
horse-and-buggy. First, the old ten play, the off-tackle power play, 
with Majors smashing for a first down on the 15. Breathing room 
now for the Vols. 

The next revealed the artistic touch, the quick-kick, brought over 
on the Mayflower by Miles Standish as a possible weapon against 
John Alden. High above the stands it rode, like an eagle in flight. 
Sixty-eight yards without a return, and Tech found itself on its 
own 17-yard-line with row after row of white stripes, like hurdles, 

Tech had just one more chance. It was, by this time, the second 
quarter^ A break provided the momentum and another break 
dashed it to earth. Probing cautiously, the Engineers had moved 
onto the Vol side of the great divide. But they were stopped and 
had to punt with fourth down and seven on the 39. A Tennessee 
man sprang offsides. That made it fourth and two on the 34. 

They went for it this time, and made it, Ken Owen ripping to 
the 29. Stan Flowers followed that up with an eight-yard charge 
and the Tennessee situation was not exactly ginger peachy. But 
then Ken Owen, exploding off tackle, fumbled, and Jim Smelcher 
was on it like a third-rate vaudeville dancer grabbing for coins 
tossed up on the stage. 

When the Vols struck, they shot from the hip. All through the 
first half, both teams had been stepping on eggs. Tech quickly set- 
tled one question how it would play Majors' dangerous option 
pass-and-run. They rushed him, pressured him, giving him little or 

The Greatest Game 173 

no time to practice his favorite deception. He failed to get the ball 
airborne until late in the second quarter. 

Tennessee never had much of a chance to score in the second 
period, although Cruze' s shoestring catch did give them a first 
down on the 20 with 36 seconds left. Burklow's field goal attempt 
from the 34 was a draw to an inside straight flush. It was miles 

Then, in the third quarter . . . bang, bang. After an exchange 
of punts, Tennessee had second and five on its own 40. Cruze 
drifted to the sidelines and was greeted with a package from Ma- 
jors. A football. It was first down on the Tech 46. 

Don't stall now . . . "He who hesitates is dead." Cruze swung 
wide again, taking the defensive halfback with him. Then, quickly, 
he shot to the inside and broke downfield. By this time he had lost 
his passenger. The ball arrived on schedule and only a fine effort 
by Ken Owen stopped him one yard short of the goal. 

Bronson's leap into hallowed ground was almost an anti-climax. 

Tech went down lashed to the mast, building brush fires in the 
flickering minutes of the game on Toppy Vann's passing. They 
died hard, starting one drive from their own two, with Vann stand- 
ing there in the end zone, a lone and valiant figure. 

Twice the Vols came up with clutch interceptions, one by Bubba 
Howe at midfield, and the last by Bronson, retreating with his man 
deep into Tennessee territory. He planted Tech's flag there on the 
nine-yard line and a vast silence settled over the Tech side of the 

While down the line the Tennessee crowd chanted on ... four 
. . . three . . . two . . . one. 

Hallelujah ! Praise the Lord ! 


By Tow, Siler 

From The Elks Magazine, January, 1956 
Copyright, 1956, Elks Magazine 

FOOTBALL COACHING used to be a soft touch. All the coach had to 
do was win nine or 10 games and the conference championship 
pat the worthy athletes on the head, tell a few amusing stories 
on the banquet circuit, then head for the most likely fishing hole. 

No more. Now, when the coach flattens the opposition, he gen- 
erally qualifies for a holiday shot at the big, economy-sized ulcer on 
January 1. The bowl game has become the coach's biggest head- 
ache, a dubious reward for a successful season. If he wins, he's 
king; If he loses, the fans grumble till next September, forgetting 
the lovely victories of October and November. 

"Better not win at all if you can't win the bowl game," observed 
Bobby Dodd of Georgia Tech, undefeated In seven bowl games 
since World War II. Bud Wilkinson, coach of the always-power- 
ful Oklahoma Sooners, agrees. "I'd be a lot happier if we didn't 
have bowl games," says he, even though the Sooners have managed 
to win four out of five holiday engagements. 

"You have a great season, then lose in the bowl and that's all 
you hear for months they remember only the last one. But the 
players and jfans love 'em. The players always want to go. Oh, they 
may act a bit coy but I've never heard of a squad that turned down 
a bowl trip. For the coach the bowl game job is the very toughest." 

This view may not be unanimous, but most of the dissenters 
haven't been to a major bowl. The long layoff after the season's 
finale, ^the Christmas holidays and the rich food, the resumption of 
drills^in strange surroundings, the festive air, the lack of proper 
scouting, the curious newspapermen ... all these factors, and 
many more, complicate the bowl assignment for the harried coach. 

Which could explain why the underdog has won four of the last 
six Cotton Bowl games, three of the last six Sugar Bowl games, 
two of the last six Orange Bowl games. And to perplex the coach 
even^ further, the evidence is overwhelming that small factors, often 
outside the ken of the coach, settle the issue. Psychological factors 
loom particularly large in bowl battling indeed, it could even be 

The Bowl Games 175 

said that many of the January 1 games are virtually settled before 
they ever start. 

A case in point was the Texas-Christian-Mississippi Cotton 
Bowl game just a year ago. The Rebels, having taken a beating in 
two recent bowl engagements, faced the Texans and their Ail- 
American star. Jimmy Swink, with some misgivings. TCU was 
favored but Mississippi got help from an unsuspected source. 

"We had to go to a luncheon a few days before the game/' Coach 
John Vaught told us. "You know how I hate that sort of thing. 
But there was nothing to do but go and take the entire squad. It 
was the Texas Hall of Fame affair honoring Rogers Hornsby and 
Byron Nelson." 

The first half dozen speakers began by acknowledging the nota- 
bles up and down the head table and then he added, 'and Mr. 
Swink.' The several hundred Texans there howled with delight. 
So, each of the following speakers did the same thing. Two hours 
later our gang left that ballroom thinking Swink was quite a boy, 
which was just what we had been trying to tell them for a month. 
That helped get us ready. Ole Miss won, 14-13, and the Rebels' 
own Eagle Day, not Swink, was the star of the day that hinged on 
a conversion. 

The Rebels had been hardly as fortunate two years ago. Navy 
crushed them in the Sugar Bowl, 21-0, a rout that astounded even 
Navy's most staunch partisans. 

Navy could hardly have committed enough tactical mistakes to 
lose such was the mental bulge that the Easterners carried into 
the contest. 

When Coach Eddie Erdelatz of Navy appeared before the New 
Orleans Quarterback Club he was asked a question from the floor : 
"What do you expect from Ole Miss?" 

"Kindness, only kindness," grinned Eddie. 

That was the propaganda line and the Rebels fell for it. When 
the game was booked Navy's first bowl appearance since a 1924 
jaunt to the Rose Bowl the dynamic Middies were established a 
three-point favorite. By game time Ole Miss was a \y 2 point 
choice, smugly certain that the Easterners could give them no real 

For Navy it was a pat situation. Frisky Ole Miss students made 
an abortive effort to kidnap Billy XIV, the Navy mascot goat. Ole 
Miss players deprecated the talents of their rivals, and Dixie news- 
papermen explained patiently why Navy was doomed. 

176 Tom Siler 

"I think we can run over the Middies/' said Billy Kinard, a 
senior halfback who should have known better. 

"We'll give them a long trip home," predicted Ray James, a 
husky tackle. 

"I'm sure we're going to win," added Red Muierhead, the fleet 
halfback who had just led the Southeastern Conference in scoring. 
And George Harris, veteran end, said he couldn't "see Navy taking 
a team as good as ours." 

Coach Erdelatz was delighted. On the eve of the game he took 
a stroll through the lobby of the Roosevelt Hotel where the Ole 
Miss team was staying, stopping to chat here and there with Rebel 
athletes. Next day he told his team, "Ole Miss is the most overcon- 
fident team I've ever seen." 

Under the circumstances Ole Miss never had a chance. It was a 
duel between the sluggish and the alert. The resultant runaway was 
no surprise to many who have been studying bowl battles for two 
decades. The holiday spectacle is football's most frustrating ex- 
perience youngsters grow up on dreams of a bowl battle, and 
young coaches haven't "arrived" until they qualify for one. Yet in 
the end, bowl glory frequently eludes the All- American, and many 
of the great coaches find only bitter defeat, and for the oddest of 

Louisiana State, for instance, lost three straight Sugar Bowl 
games. After the third, Coach Bernie Moore wailed, "How can I 
get my boys steamed up for it? It's just a 90-mile bus trip to them 
(Baton Rouge to New Orleans). It's the thrill of a lifetime to the 
boys on the other team." 

Twelve years later Louisiana State got the call again, this time 
to meet a heavily-favored Oklahoma team. Bill Keefe, sports editor 
of the "Times-Picayune," observed that the Sooners were indif- 
ferent and cocky, a jibe that pleased Coach Wilkinson. A few days 
after Keefe's critical blast the Sooners flushed a photographer in 
hiding near their practice field. 

Oldahomans yelled "Spy," and accused Louisiana State of plant- 
ing the cameraman. Bayou officials counter-charged that the whole 
thing was a "frame-up" to arouse the Sooners. The mystery was 
never solved to the satisfaction of the warring parties, but the team 
reacted as Wilkinson had hoped. Oklahoma won by 35-0, which 
still stands as the most one-sided game in that bowl. 

Time was when traditional rivalries Ohio State and Michigan, 
Duke and North Carolina, Texas and Oklahoma, Tennessee and 
Alabama, Army and Navy, Yale and Harvard, to name a few 

The Bowl Games 177 

generated a hysteria of a special sort. Bowl games have changed all 
that. Now the big games are just a stepping stone to the bowl in- 
vitation and even conference title races have taken a back seat. 

Critics of the Big Ten-Pacific Coast series complain that the 
conference races are meaningless. Fans are understandably blase 
about the title race; the major interest centers in the battle for the 
bowl bid. The title does not guarantee a bowl appearance except 
in the Southwest Conference, which sponsors the Cotton Bowl. 
No team can appear in the Rose Bowl two years in a row a rule 
that has washed out many potentially great games in that bowl 
and a similar rule governs the Orange Bowl, which features teams 
from the Big Seven and the Atlantic Coast Conferences. Of the 
four major bowls only the Sugar has kept clear of all entangling 

Yet, no matter how the teams are selected, the bowl pressure is 
there. The bowl trip, especially a first appearance, takes on aspects 
of a crusade. Fans who go consider it so; they proudly flaunt the 
school colors and strut their sectional pride like a chorus girl wear- 
ing her first mink. In this role, many fans make extravagant claims, 
bet twice as much as they can afford to lose, and blow a fat bankroll 
on a gay holiday to New Orleans, Miami, Dallas or Los Angeles. 
Such a fan obviously is in no mood for defeat on January 1, and he 
feels cheated, even humiliated, when his team gets the bounce. He 
bruises easily and heals slowly. 

The late Frank Thomas guided Alabama into six major bowl 
engagements and won four of them, yet he was one of the first to 
plan carefully every detail of such trips. "So many things can hap- 
pen out of your control/' he told us a few months before he died. 

Thomas observed one inflexible rule : He always consulted the 
players before accepting a bowl invitation. "We always had a meet- 
ing, at which I would outline the procedure practice plans, travel 
plans, entertainment, expenses, complimentary tickets and so on. 
I told them that if we went we would go to work hard and to win 
if we could. So, when they voted to go and they never turned 
down a trip they knew exactly what was expected of them and 
that the job was up to them." Alabama first held such a meeting 
back in 1934 before accepting an invitation to the Rose Bowl. Now 
no coach would dare accept without consulting the boys. 

Two years ago one Southern coach agreed to let the married 
players take their wives on the trip. Immediately one of the unmar- 
ried players asked if he could take along his girl friend ! Another 
asked if the school would provide rented cars for athletes pleasure- 

178 Tom Siler 

bent. The coach, of course, nixed both ideas, but the point is this : 
Athletes are not unaware of their role in the gold-plated bowl 
junket. They now insist on having a good time as well as playing 
football The coach who snubs them is asking for, and usually gets, 
a lackluster performance on New Year's Day. 

One year Coach Wilkinson rewarded his football squad with a 
postgame aerial junket to Havana. "The trip wasn't worth it," he 
said later. He agrees with Paul (Bear) Bryant, then of Kentucky, 
who discovered after a Sugar Bowl game that his players wanted 
to go home. 

"I told them they could stay in New Orleans and loaf two days/' 
Bryant, now of Texas A. and M., recalled. "The first day wasn't 
half gone before the kids began coming around and asking if they 
could catch the next plane. I think they wanted to get back to fami- 
liar surroundings and bask in the glory of winning a bowl game. 
Too, even the ones who were old enough to enjoy night life didn't 
have the money to pay for it in a city like New Orleans." 

Wilkinson and his Oklahoma gang, always a national power- 
house, hold the distinction of being the only team ever invited to 
the same bowl three years in a row. It turned out to be a case of eo- 
ing to the well once too often. 

"We felt we were in an impossible situation/' Wilkinson ex- 
plained. "We had defeated North Carolina in the Sugar Bowl in 
1949 and Louisiana State in 1950. A lot of the same gang were 
making the trip for the third time. It was old hat to them. Then, 
too, we had been recognized as the national champion f No 1 in 
the AP poll). 

"The setup was perfect for the Kentucky team. I really don't 
think there's much a coach can do in this situation. College boys 
love to go up against odds like that, they just love to deflate some- 
body and that somebody happened to be us. And you know when it 
was all over I came to the conclusion that Kentucky actually had a 
better team than we did." The score was 13-7. 

Tennessee, the national champion of 195 1, suffered the same fate 
a year later on the same field. The Volunteers, making their eighth 
bowl appearance, third in New Orleans, looked upon Jim Tatum's 
young Maryland team as an upstart. 

"We never even considered the possibility of losing " one of the 
players told the writer. "We were just wondering what the score 
would be." 

Tatum, long a close personal friend of the Tennessee coach Gen- 
eral Bob Neyland, appeared before the Knoxville Quarterback Club 

The Bowl Games 179 

and lulled the home forces with high-sounding gabble about how 
"honored'' he was to field a team against Tennessee, how "hopeless" 
the situation looked to him. Come the big day and Maryland smoth- 
ered the favored Volunteers and won easily, 28-13. 

Bowl victory, however, can be most elusive. The tactics that win 
one year may be woefully inadequate the next. Some of the great 
coaches could win almost any time except January 1, particularly 
the late Jock Sutherland of Pittsburgh and Bob Neyland at Ten- 
nessee. Neyland appeared in every major bowl at least once, won 
only two games out of seven. Sutherland built a string of power- 
house elevens at Pitt, yet lost three Rose Bowl games two by one- 
sided scores before he finally found the combination. 

Only in 1930 was there a logical explanation for defeat. Eastern 
observers called this Pitt team "one of the greatest in Eastern foot- 
ball history," claiming All-American honors for Tony Uansa, Pug 
Parkinson, Ray Montgomery and Joe Donchess. Uansa romped 
60 yards from scrimmage on the first play, but Pitt failed to score 
and, in the end, was in complete rout, 47-14. Years later Mont- 
gomery set the record straight : 

"Coach Sutherland never would talk about it, but we were not 
in condition. Some of the boys didn't want -to play and the boys 
who didn't make All- American were envious of those who did. We 
never gave Southern California much thought at all'." 

Pitt lost again to the Trojans, 35-0, in 1933, but Sutherland 
finally was avenged, in 1937. Here certainly was a game decided 
before the coin was tossed, Washington, being the host team, se- 
lected Pitt in preference to Alabama or Louisiana State, the one-two 
teams of the South. One newspaper described Pitt as "the greatest 
el foldo" of bowl memory. Another writer accused Washington of 
picking a team it could defeat. Alumni of the spurned schools had a 
good time, too. 

"You're afraid of Louisiana State," wired a partisan of the 
Bayou flats. "So let me wish you success in your game with 

Jimmy Phelan, the Washington coach, shuddered every time he 
picked up a newspaper. "All Jock had to do was tack up the clip- 
pings." Sutherland went him one better. The heckling stories were 
placed in the players' rooms. En route to the Rose Bowl stadium on 
New Year's Day Jock stopped the bus on a rise overlooking the 

"There it is," he said. "That's where we got beat three times." 

"You can be damn sure it isn't going to happen today," muttered 

180 Tom Siler 

Bobby Larue. It didn't. Led by a rampant sophomore named 
Marshall Goldberg, Pittsburgh shattered Washington, 21-0. 

Even so, the victory turned into tragedy. Sutherland asked Don 
Harrison, athletic director, for money so the players could have a 
"night on the town." Harrison refused, limiting each player to a 
mere seven dollars. Sutherland, contending that the Washington 
players had received $150 apiece, was furious. He gave the boys 
all the cash he could out of his own funds, and the breach between 
the two was never healed. The rhubarb led eventually to the resig- 
nation of both men and also to the de-emphasizing of football at 

Neyland's bowl experiences were just as disheartening. Of the 
five losses, the 19-13 setback by Boston College galled him the most. 
It was this Sugar Bowl triumph in 1941 that focused Notre Dame's 
attention on 32-year-old Frank Leahy. 

"If I had lost to Tennessee I doubt that Notre Dame would have 
given me another thought/ 5 Leahy has often said. 

Certainly the manner in which the Eagles forged ahead warmed 
the hearts of the Irish. The score was 13-13, when Leahy dis- 
patched Charlie O'Rourke onto the scene and thousands wondered 
whether he would kill time and settle for a tie, or gamble. O'Rourke 
hit three quick passes, moving the ball to Tennessee's 24. On the 
next play O'Rourke faked a pass, darted through right tackle, cut 
outside and scored standing up. Oddly, the decisive play was Ten- 
nessee's own fake-pass-and-run copied by Leahy from Tennessee 

"We put the play in two days before the game/' Leahy explained. 
"And I'm honest when I say I don't think we worked on it more 
than five minutes." 

Neyland was two years away from retirement when he won his 
last and most satisfying bowl victory, a 20-14 decision over Texas 
in the Cotton Bowl. Taking a team to his native state for the first 
time, he had the Vols honed down to razor sharpness. As he con- 
cluded his pre-game remarks, the Texas band struck up the state's 
"National anthem," "The Eyes of Texas Are Upon You." 

"By nightfall they'll be playing the 'Tennessee Waltz !' " wise- 
cracked Neyland. 

Wallace Wade, who won coaching greatness at Alabama and 
Duke, was the first to gain nationwide fame as a bowl expert. The 
irony of it was, however, that Alabama's and Wade's first trip 
westward to Pasadena was entirely accidental. This was long 
before the Rose Bowl had a solid foundation; in fact, the sponsors 

The Bowl Games 181 

endured many rebuffs before they could persuade any college to 
make the trip. Haughty Harvard, of all schools, played out there in 
1920, and promptly announced it would never go again. Ohio State 
succumbed to California in 1921 and the Big Ten quickly ruled out 
such games a ban that held until 1947. 

Hard put to find a "name" rival, California chose Washington 
and Jefferson in 1922. One unhappy newspaperman jibed, "All I 
know about Washington and Jefferson is that both are dead." Fired 
by the insults, the visitors fought California to a 0-0 draw, the only 
one in Rose Bowl history. Navy made the trip in 1924 a 14-14 tie 
with Washington and never went back. The promoters hit the 
jackpot in 1925, luring Knute Rockne of Notre Dame and the Four 
Horsemen out to play Stanford. The 53,000 seats lasted no longer 
than a pint of gin in a fraternity house. The Irish won, 27-10, but, 
more important, threw the red light on future invitations. Thus, in 
1926, the promoters had a bowl and a team, Washington, but no 
challenger. Princeton declined the honor. There was but one way 
to go South. Tulane, starring the brilliant Peggy Flournoy, was 
anxious to go. Fred Digby, then sports editor of the New Orleans 
"Item," had waged a vigorous campaign to swing the spotlight to 
the Green Wave. Tulane' s high brass had said privately the school 
would accept if invited. Washington wired Tulane in this manner : 
"Will Tulane accept a Rose Bowl invitation if extended?" 

This was the bowl's coy way of protecting itself in case of another 
rejection. Tulane officials, not realizing that this, in effect, was the 
invitation itself, telegraphed a negative reply saying "our team has 
disbanded." Clark Shaughnessy, the Tulane coach, then recom- 
mended Alabama. Rose Bowl officials visited Wade in Tuscaloosa 
and the match was made. 

"We made them guarantee us $15,000 expense money," Wade, 
who quit coaching at Duke after the 1949 season, told the writer. 
"After all, we didn't know anything about the Rose Bowl." 

Back in those days the psychological problems were negligible. 
Wade's country boys from Alabama needed no urging and the wily 
coach remembers even now exactly how he expected to whip Wash- 
ington, or try anyway. 

"Pooley Hubert was my quarterback. I didn't want anything to 
happen to him, so I told him to keep out of the way, let the other 
boys do the running. Well, that didn't work And George Wilson 
one of the best I've ever seen ^as slaughtering my ends. They 
were too small. I took two guards and put them out there. That 
helped. Then at half-time I told Pooley to cut loose and call his own 

182 Tom Siler 

plays if he wanted to. We had nothing to lose. Washington already 
had a 12-0 lead." 

Hubert did exactly as instructed. After the kickoff Hubert car- 
ried five consecutive times and Alabama had a touchdown. Hubert 
crossed up the opposition on the next drive, passing instead of run- 
ning. Johnny Mack Brown, later a Hollywood western movie star, 
scored that touchdown and Alabama went on. to win, 20-19, in an 
all-time Rose Bowl thriller, the first of four such trips without 

Alabama's spectacular play signalized Dixie's entrance into big- 
time football. That 1926 game also was the first coast-to-coast radio 
hook-up and the announcer was the late Graham McNamee. The 
Rose Bowl never again lacked for an attractive match, nor for cash 
customers, and in a very few years the visiting team was lugging 
$100,000 or more back home. And every urchin with a pumpkin- 
sized football on the sandlots dreamed of the day he would play in 
the Rose Bowl. 

The dream isn't much different today, except that it now encom- 
passes the Sugar, Cotton and Orange bowls as well as the Rose 
Bowl Talent scouts find "bowl talk" one of the sure-fire ways to 
interest prep stars. However, no longer is a bowl trip a financial 
bonanza, unless the competing school is an "independent." All 
major conferences slice up the swag among the member schools. 

Prestige, an "edge" in recruiting, and the national spotlight, 
these are the rewards. Victory is just the icing on the holiday cake. 
Defeat . . , well, the partisans set up an awful howl, but there's no 
record of a coach being fired because he gave the alumni a hangover 
on New Year's Day. 


By Len Elliott 

From The Newark Evening News, November 6, 1956 
Copyright, 1956, The Newark (N. J.) News 

EVER WONDER what a football player thinks about ? 

What he has to think about, that is. Or maybe you figured he 
doesn't think, especially when he lets an opponent's pass go over 
his head for a touchdown. 

Well, football players think, on both attack and defense. If they 
don't they are lost. 

When you go to a game you watch the offensive team go into its 
huddle, break -up and come back to the line. The center gets over 
the ball. There's a slight pause. The other 10 boys drop into posi- 
tion. There's another slight pause and off they go. 

Let's go through a play with a T-formation team and hear what 
goes on. 

In the huddle the quarterback calls the signal : 

"Five-one-six 4X wide ! 5 wide ! On two !" 

We trot back up to the line and stop, hands on knees. The quar- 
terback calls again : 

"Green ! Two-two-eight ! Set !" 

We drop down into starting position. Immediately we hear from 
the left tackle : 


From the right tackle : 


Again from the quarterback : 

"One, two, three, four , . ." 

The center snaps the ball on "two" and off we go. 

What did it all mean ? 

To go back to the beginning, "five-one-six" was the play. The 
"five" meant it was in the handoff series, rather than a pitchout, 
sneak, option, or what have you. The "one" meant No. 1 back (the 
right halfback) would carry the ball. The "six" meant he would 
carry it through the six hole in the defensive line, or between the 
tackle and guard on the offensive team's right side. 

The "4X wide" meant the No. 4 back (left half) would go out 
wide to the right as a flanker. 


184 Len Elliott 

The "5 wide" meant the No. 5 end (left end) would split wide 
on his side. 

"On two" was the starting signal and meant the center would 
snap the ball and the team would start on the second count. 

All clear so far ? 

O. K. Now we line up at the ball. 

"Green. Two-two-eight" means "pay no attention to what I am 
saying. We'll go with the play I called in the huddle." 

That's because "green" is a dead color, something we will try 
to explain later. 

"Able" means nothing either, since it comes from the left tackle 
and the play isn't even going to his side of the line. 

But "Dog" means a lot. It may mean, for instance, that the de- 
fensive player inside whom the play is going, is in such a position 
that the right tackle can't block him out without help and the right 
guard will have to help him, instead of going through and blocking 
a linebacker. Somebody else will have to take the linebacker. 

Then comes the starting signal and the right halfback dives for 
the hole as he takes the handoff from the quarterback. Maybe he 
makes eight yards. Maybe they pile him up for no gain. 

But, if you are still with us, that's the way it works, on play after 

Of course, the defensive players aren't asleep during all this 
either. After they hear the offensive tackles make their calls, some 
or all of the defensive linesmen may shift their positions a space or 
a half space. This can make the calls somewhat worse than useless. 
(If you go into this thing far enough, you'll wonder how any play 
gains anything.) 

The business of calling colors, mentioned earlier, is a means of 
helping the quarterback change the play after he gets to the line of 

Before the game starts the coach will give the team a "live" color 
to be used during the first period. Let's say this color is "red." 
When the team lines up and the quarterback looks over the defense, 
he decides whether he wants to run the play he called in the huddle 
or whether he wants to change it. If he wants to change it he calls : 
"Red!" Then the team will run the play the numbers following 
"red" call for. The example of "two-two-eight" we gave might be 
a quarterback sneak. If he doesn't want to change the play he calls 
"green," "blue," "yellow," anything except "red." All other colors 
are "dead/' 

Think or Sink! - 185 

This whole process of changing the play is known as checking- 

It's done when the quarterback sees at a glance that the play he 
called will never gain any ground because the defense has too many 
men near the point of attack, but that another play is crying to be 

The "able" and "dog" calls of the tackles are two of four they 
may give. They refer to the position of the defensive man playing 
opposite the tackle. This defensive man may be in any of four posi- 
tions. He may be on our tackle's right shoulder, on his left shoulder, 
head-on or nowhere near him. These positions can be indicated by 
the letters A, B, C and D. But since those letters have similar 
sounds, they are given names, like the companies in an army regi- 
ment, Able, Baker, Charley, Dog. 

Not all teams use the calls or signals we have given, of course. 
Each coach has his own ideas and they vary widely. But you have 
the general idea. 

They are necessary because the defense changes so much. It not 
only changes the number of men it has on the line, but also the posi- 
tions (spacing) of these men. Both the number of men and their 
spacing at the point of attack have a vital effect on the play. 

So football players do have to think. They're not out there 
wondering about their date that night. 


By Corky Lamm 

From The Indianapolis News, November 26, 1956 
Copyright, 1956, The Indianapolis News 

PULL THE BLACK ROBE over Notre Dame; break out the royal 
purple for Iowa's Big Ten champions. There have been changes in 
the land. 

The best football team ever to represent the University of Iowa, 
next headed for Oregon State in the Rose Bowl classic, met the 
worst varsity ever fielded by Notre Dame. And the result was a 
foregone conclusion real far gone. Iowa 48, Notre Dame 8. 

Before this debacle, there had been some shyness on the part of 
the Iowa coach, Forest Evashevski, and some hope in the heart of 
Notre Dame's Terry Brennan. Evashevski, who'd never beaten 
the Irish in four tries, thought maybe his Hawkeyes couldn't get 
up again as they had the previous week against Ohio State when 
they beat the Bucks on their way to the Conference title. Terry held 
out for a little miracle. 

After it was over, after Iowa's legions (Evashevski used 40 
players) had trampled Notre Dame into its seventh defeat in nine 
games, the fellow who first gained fame at Michigan as a great 
blocking back for Tom Harmon, wasn't so shy. He even felt com- 

"Poor Terry," he said between pulls on a Coke, "they (the Irish) 
couldn't even block and tackle." 

Everything was in reverse. The crisp downfield blocking that 
was a hallmark of Irish football teams of the past belonged to Iowa. 
The Hawks had the speed, the massive, quick-hitting line, the 
elusive backs, the lopsided winning margin, the perfect general in 
Kenny Ploen. 

The Irish had nothing but trouble. 

Quarterback Paul Hornung, played only 10 minutes 47 seconds of 
the first quarter. Then, with Iowa leading, 7-0, he reinjured his 
right thumb and had to quit the field. He never returned, never 
threw a pass, never gained a yard lost eight, in fact, trying to pass. 

Even with Hornung, the Irish would have had no chance for the 
little miracle. The Iowa forwards Gary's Alex Karras, Frank 

Bloomquist, Capt. Don Suchy, Bob Commings and Dick Klein 

tore great, gaping holes in Notre Dame's weak wall and the Iowa 


The Foregone Conclusion 1 87 

backs poured through. The veteran ends, Frank Gilliam and Jim 
Gibbons, had Evashevski's double reverses running* the Irish line- 
backers crazy, so faultless was their blocking. 

The long gallop shattered Notre Dame. Ploen scored twice on 
carries of 10 and 41 yards. Fred Harris, the Iowa fullback, went 
over once with a 23-yard screen pass from Ploen and again over 
tackle for 62 yards, Don Dobrino plunged for a touchdown from 
the 1 after Ploen had ripped 32 yards through that sore tackle 
spot to set him up. 

Frank Geremia nailed Harris behind the goal for a safety and 
Larry Cooke dropped a 14-yard scoring pass into Bob Ward's 
hands for Notre Dame's only T. D. But that third-quarter spurt 
only touched off another Iowa burst this time by the shock troops. 

Mike Hagler, second-string halfback, found the tackle hole in 
the fourth quarter and scattered linebackers after he got through. 
He ran 58 yards to score. And then the crowning blow, a final 
9-yard T. D. smash by Marion Walker, a third-string senior full- 
back who had been intrusted with the ball only twice previously all 

The Irish were desperate to bolster their seepy line, but couldn't 
do it. After Iowa went to 14-0 in the first quarter, the N. D. line- 
backers crowded so close that Randy Duncan, understudy to Ploen, 
got 19 yards with a quarterback sneak. He would have gone all the 
way (39 yards) had not Dick Shulsen shoestringed him from 

'Twas a sad day of the saddest for the Irish. Only one other 
modern Notre Dame team Hunk Anderson's 1933 collection that 
had a 3-5-1 record ever lost more games than it won. This, Bren- 
nan's third, is now 2-7 and still has to deal with Southern Cal next 
Saturday. It already has given up a record 261 points in nine games. 

Coaching? Hear this : At Iowa, this is Evashevski's fifth season. 
His record to date includes 23 victories, 20 defeats, 2 ties and a 
1-3-1 record against Notre Dame. Brennan's three-year record 
with the Irish shows 19 victories, 10 defeats and a 2-1 mark 
against Iowa. He needs horses, quick ones and quickly. 

"I just can't believe we're that bad," said Terry. 

Ploen (9 carries, 90 yards ), Hagler (5-86), Harris (3-62), Bill 
Happel (5-51), Dobrino (10-42) were the swiftest Hawks who 
rushed for twice the yardage Notre Dame obtained. 

This dynasty might stick. Only four of the starters Suchy, Gil- 
liam, Ploen and Dobrino are seniors. Dick Deasy, co-captain, is a 
senior, too, but a 250-pound sophomore, Dick Klein, beat him out 
of his first-string tackle job. 


By Al Stump 

From Sport, December, 1956 
Copyright, 1956, Sport Magazine 

RED SANDERS, normally an emotion-proof football coach, threw 
away his cigarette to give 80,000 Coliseum fans a display of temper 
so vivid that none could mistake it. Yet 80,000 did. 

Trudging off the field, head drooping dejectedly, came Danny 
Laidman, a midget UCLA guard of 158 pounds. Billed as the 
smallest varsity lineman in the country, Laidman had been a game- 
cock who had stopped one Stanford charge after another through 
this October, 1952 afternoon. But then, in the third quarter, the 
fire banked inside him erupting, he had slugged an opponent in 
clear view of the crowd and referee Ed Wagner had thrown him 
out of the game. 

Hissed and booed all the way to the bench, Laidman halted 
before the short, rigid figure of Sanders. The coach was in a rage. 
Pounding a clenched fist into his palm, he chewed out the culprit 
with an intensity that stilled the noise and left everyone watching in 
fascination. For almost a minute, Sanders pawed the turf, his jaw 
wagging. Then he violently jerked a thumb toward the showers. 

The Great Stone Face had cracked, at last, and even the Stanford 
side of the bowl felt sympathy for Laidman as he stumbled away. 

But Laidman was barely out of earshot when Sanders, conceal- 
ing his grin from the stands, turned to an assistant. His usually cold 
eyes sparkled delightedly. "What a fighter ! What guts that little 
devil hasl'^he said out of the corner of his mouth. "If I had ten 
more like him, we'd never lose. Danny can play for me any time." 

In the past 20 years, nobody has done more for the little man in 
football than Henry Russell Sanders. A 145-pounder himself when 
he turned out at quarterback for Vanderbilt University in 1924, 
he changed amused glances into such admiration for his fighting 
qualities that Vandy later hired him as head coach. As an infielder 
with Mobile of the Southern Association in 1930, Sanders hit much 
too lightly ^righthanded. Switching to the left side, he batted .280 
and kept himself in professional baseball for four seasons. 

The small man with guts enough to defy the big fellows and the 
brains to improvise ways to make up for his lack of size is a Sanders 


The Ordeal of Red Sanders 189 

specialty as in 1947, when he gave a Vanderbilt scholarship to 
Lee Nalley, a 150-pound wisp who had been labeled too small even 
by the junior colleges. In 1948, Nalley set a new national collegiate 
record with 791 yards in punt-runbacks and repeated as champion 
in 1949. 

When Sanders arrived at UCLA in 1949 to take on the job of 
breathing life into an eighth-place team, it was expected that he 
would recruit none but the biggest and the strongest. Certainly the 
record would suggest that that was what he did. Within five years, 
he won a Pacific Coast Conference title. He has now won three 
straight, a national championship in 1954, a "coach-of-the-year" 
plaque and the host's seat in two Rose Bowl games a tidy empire 
bounded by success, fame and a $20,000-a-year income. Yet, while 
leading the Bruins into the light, Sanders has drawn his key men, 
his team-inspirers, even some of his greatest stars, from the ranks 
of the overlooked little guys such as Terry Debay, 172 pounds of 
All-Coast linebacker; Pete Dailey, weighing 168 but a fullback 
averaging nearly five yards per carry for two years; and Myron 
Berliner, only five-feet-nine in height, yet the West's best defensive 
end of 1952. And such as Danny Laidman, and, in 1955, Sam 
( First Down) Brown, a scooting tailback who broke Kenny Wash- 
ington's all-time UCLA record with 829 yards gained on the 

It is the height of irony, therefore, that Red Sanders entered the 
1956 season in black disgrace for pulling off his greatest reclama- 
tion job of all. For lifting UCLA, the 'little cousin" branch of the 
main University of California campus at Berkeley, to the football 
heights, Sanders has been cast as the arch-villain of the scandals 
rocking the Coast Conference for the past year. Four PCC mem- 
bers, Washington, USC, California and UCLA, were caught red- 
handed with a massively illegal payroll for players and fined an 
Aggregate $235,000. Everybody came out of it shell-shocked. But 
no fine was so large as Sanders' and UCLA's $95,000 in appro- 
priated future Rose Bowl receipts and in cash levy. No other coach 
of the many guilty was singled out for such a reprimand as Sanders 
received a stinging attack upon his character by PCC officials and 
a unique follow-up rebuke by the NCAA. No one else suffered so 
crushing a penalty as the ban against any Sanders squad appearing 
in the Rose Bowl until January 1, 1960. No one had his team so 
thoroughly shot from under him. 

Two dozen UCLA sophomores and juniors indicted for taking 
cash gifts lost one year of eligibility. Eleven seniors entered the 

190 Al Stump 

current season under fantastic conditions. Judged half-white and 
half-black, they could play 50 per cent of the time, or in five of the 
ten scheduled games. 

The crackdown painted the 51-year-old Sanders as a man of no 
ethics, a cheater, corrupter of youth, perjurer and evildoer beyond 
anyone ever discovered in football. On last July 17, Chancellor 
Raymond Allen of UCLA entered a Presidents Council meeting in 
San Francisco, where he petitioned to have the penalties against 
UCLA lightened. Hours later, Allen left the hotel room to face a 
crowd of reporters. "I wouldn't have believed they'd throw the book 
so viciously at one man/' he said. "Sanders did nothing that 10,000 
other coaches haven't done to win. The guilt is general and equal at 
all schools. But in there, just now I was advised the only way 
UCLA can gain relief is to fire Red. 

"This will not happen," the chancellor promised grimly. "We 
will not throw Red Sanders to the wolves." 

When the PCC was finished with Red shortly before practice 
started in September, he might as well have told Allen to let the 
wolves have him. The PCC had left him hamstrung and helpless. 
Sitting in his office, a stubby, graying figure, he stared bleakly at 
questioners. He ran down the list of restrictions the league had 
put upon him. "We can't transport an athlete to the campus to talk 
to him as other schools can. We can't compete in any NCAA 
event or for the conference championship. We can't appear on any 
national television program. We can't play in any post-season game. 
And we can't have any dealings with the two alumni clubs, the 
Bruin Bench and the Young Men's Club of Westwood, who help 
us in football they've been blackballed. 

"What have I got left ? Well, for two things, my blackboard and 
a piece of chalk." 

But did he have his self-respect ? 

Even as Sanders spoke, he was learning that the time has come 
unfair pressure on the coach to produce or not when buying 
athletes and circumventing amateur rules through the ancient front 
of alumni procurers, phony player jobs, discreet junior-college farm 
systems, recruiters working in other states and pay-off records 
locked away in private vaults no longer will be regarded as standard 
operating procedure in college football. Hereafter, the coach who 
goes in for these little touches will be sticking his neck out. The 
proof was in a September rush by Bruin players to desert UCLA's 
sunken ship. Rather than give up a season's hard-won play, or 

The Ordeal of Red Sanders 191 

watch substitutes take over their positions in half the games, some 
of Red's best boys walked out. Tom Adams, a 210-pound end 
touted as an All-Coast candidate this year, quit school to sign with 
the Ottawa Rough Riders of Canadian football. Denny Carunchio, 
the best sophomore guard prospect on the squad, left to enroll at 
Arizona State. Ronnie Knox the greatest passing tailback Sand- 
ers ever coached crippled the backfield by signing a $14,000 con- 
tract with the Hamilton (Canada) Tiger-Cats. 

It's not too difficult, now, to trace the moves that toppled the 
Sanders empire : 

1 ) UCLA had finished third or worse in the PCC in eight of 
the ten seasons before Sanders arrived on the scene. To break the 
USC-California-Stanford monopoly on talent, Red and the in- 
cumbent athletic director, Wilbur Johns, encouraged the founding 
of the Bruin Bench organization in 1949. By 1951 it had nearly 
1,000 members. In 1952, the Bench raised $48,639 to corral foot- 
ball talent. When donations lagged, its statewide-circulated rally 
organ, The Bench-Warmer, broadcast: "Help! Help! Income is 
down 33% from last year by latest figures. By our fund-raising 
drive, we can provide scholarships, and without scholarships, we 
cannot field great Bruin teams." In 1953, the Bench raised $73, 899, 
and in 1954, $75,268. As proved by PCC detectives last May, "ex- 
penses" of the Bench in these three years came to virtually what 
was collected: $189, 102. 

2) To hand out bootleg cash to athletes, a front was set up, an 
office in off-campus Westwood Village, manned by booster club 
members. A total of approximately $11,000 per season was passed 
in this manner to 33 varsity traveling-squad members. 

3) Growing overconfident, Sanders personally supervised pay- 
offs and assigned assistant coaches to such tasks. "Contingency" 
deals were made by Red and his staff, under which prospects were 
promised $500 and more in pay retroactive to enrollment when- 
and-if they made the varsity. It was this personal act by Sanders 
which cost UCLA a $95,000 fine (Washington paid $52,000, USC 
$62,000) and landed UCLA on Rose Bowl probation "until the 
conference can have faith in the integrity of its personnel/' 

4) Improving upon an old West Coast racket, UCLA built a 
farm system faster than Branch Rickey developed the Cardinals. 
Rule 6 :04 of the PCC athletic code says : "Members shall not re- 
cruit athletes for enrollment in secondary schools or junior col- 
leges." In his second season, 1950, Sanders' raster numbered 18 

192 Al Stump 

varsity transfers from jaycee schools scattered from Santa Monica 
to Pasadena, Cash was passed to them while they were still in junior 

5) The legal PCC job-aid to players was $75 a month until this 
year (now $100). But the work proviso (as at all other PCC col- 
leges) was strictly for laughs at UCLA. A Hollywood screen-writer 
hired one halfback as "research assistant" ; another ' 'chauffeured" 
the daughter of an oil-company tycoon. 

6) In the most fatal move of all, Sanders allowed fanatics who 
would stop at nothing to infiltrate his alumni subsidization pro- 
gram. One eager beaver hijacked a junior college quarterback 
named Ed Demirjian, who was committed to Stanford. He hid 
Demirjian in a UCLA fraternity house. There, agents of USC 
counter-hijacked Demirjian by dark of night and enrolled him at 
Troy. The press uproar over the case drew attention that resulted in 
investigation . . . and eventually, disaster. 

All this sleight-of-hand focused into one hideous moment for 
Sanders on last March 1, when the single great flaw in the scheme 
blew away the camouflage. The flaw was this : There is no one 
more vindictive than a defeated big-time football enemy. 

"Sanders won too much he built a Rome that was bound to 
fall," says a close friend of his. "Especially, he won too much from 
California and USC, who had always laughed at UCLA as a bush 

With fast little men, and plenty of big belters, too, Sanders fash- 
ioned a single-wingback powerhouse which, from 1952 through 
1955, scored 1,076 points to only 200 for the opposition. The 
Bruins won 34 and lost three, over that stretch, scored 16 shutouts 
in 37 games, whipped California four straight, beat USC three 
straight, trimmed Stanford three out of four games, and, moreover, 
made the Big Three colleges of California look exceedingly lousy. 

Inner PCC sources agree that a "hate Sanders" faction soon 
developed, anchored in the athletic offices at the University of Cali- 
fornia and USC. It is their further conviction that the man who 
hollered copper on UCLA did so at the urging of Bear officials. 

The foe decided that Sanders shouldn't be around eternally. An 
ex-UCLA fullback, George Stephenson, who had been recruited by 
the Bruin Bench out of San Diego's Hoover High School, was used 
to spring the trap. As a third-string fullback who dropped out of 
UCLA after only ten unhappy months, in 1953, Stephenson had no 
love for Red Sanders and he had a newspaper, the Oakland 
Tribune to steer him. The Tribune roots for California. Last 

The Ordeal of Red Sanders 193 

March 1, Stephenson gave a statement in the Tribune office. He 
named dates, sums and modus operandi of the UCLA payoff system 
and gained the trust of the PCC by saying, "Look, I'm guilty, too. 
I took the money along with the other players." 

Up in the Empress Hotel in Victoria, British Columbia, where 
the PCC fathers met two months later, a faculty official emerged 
from the star-chamber session. He saw Sanders nervously chain- 
smoking in the lobby. 

"They've just introduced the Stephenson testimony/' he said. 
"It's awfully damaging." 

Sanders looked sick. "I wish somebody would tell me," he mur- 
mured. "Why did I ever leave Vanderbilt ?" 

The answer to that offers a fairer estimate of Red Sanders than 
the cold facts of his trial and conviction. He neither applied for, 
nor wanted, the task of bailing the Uclans out of last place when 
he was first confronted with the "opportunity." Breakdown of all 
law and order had been rife in the PCC since 1937, when the Uni- 
versity of Washington imported seven of its eleven Rose Bowl 
starters against Pittsburgh from Chicago. In the matter of flaunting 
rules, Sanders introduced nothing new. He did what UCLA paid 
him to do. 

You can't name a more pride-numbing rise-and-fall in American 
sports than the little Southerner's, a fact underscored when you 
inspect the step-by-step processes by which his dynasty was built. 
In 1948, Red was relaxing in Nashville, Tenn. He was tending his 
garden, organizing a Sunday-school class (he's an active Meth- 
odist) and enjoying the wake of an 8-2-1 Vanderbilt season that 
had secured his status as the standout young coach in the South. 

But in January of '48, he took a fateful trip to an American 
Football Coaches Association convention in San Francisco. "A 
big blizzard hit the Midwest and a lot of the boys never got out of 
Chicago," he remembers. "But I got a ticket on a plane that was 
pushing through. 

"One lonesome seat on the last plane out. You can say by that 
margin I landed at UCLA." 

In San Francisco, Red met a stocky, dynamic-looking party, 
Wilbur Johns, an ex-UCLA basketball coach now director of 
athletics at the school. Johns said he was in need of a new football 
organization. "Our situation is a bit rough right now," he ad- 
mitted. "But I hear you're the man who can help it." 

Never out of the South except for some Big Ten invasions, 
knowing nothing of Johns or UCLA, and never having seen a 

194 Al Stump 

Coast Conference team in action, Sanders wasn't especially inter- 
ested. "Why me? 33 he wondered. 

The answer was two-pronged fantastic growth of what origi- 
nally was a nondescript three-building southern branch of the Uni- 
versity of California and now, on a 383-acre campus, had mush- 
roomed to $50,000,000 worth of Italian Renaissance architecture 
housing 12,000 students; plus a getting-rich alumni colony which 
demanded something more than a patsy for a football team. 
Months earlier, numerous alumni had organized to fire coach Bert 
LaBrucherie, the victim of a threatened player revolt during a 
chaotic 1948 season. 

Sanders had been described as a giant-killing genius by Army's 
Red Blaik and sportswriter Grantland Rice. Johns pulled out all 
the stops to land him. 

"Wilbur was desperate," a source close to the UCLA front office 
admits. "He'd been turned down by one big-name coach after an- 
other because they knew UCLA got only the talent scrapings in 
southern California. Even if Sanders was totally unknown on the 
Coast, even if he refused to bring along a ready-made ball club from 
down South, as certain UCLA factions hoped, Johns had to have 
him at any price. 

The bid was $15,000 on a three-year unbreakable contract, with 
the promise of a good raise the minute the Bruins quit dragging 
their cleats. He was making $10,000 at Vandy. 

Added bait was the blueprint for a powerful alumni recruiting 
surge, a generous expense account for Sanders, and as large and 
costly a coaching staff as he wanted. 

"Even with all that," an ex-Bruin athlete now a banker says, "I 
thought he was a fool to leave Vanderbilt His friends down there 
came up with a helluva counteroffer the same money as we 
offered until he was 65, and then a lifetime pension. Here was a 
guy who could be as famous in Dixie as Wallace Wade or Bob 
Neyland ever were, quitting to join a dead loser where three 
coaches had been chewed up and spit out in ten years. It was 
lunacy. I gave Sanders two years." 

As soon as he signed, three of Los Angeles' four newspapers let 
Red know where he stood. One, informed that Red had been named 
by President Dutch Meyer of the Coaches Association to the chair- 
manship of the Coaches Association "Committee on Ethics," asked, 
"Who is this pilgrim who would introduce honor to the AH Babas 
of the West? What UCLA needs is a Huey Long campaign and 
they've brought in Honeysuckle Rose." 

The Ordeal of Red Sanders 195 

Conveniently, today, it is forgotten what Henry Sanders faced 
at the outset a situation not of his making which, as a stranger 
in hostile country, he was expected by the town's leading citizens 
to cope with, and quickly. An almost airtight blockade of high 
school material existed around him. 

The power-balance stood like this : 

Dominating the West California U. (had landed All- Ameri- 
cans Jackie Jensen, Rod Franz, Jim Turner, and, upcoming, 
Johnny Olszewski, Les Richter and Paul Larson. Had seven re- 
cruiting clubs blanketing the state. Had three straight PCC titles 
and Rose Bowl teams and a magical name in coach Lynn (Pappy) 
Waldorf. Had paid $3,650 in fines for violating conference rules in 

Controlling the southern California market USC. (Had a 
stranglehold on material through the 1,800-strong Trojan Club, 
plus key high school coaching jobs held by more than 50 ex-US C 
players. Had a < wonder squad" on the way which would go un- 
beaten in 1952 and defeat Wisconsin in the Rose Bowl. Fined 
$6,070 for earlier violations of PCC regulations. ) 

Climbing fast after lean years Stanford, (Had big busy outfit 
called the Stanford Scouts working the Los Angeles-San Diego 
area for anything USC missed. With such southern prizes as Gary 
Kerkorian, Bill McColl and Harry Hugasian, were building what 
would become the league's championship club of 1951. Fined 
$5,915 for earlier violations of PCC code. 

Comparatively, Sanders had nothing. A present assistant coach 
on his staff, Ray Nagel, tells how Red winced when he first walked 
into the Bruin equipment room. Pads, shoes and helmets were so 
old and beat-up that he threw them out and ordered all new gear. 
The freshman turnout contained just 19 athletes. Over on the 
varsity lot, Spaulding Field, were 42 candidates. Up north, Cali- 
fornia had a turnout of 140 and Southern Cal ran well over 100. 

Nagel, then a senior holdover quarterback from Bert La- 
Brucherie's T-formation system, was unimpressed by Sanders* 
single wing. Meeting the new coach, he said, "I'm not playing this 

Sanders answered, "Suit yourself." 

A bit later, surprised by the results he was seeing at practice, 
Nagel reconsidered. As the squad's one experienced ball-handler, 
Nagel expected a warm welcome. But Sanders looked straight 
through him. "Okay," he said curtly, "but you'll have to start with 
the goof squad, like anybody else, and work your way up/' 

196 Al Stump 

Right from the start, Red exuded confidence. He told his small 
squad, "Anybody who wouldn't rather be out here than anywhere 
else in the world can leave now !" The sweating was fierce and 
the scrimmaging brutal. But, gradually, a cohesive unit began to 
emerge, built around Leon McLaughlin, a steady-handed center, a 
slippery tailback in Ernie Johnson, Nagel, and a lanky sprinter who 
had never played football before, Bob Wilkinson. The real edge 
Sanders had was his wingback offense, which returned old- 
fashioned smack-' em-down power to a league gone "T" happy. 

Only 37,000 fans were curious enough to watch Sanders' first 
game, against Oregon State. But, for the first time in a decade, 
they saw guards pulling out to lead massed interference, a short- 
punt formation hurling the fullback down the middle, rugged two- 
timing of defensive ends, and enough deception through Sanders' 
now-famous tailback fake-run-and-pass to throw the Beavers into 
confusion. UCLA won, 35-13. 

The press box had trouble believing it when Wilkinson, the 
novice end from the track team, caught three touchdown passes and 
UCLA beat Iowa, 31-25. The Bruins went on to upset Stanford 
and Washington and lost only twice In the conference. Westwood 
Village was wild with excitement from eighth, Sanders had shot 
to second place in 1949. 

The moment the season ended, he had a call from Florida Uni- 
versity, where Bear Wolf had just been fired. "We can offer you," 
said a Florida spokesman, "a ten-year non-cancellable contract at 
$18,000. In short, we guarantee you $180,000 between now and 
1960, win, lose or draw." 

Sanders drew a long breath. "I'll see what I can do about getting 
released here/' he told the Gators. 

There's no question that Red would have removed himself from 
the hysterical Los Angeles scene then, but for one of the more in- 
credible reactions of the local public. Bruin alumni called all-night 
emergency meetings, 2,500 students surrounded Red's home to 
plead with him to stay, and a new deal was rushed through which 
plainly told Sanders : We think your tactics are perfect; we'll do 
anything to get you to stay. 

The UCLA law school dean, L. Gale Coffman, personally helped 
draft the agreement. UCLA bound itself for ten years and exceeded 
Florida's cash offer by $500 a year. At the end of five years, Sanders 
had the option of terminating the contract. But UCLA was bound 
for the full decade. There were no loopholes. 

The Ordeal of Red Sanders 197 

The "hate Sanders" phobia in the PCC is generally believed to 
have begun on the December day he signed the new contract. 

"First of all," claims a UCLA front-office executive, "Red 
forced coaching salaries up at all the coast schools. In some cases, 
the coaches began to outdraw their athletic directors. Al Masters, 
the Stanford graduate manager, Brutus Hamilton of Cal, and Leo 
Harris of Oregon were especially burned. We know for sure that 
Chuck Taylor, the Stanford coach, demanded and got substantial 
raises on the strength of Sanders' deal." 

Two spectacular events of Red's second season added to the heat 
wave of resentment. By his success, he killed off Marchy Schwartz 
as coach at Stanford and knocked Jeff Cravath out of work at USC. 
Both men were immensely popular within their athletic depart- 
ments. When the Bruins wrecked an unbeaten Stanford season, 
21-7, and toyed with USC in the worst defeat in Trojan league 
history, 39-0, outside booster club pressure forced the firing of 
both Schwartz and Cravath. 

Obliquely, the University of Washington was the first to turn up 
real proof when it raided Sanders' junior college farm system. 
Fourteen southern Californians were imported to Seattle and a fine 
of $5,000 was assessed against Washington by the PCC. But head 
UW recruiter, Roscoe (Torchy) Torrance, laughed off the fine. 
"It's the only way to stop Sanders," he said. "Did you ever hear of 
the Century Club?" 

Nobody in Seattle had, and Torrance explained that it was an 
undercover UCLA combine which raised funds by the barrelful. 
Hollywood movie and television brass donated from a minimum of 
$100 up to $1,000 to join the Century Club, for which they received 
top ticket priorities, secret-practice passes and private showings of 
UCLA game movies. 

Washington's recent record against Sanders shows one tie and 
four straight defeats. Last January, Torrance and Washington 
made the mistake of firing coach Johnny Cherberg for a Rose Bowl- 
less record. Whereupon Cherberg revealed Torrance' s importation 
program and a $70,000 slush fund. A huge scandal ensued. 

"When they suspended Washington and gave it that $52,000 
fine in May," Torrance says, "the California schools realized the 
time was ripe to gang up on Sanders. All they needed was a stool- 
pigeon. They found one in George Stephenson, and there went the 
old ball game!" 

It is interesting to study Sanders' behavior as the noose began 

198 Al Stump 

to tighten around his neck. Keep in mind that he is known in the 
trade as a man of shrewd mind and almost no nerves. 

But in dealing with Ronnie Knox's famous stepfather, Harvey, 
his poise was badly shaken. In 1953, following a blow-up with 
Pappy Waldorf at California, Harvey, one of the most vociferous 
and critical football parents of all time, transferred his talented step- 
son, Ronnie, to UCLA. He widely broadcast at the time, "I can 
get along with Sanders, if he's the coach I think he is." Past per- 
formances should have warned Sanders, that Harvey, the man who 
had blown the whistle on Waldorf's recruiting system in Los 
Angeles, had to be handled with kid gloves. But Sanders' tactic last 
season was to ignore him entirely. 

Knox reacted predictably. He told this writer, "I didn't give a 
damn about the brush-off. But then, after Ronnie proved he was 
Sanders' best tailback, stories rapping his passing and signal-calling 
began to appear in the papers. Any little mistakes he made like 
calling some questionable passes in the Maryland game, which 
UCLA lost and needed an alibi for losing were magnified. A 
couple of pet writers of Sanders' were out to make the boy look 
bad. Well, you know me. I don't like guys with Caesar complexes 
and I took on Sanders just like I took on Waldorf." 

When Ronnie hurt the shoulder of his passing arm in the Mary- 
land game, Harvey made headlines with, "No son of mine will play 
while he's crippled. Sanders had better not try to use him next week 
against Oregon State. Or he'll hear from me." 

UCLA's team doctor announced that Ronnie's shoulder was 
"tender," but that he was well enough to play. Harvey countered 
by taking Ronnie to his own physician. He issued bulletins sketch- 
ing Sanders as a brute obsessed with winning at any cost. In the 
Oregon State game, Sanders used Ronnie briefly. The big strike- 
slinger's usual accuracy was missing. He passed wildly four times, 
and hit for one touchdown. The aftermath was a noisy newspaper 
argument over who was right Harvey or Red. 

Last New Year's Day, in the Rose Bowl, the score was UCLA 
14, Michigan State 14, with seven seconds to play. Sanders' assist- 
ant coach, Jim Myers, was detected wagging signals from the side- 
line. A 15-yard penalty for that pushed the Bruins back to their 
own five-yard line. A poor punt-out ensued and the Spartans kicked 
a field goal for a 17-14 victory. Crushed Los Angeles fans read 
Harvey Knox's analysis next morning : "Sanders blew the game 
when he panicked. He sent in conflicting last-minute orders and 
then he let Myers violate the rules against signaling." 

The Ordeal of Red Sanders 199 

The Bowl defeat spoiled what had been a fine season. Months 
later, Sanders made another uncharacteristic error. Confronted 
with the George Stephenson testimony on payoffs, he failed to do 
What Waldorf at California and Jess Hill of USC did when 
similarly confronted. Both said simply, "No comment/' and let 
their faculty athletic representatives deal with the league police. But 
a bristling Sanders denied that he had a secret fund. 

That evasion proved as fatal as the fund itself. Today, league 
heads privately say that the denial, coupled with orders given 
UCLA players to take the same tack when interrogated by Com- 
missioner Vic Schmidt, led directly to the heaviest penalties ever 
onaU. S. college. 

What the future holds for intercollegiate football as a whole after 
this ugly interlude is a wide-open guess. Word in the Big Ten, 
where Ohio State and Michigan State, among others, have been 
convicted of operating privy payrolls in the past, is that the booster 
clubs are moving far underground. Some thinkers believe there is 
no workable solution to the problem except to pay players openly. 

Still, the Coast crackdown appears to have a chance to succeed. 
The new and basic idea this season is to make life so untenable for 
the cheaters that they will either reform or resign. After winning 
nine out of ten games last fall, Sanders, in a joking but significant 
remark, told a Los Angeles banquet crowd, "I haven't been out 
here long, but I feel like a native son. I've been run over by auto- 
mobiles three times, I've had the virus and I owe $24,000." 

This season, he is in much worse shape than that. Should he fool 
everybody and lead his team to another title, UCLA cannot be 
awarded it. Incoming athletes appear to have no chance to play in 
the Rose Bowl within their college careers. Downtown quarterbacks 
are banned under threat of league expulsion for the school. And the 
punishment is "open-end" it may last even beyond 1960. 

They call it the "Pacific Ghost Conference" now, and Red 
Sanders looks like the chief victim. 



By Earl Ruby 

From The Louisville Courier- Journal, May 6, 1956 
Copyright, 1956, The Courier-Journal 

NEEDLES^ the juvenile delinquent from Florida who hates to work 
and apparently likes nothing better than to beat the tar out of nice 
young colts who mind their teachers, has done it again. 

Carrying Dave Erb on his shoulders like a bouncing orange ad 
for the Sunshine State, the winter book champion spotted 1 5 com- 
petitors 24 lengths in the Kentucky Derby yesterday afternoon. 
Then he put his ears back and began picking them off two and three 
at a time. 

Pounding like Ponder around the last turn he was throwing dirt 
into the faces of all except Fabius and was beginning to cut the 
ground out from under the dark brown son of Citation. 

Sweat streaming off his rump and lathering under his legs, he 
strained to the last big inch of his tremendous stride. 

Thousands of roaring fans in the steepled stands saw the bound- 
ing orange gradually eclipse the fluttering ball of red on the rail, 
then suddenly pass it as if blown by Hurricane Hazel to win by 
more than half-a-length in one of the most fantastic runnings of the 
Kentucky Derby. 

Bugle Call Needles and Fabius were among early arrivals in 
the paddock. Other starters joined them one by one, nervous and 

Needles looked bored. 

The bugle sounded and attendants jumped to attention. The 
parade to the track began. The band struck up "My Old Kentucky 
Home" as Career Boy, the No. 1 horse, stepped onto the track. 

They circled up the track in front of the club house. Then back 
down past the grandstand a quarter of a mile to the starting gate. 
Attendants on ponies had to hold many of them as they shied at the 
noise of the crowd and flash of cameras. 

Needles sauntered along with the rest until they passed the start- 
ing gate. Then decided to thunder with it. He stopped. Jockey Erb, 
who had seen him do this innumerable times on morning workouts, 
looked around helplessly. 


The Delinquent Juvenile Horse 201 

His pony boy wheeled and started over for him. Needles decided 
reluctantly to move on. 

Erb turned him around and guided him directly into No. 1 stall. 
(He had No. 1 post position, though his number was 3.) This ap- 
parently was exactly what he wanted. t He stood quietly loafing 
while the others danced their pre-race jitters away. 

They're Off ! The gate really was two gates, joined together to 
accommodate the large field, and triggered electrically by one but- 
ton held by Starter Ruby White on his high perch on the left. 

Three minutes after Needles entered his stall the gates flew open. 
. . . All 17 came out like a cavalry charge. It was as near-perfect a 
start for so many horses as ever has been seen here. Also near- 
bedlam, as jockeys screamed and 100,000 spectators roared. 

Terrang, fleet winner of the Santa Anita Derby known for his 
early speed, quickly dashed to the front. Right behind him were 
Fabius, Ben A. Jones and Head Man, also known for quick get- 

Down past the stands for the first time they whirled ahead of 
the horde. 

"Where's Needles?" cried a woman standing on a chair in the 
rear of the press box. 

"Here he comes/' shouted a masculine voice back of a giant set 
of binoculars. " Next to last." 

There was a crash and the lady was on the floor. 

Ben A. Jones, the horse named for the trainer, sprinted into the 
lead as the large field swept toward the first turn. Terrang and 
Fabius quickly overran him as they pounded along the back stretch. 
Head Man held to third. And No Regrets, California Derby cham- 
pion trained by Louisville's Dick Waggoner, moved into fourth. 

Needles was 16th. Twenty-four lengths back. 

Jockey Erb decided it was now or never. He gave Needles his 
head and clucked to him. . . . 

"Let's go, boy," he cried. 

Nothing happened. . . . "What the hell, I thought," he laughed 
later. "I was scared stiff. Then he started running." 

"I saw a hole and we went for it." 

He passed Jean Baptiste, Black Emperor and Career Boy as if 
they were standing still. . . . Then Count Chic, who also had started 
a move that earned fourth place. 

He was coming around the far turn now. Past Pintor Lea. Past 
Come On Red, which also was moving up from a sad 14th to finish 
a thrilling third. 

Another stride and he was passing Countermand, Besomer and 

202 Earl Ruby 

Around into the head of the stretch he raced. A quarter of a mile 
to go and seventh. Three lengths off Fabius, who had shaken off 
Terrang to take the lead on the turn. 

No Regrets moved up to second, hung, then gave up the chase. 
Terrang, third, tired and dropped back. 

Needles passed these, Head Man and two more winded sprinters. 
He was in the stretch now and going after the flying devil-red silks 

Then came the eclipse and the wire. 

Then the Dead End Kid shuffled into the winner's circle and 
suffered a blanket of roses to be draped across his steaming 


By Nelson Fisher 

From The San Diego Union, October 31, 1956 
Copyright, 1956, The San Diego Union 

You WALK to the stall door, look in, and then, if you are a normal 
human being, you are seized by one of the strongest emotional tugs 
you've ever felt. 

There he stands, proud Swaps, suspended by a wide sling hung 
on a block and tackle from the ceiling. Three feet solidly touch the 
floor of the stall. The right hind leg, encased in a cast, just clears it. 
The sling is padded with foam rubber to minimize the discomfort. 

The red-gold chestnut whose long, smooth stride carried him to 
five world records turns his head and looks at you with large, liquid 
eyes. You think of a bird with a broken wing you once saw trying 
to flutter away. 

Swaps doesn't flutter. In addition to the sling, there is a wood 
plank at his left, the wall at his right. He must remain in the one 
place, standing there night and day. He has stood like this for two 
weeks, and now he seems quite placid. 

He has learned to shift his weight around a little on the three 
good legs but, unlike the wounded bird, he goes nowhere. He has 
been confined to the stall since Oct. 9, when he first cracked the leg 
in a training gallop. He opened a second break in the leg when he 
kicked his stall Oct. 14 and he was placed in the sling Oct. 17. He'll 
be there three or four more weeks, until the bone safely knits. 

You ask trainer Meshach Tenney if Swaps has taken it so 
stoically all along, if at first he fought the sling sent to help save his 
life by James Fitzsimmons, the kindly man who trained Nashua, 
Swaps' arch rival of the racing paths. 

"Well, he was pretty uncomfortable at first," Tenney says. "He 
struggled some, trying to establish balance. He shifted positions 
eight to 10 times a minute, 24 hours around. 

"This was pretty tiring and he didn't get much sleep the first 
four or five days. Neither did I. You see, I had to watch every 
minute for fear he'd come down on that broken leg. 

"I kept ahold of the chain to the block and tackle. I'd raise or 
lower it as he shifted to help him adapt himself. Finally he worked 
out a routine of standing a little longer each time one way, then 


204 Nelson Fisher 

shift a couple of inches and stand another way. He does it uncon- 
sciously now and I don't think it hurts him like it did at first." 

Tenney, who slept with Swaps most of the long- vigil that is, 
slept as much as he could when he felt it safe to get in a few winks 
sought to take the horse's mind off his plight by friendly play. 

"Swaps never was a mean horse, though he's kicked me never 
realizing, of course, that he might hurt me. He's always been play- 
ful, so I could help him divert his attention from his trouble by 
tweaking his nose and pulling his whiskers and ears. He also likes 
his alcohol rubs. 

"At first we gave him quite a bit of aspirin to relieve the pain. 
But we didn't want to dope him up too much for fear that, with the 
pain completely deadened, he might step down hard on the bad leg 
and destroy all our progress." 

No man possibly could think or do more for his horse, but Ten- 
ney still dismisses his part lightly. 

"I can't say I've done this through any great personal affection. 
I think I'd do the same for any useful horse under my responsi- 
bility," he told one interviewer. 

The faithful trainer had to be kidding, of course. Only in the last 
few days has he been able to get away from the stable long enough 
to see his wife, who is an understanding woman with a great love 
of her own for Swaps. That long watch with scant sleep wasn't deep 
affection, the man would have you believe. Why, he never even left 
for meals. Sandwiches were brought to him. 

Tenney wasn't eager to talk about whether Swaps will race 
again. No one presses the issue for, when you look at the gallant 
horse, you hope only that he will get well, that he no longer will 

The conversation lags. You look knowingly at one another and 
then you say, "Thanks, Mickey." That's the name we knew him by 
in California until he began to win the big ones and his real, biblical 
name came out. 

You walk away from moments more gripping than Hollywood 
ever could make-believe. A little while later you watch the world's 
richest horse-race, won by another sturdy, young champion,, but 
you don't forget Swaps. 


By Bob Barnet 

From The Muncie (Ind.) Star, April 22, 1956 
Copyright, 1956, The Muncie Star 


Some of them don't get there until race day, but all sportswriters 
are aware that a full week is required to cover the Kentucky Derby 
in the manner to which it is accustomed. 

Were the lads to remain away from Louisville during those few 
days prior to the running of what quite often is called the run for 
the roses the world would have no way of knowing how many acres 
of mint will be harvested to garnish ice cream sundaes, how many 
gallons of burgoo will be swallowed by brave souls who do not 
live in Kentucky, and how many iris bulbs have been planted in the 

The Louisville Chamber of Commerce joins with public-spirited 
citizens and civic groups each year in arranging a week-long pro- 
gram designed to keep these lonely and homesick fellows from 
casting themselves off the bridge that goes over to Jeffersonville 
or at least to keep them off the street and out from under the horse 

Sightseeing excursions to New Albany, Ind. ; visits to museums, 
and guided tours through historic homes usually are included, as 
are field trips for members of the press corps interested in botany 
and bird study. It is understood that one of the highlights this year 
will be an address in the Seelbach lobby by the Hon. Happy Chand- 
ler, Gov., on the subject "Just Which Side Was Kentucky on in 
the Late Unpleasantness Between the States, Anyhow?" As en- 
cores Chandler reportedly plans to recite "MacPhail at the Bat" or 
that other stirring poem, "Who Threw the Overalls in Mr. Chand- 
ler's Swimming Pool?" 

I am proud to report that Louisville C. of C. has mailed me my 
invitations to these completely worthwhile galas, along with a pro- 
gram of press events for Derby week. While I can not be present 
until race day I shall be with them in spirits, one and all. I shall 
especially miss the botany trip because it is my understanding that 
the malt and hops are now in gorgeous flower on the gentle slopes 
of Oertel's 92. 


206 Bob Barnet 

It is with real regret that I must decline all invitations save those 
for events of Derby Day itself. Some year I shall strive to cover 
the race as it is covered by men from the big cities. 

The printed program follows : 

Tuesday, May 1 

Kentucky Thoroughbred Breeders Association Banquet, 6:30 
p.m. Cocktails, 7 p.m., banquet . . . Roof Garden, Brown Hotel 
. , . America's outstanding annual banquet honoring the nation's 
foremost trainers. The bestowing of the annual brood-mare award 
is an attraction of national significance in the thoroughbred in- 
dustry. Here the trainers predict their horses' chances in the "Run 
for the Roses." Admission by ticket only. Obtain your ticket by 
writing Roscoe Goose, 3012 S. Third St., Louisville otherwise 
call Mr. Goose upon your arrival at Melrose 7-1230. 

Wednesday, May 2 

Mayor's Brunch ... 10:30 a.m. . . . River Valley Club . . . 
Overlooking the scenic Ohio River on River Road. An added 
Derby event which will feature the real Kentucky fixin's to tickle 
the palate of the most exacting epicurean. A southern breakfast 
with a nautical view. Entertainment, mixer session, and meet the 
Mayor. Transportation will be furnished at the downtown hotels. 
For reservations, see Bill Kerberg, Louisville Chamber of Com- 
merce, 300 West Liberty St. 

Thursday, May 3 

Brown Forman Distillers Press Party ... 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. 
Old Forester Room, Brown Forman Distillery, 1908 Howard 
St. Sportswriters refer to this as "The dean of press parties/' 
where king julep reigns supreme. Entertainment by the distiller's 
talented and skillful jug band. Country ham, beaten biscuits and 
glasses overflowing with real Kentucky Hospitality round out the 
bill of fare. Invitations will be mailed in the near future. 

Rotary Club Press Luncheon . . . Noon to 1 :30 p.m. . . . Crystal 
Ballroom, Brown Hotel . . . Each year the Rotary Club extends 
a cordial invitation to all visiting sportswriters to be their guests at 
their regular meeting. Simply identify yourself at the registration 
desk outside the entrance to the ballroom and you will be "hosted" 
into the meeting as a guest. 

Derby Parade ... 7 :30 p.m something new has been added, 

the beginning of a buildup to a week-long series of events of na- 

How to Cover the Derby 207 

tional prominence. A colorful pageantry depicting historical high- 
lights of Louisville and the Derby, colorful floats, beautiful Ken- 
tucky girls, all enshrined in a festive pre-Derby atmosphere of 

Friday, May 4 

Kentucky Colonel's Annual Banquet ... 8 p.m. Flag Room, 
Kentucky Hotel . . . The Honorable Order of Kentucky Colonels 
in a renewal of the traditional Derby-eve banquet meeting of the 
distinguished notables numbered among the nation's Kentucky 
Colonels. A be-juleped, festive pre-Derby highlight where the 
nationally-famous meet and give forth with unrestrained "hoss 
talk." Admission by subscription. For reservations write Col. 
Anna Friedman Goldman, the Forest, Anchorage, Ky. 

Informal Party for the Sportswriters . * . 6:30 p.m. Mez- 
zanine, Kentucky Hotel . . . Churchill Downs says, "Have a drink 
and be our guest at the buffet." . . . Relax with your fellowmen of 
the Fourth Estate and enjoy final comfortable confabs. Last chance 
for little chit-chats between scribes to justify their Derby picks. 
Reservations not required. Just walk in and make yourselves at 

Saturday, May 5 "Derby Day" 

Churchill Downs working press party . . . After the races . . . 
Clubhouse, Churchill Downs . . . The run for the roses is over . . . 
You have filed your story . . . The downtown area is swarming 
with Derby visitors and it's tough to get a seat and prompt service 
with the overflow crowd . . . But you can avoid this. Courtesy of 
Churchill Downs, dinner will be available to you in the Clubhouse 
. . . Come as you are . . . Relax as you avoid the crowd and have 
a pleasant supper. 

Sunday, May 6 

Kentucky Colonel's Barbecue Feast ... 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. . . . 
The Forest, Anchorage, Ky. ... A traditional post-derby event 
worth staying over for. The setting is the "woodsy" Forest home 
of Col. Anna Friedman Goldman, Anchorage. Outdoor grills bear- 
ing steaming containers of old-fashioned barbecue and steaming 
Kentucky burgoo . . . The combination of the atmosphere, savory- 
aroma, and excellent food and beverages will be an ever-fond 
memory of your Derby assignment. The Honorable Order of 
Kentucky Colonels will soon mail invitations asking you to be a 
guest at this colorful affair. 

Rough ain't it? 



By Don Selby 

From The San Francisco Examiner, June 17, 1956 
Copyright, 1956, The San Francisco Examiner 

GARY MIDDLECOFF, the great fidgeter of the fairways and the 
most prolific winner of golf tournaments in the last nine years, won 
the fifty-sixth National Open by attrition and one stroke today. 

The 35 year old former Memphis dentist, a model of consistency, 
drilled his second and third consecutive even par rounds of 70 to 
beat out Ben Hogan and Julius Boros with a seventy-two hole total 
of 281, one over par. 

It was a victory by attrition because, first Hogan, and then 
Boros and finally Ted Kroll made a run at the pace-setting Mid- 
dlecoff , but got tangled up in the pressurized race to the wire. 

Hogan "The Hawk/' the man with nerves of steel, shattered 
his dream of becoming the first five time winner of the Open in 
a manner that may have sounded the death knell of modern golfs 
greatest career more clearly than any retirement speech. 

He lost his famed concentration in a crisis. He twitched, he 
jerked, and he muffed a two and a half foot putt for a par on the 
seventeenth green that obliterated an eminently easy opportunity 
for him to tie Middlecoff and force a playoff. 

Hogan shot 72-70 for a 282, Boros, 71-69, also for 282. Kroll, 
who stumbled worse than the other two, wound up with final 70-72 
to tie Peter Thomson, the halfway leader, and ex-Champ Ed Fur- 
gol for fourth at 285. 

San Francisco's brilliant Kenny Venturi, shooting a sizzling 
68 during this morning's third round, gobbled up the low amateur 
medal with no undue strain. The sensation of the masters tourna- 
ment and the hottest article to rise in the amateur ranks in years, 
he finished all alone in eighth place, eight strokes behind Middle- 
coff, with a score of 77-71-68-73 289. 


Fidgeter of the Fairways 209 

The other members of Northern California's contingent did not 
fare that well. National Amateur Champion Harvie Ward shot 
74-73-81-77305. Palo Alto's Bob Rosburg, the touring pro 
whose 68 set the first round pace, had 68-76-79-81 304. And 
Tony Lema, 22 year old San Francisco golf club assistant pro who 
was playing in his first major tournament, scored 77-71-78-81 

Out of a total prize pot of $24,000, Middlecoff grabbed off 
$6,000, while Hogan and Boros collected $2,650 apiece. 

MiddlecofiF, who gives some of his colleagues the screaming 
meemies with his dilatory tactics that slows play all over 
the course behind him, started the day in a four way tie for third 
behind Thomson and Hogan but was in the lead at the 54 hole 
mark with 211 and was never headed. 

Two under par after birdying the thirteenth and fourteenth holes 
this afternoon, the man who won the 1949 open stumbled a mite 
in the stretch himself but circumvented disaster by following Bo- 
gies on the sixteenth and seventeenth with a hard-earned and 
slightly terriffic par on the finishing hole. 

Gary posted his 281, then slumped into a chair in the competi- 
tors' dining room to sweat out the ordeal of waiting to see if his 
score would withstand the test. 

It was during that hour that the drama unfolded with all the 
suspense of a movie thriller. 

Hogan fired the first torpedo at Gary. 

Grim Ben, seeming to limp a little, as he had done the last two 
days of the Open in San Francisco last year, arrived at the seven- 
teenth one under par and needing two pars to tie. Everything went 
according to schedule until he addressed a two and a half foot putt 
for a par. 

Just as he appeared ready to stroke the ball, he jerked up from 
his putting position as if a taut nerve had snapped like an over- 
stretched violin string. Then he leaned forward, seemingly using 
his putter for support. When he did hit the ball, it went six inches 
to the side of the hole, and the jig was up. 

Ben did his best on a 40 foot putt that he needed for a tying 
birdie on the eighteenth, but it wasn't in the cards for the biggest 
little man in golf to pull this one out of the fire, no more than it was 
when he lost to Jack Fleck in a playoff a year ago. 

His only explanation of his unusual procedure on the muffed 
putt was that nothing had disturbed him "except myself." 

"You know, I'm kind of glad I missed it, though, because I : 


210 Don Selby 

would hate to have to go again (in the playoff) tomorrow," he 


Later he was heard to remark to another player : 

"I don't know if I can cut it any more/' 

But he said he had no retirement plans "no plans of any kind." 

In second place after 36 holes, Ben had made his task tougher 
by taking a 72 this morning. 

Middlecoff , refusing to subject himself to the tension of seeing 
himself being shot at, so to speak, by watching the play on tele- 
vision, tentatively smiled when he heard the report of Hogan's 
misfortune and said : 

"You mean those things happen to him, too/' 

There was one down but still two to go. 

It was Boros' turn next, but Julie had a little tougher row to 
hoe because he had started the last round two strokes behind Mid- 


He made up one stroke with a six foot birdie putt on fourteen 
but couldn't flush the all-important tying birdie on the final four 

Boros, the 1952 Open king and the leading money winner of 
1955, gave it a whale of a whirl on the eighteenth when he drilled 
a fifteen-footer dead for the hole, only to have it rim the cup. 

By this time all the spectators among a crowd of 13,914 
who could find a vantage point had surrounded the finishing hole, 
and they let loose a cry of disappointment that must have re- 
sounded all the way back to where Kroll was storming along like 
a man who was going to take it all. 

Ted, a suntanned veteran who had been among the leaders all 
the way, set sail on the final round tied with Hogan and young 
Wes Ellis for second, one stroke behind Middlecoff. And after 
birdying the eleventh and fourteenth, he was sitting pretty. Four 
pars would win it for him. 

A weak tee shot on the par three fifteenth cost him one bogey, 
but he still could tie with three pars. 

Suddenly trouble clouded up and rained all over the oft- wounded 

A horrible second shot on the sixteenth zoomed under a tree 
above the green, and he had no more chance of getting it out in 
one swat than Hogan had of escaping the knee high rough on the 
memorable eighteenth hole of his playoff duel with Fleck at the 
Olympic Club. 

Kroll just nudged the ball, then hit it again down to the fringe 

Fidgeter of the Fairways 211 

where he could get a real shot. But at the time he got on the green 
he had used up five strokes, and two putts gave him a ruinous seven, 

Middlecoff, well on his way to succeeding Hogan and Sam 
Snead as Mr. Big of golf, was the champ. 

If we seem to encourage the thought that Gary was handed 
the title, forget it. The "doc" won it by his consistently good per- 

The man who won the rain-swept Crosby tournament at Pebble 
Beach last January played the first seven holes "scratchy/' by his 
own admission, but birdied the eighth to make the turn in even 
par. A great wedge shot through a hole in the screen of tree 
branches that blocked his line to the green was followed by a thir- 
teen foot birdie putt on the par five thirteenth and a twelve foot 
birdie putt on No. 14 put him two tinder. 

Gary, nervously wiping his perspiring brow on a towel and 
taking many long looks at the situation before each and every 
stroke, hit from rough to trap and rimmed a seven foot putt to take 
a bogey on the sixteenth and the pressure was on for fair as he 
came face to face with the seventeenth hole that knocked him for a 
triple bogey loop yesterday. 

Sure enough, he fouled up again, belting a two iron second shot 
behind the gallery to the right of the green. 

It must have taken the man ten minutes of fussing and studying 
before he stroked his trouble shot, but he put blade to ball with the 
finesse of a champ to loft the ball onto the green from a tough lie 
and get out of the jam with nothing worse than a bogey. 

On the eighteenth, he hooked his tee shot into the rough and was 
still in the rough short of the green in two. Then his masterful 
touch again asserted itself as he popped a pitch shot over the trap 
and rolled it to within three feet of the pin to secure the par that 
proved decisive. 

Thomson, the affable Aussie who led at the halfway mark, took 
75 and 71 on his two rounds today to drop back to a tie for fourth. 
And Ellis, the 24 year old River Vale, N. J. pro who was still in 
the thick of it, one stroke back of Middlecoff after the morning 
round, lost his chance with a closing 78. 

And how about Snead? The old slammer struggled through 
rounds of 75 and 71 today to finish with 296, and it looks as if he 
never will win the Open. 


By Furman Bisher 

From The Atlanta Constitution, April 17, 1956 
Copyright, 1956, The Atlanta Constitution 

IT WAS A gusty Friday morning at Augusta National, very gusty. 
A playboy wind nipped devilishly at the fetlocks of the lovely chicks. 
And bolder gusts reached a little higher. 

On the clubhouse driveway a woman dressed fit to kill was al- 
most run down by a driver looking in the other direction at an- 
other doll dressed fit to kill. 

Out on the clubhouse lawn, under a large umbrella, a mother 
spoon-fed a baby. She was surely a golfer's wife, for she never 
missed a shot. 

The wind had blown out a chunk of the big Scoreboard that 
stands like a highway billboard between the 10th and 18th holes. 
Out on the course the fairways were like wind tunnels. Inside the 
clubhouse the door to the locker room on the second deck "gen- 
tlemen only" opened precisely at 12 :16 and one of the youngest 
vice presidents in the country reported for work 

Ken Venturi carried a little satchel in one hand. He wore a 
tweedy coat and an expression that said absolutely nothing. It 
didn't say he was nervous, he was relaxed, he wished it was Sunday 
night, or wonder what the 'ell he was doing here? 

"Here" meaning on top of the pile at the Masters. 

"He looks like he's half asleep/' somebody said. 

"Maybe he's still dreaming," somebody else said. 

Remember, this is a 24-year-old father of three weeks who teed 
off Thursday morning with a gallery that was following him be- 
cause he happened to be paired with Billy Joe Patton. He is, by 
USGA standards, an amateur, for he doesn't take money for play- 
ing. He is, or was, relatively unrenowned, though he has been a 
member of the Walker Cup team. He has played little recently in 
tournaments of note, almost as if he had been holding his big 
game for this one. 

But the point is, no more than two or three out of ten people 
could have told you Thursday morning who Ken Venturi is 

Venturi sat down at a long table and ordered some orange 


Do Ye Ken Venturi? 213 

"Are you nervous ?" an untactful beast asked him. 

Venturi grinned a nice Italian grin. "Yeah," he said. "I'm such 
a wreck I couldn't sleep but ten and a half hours last night/' 

Ashford Smith grunted. He's an Atlantan and Harvie Ward's 
brother-in-law. The three of them are sharing quarters in one of 
the club's cottages. "Sleep?" Ashford hooted. "The maids cleaned 
up the room. Everybody else dressed and left and he kept sleeping. 

"And the noises he makes. He doesn't snore." Ashford made 
some funny grunts and snorts and gurgles, sort of like a sick 
rhinoceros. "Like that. He'd scare you to death to sleep in the 
same room with him if you didn't know what it was." 

All the time the locker room door to the porch was opening and 
closing and the wind howled in furiously. It was like a scene In an 
old movie about the Yukon. Freddie Haas, Ed Furgol, Tommy 
Bolt and Dick Chapman came in and fought the door shut. Then 
they huffed and puffed and blew on their hands like men coming 
in out of a snowstorm. 

The wind whistled through a crack in a big window and made 
a fearful noise. 

"I don't mind the wind," Venturi said, "especially if it's match 
play. What's happening to you is happening to the guy you're play- 
ing, so it's the same. It's tougher in medal play, but I don't mind 
it. I'll just have to keep my curve ball a little lower today." 

"Were you here the year it hailed ?" Henry Picard, one of the 
elder statesmen, said. "It came right through my umbrella, hail- 
stones big as mothballs. In Greensboro one year they had to hold 
up their tournament for two days on account of a snowstorm in 
late March. The fire department tried to wash the stuff off the 
streets, I remember, and the water froze as quick as it hit the pave- 

"Have you ever seen it this windy over here before?" Venturi 

"I've seen it windy," Picard said. "Maybe it was this windy, I 
don't know, I've seen it plenty windy." 

"Well," Venturi said, "I don't mind the wind, anyway, I hope 
it don't blow up any rain out there." 

There has been limited tournament experience for Venturi since 
he came out of the Army. He has had to become readjusted to 
his business in San Francisco. Through the courtesy of golfing 
devotee Ed Lowrey, who maintains a sort of amateur golf stable in 
San Francisco, Venturi's the vice president of an automobile dealer- 

214 Fur man Bisher 

Somebody said the other day it should be called Ed Lowrey's 
academy of golf, Byron Nelson, headmaster. For Nelson had 
spent a good deal of the time working with the Lowrey colts. 

Venturi played last in the Phoenix Open and finished fifth. "Oh, 
I played in the city tournament/' he said. "I played Ward in the 
finals. You know how many people were there? Ten thousand 
were in the gallery that day." 

Venturi won. The next day Mrs. Venturi presented him his 
trophy, a small baby boy. 

The door opened again and blew his napkin off the table for 
about the 12th time. It seemed to remind him that the great out- 
of-doors was calling. "Well," he said, "I'd better go." 

It seemed like a reasonably good place to end a column, so I 
went, too. 


By Melvin Durslag 

From The Saturday Evening Past, January 14, 1956 
Copyright, 1956, Curtis Publishing- Co. 

THE EIGHTEENTH HOLE at the 1954 Los Angeles Open golf 
tournament, Tommy Bolt, of Houston, Texas, who breaks clubs 
about as often as he breaks par, which is frequently, surveyed a 
two-foot putt -with the cool, professional air of a master gem cut- 
ter making a study of the Hope diamond. 

Bolt, who is known also as "Terrible-Tempered Tommy," 
"Thunder Bolt/' and the "Human Vesuvius/' circled_the hole 
three times, examining the terrain from every angle. Delicately he 
plucked fragments of grass from the path of the ball. Then, from a 
kneeling position, he tried to calculate the curvature of the green. 
Finally drawing a careful bead on the hole, he addressed the ball 
and tapped it gently. It rolled straight for the cup, but, at the last 
second, suddenly veered off course and stopped three inches wide 
of the mark. ^ 

Tommy stood for a moment in disbelief. Then his face flushed 
and his muscles tightened. With an almost mechanical reflex, he 
raised his putter high above his head in the manner of a wood 
chopper wielding an ax. He was about to bring it down crashing 
when someone in the gallery, obviously familiar with the Bolt 
temperament, cried out, "There she goes !" The crowd laughed. 
Tommy narrowly checked the impulse, flipped the club to his cad- 
die and stalked off the course. 

On the way to the clubhouse he was approached by a reporter. 

"I know, I know !" roared Bolt, who was to have an even more 
celebrated run-in with the press after blowing an early lead in last 
year's National Open. "You want to ask me about my disposition. 
That's the only time you sportswriters mention my name. Only 
when I blow up or bust a club. Why don't you mention Middle- 
coff and Mangrum and all the rest? They get just as mad as I do. 
Everyone gets mad in golf." ^^ 

The point Tommy raised was a good one. Of the 2,50Q,UOO 
golfers in the United States who play some 65,000,000 rounds each 
year, it is estimated that all of them, with varying degrees of prov- 
ocation, lose their temper. Some burst their moorings altogether 


216 Melvin Durslag 

and beat their heads on the turf. Others break up clubs. There are 
also the ball throwers, the caddie cursers, the slow burners and 
those who pick up in disgust. Lady golfers often cry. 

To those who have never played the game, the ease with which 
a temper can be lost and the grace with which getting mad is ac- 
cepted are somewhat puzzling. Why, it is asked, do otherwise 
rational human beings tend to blow their tops on the golf course ? 

Lloyd Mangrum, one of the game's top money winners, ex- 
plains, "Golf is the only sport I know in which a player pays for 
every mistake. In other sports, a man can muff a serve, miss a 
pitch or throw an incomplete pass and still have another chance 
to square himself. But in golf, every swing counts against you. 
Competing under such strain, the golfer naturally gets mad." 

It is Mangrum's view that no golfer, whether he's a par-busting 
professional or a grass-digging duffer, is immune to temper out- 
bursts under certain circumstances. However, nobody can predict 
just which mishap will trigger the explosion. 

In the Los Angeles Open of 1954, for example, the gallery and 
sportswriters were unusually impressed by the calm behavior of a 
rookie pro from Indianapolis named Fred Wampler, Jr. While 
trying to protect his lead on the eighteenth hole of the third round, 
he fluffed an easy chip shot into a trap. With no visible trace of 
temper, he pitched out. Now on the green, he missed an easy putt. 
He was still unruffled. The next day he wasted several strokes 
while shooting a seventy-five, but remained a model of comport- 
ment. He managed to win the tournament by a stroke. The papers 
applauded him the next day as a "young Ben Hogan, an icy- 
veined competitor." 

In a tournament the following week at Pebble Beach, California, 
Wampler four-putted on the tenth green of the first round and 
smacked one out of bounds on the eleventh. He got so furious that 
he charged off the course and left town. Asked to explain this start- 
ling change in temperament, Wampler replied, "In golf, you get 
mad in one of two ways secretly or obviously. I happened to hit 
my detonating point at Pebble Beach." 

^ By long and conscientious training, some pro golfers have con- 
ditioned themselves to exercise restraint in front of galleries and 
not blow up until confined to the privacy of their locker room or 
hotel. There are times, however, when the urge can't wait. Bob 
Rosburg, a studious young pro from San Francisco, who is the 
scion of a socially prominent family, muffed an eighteen-inch putt 

All Golfers Are Mad 217 

on the ninth hole of one tournament. Rosburg, who never remon- 
strates in public, strolled nonchanantly off the green and ducked be- 
hind a clump of trees, out of view of the crowd. There he quietly 
smashed his putter against a stump. Now depressurized, he came 
out with a narrow grin and finished the round, putting with a No. 
2 iron. 

It is Rosburg's feeling that destroying a club should not cast a 
shadow on a golfer's reputation as a sportsman. 

"The sport isn't like boxing or football, where a guy can take 
out his bitterness on an opponent," he says. "In golf, it's strictly 
you against your clubs. Some golfers prefer taking it out on their 
ball. They wind up and throw it a mile. Personally, I prefer the 

While not rated a bona fide top-blower, President Eisenhower 
is generally considered a good example on the golf course of the 
strong and simmering type. According to Ed Dudley, pro at Au- 
gusta National Golf Club in Georgia, who played with Ike often 
before his recent heart attack, the President does two things to ex- 
press displeasure with his shooting. 

"First," says Dudley, "he clams up. He won't say a word. And 
second, he doesn't merely walk to his ball; he sprints to it. He 
can hardly wait to get even." 

Professional Al Besselink believes that most tempers are lost 
after hooked or sliced drives. Besselink's theory, however, is un- 
acceptable to Jimmy Demaret, known in golf as "Sunny Jim," ex- 
cept when he misses a short putt. 

"You can always recover on a hole from a bad drive," Demaret 
says, "but there's no recovering from a bad putt. It's missing those 
six-inchers that causes guys to break up their sticks." 

There is some evidence that misdirected drives and missed putts 
are equally responsible for temper explosions and here again sub- 
stantiation can be found in the case studies of Terrible-Tempered 
Tommy Bolt. At the Tournament of Champions in Las Vegas in 
1953, Tommy was two under par at the tenth hole of the first 
round, when he muffed a "four-foot putt. He promptly snapped his 
putter. On the twelfth hole his tee shot took a bad hop and bounded 
into the rough. En route to the ball he demolished his driver. 

Word was now circulating about the course that a Bolt erup- 
tion was taking place on the back nine. Other contestants soon 
found themselves with only their wives and relatives in their gal- 
leries. Forbidden by the rules to replace broken clubs for the re- 

218 Melvin Durslag 

mainder of the round, Bolt finished with only twelve sticks. He 
shot a seventy-three while putting with a two-iron and driving with 
a two-wood. 

The next day Tommy was the unsuspecting principal in probably 
the strangest bet in the history of golf. Las Vegas hotelman Wil- 
bur Clark posted odds of 6-5 that Bolt would not finish the second 
round with the regulation fourteen clubs in his bag. For a town 
famous for its plungers, there were surprisingly few takers, most 
gamblers complaining that the price was too short. 

"The money, amounting to several hundred dollars, was put 
up," says Clark, "and all of us set out to follow Bolt around the 
course. There were several critical moments when it looked like I 
was a cinch to collect, especially on one hole, after he had messed 
up a chip shot. He slammed down his iron and it bounced three 
feet into the air, but the darned thing didn't break. Tommy shot 
a sour seventy-four that day, but I still lost the bets." 

Responsibility, in a sense, for contributing to the derangement 
of many golfers has been assumed by an easygoing amateur named 
Harry Lillis Crosby. The sponsor of the Bing Crosby Open at 
Monterey, California, believes that the tournament's notorious 
sixteenth hole on the Cypress Point course has probably caused 
more lids to be flipped than any other hole in the world. This is a 
treacherous 240-yard par three, with a 225-yard chasm between 
the tee and the green. A hooked drive will land in the ocean to the 
left. A slice will drop in the ocean to the right. But worst of all is a 
shot that misses both the green and the ocean and terminates on 
the rocky beach. 

"Last year/' Bing recalls, "Porky Oliver plopped his tee shot 
into some seaweed. He refused to move his ball and take the penalty. 
He chose to play the lie. After a few fruitless whacks, he got so 
mad it took him thirteen strokes to get out and he wound up on 
the hole with a sixteen. 

"But the thing that happened to Henry Ransom on the six- 
teenth," Bing claims, "was more tragic yet. Henry was three under 
par at the time. His tee shot on the sixteenth was short and to the 
right, and the ball rolled back down onto the beach. The green was 
at the top of a cliff . Henry planted his feet in the sand and took a 
lick with a wedge, but the ball hit the cliff and rolled into the sand. 
He hit again, with the same result. He did this seven times. Fi- 
nally he got mad and took an awful lash at it. This time the ball 
hit the cliff, caromed back and hit him in the stomach. Pretty good 

All Golf ers Are Mad 219 

belt too. Henry picked tip the ball and started to walk away. His 
caddie yelled, 'Hey, where are you going?' Ransom replied, 'Lis- 
ten, son, when that thing starts hitting back, it's time to quit. 3 " 

At least one tournament sponsor has taken legal steps to elimi- 
nate temper outbursts. George S. May, promoter of Chicago's 
Tarn O'Shanter tournament, richest golf event in the world, has 
included in his contract with each entrant a clause under the head- 
ing, "Deportment of Contestants." This clause stipulates that a 
golfer may be disqualified or assessed a two-stroke penalty for any 
of the following reasons : ( 1) using profanity, (2) throwing clubs, 
(3) causing damage to the putting surface by jabbing a putter into 
the green, (4) willfully hitting sand onto the putting surface after 
a shot and (5) making unwarranted criticism of the golf course 
and/or the tournament. 

But even in the face of stiff punishment, there are still times 
when the golfer's urge to erupt is too overpowering. In the Tarn 
O'Shanter tournament of 1953, Porky Oliver, a customarily happy 
soul who weighs 229 pounds, was leading the field at the end of 
the second round. On the eighteenth hole of the third round Porky 
got into trouble. His third shot landed in a temporary grandstand 
behind the green, A tournament official tossed out the ball without 
penalty, but Oliver argued forcefully that the ball was not dropped 
in the proper area. 

Finally returning to his shooting, he flubbed an approach, missed 
an easy putt and took a seven. Now Porky was spectacularly un- 
happy. He tracked down the official who had thrown out his ball 
and spoke to him in a manner not recommended for Eagle Scouts. 
For this rhetoric, Oliver was penalized two strokes, boosting his 
total for the third round from seventy-seven to seventy-nine. More- 
over, before he could tee off the next day, he had to apologize to 
the official. As things happened, the two-stroke penalty cost him 
approximately $500 in prize money. 

While this was a respectable loss, it was still in the penny-ante 
class compared to what a blowup once cost an amateur at Palm 
Beach. In the Seminole Pro-Amateur tournament, professional 
Lawson Little had drawn as his amateur partner a wealthy New 
Yorker named Earl T, Smith. The Little-Smith team had been 
purchased by Smith in a Calcutta pool which totaled $100,000. 
Calcutta pools currently under fire by the golfing fathers are 
auctions preceding tournaments, in which each contestant, or team, 
entered in the event is sold to the highest bidder. The money is 

220 Mefoin Durslag 

distributed after the tournament on the basis of order-of-finish, 
with 40 per cent of the pool usually going to the person buying 
the winner. 

On the par-four eighteenth hole of the final round, the Little- 
Smith twosome needed only a five to win first money. In best-ball 
play such as this, only the lower score of the two partners is 

"I got involved in two traps on the eighteenth and was out of 
the running/' Little recalls, "but Smith hit the green in two. On his 
third shot he putted to within a foot of the hole. I smiled smugly 
and said to myself, 'At last we're home free/ Then, when the ball 
stopped an inch short on his fourth shot, Smith had a momentary 
flash of anger and suddenly knocked the ball back to reputt it, as 
one might in a pleasure round with friends. I screamed, 'Don't 
touch it ! Don't touch it I' But I was too late. While the ball was still 
rolling, he tapped it into the cup. Knocking it back counted as his 
fifth stroke and for hitting a moving ball he drew a two-stroke 
penalty, which gave us a seven on the hole. That impulse cost 
Smith the forty-thousand-dollar first prize in the Calcutta." 

Among people who play golf, it is generally agreed that one of 
the overriding causes for loss of temper is distractions. With ama- 
teurs, this might stem from a caddie's shifting feet while a shot is 
in progress, from the cough of a playing companion or from the 
distant chirp of a sparrow. 

With the pros, it's mostly a matter of photographers. The strug- 
gle between pro golfer and cameraman has gone unabated now for 
decades, with neither side showing any inclination to surrender. 
The battle reached an interesting stage last year. Gary Middlecoff, 
surrounded on the green by photographers, stepped away from the 
baU and said tartly, "Look, you guys, this is the way I make my 
living." One of the cameramen replied, "And this is the way we 
make ours." Whereupon Middlecoff proffered his putter and 
snapped, "O. K., supposing you play this shot and I'll take pictures 
of you/' 

Ben Hogan, playing in the Los Angeles Open of 1951, ap- 
proached the same problem in another way. Ben's caddie appeared 
on the first hole carrying a huge sign which read, No Cameras 
Please 1 Naturally, this was a challenge to any self-respecting photog- 
rapher. Before long, all the cameramen on the course had gathered 
around Hogan, shooting pictures not only of him but of the sign 
as well. Ben soon hoisted the white flag. At the end of the first 
round the sign went down. 

All Golfers Are Mad 221 

Oddly, veteran cameramen are less affected by the blunt bellig- 
erence of the Hogans, Middlecoffs and Bolts than by the silent 
truculence of a Sam Snead. Sam, they say, leaves the deepest emo- 
tional scars. One photographer recently explained, "When Snead 
gets mad at a cameraman, he never says anything. He justs drops 
his club and stares you down. He has the coldest eyes I've ever 

E. J. (Dutch) Harrison, a tournament campaigner for more 
than twenty-five years, points with amusement to professional 
golfers who will blow up when they hear the click of a camera or 
the faint crackle of a popcorn bag. Harrison is seconded in this by 
Joe Novak, former president of the Professional Golfers Associa- 
tion and author of several books on golf. 

"It's getting so a person watching a tournament doesn't dare 
swallow any more," says Novak. "He is expected to behave like a 
guest in the Union League club. Golf galleries are increasing each 
year and purses are increasing accordingly. Both customers and 
photographers are necessary. Players should adopt new training 
methods to accustom themselves to more noise. Golfers have no 
more right to silence while concentrating than, say, Stan Musial, 
who must concentrate on hitting a ball with 40,000 people scream- 
ing around him." 

Getting mad in golf is not just a recent habit which can be at- 
tributed to tensions of the Atomic Age. It is reported that the first 
two men who played golf in this country over a course they laid 
out in a Yonkers pasture in 1887 got into an argument that didn't 
cool until several days later. Then, as professional golf developed, 
some of the old-timers got pretty wild. 

"I remember a guy in die 'thirties named Lefty Stackhouse," 
says Howard Capps, former traveling secretary for the P. G. A., 
"who had the most interesting temper response of all the pros I've 
seen. Each time he fluffed a shot he would deliver vicious upper- 
cuts to his chin. It's a good thing he could take it, because he packed 
a solid punch. One day I saw him get so mad he placed his hand 
on top of a ball washer and beat on it with his putter. He broke a 
couple of bones." 

While Capps concedes that Tommy Bolt rates justly high among 
the all-time temper losers, Tommy has yet to measure up to a per- 
former of a few years back named Clayton Heafner, In California, 
in the 1940 Oakland Open, Heafner, leading on the final round, 
struck a ball that lodged in a tree. 

"He called for the rules committee," says Capps, "and it was 

222 Melvin Durslag 

finally decided he would have to drop another ball and take the 
penalty. His alternative was to play the lie. Heafner got so angry 
at this ruling that he chose to climb the tree. He was a big man who 
weighed about two hundred and ten. When he was halfway up, 
the ball dropped to the ground. Heafner insisted that its falling was 
purely an act of God. This time the rules committee sided with 
Heafner. The decision proved highly unpopular with the gallery 
and they heckled Heafner for the balance of the round. This got 
him so upset that he blew his lead and lost the tournament by a 
stroke to Jimmy Demaret/' 

The tree incident got nationwide publicity. At a later tourna- 
ment that winter, an announcer at the first tee jocularly intro- 
duced Clayton to the gallery as "Tree Man Heafner." 

"Clayton glared angrily at the announcer/' says Capps, "struck 
his tee shot and then ordered his caddie to pick up the ball. Heafner 
headed for the clubhouse. It was the quickest pickup in tourna- 
ment history." 

Though men over the years have enjoyed a marked edge in the 
temper department, lady golfers are catching up fast. Helen 
Dettweiler, professional at Thunderbird Country Club, in Palm 
Springs, who has toured with the women, remembers a pleasure 
round one day at Augusta, Georgia, with Babe Zaharias. 

"Babe tried to slug her drive on the eighteenth hole/' says Miss 
Dettweiler, "but misfired and hit a dribbler. She got so mad she 
slammed her driver against a metal tee marker and broke the club. 
Another time, I saw the pro, Beverly Hanson, miss a putt in a 
tournament and get so sore she hurled her putter at least fifty feet. 
The club landed in a tree. The match was delayed while she bor- 
rowed a ladder and climbed up to retrieve her stick/' 

But according to Miss Dettweiler, women golfers usually don't 
get that physical. As an instructor of both men and women, she 
reports, "Most men will blow off steam immediately, and then 
forget fast. Women will contain themselves longer, let their anger 
build up and really let go at the finish. After a hard victory or a 
tough defeat, women golfers often are reduced to tears or even 

Regardless of how one gets mad in golf, psychiatrists assure us 
it's nothing to be especially alarmed about. A well-known mental 
specialist in Hollywood points out that people flare up on the 
course, himself included, largely because of their inability to do 
a simple thing they have done many times before. 

"Then," he adds, "every golfer sets a different standard of per- 

All Golfers Are Mad 223 

f ection, which, if not attained, can result in an eruption. The Sun- 
day duffer might blow up if he feels he won't break a hundred. 
The pro might get mad if he feels he won't break seventy." 

There is indisputable evidence, however, that some golfers can't 
be happy under any conditions. In the 1954 San Diego Open, for 
example, Tommy Bolt shot a seventy-seven on each of the first 
two rounds. He never attempted the third round. He jumped into 
his car, stopped at his hotel only long enough to gather his belong- 
ings and sped out of the city. 

Returning to San Diego in 1955, Bolt who eventually won the 
tournament broke a P. G. A. record on the first round by shooting 
seven straight birdies. He wound up the eighteen holes at the Mis- 
sion Valley Country Club with a course record of sixty-four, eight 
under par. Tommy's reaction was described by Mel Gallagher in 
the Los Angeles Examiner the next day as follows: 

"Happy? Not Mr. Bolt. The tempestuous Tommy came off the 
eighteenth green with a grimly set mouth and his black eyes flash- 
ing indignation." Asked by another writer the reason for his dis- 
tress, Bolt replied sharply, "I blew a couple of soft shots. I should 
have had a sixty-two." 


By Howard Preston 

From The Cleveland News, July 11, 1956 
Copyright, 1956, The Cleveland News 

IT'S A MATTER of record that golf scores are higher this year than 
last. I don't know why somebody else doesn't spend some time 
figuring out why this is so. Why do people always leave these 
things to me ? I won't be here forever, you know. 

But I am playing better golf right now than I have played in 
five years and my score gets worse. There are several reasons why 
I don't score well and if this thing keeps up I will stop counting 
strokes. I will say, when people ask me, "I had an approximate 
86." This is what golfers say when they shoot 102. In golf, an 86 
and a 102 are approximately the same. 

But getting back to the higher scores. For one thing the ground 
is lower this year than it has been. I don't know how to account for 
it, but you stand higher above the ball than you used to. This leads 
to topping the ball. I think the Army engineers should look over 
this sort of thing and do something. 

Grass is stronger than it used to be. It must be those new chemi- 
cals the greenskeepers are using. Ordinary grass is becoming quite 
powerful. Clover has become tenacious. It's getting so you can't 
swing a clubhead through grass unless you use all your muscles. 
This throws your shot off line. Anyway, this is a bad season for 

Sand is harder than it used to be. I can remember when sand was 
fine, whitish stuff and when you got into a trap loaded with sand 
you could blast out. You can't do that today because the sand packs 
tighter. That isn't the only thing. The air is heavier today than it 
used to be and a golf ball doesn't go as far as it once did when well- 

It's harder to score, too, because they don't make the golf balls 
like they did before I got thick glasses. The golf balls today usually 
are lop-sided and will fall away from the cup at the last second 
even though they are directed perfectly. Trees this summer have 
more leaves than usual so it's tougher to play through them. I 
think it's because of sunspots caused by atomic explosions. 

The material used in clubs this year isn't as efficient as it used 


The Trouble With Golf 225 

to be. You have to hit the ball twice as hard to go half as far. It's 
more tiring to play, too, and this affects scores. It is farther from 
green to the next tee than it used to be and the clubhouses are too 
far away. A man get worn out just by walking out to start his 
game. I think this is because of the tornado we had. 

That's why golf scores around here are higher this year and I 
will make a final report later this summer if I get my strength 
back. Golf shoes, you know, are a lot heavier to walk in than they 



By Jimmy Breslin 

From The Saturday Evening Post, December 1, 1956 
Copyright, 1956, Jimmy Breslin 

WILTON CHAMBERLAIN, a seven-foot basketball player with the 
catchy nickname of Wilt the Stilt, is only a sophomore at the 
University of Kansas. His intercollegiate playing career doesn't 
start until next week. Yet because of this twenty-year-old Negro 
athlete, many basketball authorities have already conceded the 
next three years to Kansas. They expect Chamberlain to be even 
more dominant than Bill Russell, the six-ten Negro ace of San 
Francisco's two-time national champions. 

There was a brief flurry of speculation that the advent of the 
Chamberlain era might be delayed when Wilt underwent a throat 
operation in October. However, the surgery was described as minor 
and his recuperation as excellent. He was back in action by the 
time basketball practice started on November first. 

Wilt the Stilt has had an advance build-up to compare with that 
of Clint Hartung remember him? who was hailed at the New 
York Giants' training camp in 1947 as the greatest all-round 
phenom ever to put on a baseball glove. The Hartung fanfare 
reached such proportions that veteran scribe Tom Meany observed 
dryly, "Hartung shouldn't even bother to play. He should report 
directly to the Hall of Fame at Cooperstown." 

In the case of Hartung, whose superman reputation sprang up 
in Army baseball, it was all an illusion. He turned out to be a per- 
former of limited talents. This won't happen to Wilt Chamberlain. 
There is no real question about his ability. Along with his height, 
he has the speed, grace and shooting eye of players a foot shorter. 
The only thing that might conceivably hold him back aside from 
unexpected complications arising from his throat trouble is the 
abnormal amount of pressure and controversy that has focused 
upon him. 

Up to now this hasn't affected his playing. Rival coaches got a 
frightening demonstration back in November, 1955, when Kansas 


Can Basketball Survive Chamberlain? 227 

put the Stilt on public display for the first time as a member of the 
freshman team in its annual preseason game with the varsity. 

Chamberlain had come to Kansas after averaging thirty-seven 
points a game in three seasons at Overbrook High School, in 
Philadelphia. During his last year he had averaged forty-five 
points, although frequently playing only half the time because of 
the lopsided leads he ran up. 

So when Wilt took the floor in that freshmen-varsity game at 
Kansas, the whole college basketball world figuratively was watch- 
ing. Some of the coaches from other Big Seven Conference schools 
were there in person, including Jerry Bush, of Nebraska. Coach 
Bush took a seat in the field house at Lawrence, Kansas, intending 
to memorize every move Chamberlain made. 

The Stilt, plainly nervous because of the 14,000 people who 
came out to this normally meaningless game, scored forty-two 
points against double- and triple-teaming defenses. It didn't take 
Bush long to decide that this was only a sample of what was going 
to happen when Chamberlain became a varsity player. In fact, a 
single characteristic play was enough to shape his opinion. The 
Stilt drove to the top of the keyhole or foul circle and went up 
for what appeared to be a one-handed jump shot. But he didn't 
come down. He kept floating through the air, did a complete twist, 
so that his back was to the basket, shoved his arm behind him, ro- 
tated it in helicopter style and dunked the ball in the net. He landed 
somewhere behind the basket. 

Bush turned to the fellow next to him. "I feel sick," he said. 

In addition to his incredible basketball skills, Wilt has other 
natural advantages. Scholastically, Chamberlain is no freak getting 
by through grace of a D in basjtet weaving. He has shown he can 
master business-administration courses at Kansas, a shade better 
than a C average for his freshman year. Unless his celebrity status 
becomes unduly distracting photographers and writers have al- 
ready made him a national sports figure Chamberlain's instruc- 
tors see no reason why his classroom performance shouldn't remain 
satisfactory on through to graduation. 

Furthermore, his future looks most inviting. The Philadelphia 
Warriors, current champions of the National Basketball Associa- 
tion, already have claimed draft rights to him after his college time 
is up. Owner Eddie Gottlieb probably will be forced to pay an all- 
time high to sign Chamberlain. And a part owner of the Warriors, 
Abe Saperstein, says he wants to keep the Stilt making money 
in the off season via tours with Saperstein's Harlem Globe-trotters. 

228 Jimmy Breslin 

Chamberlain probably will have contracts worth close to $30,000 
during his first year as a pro. 

It's quite a setup for a youngster, and, on the surface the Stilt 
seems to reflect the glee that goes with success at an early age. A 
jazz-talking, automobile-loving youth, he is a popular figure around 
both the Kansas campus and his neighborhood in Philadelphia. 
Chamberlain plainly likes the fact that people know him wherever 
he goes. His only complaint with his public is that the nickname, 
The Stilt, has firmly stuck. He prefers The Dipper, which he has 
printed in bold red letters across the rear bumper of his antenna- 
studded 1953 automobile. 

But there is another side to the story of Wilton Chamberlain, 
and when you look at this side you see a different fellow. This one 
is a moody, reticent youth who is conscious of his height, his race 
and the fact that many people have been critical of his career in 

"I'm not as lucky as everybody says," Wilt has observed, "That's 
for sure. A lot of people tell me how easy I got it. Well, I think 
there's a little more than luck involved. I've had problems." 

The problems center around his enrollment at Kansas last year. 
This created a tempest which, a year later, still gives hints of erupt- 
ing again. In the whole disorderly history of college recruiting, 
the Chamberlain case was one of the most contentious. Alumni 
from other colleges still grouse over their failure to land him. News- 
papers, particularly in the East, openly question the manner in 
which colleges wooed Chamberlain. Throughout his high-school 
career, Chamberlain was constantly badgered by college alumni, 
some of whom seemed willing to violate the Lindbergh Kidnaping 
Law to grab The Stilt for alma mater. Usually, a high-school ath- 
lete is courted chiefly when a senior. With Chamberlain, the rush 
was on when he was a sophomore. He was six-eleven then, and al- 
ready a standout performer. 

As a result of this, with strangers he changed from a carefree, 
where-we-going-tonight type of boy to a cold and peevish youth 
who balked at anything that was not exactly as he wanted it. The 
more recruiting attention he got, the harder The Stilt grew to deal 

"Nobody gave me time to think," he has said since. "Every day 
when I'd come home from school somebody would be in my living 
room, there would be four or five letters on the bureau and my 
mother would tell me at least two people called long distance and 
would call back later. " 

Can Basketball Survive Chamberlain? 229 

By the spring of 1955, the competition for Wilt had turned into 
a national sports-page story. When he finally picked Kansas that 
May, he knew it would be a long while before he heard the last of 
it. "They'll say things, no matter where I go/' he snapped. "It 
could be anywhere. They'll all say, 'You must have got a mint.' " 

Several sportswriters were quick to prove his estimate correct. 
Harry Grayson, veteran NEA Service sports editor, wrote, "Why 
does a Philadelphia boy have to travel halfway across the country 
to attend college?" 

Max Kase, New York Journal-American sports editor, said, 
"Isn't the N.C.A.A. (National Collegiate Athletic Association) in- 
vestigating reports of a special trust fund due to mature on Wilt 
the Stilt's graduation ?" 

Leonard Lewis, in a New York Daily Mirror column, cracked : 
"I feel sorry for the Stilt when he enters the N.B.A. four years 
from now. He'll have to take a cut in salary." 

Even after he entered Kansas, Chamberlain could not slip into 
the comfortable obscurity that usually surrounds a college fresh- 
man. Too much had been written and said about the recruiting 
race for the atmosphere to clear abruptly. The N.C.A.A., in fact, 
having heard some of the rumors, had investigators speak to the 
Stilt before he left Philadelphia for Kansas. 

During his freshman year new storms broke out. In March, Col. 
Harry Henshel, of the Olympic Basketball Committee, asked, 
"Why isn't Chamberlain a candidate for the Olympic team? Is 
Kansas afraid to let him get around ? Are they trying to hide some- 

This started a heated series of verbal exchanges between Henshel 
and Dr. Forrest C (Phog) Allen, the Kansas coach who won the 
Chamberlain chase. Ironically, Allen never got to use Wilt; he 
reached the university's compulsory retirement age of seventy and 
was obliged to turn over the coaching job this year to his long- 
time assistant, Dick Harp. Anyway, nobody ever accused Phog 
Allen of having a speech impediment. With his usual bluntness, he 
launched a personal counterattack on Henshel that prompted the 
latter to file a libel suit which is still pending. 

In April, the Stilt found his name back in the headlines again. 
J. Suter Kegg, sports editor of the Evening Times, in Cumber- 
land, Maryland, did a column stating that Chamberlain was no 
stranger to local basketball fans. "He played here under the name 
of George Marcus in a professional game," Kegg wrote. Henshel 
sent Kegg a letter asking for more details, NEA's Grayson broke 

230 Jimmy Breslin 

the story nationally, Phog Allen screamed rebuttals and another 
rumpus was on. 

"I never was there/' Chamberlain said, in a brief departure from 
the firm no-comment policy he has adopted for such situations. 

Because of the continuing rhubarbs in the East, Chamberlain 
stayed in Kansas City last summer. "I thought it would be good 
to meet the people out here/' he said, "and at the same time we 
agreed it would be better to stay here because of all that stuff in the 

As recently as September, the N.C.A. A. had investigators speak- 
ing to complaining Indiana alumni, but nothing was expected to 
come of this. Meanwhile the Cumberland story seemed at least 
temporarily forgotten. Sports editor Kegg had not been approached 
by anybody seeking additional information or documentation of 
his column. A rumor that one Big Seven school, Missouri, would 
challenge the Stilt's amateur standing was denied by its coach, 
Wilbur Stalcup, 

In Kansas, last summer the only difficulty the Stilt experienced 
came on his job as a salesman for the McDowell Tire Agency in 
Kansas City, Missouri. "His sales weren't tremendous, but that 
was because we didn't have time to teach him/' Dick Utterback, 
the sales manager, says. 

Also contributing to his low sales volume was the fact that the 
first eight customers Wilt brought around were turned down by 
the company's credit department. Another time he brought in Vic 
Power, the Kansas City A's first baseman, but Power was with a 
girl and "wouldn't stand still long enough even to look at the 
stock/' Utterback recalls. 

Now that he is back in his basketball element, the Stilt is en- 
tirely capable of hitting close to fifty points a game this winter for 
Kansas. "It's a tougher game in college and there's a lot more big 
men," he says, "but I've matured right along with the step-up in 
caliber. I don't think it will be too much different." 

Most college coaches ruefully agreed with him. Coach Stalcup, 
of Missouri, tried to read some hope into the situation when asked 
for an opinion. "He has a lot to learn. After all, he's only a sopho- 
more," Stalcup said. Then he grew realistic for a bleak moment. 
"But I guess I've got to say he's the best I've seen." 

Frank McGuire, the University of North Carolina coach, doesn't 
beat around the bush. "I told Phog that he was trying to kill bas- 
ketball by bringing that kid into school," McGuire says. "Cham- 
berlain will score about 130 points one night and the other coach 

Can Basketball Survive Chamberlain? 23 1 

will lose his job. There might be somebody in the penitentiary who 
can handle him, but I guarantee there is nobody in college." 

Fear of the Stilt is so widespread that college basketball's rule 
makers have already put in several changes which are aimed at all 
big men, but at Chamberlain in particular. Among other things, it 
now is illegal for a player to jump and guide a teammate's shot into 
the basket he can't touch the ball until it hits the backboard or 
rim. Nor can a man shooting a foul cross the foul line until the 
ball reaches the basket; Wilt used to shoot fouls while springing 
into the air so as to arrive about the same time as the ball. Another 
change copies the professional rule which places defensive men at 
both sides nearest the basket on foul shots. This reduces the easy 
rebound baskets that a player of Chamberlain's height usually gets. 

However, Chamberlain feels he won't lose many points because 
of the new legislation. "Instead of guiding a shot, I'll just have 
to get it on the rebound, then go up again," he says. "It'll lead to a 
lot more fouling. On the foul shots, it look impossible to get a tap- 
in. Now, I'm talking about the average cat. Me, I might get a 
chance here or there. And I'll sure get us more defensive rebounds." 

There have been other seven-foot boys in college basketball. 
Rosters this season list numerous men only an inch or two shorter. 
But the college basketball player over six-six normally leaves much 
to be desired in the way of co-ordination, speed and stamina. He 
stations himself primarily in the pivot post and stays there as much 
as possible. 

Chamberlain, however, is no cement-footed goon. The Stilt has 
as many maneuvers as the game calls for. From the outside, his 
graceful jump shot is dangerous. In the pivot, he disdains the usual 
sweeping hook shot and relies instead on a turn-around jump shot 
and that backhanded affair that made Coach Bush feel ill. Close-up 
shots he usually dunks in. 

The Stilt weighs 231 pounds, with most of it seemingly concen- 
trated in the well-developed neck, chest and shoulders of an athlete. 
His waistline is only thirty-one inches. Standing he can reach 
to a height of nine feet, six inches. A leap carries him to twelve-six. 
The basket, at ten feet, doesn't have a chance against him. Nor can 
defenders place much hope in the time-honored treatment for a 
big man a good bang in the back when the referee is occupied 
elsewhere. "They shove," Wilt says, "and I use my elbows." His 
elbows, which move like the driving rods of a locomotive, should 
be classified as dangerous weapons. 

One thing Wilt can't control, however, is the muttering of dis- 

232 Jimmy Ereslin 

appointed recruiters. There were so many who thought they had a 
chance. During high school Wilt really got around. He liked the 
idea of sight-seeing and having people make a fuss over him. He 
and Cecil Mosenson, Wilt's coach for his last two years at Over- 
brook High, put in a great many of their weekends on junkets to 
various colleges. 

Wilt visited so many campuses that he is hazy on numbers and 
places, but a sample list includes Washington (of Seattle), Ore- 
gon, Dayton, Denver, Cincinnati, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, 
Michigan State, Iowa, and Northwestern along with Kansas, of 

"I got a kick out of it," he says. "Got to be known as a regular, 
down at Philadelphia International Airport. The Alumni would 
send the tickets, and the coach would show us around the school 
and take us to dinner and all that. The first trip I made? That was 
to Dayton in 1952." 

Jim Enright, the Chicago American sportswriter who doubles 
as a basketball official, recalls working four straight college games 
and seeing Wilt at each of them. "I thought he was a fan of 
mine," Jim says. "I worked Dayton, Cincinnati, Illinois and In- 
diana. Chamberlain was there every time." 

Chamberlain outwardly was the fun-loving kid on these visits. 
Inwardly he was wary. "When I went to Dayton," he recalls, 
"they had me eat my meals in a hotel room. When I figured out 
why later on, I crossed them off my list. The first time I went to 
Kansas, the Missouri coach" Wilbur Stalcup "met me at the 
airport he was kind of cutting in and asked me if I wanted to 
be the first Negro to play at his school. I told him no. Same as I 
told Oklahoma A. & M. And I crossed off a lot of other schools be- 
cause they "never had gone in for colored athletes. 

"A couple of schools in Florida made a mistake and wrote me. 
South Carolina too. They didn't know I was colored. I let 'em find 
out themselves. But I know that Everett Case, of North Carolina 
State, was thinking about me. He came to see me play and said 
something to a friend of mine about trying with me." 

Many of the recruiters antagonized him. "I didn't like a lot of 
'em," he says. "They would try and take advantage of my age by 
flattering me with all kinds of talk. Then they'd start in building 
up their importance in business, telling me how big they were. Like 
they owned the school as a side line. Seems they all had the same 
phrases 'Make It worth your while/ or "We can afford' you 
know, leading up to some offer if I promised to come to the school." 

Can Basketball Survive Chamberlain f 233 

At the start of his last term in high school, Indiana seemed to be 
Wilt's favorite. By now, everybody trying for him began to realize 
an important truth. The disgraceful bargaining which had gone on 
was going to leave the winner an open target for finger pointing. 
Branch McCracken, the Indiana coach, kept warning alumni about 
breaking N.C.A.A. rules. When Jerry Ford, the University of 
Pennsylvania's athletic director, heard that some of his alumni were 
working to get Chamberlain, he noted, "Nobody will believe he 
'just came here/ " 

At this point Phog Allen stepped in with a late, but carefully 
planned campaign. "I played every angle I could think of to get 
Chamberlain/' Allen says frankly. A key part of his strategy was 
to have "the Negro talking to the Negro." Allen interested a group 
of prominent Negro alumni in getting Chamberlain to come to 
Kansas. Phog's main allies were Dowdal Davis, personable editor 
of the Kansas City Call, influential Negro newspaper; Etta Mo- 
ten, concert singer, and Lloyd Kerf ord, a chubby little man who has 
a large quarry business at Atchison, Kansas, and also receives con- 
siderable income from the Government for the rental of caves he 
owns. The Government stores equipment in them. 

As Allen explains it, "They wanted another Jackie Robinson out 
here." The university's campus at Lawrence is in an area which 
has been steadily improving as far as racial tolerance is concerned. 
Movies and hotels in Kansas City, Missouri, restricted until a few 
years ago, now are open to all. 

"One good push/' Negro editor Davis says, "will bring things to 
where they should be. I think Wilt can help us accomplish this 
simply by playing basketball and conducting himself the same as 
any other undergraduate. He doesn't have to do anything special 
just be himself. That will do a lot. People will get used to him." 

Kansas athletic officials started thinking of the Stilt back in 
1952, when Don Pierce, the sports publicity director, spotted a 
photo of Chamberlain in an out-of-town newspaper and ripped it 
out. He circled it in red, marked it "Doc/' an Allen nickname 
and passed it along. Allen promptly tacked the picture on his office 
door so he wouldn't forget it. 

"I didn't think it was any good rushing to him then/' Phog says. 
"He was only a sophomore in high school. But in February of 1955 
I thought it was time to move. I made my contacts with the alumni, 
and then went to Philadelphia with Lloyd Kerford. W e didn?t 
announce ourselves. We went to a game he played against Ger- 
mantown High, and attended a Y.M.C.A. banquet afterward. 

234 Jimmy Breslin 

"I talked to the boy's mother more than I did to the boy himself. 
I wanted to convince her that Kansas is a sane place for a youngster 
to get an education and play basketball." Allen may have clinched 
his case here. He has a reputation as "The champion recruiter of 

Wilt made two trips to Lawrence, along with young coach 
Mosenson, and was entertained royally. "Indiana," Allen declares, 
"never showed him the time we did." A Cadillac-equipped recep- 
tion committee was on hand to meet him at the Kansas City Air- 
port. A Negro fraternity leader loaned the cause his girl friend for 
a dance date with Chamberlain. 

It was after his second tour of the school, in May, that Chamber- 
lain had Mosenson tell Kansas authorities he would enroll. "I want 
to do my race some good," he said. This is a heartfelt matter with 
the Stilt. "If I get Jim Crowed, I'll pack my bags and leave," he 
often told Kansas officials. 

Testing points this year will be the Kansas away games with 
Missouri and Oklahoma both in sectors where the prevailing 
attitude on the race question differs considerably from the Eastern 
outlook to which Wilt is accustomed. But Chamberlain has estab- 
lished the position that, "I'm part of the Kansas team, and I go 
wherever it goes. They agree with me. That's why we don't make 
a Texas trip this year." 

Haskell Cohen, of the National Basketball Association, who got 
Chamberlain summer jobs as a bellhop during Wilt's high-school 
days, says, "He can become impossible to handle if any racial trou- 
ble comes up. This I know." 

In the Lawrence area, the Stilt has been more than merely ac- 
cepted. At the school, he and Charley Tidwell, a low-hurdler on 
the track team, share a modern dormitory room. Wilt has been 
supplied a special seven-and-a-half-foot bed. His big frame is a 
familiar sight around the campus and in the first row in class- 
rooms he invariably sits up front so that he can stretch out his 
legs. He likes bowling and movies. Wilt has no steady girl, al- 
though he squires quite a few to dances. His habit of driving fast 
he was in two smashups during high-school days brought Cham- 
berlain a speeding fine last summer. This was front-page news in 

The Stilt also goes in for track. At the Kansas Relays last April, 
he entered as an unattached contestant, decked out in a uniform of 
his own design plaid cap, green shirt and black trunks with an 
orange stripe. He tied for second in the high jump behind Charley 

Can Basketball Survive Chamberlain? 235 

Dumas, the world-record holder from California's Compton Junior 
College. Wilt has ambitions of becoming a varsity track man in 
both the high jump and the shot-put. 

By now Kansas athletic officials are weary of being asked what 
they did to land Chamberlain. From the day Wilt's enrollment was 
announced, Phog Allen was ready for all questioners. "There 
wasn't one cent involved in bringing Chamberlain to Kansas," he 
declared firmly. Later he answered one persistent reporter by say- 
ing, "I don't know how^much he got. I never asked him/' 

Cecil Mosenson, Wilt's coach at Overbrook High, was watched 
carefully during this period, too. Many predicted he would ride 
along with the Stilt and become an assistant coach at Kansas. 

"There was talk of it," Mosenson says, "but it never developed. 
I was more interested in seeing that Wilton was happy at Kansas. 
He always wanted to get away from Philadelphia. He said that 
from the start." Mosenson gave up his Overbrook High job last 
summer and went into his father's bread business. 

Dick Harp, the thirty-nine-year-old Kansas coach who stepped 
into Phog Allen's job this year, feels understandably that he is on 
a spot with Chamberlain. "Here it is my first year as varsity coach, 
and everybody expects me to go through three years unbeaten," 
he says. "But it's a nice spot. I like it. Who wouldn't?" 

Harp says Wilt is easy to work with on the basketball court. 
Much of Chamberlain's basketball education came from summer 
play. He was in leagues around Philadelphia with older boys, like 
Jackie Moore and Tom Gola, who advanced from LaSalle College 
to the pro Warriors. Wilt also was at Kutsher's Country Club, a 
Catskill Mountain luxury resort, where he benefited from working 
out one summer with Neil Johnston, the Warriors' six-eight scor- 
ing star. 

But Wilt does not feel he knows it all. "He does just what you 
tell him," Harp says. "For example, we think he shoots too hard. 
And he doesn't shoot enough. When we told him these things he 
started working on them immediately." 

Chamberlain had no organized freshman schedule last year the 
Big Seven doesn't allow this but he played intrasquad games 
before varsity home contests. The Stilt averaged thirty-five points 
in these pickup affairs. Harp wants him to go for more points, now 
that it counts. 

The Stilt is in talented company on the Kansas varsity this sea- 
son. Last year's center, Lew Johnson, has been placed at forward. 
With his six-nine frame he can give Wilt plenty of help. And Ron 

236 Jimmy Breslin 

Loneskie, a six-five scholastic crackajack from Hammond, Indiana, 
is rated only a bit behind Chamberlain in ability. 

With Chamberlain in the line-up, Kansas has a player capable of 
matching the shot-blocking techniques for which San Francisco's 
Bill Russell became famous. Some experts believe that the Stilt is 
much better. "Chamberlain," said Tom Gola last year, "would kill 

Chamberlain will have people talking as much about the way he 
scores his baskets as about the number he rings up. His style of 
shooting a cone-hander is a good example. The Stilt usually goes 
up at the foul line and fires a line drive at the backboard, a few 
inches to the right of the basket. Then he flies through the air after 
the ball, grabs it with both hands as it comes off the backboard, and 
then fires it downward through the net. After this, he ducks his 
head so it won't bang into the backboard. 

Head ducking has become a conditioned reflex for Chamberlain. 
Walking from room to room, he automatically dips his head as he 
reaches a doorway. He used to be sensitive about his height, but 
when the college rush started, Wilt began to see that there definitely 
were compensations. The realization that he is in for a lot of money 
someday has helped to end any possible psychiatric problems. 

He did need medical help this fall, however. For some months his 
throat had irritated him. Doctors at the University of Kansas Medi- 
cal Center diagnosed the trouble as nodes on his vocal cords com- 
parable to the "singer's nodes" of Bing Crosby. In the Crosby case, 
nothing was ever done for fear of altering his singing voice. But 
Chamberlain is not a singer, and the doctors thought it advisable 
to operate. As has been said, the surgery was pronounced a success. 

For Chamberlain, the outwardly easy but often rocky road he is 
now taking started when he was a fourteen-year-old boy. He was 
one of three sons and six daughters raised by William and Olivia 
Chamberlain in a pleasant eight-room row house at 401 North 
Salford Street, in Philadelphia. 

^ "I grew four" inches in two months that summer," Wilt recalls. 
"It^was only natural for the junior-high-school coach to start me 
takin' up basketball. I played a lot around the neighborhood. It was 
a little tough keeping me in clothes, though. I needed a new pair 
of pants every month or so. The cuffs always were at my ankles." 
^ His father is only five-eight-and-a-half, and his mother is five- 
nine. Wilt has one brother who is six-five. Wilt's father works as a 
porter for The Curtis Publishing Company. His mother still goes 
out and does housework two or three days a week. 

Can Basketball Survive Chamberlain? 237 

His roommate, Charley Tidweil, has seen only one side of the 
Chamberlain picture. "You read the headlines and then look across 
the room at him trying to study, and it doesn't seem like the same 
guy," Tidweil says. "He's just another kid to us. We play pranks 
on him, stealing his dinner plate and all that. Sometimes I wake 
him up in the morning by pouring a glass of water on his head/' 

Tidweil likes the idea of rooming with the Stilt for a variety of 
reasons, including a special one. With Chamberlain, there is no 
cause for worry about one deep-seated cause of friction which so 
often crops up between two strangers placed together in a college 

"My clothes," the five-foot-six-inch Tidweil explains, "are always 
in the closet. Wilt just isn't the clothes-borrowing kind." 


By Bob Brachman 

From The San Francisco Examiner, April 15, 1956 
Copyright, 1956, The San Francisco Examiner 

"THE STORY of our success all began on February 12, 1934," Wil- 
liam Felton Russell will tell you with one of his typical Russellisms. 
"That's the day I was born." 

I use this by way of introducing the most incredible story in the 
history of collegiate sports the unbelievable saga of the University 
of San Francisco basketball team. 

It's the story of a "homeless 75 two time national champion and 
a fifty-five game winning streak run up on twenty-two different 
courts and in fifteen cities across the nation. 

It's the tale of Bill Russell, "the fabulous one," as he loves to be 
called, an amazingly agile 6-10 giant with a 7 foot 4 inch wing- 
spread, huge hands and a stride that would cover the normal room 
in one bound. 

Nobody could suspect that on December 17, 1954, at San Fran- 
cisco's Cow Palace when USF walloped Oregon State, 60-34, it 
was the birth of what is recognized as the greatest college basket- 
ball aggregation of all time. 

Four games later, when Russell, K. C. Jones and the other Dons 
spreadeagled a classy all-college tournament field (at Oklahoma 
City) to win the first of seven straight tourneys, the show was on 
the road. Actually the birth date was a night after the Oregon State 
contest, also at the Cow Palace, when USF avenged the only loss 
(47-40) on their two year 57-1 record by checking UCLA, 56-44. 

The wheel rolled on and on. Russell introduced a new basketball 
language "I got the lefthanded dunk, the righthanded dunk, the 
forehand dunk and the backhand dunk" and USF's fame spread. 

Although I saw it all, I'm still rubbing my eyes in disbelief. I'll 
never forget Russell, swooping down on the ball like a giant bat 
from heretofore unachieved heights. I'll never understand his good 
fortune at not breaking a wrist after dunking both arms into the 
basket, back over his head, while some twelve feet in the air. 

What can you say about a play such as the one the Dons pulled 
in the UCLA NCAA game this season when Mike Farmer passed 


The Fabulous Bill Russell 239 

inbounds over the top of the backboard and Russell swooped in to 
direct it some three feet downward through the meshing? 

Or Jones 3 behind-the-back pass while in full flight laid perfectly 
on the front rim so Russell, bounding in from the other side of the 
court, could smash it through? 

I saw these happenings and many others like them for instance, 
Russell, always in the thick of things, so agile and so delicate in his 
maneuvering that he didn't foul out of a single game in three varsity 

The fabled story of the Dons, brought forth any number of off- 
shoots. But by far the most entertaining are the Russellisms. 

They asked Big Bill, when Jones, a great playmaker, was de- 
clared ineligible for NCAA tournament play, what would happen 
when Sophomore Gene Brown took over. His response was a 

u The v wheel will keep right on rolling. We'll just be changing the 

And that's exactly what happened when the Dons rolled over 
UCLA, UTAH, Southern Methodist and Iowa to take the NCAA. 

A man with a tremendous appetite three good sized T-bone 
steaks are a satisfying meal Russell was being assailed by Wool- 
pert (USF Coach Phil Woolpert) in the dressing room after a 
lackadaisical first half. 

"Your knees are too close to your ankles," Woolpert stormed, 
telling Bill he wasn't getting off the floor. 

Assuming a serious look, Russell responded : ' 'Now, listen here, 
coach, eight games from now I'm going to be an alumnus and we 
can always get a new coach." 

Everybody, including Woolpert, howled and the thus "loosened" 
Dons went out and committed mayhem on the opposition. 

There was Christmas night in New York before the holiday 
festival tournament won by the Dons (who else?) when Russell 
asked : "Say, coach, how about some Christmas spending money?" 

Woolpert didn't let on that he had already purchased some gifts 
for the kids. He told his star, "Bill, I wouldn't want to give you any- 
thing so cold as money for Christmas." 

The Fabulous One was, as always, quick on the draw. 

"Now, then, coachie-woachie" (I call him that because we're 
palsie-walsie, Russell explains), "don't you worry your head none 
about that. Just freeze me, coach, just freeze me." 

Incredible? Yes, it was an incredible era. 

Track and Field 


By Jack Murphy 

From The San Diego Union, May 5, 1956 
Copyright, 1956, The San Diego Union 

JOHN LANDY, the world's fastest human, realized his ambition of 
running a four-minute mile in his first start on United States soil 
here this afternoon. But the Australian butterfly catcher came 

Before 38,543 incredulous witnesses, Landy fled around the 
Coliseum cinder path in 3 :58.7 but was beaten two steps by a 
spectacularly anonymous young man who is jointly and joyously 
claimed by Australia and the University of Oregon. 

Powerful, long-striding Jim Bailey was the man who broke the 
tape in 3 :S8.6, the fastest mile ever run in the United States, and 
Bailey didn't believe it, either. 

"I'm amazed/' said the handsome bushy-browed Oregon junior 
who bettered his best previous time in the mile by seven smashing 
seconds. "Until today I thought the four-minute mile was exclusive. 
Now I know better. 

"You're going to see runners all over the world doing it now. 
They'll look at the times I've been running and decide there's noth- 
ing to it." 

A business administration student at Oregon by way of Sydney, 
Australia, Bailey had been at least 40 yards down the track in four 
previous jousts with his famed countryman. 

This time, though, he caught Landy 120 yards from the finish, 
gave him a whack on the britches as he went by, and then stood off 
the finishing kick of his fleet rival before breasting the tape. 

Conditions were perfect for the first four-minute mile run in this 
country, with the weather mild, the skies blue and clear and a gentle 
breeze wafting across the infield where athletes from Southern Cal 
and UCLA jumped, vaulted and hurled weights as a secondary 

"I didn't have an excuse in the book/' said Landy good- 
naturedly. "The weather was lovely, the track was fine. Bally (as 
Landy pronounces it) was just too good. 


Of Such Stuff Are Dream (Miles) Made 241 

"In the stretch I thought sure I was going to catch him. But I 
couldn't do it. He was too strong. Bally is the strongest runner I've 
ever run against anywhere in the world. 37 

In defeat, Landy was smiling and gracious. But he couldn't quite 
conceal his disappointment. 

"I've lost the two big ones," said the lean, bushy-haired Aus- 
tralian who today ran the four-minute mile for the fifth time. 
"Naturally, this is a bit of a sore point with me." 

The first big one was at the Empire Games in Vancouver, B. C., 
August 7, 1954 when Landy trailed England's Roger Bannister 
across the wire despite his burning time of 3 :59.8. Today's special 
mile was his second major disappointment and his 3 :58.7 couldn't 
catch a 26-year-old college student who had run no faster than a 
pedestrian 4:10 this year. 

Bailey, in fact, had never gone faster than 4:05.6 since he began 
running in 1946 and he had no serious thought of beating the 
world's premier miler today. 

"It's the first great race I've ever run," said the conqueror of 
Landy, his features crinkling into a smile, "and I picked a great 
day to do it. 

"I honestly can't say that I expected to win, but I wanted to come 
second very badly. I had thought Landy might run just under four 
minutes and I hoped to be close. 

"But I really didn't think I could beat him, not even when I came 
up to him and gave him a tap on the trousers. I thought that would 
just make him run faster. 

"I patted him on the seat of the pants and said 'Go.' I figured if 
I could draw alongside it would frighten him." 

But Bailey ran his vaunted countryman into the dust with a blaz- 
ing last quarter of 55.5. Landy sped the same distance in 57.2. 

"That's unbelievable," said Bailey of his dazzling closing sprint, 
probably the fastest furlong ever run as the anchor lap of a mile 
run. "When I'm working out I have a lot of trouble doing a 56 

Bailey's quarters for America's first four-minute mile were 61, 
62, 60.1 and 55.5. And Landy, who had been concentrating on Ron 
Delaney, the first-quarter leader, wasn't even aware of Bailey until 
the last 120 yards. . 

"I figured all the opposition was gone and the race was mine, 
admitted Landy. "But I started to worry when Bailey tapped me. 
Once he gets you in the stretch, there's no hope/' 

No hope, even if you run the four-minute mile. 



By J. Campbell Bruce 

From True, January, 1956 

Copyright, 1956, True Magazine 

ANTI-AMERICAN FEELING, inspired by the Communists, was near- 
ing the explosive stage when an American Army major visited 
Bombay a year ago last fall. On one occasion extra police had to be 
called out to protect the major from a mob. Yet U. S. embassy aides 
were not alarmed they were, in fact, quite pleased. Because this 
crowd was not motivated by hatred, but by the same emotions that 
a group of American teenagers might feel if they got a glimpse of 
crooner Tony Curtis or fighter Rocky Marciano. 

The object of all this wild adulation was Dr. Samuel Lee, major, 
U. S. Army Medical Corps, an ear-nose-throat specialist. In addi- 
tion to his medical accomplishments, however, he is also rated by 
sports authorities as the world's greatest fancy diver. As proof of 
this, it can be pointed out that he is the only male diver ever to win 
the Olympic diving crown two times in, a row. 

He was visiting Bombay as part of a triumphal tour of the 
Orient, sponsored by the State Department, during which he put 
across the ideals of Uncle Sam with a verve and skill unmatched by 
any other goodwill ambassador. Sammy was not only impressing 
the public with his dives and his personality, he was also scoring 
some telling points against the Communists in arguments on one 
of their favorite subjects. 

At one civic function in Colombo, Ceylon, a gentleman known 
locally as a rabid Red escorted Sammy to a cloistered corner and 
began berating the United States for "subjugating the colored 
races." Sammy courteously heard him out. "Then why am I, a 
member of a colored race, sitting here as a world champion and a 
doctor of medicine?" As the Ceylonese Communist started to sput- 
ter, Sammy let him have the other barrel. "And why is it, while 


Halj-Pint in the Big Swim 243 

participating in two Olympics, I have never seen a member of the 
colored races represent the Soviet Union or its satellites ?" 

The Communist, recovering his equanimity, smiled wisely. "You 
do not see the Oriental yet in Olympic Games because they are back- 
ward in the Soviet states." 

To which Sammy replied, "Then who in this world of two doc- 
trines is retarding the development of the colored races?" 

The Communist gulped, coughed, and quietly went on his way. 

Sammy was no stranger to race-baiting. He first encountered its 
ugliness as a high school lad in Los Angeles, where he frequented 
the old Olympic Stadium pool. One afternoon he overheard a con- 
versation : "Ever see that Sammy Lee dive ? Some day that kid's 
going to be U. S. champion." And the derisive reply, "The hell he 
is we never had an Oriental champ and we never will. Who'd 
coach him ?" 

Profoundly disturbed, young Sammy brooded all the way home. 
His father, noting the change in the usually spirited boy, asked 
what was the matter. Sammy told him. 

"Son, you're feeling sorry for yourself. Don't. Always remember 
that anything is possible in America if you set your heart to it." His 
father let that sink in, then wagged a finger. "But don't you be an 
athletic bum. Exercise your mind too. The body grows old, but the 
mind stays young if you keep using it." Sammy never forgot 

Hailed after his Asia tour as an ambassador extraordinary for 
the American way of life, Sammy struck a piece of irony recently. 
Scheduled to leave the Army last month, Sammy wanted to set up 
practice in Garden Grove, a mushrooming southern California 
community not far from where he had interned. He was twice re- 
buffed in efforts to buy a home. The reason : his Korean ancestry. 

His plight hit the front pages across the nation, and the reaction 
was instantaneous. Sammy was swamped by phone calls, telegrams, 
letters offers of free homes, invitations to "come live near us." He 
finally accepted a bid to hang up his shingle in Santa Ana, only 
eight miles from Garden Grove. 

"Naturally," Sammy said, "the Commies played up the first part 
and ignored the results, which showed how America really feels. 
This incident gave me further proof that I spoke the truth on my 
tour of the Orient when I told the people, 'Sure, we have guys in 
my country who practice racial discrimination, but you've got to 
realize that the great majority of Americans are not that way.' Of 
all the hundreds of letters, only one was mean : * Why don't you go 

244 /. Campbell Bruce 

back to Georgia or Asia ?' And that guy didn't even have the guts 
to sign his name/' 

Sammy Lee was born in 1920 in Fresno, California, the son of 
Soonkee and Eunkee Chun Rhee, natives of Seoul, Korea. When he 
was five the family moved to Highland Park in Los Angeles where 
the elder Rhee, a produce merchant, assumed the name of Lee 
written identically as Rhee in Korean. His father, a distant cousin 
of President Syngman Rhee of the Republic of Korea, died of a 
heart attack in 1943 while making a speech in defense of his kins- 
man at a Los Angeles political meeting. 

Sammy has always made friends easily, and, as a matter of fact, 
was voted the most popular student in his high school. He was also 
yell leader, athletic manager, vice president then president of the 
Student Body the first non-white to hold these positions at Los 
Angeles' Benjamin Franklin High. In fact, he was one of only two 
non-Caucasians in an enrollment of 2,300. He starred in football 
and track, and in his freshman, junior and senior years was high 
school diving champion of Southern California. But, mindful of his 
father's advice, he worked hard at his studies and tied with 12 
others for valedictorian honors. 

He first got interested in diving when he was 12 years old. A 
group of kids were playing f ollow-the-leader around the public pool, 
and Sammy led them up the ladder and ofif the diving board. To 
his great surprise, he jumped in such a way that he did a complete 
somersault. "I could hardly believe it. I had to go right back and 
do it again." He began spending almost all of his free time hanging 
around the pool and trying to teach himself how to dive. 

Hart Crum, the local champ, thought Sammy had possibilities 
and started giving him lessons. "I'll come up behind and spring 
you," he said once. "That'll make you go higher and let you spin 

Sammy was dubious. "Suppose I land on my belly?" 

"Don't worry," Crum said reassuringly, 'Til yell when it's time 
to come out of the spin." 

Sammy agreed, not realizing that a somersault from a three- 
meter (about 10 feet) springboard only lasts 1.2 seconds from the 
time you leave the board to the time you hit the water. Even on a 
ten-meter board, it only takes a tenth of a second longer. That only 
gave him a few fractions of a second to react to Cram's shout, and 
he landed on his stomach scores of times before he'd gotten the 
technique perfected. 

But Crum was a good teacher with a lot of patience, and by the 

Half-Pint in the Big Swim 245 

end of the summer Sammy could do the 2> somersault forward 
and the gainer, or backward somersault. He also knew the five basic 
groups of competition diving: (1) the forward, such as the swan; 
(2 ) the standing dive, either forward or backward ; (3 ) the gainer ; 
(4) the cutaway, during which you face the board, spring up and 
dive back toward the board (but miss it) ; and (5) the twisting 
dive, which can be a combination of any of the other four but with 
a twist during or at the end of the dive. 

At 14 Sammy could outdive his tutor and from then on started 
haunting the Olympic Stadium pool, nursing a secret hope that 
some day he would encounter James Frederick Ryan, the great 
diving authority and coach of champions. Fate dawdled. Not until 
the spring of 1938 did the gigantic Ryan (6 feet 3j4, 270 pounds) 
show up. He had come out to see his old friend, Duke Kahanamoku, 
twice (1912 and 1920) Olympic 100-meter swimming champion, 
who had brought a team over from Hawaii. 

The excited Sammy was in and out of the pool as fast as he could 
go, doing dizzy spins and twists off board and platform. His dives 
had the frenetic quality of a pinwheel. Ryan finally called Sammy 
over, glowering down at him. "You interested in diving?" 

Sammy, who had then reached his present height of 5' 1^4", 
stood chest high to Ryan. He nodded up at him eagerly. "Nuts 
about it/ 3 

"Let's see you do a swan dive." 

Sammy clambered up the tower. Attentive to form, he sailed 
out in a graceful arc. He emerged from the pool and approached 
Ryan grinning. 

Ryan growled, "That's the worst goddam dive I ever saw in all 
my life." 

Sammy's grin ran off his face like water. 

"You strain too much," Ryan said. "Do it this way " and he 
struck a swan-dive pose. For four hours Ryan spat out critical 
epithets as he kept Sammy running. Then he announced, "I don't 
know whether I want to coach you or anybody." Sammy, blue- 
lipped and shivering, stared glumly at the third button on Ryan's 
shirt. At length Ryan said, "I'll meet you here at noon tomorrow." 

As Sammy padded off to the locker room, Ryan turned to Duke 
Kahanamoku. "See that half-pint? I'm going to make him the 
world's greatest diver or break his back." 

Ryan had a reputation as the roughest, toughest and best coach. 
in the business, and he drove Sammy with a cold relentlessness, and 
with never a word of encouragement. After a month, he said, 

246 /. Campbell Bruce 

"You're not ready yet, but I want to see what you can do against 
those boys in San Francisco." 

This was the Far Western States championship meet. There 
were 17 entrants, and Sammy finished seventeenth in both the 
springboard and the platform. 

To everyone else, it seemed the little Korean- American simply 
wasn't cut out to be a diver. His physique was both a help and a 
handicap. He was short, which was good ; but his shoulders were 
too broad not slender blades for slicing the water. But Ryan knew 
that Sammy had other, more important assets a keen mind, and 
guts. Entering his protege in the San Francisco meet was shrewd 
strategy if the lad had the makings, defeat would prove a spur. On 
the way back, Ryan summed it up, "Now you realize you need a lot 
of work." Sammy nodded grimly. 

Ryan turned now to the sand-pit method of training. He directed 
Sammy and a pal, Dick Smith, to dig a huge pit in his backyard 
an excavation 5 yards long, 3 yards wide and 3 feet deep. Then he 
bought a regulation one-meter springboard and 2J4 tons of sand, 
piling the sand a foot higher than the board. Then he nodded to 

"Champs are made on the one-meter board," he said. "To get to 
the top, start at the bottom. Now let's see you do a somersault " 

"No safety belt?" 

"No safety belt," Ryan said. 

"What if I land on my head ?" 

"If you're stupid enough to land on your head, you deserve to 
break your neck. Start diving." 

"The sand," Sammy recalls, "had a psychological effect. You 
waited till you had the maximum spring from the board before you 
took off. And knowing it was sand, you went with a vengeance." 

In the sand-pit course Ryan concentrated on three fundamentals 
that .guide judges in scoring : Approach, takeoff, execution. The 
fourth angle of entry had to wait until they were back at the 
pool. The approach looks deceptively simple three or more walk- 
ing steps and a hurdle (a leap over an imaginary barrier) but, as 
with all simple things, perfection demands exacting practice. "Walk 
out in a natural manner, as if you're walking over to pick something 
up/' R yan advised. "Run, and you'll joggle the board, throwing 
you off balance, or you'll set up so much momentum that you'll go 
out instead of up. On the tower you can walk a little faster." 

The hurdle (in practice, Ryan used an actual barrier, 2 feet high 
and 4 feet from the end of the board) serves a dual purpose. It gives 

Half-Pint in the Big Svuim 247 

the diver time to line up toes, hips, back and head for a perfect posi- 
tion o attention, and landing heavy-weighted on the tip of the 
board helps provide the powerful spring needed for a soaring 

"Once over the hurdle, land on the balls of your feet, letting the 
heels touch as you descend," Ryan instructed. "Make no effort to 
bend the knees, or you'll kill the spring. Your knees will give a little 
on their own, anyway. For rhythm, raise your arms on the hurdle 
and drop them as you ride the board down. Then, for impetus, raise 
your arms again as you take off. 

"Always remember that 90 per cent of a good dive is the takeoff. 
No matter what the dive, always take off at right angles to the 
board. And whatever the dive, always land at right angles to the 
water. Your greatest takeoff power comes from the legs and ankles. 
You'll need strong ankles and sturdy calves. 

Like a giant Simon Legree, with towel instead of blacksnake 
whip, Ryan stood at the pit's edge while Sammy shoveled sand 
between somersaults. And so for two hours daily, week after week, 
Sammy walked out on the board, jumped the wooden hurdle, exe- 
cuted spins and twists, landed ankle-deep in the sand, then shoveled 

It was eight months before Sammy again felt the cool embrace of 
water. By then his approach was an unhurried glide, his hurdle an 
effortless bound, his takeoff a vertical flight of 6 feet, his spins and 
twists a blur of action. 

Now he had to perfect his angle of entry into the water. Ryan 
remained the unyielding taskmaster. "As at the sandpit, begin your 
spin just before the crest of the takeoff. That allows you about a 
second to do your stuff before you make like a javelin for the entry. 
Now this is important : a good diver knows when he's coming to 
the water. Sometimes you'll see it but when you're in a backward 
dive, you've got to sense it. And off the tower you hit 35 miles an 
hour spinning in a tuck (a tight ball), so you've got to 'feel' when 
it's time to come out of it. That leaves you a split second to put 
everything in line, from your toes to your head. 

"Here's where you need strong arms and wrists. Never make an 
inverted steeple of your fingertips to split the water the impact 
will smash your hands apart, smack your arms against your head 
and slam you into the pool. You'll come out with a dislocated 
shoulder, black eyes, swollen arms or worse. In that instant before 
you hit, grab your thumb and interlock your hands, tight, over your 
head. Make them a ramrod to bore a hole for you." 

248 /. Campbell Bruce 

Despite his thick shoulders, arduous practice gave Sammy an 
entry with a barely audible plop, a small ripple. 

A year after his disaster at the Far Western meet in San Fran- 
cisco, Sammy was back. His long grind paid off, and he placed first 
in the springboard, second in the high tower. He enrolled that fall 
in Occidental College in suburban Los Angeles and the next year, 
1940, he split with Ryan. There was a basic conflict in the matter 
of diving and scholastics. "He wanted me to dive too much/' says 
Sammy. "My grades were slipping, and I knew I had to study a 
lot harder to qualify for medical school." 

Ryan's thoroughness, however raw at times, served Sammy well. 
Now on his own, he began experimenting and created three new 
dives: the running forward 3>^ somersault, the cutaway 2J4 and 
the running 2j^ gainer off the tower. They were accepted for na- 
tional competition in 1941 and made the international book seven 
years later. 

He also became proficient in two spectacular dives, the split 2J4 
and the spotter. The split 2j4 starts off with a front 1^4 somersault, 
then an instant's pause before going into a swan dive, carrying that 
over into another somersault. The spotter, which he rechristened 
the "commando," is a chiller : a forward spring off the board with 
a full gainer, landing back on the board, then riding it down and 
springing off into another dive, usually a lj with a full twist, 
depending on the spring from the second landing. If you miss, you 
might break an ankle on the board or be thrown onto the concrete 

In 1942 Ryan's coaching paid its first big dividend. Sammy won 
both the national springboard and platform titles. He promptly 
retired. "I was the first non-Caucasian to win the U. S. champion- 
ships and I was satisfied." 

Upon graduation from Occidental in 1943, Sammy joined the 
Army and was assigned to the University of Southern California 
Medical School. Three years later he was interning at the Orange 
County Hospital at the same time the national championships were 
being held at nearby San Diego. Diving was then only a form of 
relaxation for Sammy, but curiosity as to his competitive ability 
took him to San Diego on a three-day leave. He won the platform 
title again, with a record number of points. 

"When J[ realized I could still go pretty well," Sammy recalls, "I 
started pointing for the Olympics." He was called to active duty in 
1947 and stationed at McCornack Army Hospital in Pasadena. He 
trained in off-duty hours at the Pasadena Athletic Club and went 

Half -Pint in the Big Swim 249 

on leave to the tryouts in Detroit in July 1948. He placed third in 
the springboard event, just making the U. S. team. But he was at 
peak performance in the high tower, and led the others by a wide 

The 1948 Olympic Games were held in London a month later, 
and by that time Sammy felt stale. Again he finished third in the 
springboard. Could he repeat that peak high-tower day of Detroit? 

Sammy moved through the Olympics with an air of supreme 
self-confidence. But this was only acting actually, Sammy was 
going through hell. 

"I kept thinking, 'Jeez, I should've had my appendix out.' " He 
had never been bothered by his appendix, but now he envisioned 
himself doubling up with an acute attack as he climbed the tower or 
took off on a soaring dive. "I kept feeling McBurney's point 
between hip bone and navel, on the right. When that's sore on pres- 
sure it could mean a bad appendix. Once when I pressed, it did feel 
sore. Of course, it was getting sore from too much pressing, but at 
the moment I was terrified." 

The high tower event covered two days, with compulsory dives 
the first morning and electives the second, and each contestant had 
to perform four of each kind. Seven judges scored individual dives 
from zero to ten, basing the points on approach, takeoff, execution 
and entry. The tally, announced after each dive, was reached by 
knocking out the points of the high and low scoring judges, taking 
the average of the remainder, and multiplying by a number desig- 
nated for the "degree of difficulty" of that dive. For instance, 2.4 
was the number designated for the running front 3^4 somersault. 

That first morning Sammy was tense as he waited his turn, but, 
as a doctor, he welcomed the singing nerves of stage-fright. Experi- 
ence had taught him to depend on that extra adrenalin to sharpen 
his wits and reflexes. 

The compulsory dives were the running swan, the back somer- 
sault in layout position (i.e., position of attention), running full 
gainer straight (layout), and an armstand with forward cut- 
through. That last one starts with a handstand, held between IS 
and 30 seconds to prove you can do it without faltering, then falling 
slightly forward and pushing away from the tower, bringing your 
legs through to land feet first at a position of attention. 

"The lead-off dive is always the toughest, because it gives the 
judges a first impression and you're anxious to make it good. In 
'48, the first dive was the running forward swan, which looks so 
easy but actually is the most difficult of all. Why? Because the 

250 /. Campbell Bruce 

minute your feet leave the platform you've struck a pose body 
fully stretched, arms slightly forward and stretched out from your 
sides with fingertips extended, and your head at a position of atten- 
tion. You've got to hold that pose for some thirty feet, as any ad- 
justments, no matter how minor, can be seen by the judges. If you 
miss this one, you might as well throw in the towel." 

Sammy's biggest rivals were Bruce Harlan of Ohio State and 
Joaquin Capilla, the Mexican champ. "Bruce came through with 
7j^ 's and 8's on his swan. I had to do as well or better. As I ran 
across the tower, I told myself : 'Don't kick your feet at takeoff or 
you'll land flat on your back. Just take off and gradually jimmy 
your body into position.' So what happens? As my feet left the 
tower, I could feel them coming up too fast. I held back and man- 
aged to get 7j4's and 8's too. The Mexican boy took his dive over, 
for 6's and 7's. Diving meets have been won by a margin of .01, 
so a single slip in stiff competition might drop you from first to 
last place." 

Harlan hit his back somersault for good 8's. Sammy topped him 
a half point down the line and, with the degree of difficulty 1.9, had 
almost a full point lead. He knew he had to do better because 
Harlan had already won the 3-meter springboard title and had a 
psychological edge. Sammy finished the preliminaries three points 

Such a slim lead meant another fitful night. "Again I kept after 
McBurney's point Would it be an appendix, or would I just die of 
anxiety ? I didn't dare take a sleeping pill ; it might make me too 
groggy in the morning, and I needed that adrenalin for the sharp- 
ness I hoped to have." 

Next morning, as usual during a meet, Sammy ate a thick rare 
steak proteins for the energy he would burn up. His elective dives 
for the -finals were the armstand with forward cut-through with a 
half gainer; flying lj^ gainer; cutaway 2j^ somersault; and his 
famous forward 3J4 somersault. 

"Bruce's first voluntary was the forward 3^2. No Europeans 
were doing the 3% then. Being the great competitor that he is, 
Bruce sunk his for Sj^'s much better than he'd done in Detroit. 
'Damn that guy,' I thought, 'putting the pressure on me like that.' 
My first gave me 9's and 9>^'s with a 2.1 degree of difficulty but 
Bruce's carried a 2.4 advantage. 

"Bruce's next was the running 1J4 gainer straight again for 
solid 8's, better than Detroit. He was in great form. My second 
came up, and in the excitement I started off on the wrong foot ! On 

Half-Pint in the Big Swim 25 1 

running gainers, you've got to measure it down to the last inch to 
get your feet as near as possible to the end of the platform on take- 
off because, as you somersault backwards, you tend to come close 
to the tower. 

'Td already declared myself and couldn't stop. I kept running 
and shortened, then lengthened my last steps. I lost height and 
power on the takeoff. What a hell of a time to choke up ! But in that 
instant I remembered I'd done the very same thing several years 
earlier, and I recalled that I must bring my legs up stronger, and 
hold on a fraction longer, then kick my legs to the sky and drop my 
head back gently for the entry. If you flick your head back too hard 
you land on your stomach ; if not hard enough, you land on your 
back. Lucky I remembered it could've been disastrous. As it was, 
I drew 7's and 7^'s, with several 6^'s." 

That narrowed his lead to about one point, but Sammy made up 
for it on his third dive, which earned 9j4's and 9's and put him a 
couple of points ahead. Capilla was still a threat, as anything could 
happen on the final dive ; but as he entered the water he threw his 
arm over his head, and that eliminated him. 

Sammy reached the top of the tower and stood back while the 
pool was sprayed. This set up ripples so the diver would see the 
surface rather than the bottom through the clear water; otherwise, 
he might hit too soon. "I had it licked if I did this last dive well 
the dive I invented. I'd led all the way, but this could queer it." 

Ten thousand spectators in the Empire Pool sat hushed as the 
dive was announced in English, then in French : "Dr. Samuel Lee, 
United States, running from 3J4 somersault." A whistle blew, the 
spray stopped, and the time had come. 

"I fell back on my heels and then started to run. I seemed to be 
going slow as hell, and the only 3J4 's I could think of were the ones 
I'd loused up. 'Gosh/ I thought, "this is going to be ironic lousing 
up the dive I put in the book/ My legs felt like they were weighted 
with lead. All I remembered afterward was my feet leaving the 
tower, and the whirling blacked-out sensation of spinning, then 
hitting the water and sinking to the bottom. I was numb and shak- 
ing from fright. I came up wondering, 'What the hell did I do 
a % 2^ or 3^?' 

"Then the whistle blew again. I was still floundering around in 
the pool. I saw the points go up a perfect 10 from one judge, then 
^,9^,9^,9, and a 7." 

"The final scores: Lee 130.05, Harlan 122.30, Capilla 113.52. 

As he was awarded the gold medal, before the cheering throng, 

252 /. Campbell Bruce 

Sammy could not hold back the streaming tears. At last this 
Oriental from Occidental stood on the platform of the champion, 
he thought to himself. The Stars and Stripes flying, the band play- 
ing The Star Spangled Banner no thrill will ever surpass that. 

Once again Sammy retired. "My great incentive was to be the 
first American-born Oriental to win an Olympic gold medal for 
Uncle Sam, and I had done it. And, hell, I was 28 years old it was 
time to settle down and get married." 

The Olympic Games 


By Jesse Abramson 

From The New York Herald Tribune, December 9, 1956 
Copyright, 1956, The New York Herald Tribune 

THE HAMMER AND SICKLE was the only flag that went up in tri- 
timph on the last day of the XVI Olympics as Russia conquered 
Yugoslavia on a lone goal in an unpleasantly rough soccer final and 
solidified her previously established position as the wholly mythical 
and unofficial team champion of the Melburne games. 

The state subsidized Red athletes, organized for competition in 
all eighteen sports of the Olympics on a level alien to American 
methods, swept the boards in all bookkeeping tabulations: most 
gold medals, 45, and 2 ties for first to our 32, most total medals for 
the three top positions, 98 to 74, and most unofficial points in the 
six top positions, 722 to 593. 

This was Russia's second appearance in the Olympics. She had 
finished second to the United States in all categories at Helsinki 
four years ago when the Gold medal count was 40 to 22, the total 
medals 76 to 69, the unofficial points, 611 to 555. 5. 

Does the American public consider this a shock ? Shock being the 
most overworked word in the local press, like upset at home. An 
observer, who has seen every Olympic since 1928 can only return 
home with the impression that this was one of the most successful 
expeditions ever organized under the Stars and Stripes. Against 
the most formidable opposition we've ever encountered we hit a 
forty-eight-year peak of fifteen firsts and twelve Olympic records in 
men's track, the traditional core of the Olympics, and added a six- 
teenth first and world record in girls' track. We were never better 
in rowing, winning three titles including the eighth straight victory 
in eight-oared rowing by a magnificent Yale crew which swept back 
from a first-round defeat by Australia and Canada. 

Our oarsmen appeared in six finals, collected six medals. Our 
basketball team, always a winner in the Olympics, outclassed the 


254 Jesse Abramson 

opposition led by Russia as never before with Bill Russell a sensa- 
tion every time he appeared on the court. 

Our weightlifters beat the Russians, four firsts to three. These are 
the four sports, track, basketball, rowing and weightlifting, which 
we won under any method of scoring. In swimming, our second 
best sport since 1920, we suffered a setback, because we ran into 
the swiftest freestyle swimmers ever assembled under one flag. 

Australia concentrated on this sport as nothing else, directing 
group training by her stars for six months in Sydney and tropical 
Townsville. As In tennis, Australia organized this sport in a man- 
ner which Americans consider impossible or at least unfeasible. 

For the first time in Olympic history one nation swept freestyle 
races, individual and relay. Despite the record-wrecking Aussies, 
our girl swimmers proved they were the best balanced team we've 
had in years by matching the Aussie mermaid in firsts, three to 
three, outmedaled the Aussies, eleven to six, and outscored them 
in points. 

The United States won thirty-two gold medals in seven sports 
compared to forty in eleven sports at Helsinki. It follows that we 
could have outmatched the Russians again in the important phase 
of gold medals if we had duplicated our Helsinki effort. 

The places where we dropped down were in swimming, with 
five instead of eight firsts ; in boxing, two firsts instead of five, and 
in shooting, canoeing and wrestling where we won one title each 
four years ago and none here. 

Boxing is always a lottery in the Olympics owing to erratic 
officiating, complicated by a new and implausible system that em- 
ployed four judges and referee when three original judges came up 
with a split decision. Our five ring firsts at Helsinki were most 
unusual, for we had been shut out for twenty years. Anyway we 
won the world heavyweight title when balding Army Lt. Pete 
Rademacher destroyed his Russian foe in one round. 

Actually Russian success was due to their improvement rather 
than our failure. The Reds cleaned up as expected in gymnastics 
(nine firsts and two ties of maximum fifteen gold medals) and in 
Greco-Roman wrestling (five firsts of eight) and picked up their 
first victories in men's track (three) and boxing (three). 

Russia it may be added has yet to beat us in a boxing final. Gym- 
nastics is the key, therefore, to Russian success just as it almost 
won for her in Helsinki. She scored 188 to our zero in gymnastics 
four years ago and this time made it 178 to one. 

Compared to our supremacy in four sports or five, if you count 

Olympic Shock? 255 

women's swimming as a separate unit, Russia carried away top 
honors in boxing, Greco-Roman wrestling, gymnastics, shooting 
and the modern pentathlon with a claim to canoeing, too. The diffi- 
culty of evaluating Olympic sports is obvious when our basketball 
team or Russia's soccer team is awarded one gold medal for tabu- 
lating purposes though each member of the squad gets a gold medal 
the same as a hop, skip, step and jump winner. 

Gymnastics is overloaded with gold medal events as Avery 
Brundage concedes. Milt Campbell gets one gold medal for 
decathlon, competing in ten events and winning several of them, 
while one gymnast competes in seven events and can wind up with 
eight gold medals including team competition for which he does 
no extra work. 

It merely proves what Brundage has been saying for years : You 
can't tie eighteen Olympic sports into a neat package for scoring 

The windup of the Olympics did not distress our Olympic leaders 
who are aware of our strong and weak points in any all-sport battle 
with Russia. 

"We are pleased with our showing: We think we did a great 
job," said Tug Wilson, of Chicago, president of the United States 
Olympic Committee. He knows no way short of Federal control to 
make our country gymnastic or wrestling conscious. 

When another vast crowd of 103,000 packed Melbourne Cricket 
Ground for the solemn closing ceremonies and acclaimed Russia's 
soccer victory, it was a tribute to the Olympic spirit the authentic 
winner of this quadrennial international sports festival. Only in the 
Olympics is it possible for Russia to send a full athletic team to a 
country with which she broke off diplomatic relations two years 
ago over the Petrov spy case. 

In the face of a bloody revolution by Hungary against the Soviet 
tyrant shortly before the games opened, despite politically inspired 
demonstrations by the local Hungarian community, the games ran 
their course with no significant flareups of nationalism to disturb 
the overall serenity of the athletes in high pressure competition. 

Of course there were minor incidents blown up out of proportion 
by the fact that sixty-seven nations were represented by hundreds 
of industrious reporters seeking angles for home consumption head- 

The local Hungarians booed the Russians in their saber fencing 
match with the Magyars, and Aussie sports-loving, freedom-loving 

256 Jesse Abramson 

fans drowned out the boos with cheers for both sides. The same was 
true in the rough water polo game in which an Hungarian suffered 
a wicked cut over his eye and bled profusely. 

Decisions were booed in boxing and wrestling in the time- 
honored tradition of fans anywhere. Protests were filed and deci- 
sions appealed in one track race, in yachting, cycling and other 
sports. They were all natural byproducts of tense competition. 

The games closed with pageantry matching the opening cere- 
monies except that this was the first rainy day of the games and 
only a token tithe of the 4,000 athletes participated in the march out. 

Instead of marching in national units behind their flags as they 
did on opening day, 500 marchers formed a single cavalcade indent i- 
fied only by their mingled uniforms. This was a break from tradi- 
tion and protocol. It symbolized "the spirit of international friend- 
ship fostered by the Olympic movement/' said an official announce- 
ment. The idea was suggested by a seventeen-year-old Chinese boy 
whose signature was undecipherable. 

Guns boomed, fanfares trumpeted, the Olympic flame died, the 
Olympic flag came down to be held by the Lord Mayor of Mel- 
bourne until he turns it over to the mayor of Rome in 1960 for the 
seventeenth Olympics. 


By Bill Fisher 

From The Lancaster (Pa.) New Era, February 15, 1956 
Copyright, 1956, The Lancaster New Era 

IT SEEMS NOWADAYS all a fellow has to do to break into print on 
the sports page is to shout "Beware of Rtissia in the Olympics" and 
then exhort the U. S. to junk its old-fashioned concept of ama- 
teurism in favor of the Russian brand of subsidization. Watch out, 
predict the pundits, the Reds are going to clobber us at Melbourne 
and don't forget we told you so. 

Not content with that, they say that the Soviets are winning 
friends and influencing people all over the world with their great 
show of athletic prowess at Cortina D'Ampezzo and if the U. S. is 
to save face it had better get on the ball in the name of Democracy 
if not in the name of Avery Brundage. 

What in the name of reader interest these declamations are doing 
on the sports pages completely eludes me. I deplore and the word 
is picked with precision from my Thorndike-Barnhardt the tend- 
ency of sensation seekers to read political implications into the 
Olympics. The Games are built on a great ideal and I'm still naive 
enough to believe that the ideal can be attained- 

I and please pardon the constant personal reference attended 
the '52 Olympics in Helsinki. I thought they were wonderful. The 
scope and grandeur of the Games was inspiring ; one great show of 
sport for sports sake. Nowhere inside the stadium did I find the 
political overtones which some outsiders tried to read into the 

For nine days I sat among 70,000 Finns, Swedes, Germans, 
Russians, Americans, all nations and colors and creeds. I stood and 
applauded when the band played the Russian national anthem for 
the Russian girl who won the shot put, and so did everyone else, 
and they, like I, stood and applauded when the Star Spangled Ban- 
ner was played for the American winners. 

No one particularly cared who won although I always rooted 
for the American just the same as the Russians rooted for Emil 
Zatopek so long as we saw a world championship performance* 


258 Bitt Fisher 

Not until we left the Stadium and bought the newspapers with their 
unofficial and pointless point scores about which Red Smith wrote 
so elegantly the other day did we get a whiff of the nationalism 
which some people insist on injecting into the Games. 

That's why I was perturbed by a recent news story which said 
the American team was the biggest disappointment of the Winter 
Games and implied that we had better get to work "to polish (our) 
tarnished reputation in winter sports." The writer, who obviously 
remembers that we have the biggest automobiles, the tallest build- 
ings and the most TV sets in the world, said the team was the 
biggest disappointment "outside of its figure skaters and hockey 

Disappointment? Since when was the U. S. ever expected to win 
winter events other than figure skating and hockey? The U. S. is 
not a nation of skiers and skaters. Our people are not naturally in- 
clined to winter sports like Europeans. We take more to track and 
field. Just because we have the biggest cars and the tallest buildings 
is no reason why we should have the best skiers and skaters. 

Another story quoted the coach of the U. S. speed skating team, 
Del Lamb, as saying : "The U. S. had better wake up or the Rus- 
sians are really going to take us this summer. If they can produce 
skaters like they brought here they can do the same in track and 

That remains to be seen and I hereby nominate Mr. Lamb as 
Mr. Black Sheep of 1956. He should stick to skating; the amateurs 
from Villanova and Pitt and North Carolina College will take care 
of track and field. Lamb has been in Italy with his skaters so per- 
haps he can be forgiven for forgetting the names of Charley Jenkins, 
Arnie Sowell, Wes Santee, Lee Calhoun, Phil Reavis and Dave 

If you remember four years ago these self-appointed prophets 
were predicting before the Helsinki Olympics that the Russians 
were going to strike a great blow for Communism with their 
supreme show of athletic strength. They said the Russians had 
been preparing five years for the Games and "they wouldn't have 
entered if they didn't think they could win/' 

Well, they didn't win ; they didn't even come close in track and 
field which we consider the epitome of the Olympics. There were 
24 events in men's track and field. United States athletes won 14 of 
them. How many did the Russians win? The prophets don't men- 
tion this : None. 

Says Lamb : "The U. S. must start promoting all sports like the 

"Beware of Russia" 259 

Russians do." And as if taking a cue from this a local editor edi- 
torialized the other day: "We've got to fight fire with fire. The 
Reds set their own ground rules and if we're going to beat them at 
sports or politics we're going to have to follow suit whether we like 
it or not." 

Do two wrongs make a right? Just because Russia subsidizes 
sports does that mean that we have to ? After all sports are fun and 
games. How much fun does a Russian get running his heart out 
365 days a year for Nikolai Bulganin? 

At Helsinki I saw the Russians mingle with the Americans. I 
saw Bob Richards try to teach a Russian how to pole vault 14 feet 
and I saw Bob Mathias take a Russian aside and show him some of 
our calisthenic drills. I'm not ashamed to say that it made me feel 
good inside; and if these few Russians were enlightened by the 
American Way a tired cliche that somehow didn't sound so 
shallow at Helsinki then I think we can tolerate Russian sub- 
sidization for the chance to show them something better rather than 
lowering our standards to match theirs. 



By Bill Robinson 

From The Newark Star-Ledger, June 23, 1956 
Copyright, 1956, Newark Morning- Ledger Co. 

THE GREATEST DIFFICULTY in covering the ocean race to Bermuda 
is that there is enough material there for several novels by Conrad 
with a few by Masefield, Jack London and C S. Forester thrown in. 
There were 89 boats headed for this speck of coral in mid-ocean, 
and there were 89 good sea stories to tell when the whole thing 
ended. One of them was tragic the loss of the venerable cutter 
Elda on the reefs north of the island just eight miles from the 
finish. Fortunately, there was no injury or loss of life. 

Each boat had its tale to tell, and of course the leaders received 
the most attention. There was the tense, harrowing time at the 
finish Tuesday, with the two almost identical 73-foot yawls, Ven- 
turer and Bolero, staging a boat-for-boat battle for first-to-finish 
honors. Venturer, built with cost no object expressly to be the 
fastest thing afloat of her kind, seemed all set to accomplish just 
that a day out of Bermuda, but it was not to be. 

Bolero, sailed so hard that she blew out three jobs and pulled out 
a jibstay, caught up in the last wild night of squalls up to 45 knots 
and then had the better of the close in maneuvering at the finish 
when a blinding squall set in. She hit the tricky turn at the reef that 
was Elda's watery Waterloo exactly right, while Venturer had to 
run off from a questionable position until the weather cleared and 
lost an hour. 

^ Bolero would have been minus her 95 foot mainmast when the 
jibstay let go if it had been wood instead of aluminum, but the big 
stick, quivering and swaying, held up there until they rigged the 
spinnaker halyards as an emergency stay. Also, the ratchets in the 
main halyard winch twice let go and dropped the big sail on deck 
much to the surprise of the watch, but she survived it all to set a 


Down to the Sea in Yachts 261 

new course record of 70 hours, 11 minutes 46 seconds. 

The story of the whopping win turned in by the little Finisterre is 
of a combination of the planning that went into this vest pocket 
gold plater, of the hard-driving crew that never stopped sailing her 
to her limit, and of the break in the weather she got by being well 
sailed in the race. 

She had moved far enough out from her classmates to pick up the 
fast-moving cold front with a fresh northeaster behind it and 
sailed with started sheets for the whole trip, while the big boats 
slogged into it close hauled on the other tack. 

Navigating for the finish and badly in need of a star sight, owner 
Carleton Mitchell was able to work an improbable 2 a.m. fix on 
Polaris and Arcturus using a moonglow horizon briefly glimpsed 
between the squalls. Strongest man in the crew, Bunny Rigg> 
clamped Mitchell between his knees and held him around the waist 
so that he could work the wight from the heaving deck. 

Stories like this could be repeated all through the fleet, and you 
can hear them being told and retold in every nook and corner of the 
lawns and rooms of the Royal Bermuda Y. C. This tradition-filled 
coral pink building on the shore of Hamilton Harbor started jump- 
ing Tuesday night with the first arrivals and has been a colorful 
madhouse ever since as the bleary eyed sailors relive the trip. For 
this week only the sacred precincts (all but the men's bar) are open 
to women, and it is a party matched in very few other places for 
the sustained tenor of its gaiety. 

With flags flying and sails drying, the racing fleet jams the nar- 
row harbor to the limit, set off beautifully by the blue-green 
Bermuda water. Gray-hulled Finisterre swings proudly in the place 
of honor just off the float. Boating's most glamorous event has 
reached a climax, and it is impossible not to be caught up in the 
excitement of it all. The whole island seems gathered along the 
waterfront to gaze on the spectacle, and a great one of the sports 
world it truly is. 



By John Gillooly 

From the Boston Record- American, April 20, 1956 
Copyright, 1956, Boston Record-American 

GRACE MADE IT, for sure, but John J. Kelley' s bid for a lustrous 
tiara, this one jeweled with laurel leaves, failed by only 19 seconds 
yesterday when Antti Viskari of Lappeenranta, Finland, flew the 
fastest marathon ever and on marathoning's most formidable 
course, the many-tilted 26 miles, 385 yards from Hopkinton to 

Antti Viskari, who must be anti-American too, foiled, what 
would have been the first triumph by a U. S. entry since 1945 by 
virtually roaring down the freeway from Hopkinton to win by 200 
or so yards in two hours, 14 minutes and 14 seconds. This is long- 
distance lightning. It left the happy realm of road-racing agog. 

Kelley, who turned into Exeter St. a few forlorn seconds after 
Viskari had been crowned, was timed in two hours, 14 minutes and 
38 seconds. Both Kelley and Viskari were under the world record 
of two hours, 17 minutes, 49 seconds held by Jim Peters of Eng- 
land, on a flatter, less-torturous course in Blighty. 

The B. A. A. record is two hours, 18 minutes, 22 seconds, estab- 
lished only a year ago by Hideo Hamamura of Japan. It figured to 
stand, for the field of 164 starters in this 60th annual B. A. A. 
stampede was not thought to contain any 2 :14.14 amblers. 

Viskari and Kelley would have run off and hid on Hamamura 
yesterday, beating him almost a mile. Furthermore, the third and 
fourth men yesterday, Eino Oksanen from Helsinki, Finland, and 
Nick Costes, Natick, eclipsed Hamamura's time. Oksanen got home 
in 2:17.56; Costes in 2:18.01. Last year Costes was third in 
2:19.57, fastest ever by an American. Yesterday he was fourth, 
although he improved. 

It was a swifty, indeed. You had no sooner settled back in the 
wayward bus which transports the press, than it seemed to be over. 
They'll be using starting blocks next up there at the high-noon 
start at Hopkinton -where George Brown sets off this madness with 
a pistol shot. 

At five of the six checking points on this jolly journey, new 
marks were established. The fabled names of Tarzan Brown, 


Another Finn Flies 263 

Peters, Hamamura and Keizo Yamada went out of the books. At 
Natick, 9.7 miles along, George Terry, the early leader, was timed 
in :3 1 to better Tarzan's 50 :45 in 1946. 

"The pace is too quick/' This was the unanimity of opinion in 
the officials' bus. "Kelley and the Finn are going too fast." For at 
Auburndale, with 16.8 miles behind them, Kelley and Viskari, 
twins now, were caught in 1 :27.29. Peters was 1 :29.35 at the same 
spot in 1954. 

But the day was ideal for Marathoning, cool and not too sunny 
and with a prodding tail-wind, and neither Kelley nor Viskari 
suffered any of the many miseries of Marathoning blisters, 
cramps, nausea enroute. In fact Viskari, who is in the field 
artillery but has the pedals of an infantryman, needed not the 
slightest attention from the podiatrists waiting with their corn- 
peelers and unguents in the Soden Building at the finish line. 
Viskari j s feet were only a little dirty; mine have often been worse 
after 18 holes. 

Viskari, a 27-year-old soldier with the rather pugnacious 
features of an army sergeant, had run only two Marathons before 
yesterday, one of them indoors which could drive a guy silo-crazy. 
He had finished fourth and sixth and there was no indication that 
he had a 2 :14.14 Marathon in that 133-pound, 5 :7 frame. 

His many Finnish-extraction admirers from Plainfield, Conn., 
where Viskari and Oksanen trained for the past month, felt Antti 
would be in the first 10. But they figured Oksanen, holder of the 
world record for 20 miles, would be above him. Before the glam- 
orized grind, Viskari must have run two miles through fields 
adjacent to the starting line. Afterwards, through an interpreter, 
he said : "Let's go dancing." He wasn't joking, either. This inex- 
haustible blond has energy that should be harnessed. 

At the finish, Kelley was as gracious as all members of the clan 
(with or without two E's) this week. He must have felt like cussing 
or crying or snapping at the press-radio-TV people the way some 
ball players do. But he grinned and said Viskari was great and ran 
with the speed of sound. 

Kelley ran a 2 :14.38 Marathon, fastest ever by an American. He 
clipped the record by Peters (no official Marathon records are kept 
because of the varied topography) but no one ever did the 26 miles, 
385 yards faster than Peters' 2 : 17.49. Yet he's beaten by 19 seconds 
and some 200 yards so what does he get? Another race older and a 
helping of lamb stew. No laurel-gemmed wreath; a second-place 

Still Kelley, 25 and a B. U. graduate student and teacher of Eng- 

264 John Gillooly 

lish at North Quincy High, just about pocketed a first-class round- 
trip ticket on the boat to Melbourne, Australia, for the November 
Olympics. Kelley is halfway up the gangplank. Costes is packing, 
too. Costes and Kelley will have to do it all over again at Yonkers 
in September to actually make the three-man team but they should 
have no trouble. 

Third man on the U. S. Marathon squad could be Dean Thack- 
wray, lightly heralded, who ran a superb fifth yesterday. Thack- 
wray, from Canton, is a PFC returned from Stuttgart, Germany, 
for this event. He came from the nowhere to outstep a group of 
experienced runners and be the third American to finish and in 
superb time, 2 :20.24. 

FBI agent Ted Wilt (and, my, what fun they had with this name 
in a Marathon) was a strong 10th, although his feet were killing 
him. Determined to make the Olympic team one way or another, 
Wilt, ordinarily a two-miler, tried the Marathon for the first time. 
He had to take off his shoes three times in the last mile to give his 
snarling dogs a breath. 

As always, the Newton hills decided the issue. Kelley and Viskari 
were side-by-side, in a tie, turning off the turnpike at Woodland 
Park Hotel and onto Commonwealth avenue, onto the hills. They 
are called the Heartbreak Hills, although some of the more fanciful 
writers annually refer to this miserable stretch as the boulevard of 
broken dreams. 

Kelley dropped back 40 yards on the first incline, a mound com- 
pared to the two junior mountains which follow. To a guy with 
some 18 miles behind him, these are the Himalayas. But Viskari 
didn't even appear to notice. He just kept pumping in good, steady, 
relentless form. Coming down from the Heights, where Boston 
College is situated, Viskari had 100 yards on Kelley. All the others 
were out of sight Oksanen and Costes and the surprising Thack- 

Kelley appeared to be narrowing the Finn's margin as they went 
through Collidge Corner and Kenmore Square, where thousands 
of the estimated million to view the race had collected. But Viskari 
wasn't going to lose now, or even let Kelley become close. He must 
have heard the wild cheers for Kelley behind him but they only 
served as bellows wafting him on to an astounding triumph. 

In 1936 Tarzan Brown won what was regarded as a brilliant 
victory in 2 :33.40 4-5. Viskari and Kelley would have humiliated 
him by about four miles, imagine, in yesterday's gallop. Is the two- 
hour Marathon to follow the four-minute mile? 



By Allison Danzig 

From The New York Times, September 10, 1956 
Copyright, 1956, The New York Times Co. 

LEWIS HOAD'S QUEST for the first grand slam in tennis since Don 
Budge's history-making success of 1938 fell short yesterday in the 
final of our Diamond Jubilee national championships. 

Kenneth Rosewall, the little master of the racquet who is Hoad's 
Davis Cup teammate and doubles partner, administered the jolting 
checkmate to the rugged, blond youth who holds the championships 
of Wimbledon, France and his own Australia. 

With a gallery of 12,000 looking on in the Forest Hills stadium 
and marveling at the breath-taking, rapid-fire brilliance of the 
world's two ranking amateurs, the 21 -year-old Rosewall defeated 
Hoad, 4-6, 6-2, 6-3, 6-3. 

It was the first championship final between foreign players since 
1933, and that year, too, another Australian, Jack Crawford, was 
thwarted in his bid for a grand slam by Fred Perry of Great Britain. 

Shirley Fry of St. Petersburg, Fla., was crowned as the new 
women's champion. In a rather one-sided final she defeated Althea 
Gibson of New York, 6-3, 6-4. 

Former Governor Thomas E. Dewey presented the Diamond 
Jubilee championship cup to Rosewall, the winner of our crown for 
the first time and the runner-up to Hoad in the Australian and 
British championships. Dewey hailed Rosewall as one of the great- 
est players he or anyone else ever had seen. 

If there were any doubts about the little Australian measuring up 
to the caliber of a truly great player they were dispelled by his play 
in the championship. His performance in breaking down the power- 
ful attack and then the will to win of the favored Hoad was even 
more convincing, considering the conditions, than his wizardry in 
his unforgettable quarter-final round match against Richard Savitt. 


266 Allison Danzig 

Against the powerful, rangy Savitt, Rosewall's ground strokes 
were the chief instruments of victory in a crescendo of lethal driv- 
ing exchanges seldom equaled on the Forest Hills turf. 

Yesterday's match between possibly the two most accomplished 
21-year-old finalists in the tournament's history was a madcap, 
lightning-fast duel. The shots were taken out of the air with rapidity 
and radiance despite a strong wind that played tricks with the ball. 

The breakneck pace of the rallies, the exploits of both men in 
scrambling over the turf to bring off electrifying winners, their 
almost unbelievable control when off balance and the repetition 
with which they made the chalk fly on the lines with their lobs, 
made for the most entertaining kind of tennis. 

In time the gallery was so surfeited with brilliance that the ex- 
traordinary shot became commonplace, particularly by Rosewall. 

The strain of the killing pace began to tell on Hoad, and when 
Rosewall got to his service in the second set and began to take the 
net away from him, Hoad's fortunes began to dwindle. 

The blond Australian became shaky overhead and then his vol- 
leying went off, particularly on the backhand. It was fancied that his 
tremendous service and his powerful volley would be too much for 
his little opponent, but neither was up to its best standard, or at 
least it was made to seem so by the superlative quality of Rosewall's 
return of service and passing shots. 

Rosewall's backhand has been rated the best in amateur tennis. 
It was terrorizing yesterday, so much so that Hoad's backhand, 
which had shown so much improvement this year, broke down. 

It was not Rosewall's backhand alone but the accumulative pres- 
sure of his whole game that started Hoad on the road to defeat. 
The little fellow was a whirling streak on the court, on the ball like 
a hawk with unerring instinct and lightning reflex action, his 
racquet flashing in perfect timing from the back of the court and in 
the furious give-and-take at the net. 

How Rosewall managed to maintain such accuracy in the strong 
wind was a wonder to the thousands in the stands, and in time it 
was too much for Hoad and gave him a sense of his impending 
doom. He got off to a good start in the third set, leading at 2-0, 
but then Rosewall was on him with a fury that broke down his 

In the women's final Miss Fry was finally rewarded with success 
after competing for the title sixteen years, just as was Doris Hart 
two years ago. After winning the championship a second time in 
1955, Miss Hart turned professional, as did Tony Trabert, the 

A Grand Slam Trumped 267 

men's champion. Miss Fry also won the Wimbledon crown this 
season and stands as the world's leading woman amateur player. 

Miss Gibson, the first Negro player to reach the final of the 
championship, had lost to Miss Fry at Wimbledon and also in our 
clay court championship but was confident that she could reverse 
the outcome this time. Unfortunately for her, she was unable to 
produce her best form more than momentarily, and her lack of con- 
trol under the pressure of Miss Fry's forcing strokes hastened her 

Miss Fry's volleying skill contributed to her success in the first 
set. In the second she stayed back almost entirely and her deep, 
accurate ground strokes broke up her opponent's net attack. Miss 
Gibson showed how strong she could be with the volley at the begin- 
ning of the second set, but then she faltered both in her volleying 
and overhead, and her service did not come up to expectations 

In the final of the mixed doubles Mrs. Margaret du Pont of Wil- 
mington, Del., and Rosewall defeated Darlene Hard of Montebello, 
Calif., and Hoad, 9-7, 6-1. 

Hunting and Fishing 


By Roderick Haig-Brown 
From Outdoor Life, March, 1956 
Copyright, 1956, Outdoor Life Magazine 

THE FIGHTING QUALITIES of gamefish are always a matter for 
lively discussion among fishermen. The talk can lead to pious exag- 
geration, extravagant prose, written and spoken, and tales calcu- 
lated to scare the boldest child away from water of any kind. It may 
even develop into sharp debate and shattered friendships or, in 
extreme cases, to physical violence, all of which are far from the 
ideals of the gentle sport. 

North American disputes seldom attain the vitriolic heights of 
those periodically revived between fictional Salmo S. Stuffinton, Lt. 
Col. (Ret.) and E. Lucius Upanasdic, Cmdr. R. N. (Ret.) in the 
correspondence columns of British sport magazines. But when 
equally fictional Cyrus K. Bass of America's Midwest clashes with 
Joe Ironhead of the Pacific Coast, things can get pretty hot. 

I think it's a pity that we fishermen have allowed ourselves to get 
into the habit of using the word "fight" so freely in connection with 
our sport and our quarry. Our sense of humor has slipped so far 
that we see nothing ridiculous in the idea of a 200-pound man 
"fighting" a two-pound trout or bass. We talk about "battles" with 
10-pound salmon and delight in words like "lunkers" and "tackle 
busters." Some of us even call our fish "ferocious sluggers," and 
"savage warriors/' "racing broncos" as though the spirit shown 
by Joe Louis, Genghis Khan, or a fire-breathing stallion stirred 
under their scales. 

Yes, I know ; it's all a matter of proportion just a convention 
of extravagance long ago sanctified by habit and usage. Kvery fish- 
erman knows how to discount it and come up with the right 
answers. But it is a misleading convention which tends to obscure 
the real delights of the sport by distorting them, and to promote 
argument that disturbs the peace of the brotherhood. 

The truth is that a two-pound fish does not fight a 200-pound 
angler. It fights the clinging hook and the restraint of the two- 


The Gamest Fish of All 269 

pound-test line, and even then the noblest and most exciting part 
of the fish's reaction is flight, not fight The fisherman's pleasure 
is in the power, speed, and acrobatics of the flight, not in any 
ferocity of attack or fear for his own safety, as the excitable conven- 
tion would have us believe. His skill is in yielding to flight, in guid- 
ing it where it can do least damage to his tackle, and in using it to 
tire the fish until it can be controlled and led to beach or net. 

If one thinks in terms of speed, strength, and activity rather than 
of ferocity and pugnacity, it becomes easier to sort out and evaluate 
the ramifications of dispute. It becomes clear at once that the rela- 
tive strength of tackle, the conditions of waters in which fish live, 
and, above all, the condition of the individual fish itself are im- 
mensely important and may easily outweigh differences between 

Over and above these factors are the personal preferences and 
prejudices of the angler. Nearly all of us are inclined to favor the 
gamest fish of our youthful memories. Some of us are more im- 
pressed by a fish that jumps a lot than by one that runs fast or seems 
determined to seek out snags and weeds. Others give credit to a 
strong, sulky fish, or one that makes many short rushes instead of 
one or two long ones. Still others feel that everything depends on 
a few quick, uncontrollable moments immediately after the strike. 
A select few well-known anglers, insisting that nothing matters 
after the strike, make a practice of disdainfully handing their rods 
to friends or guides as soon as they have set the hook. 

I'm far from immune to preferences and prejudices. I love salmon 
and trout practically to the exclusion of other fish. I admire a fast, 
top-of-the-water fish that takes off the moment he feels the hook 
and jumps at least once before I can collect my wits. And I believe 
that the most fascinating part of fishing is the strike and all that 
leads tip to it, rather than the playing of a fish after it's hooked. But 
I shall try to be fair in the comments I am going to make. 

The most important single factor responsible for the performance 
of a gamefish is likely to be the fish's physical condition. A fish that 
is full of roe or milt, or one that is recovering from recent spawning 
activity, cannot be expected to show the speed and violent motion 
it would have had a few months earlier or will have a few months 
later. Obviously, then, it is unfair to compare performances among 
fish without taking this into account. Generally speaking, a fish that 
has never spawned will be stronger and more active than a fish of 
similar size that has spawned. 

A fish hooked in a fast stream has every chance to perform better 

270 Roderick Haig-Brown 

than one hooked in a lake or a quiet pool. A fish that has spent all 
its life in a stream or lake will take better and quicker advantage 
of obstructions than will a migratory fish. A fish hooked in a 
shallow stretch is likely to run faster and farther than one hooked 
in deep water. A fish so wary that an angler must use extremely 
light tackle is bound to be exciting and difficult to land, even though 
he may not be as active as one that is easier to fool. 

A fish hooked on a fly has a better chance to show his quality 
than one hooked on larger or heavier bait. The position of the 
hook's hold makes a difference ; a lightly hooked fish always seems 
to jump quicker and oftener than one that is solidly hooked. A soft- 
mouthed fish like a grayling can be as difficult to handle as a much 
more active fish that has a tough mouth. And, to make comparisons 
still harder, individual fish of the same species, hooked under appar- 
ently identical conditions, can vary more in performance than two 
fish of different species. 

I have the greatest respect for the brown trout. He's the remem- 
bered fish of my youth, and has taught me more about fly fishing 
than any other fish. Of all the trouts and salmons, he is the most 
exacting in the conditions he sets as to tackle, and he is the most 
determined in seeking the shelter of weeds and snags when he feels 
the hook. 

Often it is necessary to go after brown trout with a fly hook less 
than a quarter of an inch long and with a leader that breaks at less 
than a one-pound strain. Feeding between two familiar weed beds 
or within a few feet of some favorite tangle of brush and pilings, 
a good brown trout is a formidable problem on such gear. It is as 
likely to fool an angler and break his gear as is a more forthright, 
vigorous fish hooked in open water. 

The best chance I've had of comparing brown trout with other 
fish was in South America two or three years ago. Browns were 
often side by side in streams with rainbows, eastern brook trout, 
and landlocked salmon. They were noticeably slower and less active 
than either rainbows or salmon, though superior to the brooks. Yet 
I remember one brown that must have jumped at least a dozen 
times, so rapidly that he seemed to be tailwalking across the river. 
I also remember two or three others, big fish, that jumped right into 
the air as they took my fly in fast water. 

A cutthroat trout is rather like a brown of comparable size, 
though usually stronger and more inclined to jump. Sea-run cut- 
throats have fooled me by running and jumping until I was con- 
vinced they were rainbows. But they lose this vigor soon after 

The Games* Fish of All 271 

entering fresh water, and then are rather slow and sullen performers 
and grudging jumpers, though still powerful. They seldom give in 
as easily and completely as do brown and brook trout. 

I think it's safe to say that rainbows, whether landlocked in 
lakes, resident in streams, or fresh-run steelheads returning from 
the sea, are incomparably the fastest and most spectacular perform- 
ers of all trout. If a fish tears off line from the moment he feels 
the hook and jumps two or three times in his first run, he's usually 
a rainbow. If his second run is almost as far as his first, he con- 
tinues to jump, and persistently refuses to lie on his side and be 
drawn to net or beach, he's not only a rainbow but probably a virgin 
fish or one that has just come in from the sea. 

Even among rainbows, there is wide variation in performance. 
An unspawned Kamloops trout weighing three or four pounds and 
in its third or fourth summer is the fastest and most acrobatic lake 
fish I know. The best river rainbows, in such streams as Oregon's 
McKenzie and British Columbia's Skagit, are just as good, and in 
addition take full advantage of all natural hazards. 

But a spawner, even though well recovered, is much less im- 
pressive. Large winter steelheads, which usually enter rivers within 
three or four months of spawning time, are progressively less ac- 
tive as the season draws on. The brightest March fish, fresh in 
from the sea, will be slow and tame compared to a November or 
December fish of the same size, and may even be inferior to a re- 
covered kelt on its way downstream in May. 

Best of all, and possibly the most brilliant fish that swims, is the 
true summer steelhead which enters a river nine or 10 months be- 
fore spawning time. A fresh-run 10-pounder, preferably hooked 
on a dry fly in shallow water, is usually beyond control for several 
minutes after the hook is set. 

Steelheads, though they are true trout, are nearer salmon than 
trout in life history, habits, and performance. I've never caught an 
Atlantic salmon and a steelhead in the same river, so for me a com- 
parison between the two is more difficult than others I'm making. 
But it seems to me that the two fish are strictly comparable. An 
early-season Atlantic salmon is as good as a summer steelhead; 
a late-season salmon is often no better than a winter steelhead. An 
Atlantic salmon has the important advantage of commonly run- 
ning much bigger, and perhaps that's enough to hold for him his 
title of supremacy among fresh-water gamefistu 

Pacific salmons usually are caught in salt rather than fresh wa- 
ter, which makes comparison still harder. All may be caught on 

272 Roderick Haig-Brown 

rod and line at some time or another, and all perform well, but 
only two species, the chinook (king tyee, or spring), and the silver 
(coho), are caught regularly enough to be counted among well- 
known gamefish. For size and power, chinooks are in a class by 
themselves 30 and 40-pounders are common and 50 and 60- 
pounders may reasonably be hoped for. 

When a big chinook takes off on his first run there's no argu- 
ment about who is in charge. It takes strong tackle to stop or to 
turn him within 100 yards. When he thrashes on the surface, as he 
usually does at some stage, it's a sight to impress the calmest ang- 
ler. And when an early-season fish, just down from the north, takes 
off in a series of crashing jumps, it is a picture of strength and 
beauty to be remembered a lifetime. 

The chinook tends to swim deep, applying his power deliberately 
and doggedly, often sulkily, rather than spectacularly. The silver 
runs on top of the water and out in the air and, like a rainbow trout, 
takes off the moment he feels the hook. He's much smaller than the 
chinook, averaging eight or 10 pounds and rarely reaching 20 
pounds. But on fair tackle a run of a 100 yards with half a dozen 
jumps is nothing for him, and he often will repeat the performance 
as soon as the line is recovered. 

The Florida bonefish is usually considered the fastest of salt- 
water gamefish. It will run 200 or 300 yards across the tide flats 
so fast that a cheap reel will freeze. But I have known friends come 
to silvers straight from bonefish and insist that silvers are just as 
fast and far more exciting because they jump not once, but sev- 
eral times. I've seen them jump into and over boats ; I saw one that 
jumped into a lady's lap, flipped overboard, and broke the line be- 
fore the echoes of her screams died away. 

Both chinooks and silvers can be caught in rivers, and when 
they first run in they are really fine gamefish. The chinook can 
seldom be persuaded to take a fly, but his power is increased by 
the current and his performance takes on new proportions in nar- 
row waters especially to an angler who is fishing from his feet 
instead of from a boat. This is true of only the freshest fish and for 
only a week or two after the run begins. Maturity comes rapidly, 
and the fish turn sulky and slow. They have strength and weight, 
but no zip. 

The silvers remain the better fish. They often take small flies 
with wild freedom, and will tear away from a strike with the sud- 
den violence of summer steelheads. Even an October cock, bright- 

The Gamest Fish of All 273 

red and hook-jawed, will run 100 yards or more and jump as 
though the air was as familiar as water. 

I've found the chars eastern brook trout, Dolly Vardens (in- 
cluding arctic chars), and lake chars less inclined to jump than 
even brown trout, and considerably slower than salmons and rain- 
bows. But they are good fish, and sea-run Dolly Vardens in top 
condition can be very strong indeed. I imagine the same is true of 
sea-run eastern brooks, though I have never caught them. 

I have caught Atlantic ( Sebago or landlocked) salmon only in 
South America, but they were large and in excellent condition. 
With one exception, I found them inclined to make short, fast runs 
that rarely took out much backing, but the runs were repeated 
many times. They jumped suddenly and excitingly, often from 
shallow water and usually on very short line at the start of the run. 

They were far from being as fast or as spectacular as steelheads 
or sea-run Atlantic salmon, but it was difficult to tire them because 
of the shortness of their runs. An active fish on a short line is far 
more likely to break tackle than one that puts on his best show at a 
distance. I thought them very good fish indeed, and exceptionally 
beautiful both in and out of water. 

Pike and bass, especially bass, often strike suddenly and very 
hard. Of all fresh-water fish they can most truly be said to have 
fierce and angry qualities. They are savage head shakers when 
hooked, and smallmouths put fury and fight into their jumps. De- 
spite this, I've never found them as fast nor as exciting as trouts 
and salmons, and their performances have none of the grace and 
beauty of jumping steelheads or salmons. 

In the end, it remains a matter of individual preference or prej- 
udice. The moments of true hazard, in my experience, come im- 
mediately after the strike, before the fisherman has had time to 
steady himself, and again at the very end, when the tired fish is on 
a short line near the net. 

The fish that most regularly throws me off balance at the start, 
no matter how well prepared I think I am, is the summer steel- 
head. The strike, the run, and the first jump seem crowded into a 
single second, often with a change of direction and another, some- 
times disastrous, jump while I'm still fumbling for control. 

Of the finishers, all the rainbows and the salmons rate highly. 
But sheer weight counts for a lot on a short line, especially when 
the fisherman is doing his own netting or gaffing. I think it must al- 
ways be true that the heaviest fish, whether chinooks, Atlantic sal- 

274 Roderick Haig-Brown 

mon, or winter steelheads, are likely to produce the most dramatic 

There will always be plenty of room for argument. Conditions, 
tackle, and individual fish vary, and so do the moods of fishermen. 
Under its own ideal conditions, every fish I've mentioned is a 
worthy gamefish, and at one time or another every one has proved 
too hot for me to handle. 



By Walter Stewart 

From The Memphis Commercial-Appeal, October 14, 1956 
Copyright, 1956, Memphis Publishing Co. 

Tms is THE DAY of the big game, an institution which is falling 
into its pattern from the frost-stained slopes of New England to 
the sun-stroked concrete of California and touching all bases scat- 
tered in between. 

The big game is an American tradition precious as Thanksgiving 
Day or the Fourth of July. It is an emotional riot beating against 
the hearts of men and you can feel the impact even if you swore 
off education in the sixth grade at P. S. 305. 

The build-up began last summer when coaches and assistant 
coaches, the tears of their trade melting on eyelash, told sport- 
shirted alumni groups maybe yea and maybe nay. Gazing fixedly 
at the remains of vulcanized chicken or ham with raisin sauce, 
they told the lies which have become occupational diseases and 
suggested that it wasn't too late to get a pair on the fifty. 

We have driven to Fayetteville through the war-painted Boston 
Mountains which are as Bostonian as hominy grits. From Fort 
Smith, where our plane touched down, the rented heap moved 
through thickening clots of traffic. At roadside parks, gay folk 
munched at sandwiches and gnawed the caps off jugs of wild rhino 
milk. They waved at perfect strangers and at imperfect strangers, 
for this is the day of the big game and all humanity is brother- 
hood unless the guy next to you is an old Baylor and gets too 
loud when the Bears get out in front, then you are privileged to 
punch him in his foolish kisser and no sane jury would convict you. 

There is something about the big game which gets through the 
fat rind of cynicism which has thickened over our soul during the 
corroding years. Perhaps it is the coeds with petaled faces and the 
mums glowing on their shoulders the bright ribbons of their 

Perhaps it is the memory of waking in the fraternity house a 


276 Walter Stewart 

long time ago and looking at the dim ceiling and sweating gently 
and wondering what it was going to be like. Wondering if we'd 
get off the beam at all and the faint nausea as we walked across the 
big field to the stadium which was beginning to sprout faces. 

Perhaps it is the memory of tape snug around the ankles and 
rough, masculine caress of shoulder-pads and the good feel of 
cleats sinking into the well-groomed turf and the transitional in- 
toxication of the heart lifting high with the first kickoff . 

So this is Dads' Day and early settlers have weighed in from 
all over. The houses are brave with crimson and white and banners 
welcoming the folks who made all this possible. 

The green and white of Baylor and scarlet blotch of bodies signi- 
fying Arkansas have scattered across the field and there is kicking 
and passing and hoping and fearing. The bands are knocking at 
jovial college tunes and, from this high-lofted press coop, you can 
look out across the rolling meadows of autumn and watch creeping 
little capillaries of traffic moving jerkily with a thin sun striking 
glitter from the clashing bumpers. 

The wind flogs banners of Texas orange and Texas Christian 
purple and Southern Methodist blue and Baylor green and Arkan- 
sas crimson and Texas Aggie maroon and Rice white. Delightful 
young ladies in dresses shorter than a politician's memory are 
poised on the sideline legs magnificently curved and faces lovely 
beneath feathered shakos. 

Two keepers in green lead Baylor's black bear galloping across 
the field and there is vast excitement as he nips at one of them. 
And how long will it be until Alabama's Red Elephants get a suit- 
able mascot? 

So the squads scramble off to -the dressing rooms to stare at 
runic designs of crosses and circles and to hear anguished cries of : 
"Boys, my job is riding on this one/' and : "Get out there and 

So the stark beauty of the Star Spangled Banner lifts itself 
against the low clouds and officials, who disdain stripes in the 
Southwest Conference even though they often merit them, take 
off their hats and practice flag throwing. 

The captains move to field's center and a coin climbs in a short, 
silver blur and the showboats make with elaborate gestures of kick- 
ing and receiving. Flasks are flourished joyously and the little lady 
bleats: "Now, remember, Elmer, you had three on the way up 

The big game is fully cranked up. 


By Harold Rosenthal 

From Editor & Publisher, August 4, 1956 

Copyright, 1956, Editor & Publisher 

THE LATEST Thorndike Barnart lists "unique" as "having no 
like or equal." If the lexicographers really wanted to drive the 
point home with an example they could have added, "like a base- 
ball writer's job." 

The job is certainly unique on a daily metropolitan paper. Seldom 
is a newspaperman required to develop a specialty to such a degree, 
and seldom is he rewarded with a commensurate latitude in his 
writing. Seldom is he required to travel as much, seldom is he the 
target of an almost daily shower of incredibly hoary and envious 
barbs like, "You mean they PAY you to watch baseball games?" 

Well, they pay me to watch baseball games and I watch almost 
200 of them a year. All right, there are the 154 games on the regu- 
lar major-league schedule of the team I happen to be covering. I 
see all but perhaps a dozen of these. Days off? Sure, I get them but 
most of the time I go to the ball game on my free time, anyway. 

Then there are approximately 40 games in the Spring before 
the average fan sees even one. Practice contests and exhibitions ? 
You have to watch them with almost the same amount of concen- 
tration as you do regular championship-season contests. And then 
there are the World Series games, and a sprinkling of in-season 

Yes, I'm paid to watch baseball games but like the other hundred- 
odd fellows who travel with major-league ball clubs as a major por- 
tion of their year-round work, I'm supposed to watch them from the 
first pitch to the last. And with today's TV cameras on the con- 
stant snoop, my confreres and I had darn well better watch EV- 
ERY pitch, 

The day of the strong-breathed bleary-eyed cavalier with his 
airy "catch me up, chum, on the first five innings," is done. The 
current baseball writer is a fellow who gets to the ball game on 
time, who pays attention, and who realizes the definite box-office 
value in a by-line noted by thousands daily. Every once in a while 
someone will have to bail out one of the brethren who has made 


278 Harold Rosenthal 

a mis-step but not any more than in any of the other segments of 
the business. 

There are 500 members of the Baseball Writers Association of 
America, and about one of every five members travels with some 
one of the 16 major league ball clubs. There are, of course, full- 
time baseball writers in the lower echelons, but it's only in the 
majors, and particularly with one of the New York clubs, or per- 
haps the Boston Red Sox, that the writers, statisticians, etc., will 
practically fill an entire private Pullman car. 

Let's put one of these special cars, going from Chicago to Kan- 
sas City, under a magnifying glass. Leave the fellow in Roomette 
3 alone; that's me. The others and their backgrounds? As wide 
and as diverse as any you'd wish to encounter. 

Scrambling them, not necessarily in the order of the importance 
of their papers' circulation, we have an avid collector of Ameri- 
cana, a former Naval officer, a fellow who delights in working out 
six-horse parlays, a man who once wrestled professionally, an- 
other who played big-time college football and later taught school, 
a fellow who once drove a covered wagon across the country as a 
publicity stunt for a newspaper, a fellow who has a showcase full 
of speed-skating trophies, and an egghead busily boning up on 
Planck's quantum theory. 

It's like that in other Pullmans bouncing around all over the 
country, or on chartered flights carrying the ball clubs and their 
appurtenances hither and yon unusual people attracted to and 
gravitating toward one of the most unusual writing jobs a news- 
paper can offer. 

The offer can come on the third day of your employment. It can 
also come during the third year, or the thirteenth. One of the more 
gifted baseball writers bucked for a full-time job as a diamond 
scribe for twenty years, then discovered that the four trips around 
the circuit each year, plus sundry other excursions that had him 
sleeping away from home for a total of more than a hundred nights 
a year, was something he really didn't want in a big way. 

Lots of people want it, though. A bright young man who can hit 
a typewriter with reasonable fluency, will usually announce his 
candidacy for a baseball job first, then name the lesser spots he'll 
fill on the paper. 

It's the glamour, of course, the noise and a tremendous amount 
of excitement, a certain segment of which is undeniably spurious. 
It's the genial wave to the eagle-eyed guardian at the gate, and the 
pleasant intoning of a sesame-like "Baseball Writers, 269" as you 

The "Uniquest Job" 279 

pass through, indicating your numbered baseball writers' mem- 
bership card. 

That number is the writer's for the year, providing his annual 
dues have been forthcoming. The price is $10, the significance of 
the card is tremendous. 

Fifty years ago there were no cards although there were baseball 
teams and baseball writers and for a while there seemed to be one 
gigantic sadistic contest among club owners as to which one could 
treat the writers with the greatest indifference to their working 
needs. The 1908 Detroit management won the prize for the 
World Series games that year they made the writers climb a rick- 
ety ladder to the roof atop the first base pavilion. It snowed and 
guess who had to sit and take it, while trying to compose their 
epics on the fall classic? 

The Baseball Writers Association was born that year. Today 
its members have long controlled the major-league press boxes with 
an iron grip. Baseball officials, themselves, are admitted only on 
sufferance. The writers invariably pick a press-box custodian who'd 
take exquisite pleasure in saying "no" to his own grandmother. 

Baseball writers have reason to be proud of their segment of the 
business. Through the years baseball writers have made all sorts of 
priceless contributions to the national game. The box score was 
created around the time of the Civil War by Henry Chadwick, 
who worked for the Brooklyn Eagle and other papers around New 
York. The present system of averages was introduced in the 70' s 
by David Reid, sports editor of the Philadelphia Sunday Dispatch. 
The shorthand system of scoring a game, which all writers and 
most fans use with their own refinements and additions, (even 
President Eisenhower keeps a writer 's-type scorecard) was first 
devised by Michael J. Kelly, of the New York Herald almost a 
hundred years ago. 

Baseball writers vote once every two years now for additions to 
the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N. Y., and there is an alcove in 
the Helms Hall of Fame in Los Angeles where some of the titans 
of the writing fraternity like Chadwick, George Ade, Hugh E. 
Keough, and the Spinks, Alfred H. and William MacDonald, have 
been honored. 

Baseball writers also select the Most Valuable Player in each 
of the major leagues annually, do the same for the rookie of the 
year. This year, honoring the memory of baseball's famed late Cy 
Young, whose 511 victories represent the greatest total in history, 
they are picking the outstanding pitcher in the majors as well. 

280 Harold Rosenthal 

The baseball writers provide the official scorers for all league 
games, the all-star games, the World Series. A rotating list is used 
and no one can score without having at least three years of ex- 
perience, with at least a hundred games a season. 

From the writers have come some of the game's keenest execu- 
tives, right up to the present Commissioner, Ford C. Frick, a former 
New York Evening Journal writer. When the Kansas City club 
went big-league two seasons ago the new owners chose Parke Car- 
roll, who had written baseball in that city some fifteen years earlier. 
There is Harold Parrott, business manager of the Dodgers, Garry 
Schumacher, promotion director of the Giants, Earl Hilligan, as- 
sistant to the president of the American League, all former news- 

When a club needs a new traveling secretary it's even money 
he'll wind up being an ex-newspaperman. That's because he knows 
most of the answers, and can usually say in either boastful or quiet 
tones, "Yes, I know. I tried that myself once." 


By Stanley Woodward 

From The Newark Star-Ledger, August, 1956 
Copyright, 1956, Newark Morning Ledger Co. 

"THE HONORABLE" Frank Leahy, so introduced by Joe Martin, 
chairman of the Republican Convention, made one of eight second- 
ing speeches for President Eisenhower. Hon. Frank was sand- 
wiched among a Texas mother of six, a transplanted Yankee from 
Louisiana, a South Dakota farmer, a female professor from North 
Carolina, a trade unionist from Providence, R. I., an alma mutter 
from the Bronx and Governor Theodore Roosevelt McKeldin of 
Maryland who talks as if his mouth were full of hot mashed po- 
tatoes. _ 

Our boy, meaning Hon. Frank, said he has a prejudice in favor 
of Ike. He said the campaign may be hard, but added, "When 
the going gets tough, the tough get going/' 

In general Hon. Frank was cheerful, confident, direct to the 
point of monosyllabism. This was a new Frank to us. In the days 
when he was a football coach he was a prophet of doom to rival 
the late Gill Dobie and he never said anything in plain language. 

We accompanied Francis to the Sugar Bowl a number of years 
ago when his Boston College forces took Tennessee apart. He was 
inconsolable before the game. 

"Stanley," he said, "I have been remiss in permitting an engage- 
ment between this great Tennessee team and our little boys from 
Boston. It isn't that I am not prepared to face defeat. That is fore- 

fone. But I am afraid some of our lads will be grievously hurt, 
cannot forgive myself for permitting this holocaust." 

When he moved to Notre Dame Hon. Frank became even more 
morose. Prior to seasons in which the Irish won them all, he gave 
off pre-season interviews in which he envisioned no hope. He must 
ultimately have believed himself because he quit coaching and be- 
came an economic royalist. 

If his seconding speech had followed his football trend we would 
have heard something like this : 

"Mr. Chairman, fellow delegates and honored guests : 

"I am unable to see how we can win the contest which lies before 
us. I shall be gratified if we are able to carry Maine and Vermont. 


282 Stanley Woodward 

"I am sure our lads will strive mightily but let us view the situa- 
tion introspectively. We are faced with opposition of supreme ex- 
perience and prowes-s. How can our little lads expect to compete 
with players of such high renown as Ad Stevenson, Es Kefauver 
and Butch Truman? 

"I agree with you that our lads have possibilities but they lack 
game experience. Our supposed stars, Ike and Dick, have only been 
through one campaign in this league and Ike was out of action a 
good part of the time he should have been gaining game experience. 

"Our team is weak all down the line. Tom Dewey has senioritis 
and Hall Stassen's eligibility is in doubt. Before this campaign is 
over we shall have to call on our scatbacks, 'Terrible Terry' Car- 
penter and Joe Smith. 

"Graduation has removed some of our finest lads. Abe Lincoln 
has played his last game for our team. No longer in the crises can 
we call on Bill McKinley, Ted Roosevelt, Warrie Harding or Cal 
Coolidge. The Adams boys are lost to us. We still have Joe Mc- 
Carthy but he can't go to his left. 

"The schedule is against us ... I must speak to Moose Brownell 
about it ... With our inexperience we can't possibly get ready for 
the big game on Nov. 6. 1 do hope our lads come through it without 
getting maimed. 

"I feel we have a chance with the Socialists, Prohibitionists, 
Vegetarians, Greenbacks and the Townsend Plan, but the Demo- 
crats will walk over us ... No, I'm not pessimistic. I'm just giving 
you facts. 

"Of course we still have Bertie Hoover but he's been in the ser- 
vice a long time and he doesn't know the T-formation. . . . Fos 
Dulles has latent possibilities but we haven't been able to find him 
to suit him up. ... I understand Wayne Morse has definitely de- 
cided not to return to school. . . . Mac Romany from Puerto Rico 
is a spirited player but weighs only 102 pounds. 

"The way things are we'll be happy to win by one electoral vote." 


By Franklin (Whitey) Lewis 

From The Cleveland Press, July 20, 1956 

Copyright, 1956, The Cleveland News 

FROM NOW ON, Republicans and Democrats alike will be very- 
careful, please, about how they speak of me and Ike. We both have 
tramped, and trampled, the handsome fairways and greens of the 
Burning Tree Club, an all-male golf retreat in Bethesda, Md., 
just a skip along the road from midtown Washington. There will 
be a comparison of our scores at a suitable time, probably in an 
off -election year. 

The President was in Gettysburg yesterday. Congress was in 
session and I was in Burning Tree's sand traps. I also consorted 
with nature much of the afternoon, treading softly in the dark re- 
cesses of the forests that are a vice around the entire 18 holes. There 
are only about 250 members at Burning Tree, and there are 2,516,- 
839 trees of assorted vintage and ancestry. A "Burning Tree," 
after which the club and the adjacent countryside are named, is 
actually a bush that has red blossoms to match the complexions of 
the puffing players. 

Because only a few foursomes play on any weekday at Eisen- 
hower's favorite course, our select threesome had no trouble. We 
weren't pushed and we didn't hurry. My hand-picked pigeons, 
J. Dudley and T. Manning, are better with their mish-mash than 
with a mashie, which is why I play with them. Let the President 
find his own partners to whip. 

Truthfully, Burning Tree isn't much different from the average 
first-rate golf course, except when the White House guard takes 
over. No women are allowed on the course at any time, which 
breeds a healthy simplicity in the attire of the players. Only sissies 
wear their shirts. The fairways are watered and rolling, the greens 
are lush and require firm putting. And I'm a kid who would know. 

When the presidential party comes to play golf, things are dif- 
ferent. All of a sudden, caddies strange to the course make their 
appearance. And, if you didn't know differently, you would swear 
from the number of men walking around carrying their own canvas 
golf bags that the members were a poor lot, which, of course, they 
are not. These lightweight bags are carried by Secret Service op- 


284 Franklin (Whitey) Lewis 

eratives and there is a stick protruding from each that isn't exactly 
a brassie. Not unless you can call a machine gun a two-two-two 

Once the President walks onto the first tee and looks down a tree- 
lined fairway 400 yards straight ahead, the SS men take over. No 
players may tee off thereafter until the President has completed the 
first three holes. And the three-hole gap exists in front of Ike's 
foursome, also. So once he has reached the third green, there can- 
not be players closer than No. 1 tee or No. 7 tee. 

There must be a modicum of enjoyment, in addition to the funda- 
mental thrill, in playing with the President. Eddie LeBaron, the 
small (for pro football) quarterback for the Washington Redskins, 
played with Ike and loved it. 

"I never had to worry about losing a ball/' Eddie explained. 
"Every time I hit one into the woods and went looking for it, some- 
one always came in with me. And they were carrying those canvas 
bags. They all pitched in to help me find my ball. It was a breeze 
that way." 

Otto Graham, another T quarterback, played Burning Tree with 
the home assistant professional, a gentle young man named Jimmy 
Clark, last week and deported himself satisfactorily by shooting a 
76 in his first whirl at the 6704-yard course. This fellow Graham 
will get along all right even without a football in his right hand. 
If he can ever play with the President, he's made it. 

* * * 

The guarding of the chief executive at Burning Tree must re- 
quire masterful strategy, at that. The entire property is heavily 
wooded, reminding you of a setting for a J. Arthur Rank suspense 
thriller. And down the pike a piece, on the way out to Burning Tree, 
you drive past the Austrian embassy, a mansion sitting far back 
from the pavement. 

Next time you see a man walking in the woods with a canvas 
bag in his hand, don't be too smug. He may be looking for a golf 

ball or a goofball. 

* * * 

In the thoroughly masculine though homelike locker room are 
hung dozens of caricatures of celebrities who are Burning Tree's 
members. They are in rows and are autographed. In an upper left- 
hand corner of the row is a sharp drawing of Eisenhower. Smack 
underneath it is one of Harry (The Hat) Truman. 

At the Burning Tree Club, they must take practical notice of 
which party is in office. 


By Art Rosenbaum 

From The San Francisco Chronicle, February 27, 1956 
Copyright, 1956, The San Francisco Chronicle 

I WENT TO the horse park on a bus Saturday. 

Like music, the horses become an international language when 
strangers wheel together toward the track. The day was Saturday, 
the special event was the Santa Anita $100,000 Handicap, and the 
bus was loaded. 

A man in a velour hat lifted his head from the Racing Form. 
"I shouldn't be here," he said to anybody. "If my wife goes through 
rny pockets tonight and doesn't find something green, I'm in trou- 
ble. I've got a twenty hidden in my shoe for an emergency." 

A puff-faced lady, a touch on the tipsy side, giggled hoarsely: 
"Don't worry about her, honey," she said. "You'll probably win 
a million today. That's a tip bet on Honeys Alibi in the big one 
and you'll be king of the kitchen." 

"Get her!" said a man in a tan jacket. "Honeys Alibi is in with 
the solid horses today. Don't let her tout you off with sympathy 
picking, pal. You just stay with either Swaps, if they run him, So- 
cial Outcast, Bobby Brocato and Traffic Judge, and if you guess 
right your wife will love you until the next day's races." 

There was a sudden silence as a fire engine, its sirens wide open, 
barreled across an intersection. 

"I see where they called off the races at Bay Meadows the other 
day," the fellow with the pin-striped suit sitting next to me said, as 
the sound of the fire engine died away. "That would never happen 
around here. One day it was so smoggy-foggy here you almost 
couldn't see the mutuel windows to lay down a bet. I said almost. 
But they ran horses anyway and they told us on the loudspeaker 
that we lost." 

The lady with the pert hat, sitting in front of us, turned around : 
"We must keep Dr. Strub in cookies, you know," she said. 

"Oh," my friend answered, "are you acquainted with Dr. 

It developed the lady had never met or seen Dr. Charles Strub, 
the former San Francisco dentist, Seals baseball owner and now 
boss of Santa Anita. The subject of Dr. Strub was intriguing, it 


286 Art Rosenbaum 

seemed, and generally inquiry around the back end of the bus re- 
vealed no one had so much as a nodding acquaintance with the 

"Wonder what he looks like?" Pert Hat wondered. 

"I'll tell you/' said a man holding three different-colored pen- 
cils. "He has deep, green eyes, as green as a piece of paper with 
Benjamin Franklin's picture on it." 

"Oh," she laughed, "make it Abraham Lincoln's picture ... a 
$5 bill is about all I can imagine." 

The crowd in the bus liked the diversion. 

"Dr. Strub has long, Oriental fingernails," said one. 

"He has hoofs that he kicks up like a frisky colt after every 
day's races," offered another. 

The man in the velour hat spoke up. "You got it all wrong," he 
laughed. "Dr. Strub is a man loves his public." 

"How do you figure that ?" asked Pin Stripe. 

"It's simple enough. Without him, there might not have been 
any horse park in Arcadia. Let's face it here we are, all of us, on 
our way to pay him our respects." 

"Yeah, that's right," Tan Jacket agreed. "Hey, driver, put the 
foot on the pedal, huh. We're liable to miss the first race." 

Pin Stripe began to sing, rather loudly, "For he's a jolly good 
fellow, for he's a jolly..." 

"Who' re you singing to, Shoemaker?" asked Muffin-face. 

"Naw," said Pin Stripe, "to Dr. Charles Strub ... if we think 
nicely about him maybe we'll all be lucky today." 

The yellow bus approached the pale-turquoise spires of the Santa 
Anita Park, with the sound of "he's a jolly good fellow" wafting 
through the windows. 

"If Swaps is worse than even, forget him, if he goes, that is," 
Three Pencils said, ending the music. "Too much solid stuff in 
that race. And I'm still not going to forget Rejected, or Mister 
Gus, either." 

The bus came to a halt. The driver turned. 

"Lady," he said, "I wish I could help you, but I don't know one 
of those four-legged things from another. To tell you the truth, 
after hearing this bus conversation for so many years, I just stay 
in the bus. I wouldn't dare to go inside those gates." 

For the Record 



United States Target Champions 
Men Joseph Fries. 
Women Carole Minehard, Pittsburgh, 
Men's Team Cleveland Archery Club. 
Women's Team Lancaster (Fa.) 


Indianapolis Winner Pat Flaherty, 

World Sports Car Juan Manuel Fan- 
gio, Argentina. 

Le Mans Endurance Race Ninian 
Sanderson and Ron Flockhart, Scot- 
land (Jaguar). 


Thomas Cup (men) Malaya, 
National Champions 

Men's Singles Finn Kobbero, Copen- 
hagen, Denmark. 

Women's Singles Judy Devlin, Balti- 

Men's Doubles Finn Kobbero and J. 
Hammersgaard Hansen, Denmark. 

Women's Doubles Ethel Marshall 
and Beatrice Massman, Buffalo, N. 

Mixed Doubles Finn Kobbero and 
Judy Devlin. 

Veterans* Doubles Rupert Mee and 
Robert Traquair, Buffalo, N. Y. 


World New York Yankees. 
National League Brooklyn Dodgers. 
American League New York Yan- 

All-Star Game National League. 

Leading Batsman, N. L. Hank 
Aaron, Milwaukee Braves. 

Leading Batsman, A. L. Mickey Man- 
tle, New York Yankees. 

Little World Series Indianapolis. 

International League Toronto (regu- 
lar season) ; Rochester (play-offs). 

American Association Indianapolis 
(regular season and play-offs). 

Pacific Coast League Los Angeles. 


N. C. A. A. Minnesota, 
Eastern League Yale. 


National Collegiate San Francisco. 
National Invitation Louisville, 
Eastern Intercollegiate League Dart- 

Yankee Conference Connecticut. 
Atlantic Coast Conference North 

Carolina State. 

Southeastern Conference ^Alabama- 
Southern Conference West Virginia- 
Western Conference Iowa- 
Big Seven Conference Kansas State. 
Missouri Valley Conference Houston, 
Southwest Conference Southern 


Skyline Conference Utah. 
Rocky Mountain Conference Idaho 


Mid-American Conference Marshall. 
Pacific Coast Conference U. C. L. A- 
Middle Eastern Conference St. Fran- 
cis (New York). 
Midwest Conference Coe, 



Champions of 1956 

National Assn. (N. A. I. A.) Mc- 

Neese State. 

A. A. U. Buchan Bakers, Seattle. 
Women's A, A. U. Wayland Flying 

Queens, Plainview, Tex. 


National Association Philadelphia 


Three-Cushion Ray Kilgore, San 

Pocket Willie Mosconi, Philadelphia. 


National A. A. U. Champions 
Two-Man Stanley Benham, Lake 
Placid, N. Y., and Pat Martin, Mas- 
sena, N. Y. 

Four-ManStanley Benham, Pat Mar- 
tin and Chuck Randolph and John 
Helmer, Saranac Lake, N. Y. 


American Bowling- Congress 


All-EventsBill Lilliard, Chicago. 

Singles George Wade, Steubenville, 

Doubles Bill Lilliard and Stan Gif- 
ford, Chicago. 

Five-Man Team Falstaff Beer, Chi- 
Woman's International Congress 

All-Events Doris Knechtges, Detroit. 

Singles Lucille Noe, Columbus, Ohio. 

Doubles Betty Maw and Mary Quinn, 
Buffalo, N. Y. 

Team Daniel Ryan, Chicago. 

World Champions 

Flyweight Pascual Perez, Argentina. 
Bantamweight Mario D'Agata, Italy. 

Featherweight Sandy Saddler, New 

Lightweight Joe Brown, New Or- 

Welterweight Carmen Basilio, Ca- 
nastota, New York. 

Middleweight Ray Robinson, New 

Light Heavyweight Archie Moore, 
San Diego, Calif. 

Heavyweight Floyd Patterson, Mount 
Vernon, N. Y. 

National A. A. U. Champions 

112-Pound Albert Pell, New York. 

119-Pound Don Whaley, Cincinnati. 

125-Pound Harry Smith, U. S. Air 

132-Pound Bill Cherry, U. S. Air 

139-Pound Tommy Thomas, Port- 
land, Ore. 

147-Pound Jackson Brown, U. S. 
Air Force. 

156-Pound Frank Davis, U. S. Air 

165-Pound Paul Wright, U. S. Air 

178-Pound John Home, U. S. Air 

Heavyweight Jim McCarter, Seattle. 
National Collegiate Champions 

112-Pound Dean Plemonns, Wiscon- 

119- Pound Choken Maekawa, Michi- 
gan State. 

125-Pound Bobby Soileau, Louisiana 

132-Pound Richard Rail, Washington 

139-Pound Richard Bartman, Wis- 

147-Pound Gil McLane, Louisiana 

156-Pound Vince Ferguson, Wiscon- 

165-Pound Roger Rouse, Idaho State. 

Champions of 1956 


178-Pound Orville Pitts, Wisconsin. 
Heavyweight Truman Sturdevant, 

Team Wisconsin. 

U. S. Paddling- Champions 

One-Man Single Blade Frank Ha- 
vens, Washington C. C. 

One-Man Double Blade Raymond 
Clark, U. S. Army, Fort Belvoir, 

Tandem Single Blade John Haas and 
Frank Krick, Philadelphia C. C. 

Tandem Double Blade Raymond 
Clark and Wally Hasse, Potomac 
B. C., tied with John Pagkos and 
Russell Dermond, U. S. Navy. 

Four-Man Single Blade F. Krick, J. 
Hass, H. Rotzelland, John Barnitz, 
Philadelphia C. C. 

Four-Man Double Blade^-R. Clark, 
P. Yeager, T. L. Jones and W. 
Hasse, Potomac B, C 

Tean* Yonkers (N. Y.) C C 

U, S. Sailing Champions 

Decked Louis Whitman, Miramar Y. 

Cruising Roger Wilkinson, Sheeps- 

bayou C C. 
International Challenge Cup David 

Merwin, Turkeyfoot K. C. 

National Association Champions 

All Around Marion Garber, Toledo. 
All Distance William J. Lovely, St 

All Accuracy Casper Rigamer, New 


Distance Baits William J. Lovely. 
Distance Flies Jon Tarantino, San 


Accuracy Baits Casper Rigamer. 
Accuracy Flies Jon Tarantino. 


World Open James Dear, England. 

United States Open Albert (Jack) 
Johnson, New York. 

National Singles Alastair Martin, 
Glen Head, L. I. 

National Doubles Northrup Knox, 
Buffalo, and Alastair Martin. 

Tuxedo Gold Racquets William 
Lingelbach, Philadelphia, 

Intercollegiate Team (Van Alen Tro- 
phy) Harvard. 


National A. A, U. Horace Ashen- 

felter, New York A. C 
National A. A. U. Team New York 

A. C. 
National Collegiate Walter McNew, 

National Collegiate Team Michigan 

I. C. 4- A Henry Kennedy, Michigan 

I. C. 4-A Team Michigan State. 

Gordon International Medal United 

Mitchell Medal Utica (N. Y.) No. 1 


Allen Medal Huntsville, Ont 
Gordon Grand National Utica (N. 

Y.) No. 2 Rink. 

Douglas Medal Toronto Granites. 
Women's U. S. Champion Chicago 



Tour de France Roger Walkowiak, 

World Champions 
Professional Sprint Antonio Maspes, 

Amateur Sprint Michel Rousseau, 



Champions of 1956 

Professional Road Rik Van Steen- 
bergen, Belgium, 

Amateur Road Frans Mahn, The Ne- 

U. S. Amateur Champions 

Senior Open Jack Disney, Pasadena, 

Junior Open Dave Staub, San Fran- 

Girls' Open Nancy Nieman, Detroit 

Best-in- Show Winners 

Westminster Mrs. Bertha Smith's toy 
poodle, Ch. Wilber White Swan, 
Bethpage, L. I. 

Morris and Essex Mrs. E. K. All- 
man Jr.'s dalmatian, Ch. Roadcoach 
Roadster, Doylestown, Pa. 

Westchester Dr. Jack H. Skelskie's 
Irish setter, Ch. Dunguaire Bryson, 
East Longmeadow, Mass. 

Chicago International Mr. and Mrs. 
Jouett Shouse's boxer, Ch. Barrage 
of Quality Hill, Washington. 

Harbor Cities Mrs. Kay Finch's 
afghan, Ch. Crown Crest Zardinx, 
Del Mar, Calif. 

Field Trials National Champions 

Bird Dog Jimmy Hinton's pointer, 
Palomonium, Tuscaloosa, Ala. 

Retriever William T. Cline's Labra- 
dor, Massie's Sassy Boots, Chicago. 

Springer Spaniel Armf orth Kennels* 
Micklewood Scud, Chicago. 

Cocker Spaniel Tom Clute's Prince 
Tom III, Adrian, Mich. 

Open Pheasant and Amateur Quail 
W. C. Jones' pointer, Home Again 
Mike, Franklin, Va. 

Amateur Pheasant Robert Wehle's 
pointer, Elhew Marksman, Scotts- 
ville, N. Y. 


United States Champions 

Foil Sewall Shurtz, U. S. Navy. 
Epee Abe Cohen, Fencers Club, New 

Saber Dr. Tibor Nyilas, Salle San- 

telli, New York 
Women's Foil Mrs. Janice Romary, 

Los Angeles. 
Foil Team Fencers Cub. 
Epee Team Salle Csiszar, Philadel- 

Saber Team Salle SantellL 
Women's Foil Team Mrs. Maxine 

Mitchell and Mrs. Janice Romary, 

Los Angeles. 
Three-Weapon Team U. S. Air 


National Collegiate Champions 

Foil Ralph DeMarco, Columbia, 
Epee Kinmont Hoitsma, Princeton. 
Saber Gerald Kauffman, Columbia, 
Three- Weapon Team Illinois. 

Intercollegiate Association 

Foil Joseph Crisanti, Cornell. 

Epee Kinmont Hoitsma, 

Saber Martin Wertlieb, C. C N. Y. 

Three- Weapon Team Navy. 

Foil Team Cornell. 

Epee Team Navy. 

Saber Team C. C. N. Y. 


National Oklahoma. 

Eastern (Lambert Trophy) Syracuse. 

Ivy League Yale. 

Western Conference Iowa. 

Pacific Coast Conference Oregon 


Southeastern Conference Tennessee. 
Atlantic Coast Conference Clemson. 
Yankee Conference Connecticut 
Southern Conference West Virginia, 

Champions of 1956 


Southwest Conference Texas A. & M. 

Big Seven Conference Oklahoma, 

Skyline Conference Wyoming. 

Missouri Valley Conference Houston. 

Rocky Mountain Conference Mon- 
tana State. 

Border Conference Texas Western. 

Mid-American Conference Bowling 

Midwest Conference St Olaf. 

Canadian Professional (Grey Cup) 
Edmonton Eskimos. 

National Football League 

Eastern Conference New York 


Western Conference Chicago Bears. 
National New York Giants. 


America's Cup United States. 

Canada Cup United States. 

Hopkins TrophyUnited States. 

National Open Cary Middlecoff, 

National Amateur Harvie Ward Jr., 
San Francisco. 

National P. G. A. Jack Burke, Hous- 

British OpenPeter Thomson, Aus- 

British Amateur John Beharrell, 
Birmingham, England. 

Augusta Masters Jack Burke. 

World Pro (Tarn O'Shanter) Ted 
Kroll, Fort Lauderdale, Fla, 

World Amateur (Tarn O'Shanter) 
Ward Wettlaufer, Buffalo, N. Y. 

Canadian Open Doug Sanders, Ce- 
dartown, Ga. 

Canadian Amateur Moe Norman, 
Kitchener, Ont 

All- American Open E. L. (Dutch) 
Harrison, St. Louis. 

Ail-American Amateur James His- 
key, Houston, 

Eastern Open Arnold Palmer, La- 

trobe, Pa. 
Western Open Mike Fetchick, 

Mahopac, N. Y. 
North and South Amateur Hillman 

Robbins, Memphis. 

Trans-Mississippi Charles Coe, Okla- 
homa City. 

N. C. A. A. Rick Jones, Ohio State. 
N. C. A. A. Team University of 

National Junior Harlan Stevenson, 

Long Beach, Calif. 
National Public Links Junie Bux- 

baum, Memphis. 


Curtis Cup Great Britain. 
National Amateur Marlene Stewart, 

Fonthill, Ont 
National Open Mrs. Kathy Cornelius, 

Lake Worth, Fla. 
British Amateur Wiffi Smith, Orange, 

World Pro (Tarn O'Shanter) Mrs. 

Marlene Bauer Hagge, Asheville, 

N. C 
World Amateur (Tarn O'Shanter) 

Anne Richardson, Columbus, Ohio, 
All- American Open Louise Suggs, 

Sea Island, Ga. 
All- American Amateur Wanda 

Sanches, Baton Rouge, La- 
North and South Marlene Stewart 
Western Amateur Aim Quast, Ev- 
erett, Wash. 

Western Open Beverly Hanson, Ap- 
ple Valley, Calif. 
Canadian Amateur Open Marlene 

Southern Amateur Mary Ann 

Downey, Baltimore. 
Trans-Mississippi Wiffi Smith. 
Metropolitan Amateur Judy 

Titleholders Louise Suggs, 


Champions of 1956 

Eastern Amateur Mrs. Norman 
Woolworth, Darien, Conn. 

United States Junior JoAnne Gunder- 
son, Seattle. 

U. S. Intercollegiate Marlene Stew- 

United States Seniors Mrs. Harrison 
Flippen, Ardmore, Pa, 

National A. A. U, Champions 

All-American John Beckner, Los 

Angeles Turners. 
Free Exercise Chick Cicio, Florida 

State Gymkana. 
Horizontal Bar Abie Grossfield, 

Champaign, 111. 
Tumbling James H. Sebbo, Jersey 

City Department of Recreation. 
Long Horse Charles O. Simms, Los 

Trampoline Ronald Munn, Amarillo, 

Side Horse Joseph Kotys, Cleveland 

Swiss Turners. 
Parallel Bars John Beckner. 
Still Rings Richard Beckner, Los 

Angeles Turners. 

Rope Climb Robert Manning, Re- 
seda, Calif. 
Swinging Rings Fred Hoerner, U. S. 

Naval Academy. 

National Collegiate Champions 

All- Around Don Tonry, Illinois. 

Flying Rings Fred Hoerner. 

Free Exercise Jamile Ashmore, Flor- 
ida State. 

Horizontal Bar Ronnie Amster, 
Florida State. 

Parallel Bars Armando Vega, Penn. 

Rope Climb Phil Mullen, Penn. 

Side Horse Jim Brown, Los Angeles 

Trampoline Don Harper, Ohio State. 
Tumbling Dan Lirot, Illinois. 
Team Illinois. 

National A. A. U. Champions 


Singles Jim Jacobs, Los Angeles. 
Doubles John Sloan and Phil Collins, 


Singles Harold Hanft, New York. 
Doubles Victor Hershkowitz and 
Artie Locker, New York. 

U. S. Association Champions 

Singles Jim Jacobs. 
Doubles Sam Haber and Ken Schnei- 
der, Chicago. 


Mile Tracks 

2- Year-Old Pacer Torpid. 
2- Year-Old Trotter Demon Rum and 

Flicka Frost (tie). 
3-Year-Old Pacer Flaming Arrow 

and Gold Worthy (tie). 
3- Year-Old Trotter Nimble Colby. 
Aged Pacer Dottie's Pick. 
Aged Trotter Galophone and Prince 

Victor (tie). 

Half-Mile Tracks 
2- Year-Old Pacer Good Counsel. 
2- Year-Old Trotter Rhonda Hanover. 
3- Year-Old Pacer Noble Adios. 
3- Year-Old Trotter Egyptian Prin- 

Aged Pacer Hillsota. 
Aged Trotter Galophone. 

Other Champions 
Leading Money- Winner Adios 

Champions of 1956 


Leading Driver William R. Haugh- 


Stanley Cup Montreal Canadians. 

National League Montreal Canadiens. 

International League Cincinnati 
(regular season). 

U. S. Amateur (senior) Portage 
Lake Hockey Club, Hancock, Mich. 

U. S. Amateur (junior) ^Arrow- 
smiths, Detroit. 

Allan Cup Vernon Canadians. 

Memorial Cup Toronto Marlboros. 


National Collegiate Michigan, 
Pentagonal League Harvard. 
Canadian Toronto. 

T. R. A. Champions 

American Champion Swaps. 
Handicap Champion Swaps. 
Handicap Filly or Mare Blue Spark- 

3- Year-Old Colt Needles. 
3-Year-Old Filly Doubledogdare. 
2- Year-Old Colt Barbizon. 
2- Year-Old Filly Roman ita. 
Steeplechaser Shipboard. 

Other Champions 

Money- Winning Owner Calumet 


Money- Winning Horse Needles. 
Trainer (winners saddled) V. R- 

Jockey (winners ridden) William 



World Champions 
Men Ted Allen, Boulder, Colo, 

Women Miss Vicki Chapelle, Port- 
land, Ore. 

National Horse Show Champions 

International Individual Champion- 
ship Trophy Lieut William A. 

Ringrose, Ireland, with gn g., Bal- 

International Perpetual Trophy 

( Team) Mexico. 
Open Jumper Mr. and Mrs. Bernie 

Mann's gr. g., Riviera Wonder, Port 

Washington, L. I. 
Conformation Hunter Chinquapin 

Farm's gr. g., Silverminer, Tryon, 

N. C. 
Working Hunter Fairview Farm's 

b. g., Bronze Wing, Greenwich, 

Green Conformation Hunter Mr, and 

Mrs. John S. Pettibone's br. g., Duke 

of Paeonian, Middleburg, Va, 
National Horse Show Equitation 

(Good Hands) Luann Beach, La. 

Jolla, Calif. 
A. S. P. C. A. Equitation. (Maclay 

Trophy) Barbara Friedman, 

Larchmont, N. Y. 
A. H. S. A. Medal (Hunter Seat) 

Michael Page, Briardiff, N. Y. 
A. H. S. A. Medal (Saddle Seat) 

Luann Beach. 
Three-Gaited Grand Delaine Farm's 

b. g., Foolish Notion, Morton Grove, 

Five-Gaited Grand Delaine Farm's b. 

m., Something Wonderful, Morton 

Grove, 111. 
Fine Harness Bruce H. Seabright's 

ch. g., Wild Sensation, Bridgeport, 

Hackney Pony Dodge Stables' b. m., 

Cora's Mite, Rochester, Mich. 

294 Champions of 1956 


World Champions 

Men Hayes Alan Jenkins, United 


Women Carol Heiss, United States. 
Pairs Pamela Weight and Paul 

Thomas, England. 
Dance Pamela Weight and Paul 


United States Champions 

Men Hayes Alan Jenkins, Colorado 
Spring's, Colo. 

Women Tenley Albright, Newton 
Center, Mass. 

Pairs Carole Ann Armaca and Ro- 
bin Greiner, Berkeley, Calif. 

Gold Dance Roland Junzo and Joan 
Zamboni, Paramount, Calif. 

Silver Dance Charles Phillip Jr. and 
Aileen Kahre, Berkeley, Calif. 


World Champions 
Men Oleg- Goncharenko, Russia. 
Women Sofia Kondakova, Russia. 

United States Champions 

Men's Outdoor Ken Bartholomew, 

Women's Outdoor Pat Gibson, Madi- 
son, Wis. 

Men's Indoor Kenneth LeBel, Lake 
Placid, N. Y. 

Women's Indoor Mickey Finch, New 

North American Champions 

Men's Outdoor Ken Bartholomew. 
Women's Outdoor Pat Gibson. 
Men's Indoor Kenneth LeBel. 
Women's Indoor Pat Underbill, Daw- 
son Creek, B. C. 

U. S. Open Mt. Washington Club, 


U. S. Intercollegiate Maryland. 
North-South Game South, 


U. S. Individual Howard Smith, 
Southern California Striders. 


Gold Cup Miss Thriftway, owned 

by Willard E. Rhodes, driven by Bill 

Harmsworth (British International) 

Trophy Shanty I, owned by Wil- 
liam T. Waggoner, driven by Lieut 

Col. Russell Schleeh. 
President's CupMiss Thriftway. 
Silver Cup Miss U. S. II, owned 

and driven by George Simon, 
Detroit Memorial Such Crust III, 

owned by Jack S chafer. 
Maple Leaf My Sweetie Dora, owned 

by Horace E. Dodge. 
International Cup Miss U. S. I, 

owned and driven by George Simon. 
Governor's Trophy (Indiana) Miss 

U. S. I. 

Seafair Trophy Shanty I. 
Mapes Gold Cup Shanty I. 
International Boundary Trophy Gale 

VI, owned by Joseph A. Schoe- 

William Rogers Memorial Hawaii 

Kai III, owned by Edgar Kaiser. 
Sahara Cup Hawaii Kai III. 
High Point Champion for Unlimiteds 

Shanty I. 
Baker Palladium Trophy Wa Wa 

Too, owned by William Ritner Sr. 
Imperial Gold Cup Wildcatter, owned 

by B. G. Bartlett 

Champions of 1956 



National Outdoor Champions 

Open Brandywine, Kennett Square, 


20-Goal Solo Cup Brandywine. 
12-Goal Oak Brook Solo Cup, Hins- 


Handicap Selma- Alabama. 
Inter-Circut Midland, Lamesa, Tex. 

Indoor Champions 

National Senior Squadron A, New- 

National 12-Goal Huntington, L. I. 
National Intercollegiate Cornell. 
Sherman Memorial Huntington. 


World Open Geoffrey W. T. Atkins, 

National Singles Geoffrey W. T. At- 

National Amateur Geoffrey W. T. 

National Doubles Charles and Stanley 
Pearson, Philadelphia. 

Tuxedo Gold Racquet Geoffrey W. 
T. Atkins. 

United States Champions 

Single Sculls Jack Kelly Jr., Vesper 
B. C, Philadelphia. 

Association Single Sculls William 
Reimann, Undine B. C, Philadel- 

Double Sculls Bernard CosteUo Jr. 
and James Gardiner, Detroit B. C. 

Quadruple Sculls New York A. C. 

Pair-Oared Shell With Coxswain- 
Stanford (Calif.) Crew Association. 

Pair-Oared Shell Without Coxswain 

Eight-Oared Shell Yale. 

Intermediate Eight-Oared Shell De- 
troit B. C. 

150-Pound Single Sculls James 
Barker, Undine B. C. 

Four-Oared Shell With Coxswain- 
West Side Reserves, Buffalo. 

Four-Oared Shell Without Coxswain 
Detroit B. C. 

Team Detroit B. C 

I. R. A. Varsity Cornell 
Eastern Association Cornell. 
Adams Cup Harvard, 
Blackwell Cup Yale. 
Carnegie Cup Yale. 
Childs Cups Princeton, 
Compton Cup Princeton, 
Dad Vail Trophy La Salle. 
Oxford- Cambridge Cambridge. 
Eastern Association Lightweight 

United States Champions 

Small-Bore J. Kenneth Johnson, 

Washington, Pa. 
High Power (Match) Sgt 1/c Lloyd 

G. Crow Jr., U. S. Army. 
High Power (Service) Sgt James 

E. Hill, U. S. Marine Corps, 
Women's Small-BoreViola Pollum, 

Brookville, Pa. 
Women's High-Power (Match) 

Marlene E. Bellinger, Seattle. 
Women's High- Power (Service) 

Ruth L Sawyer, Dayton, Ohio. 

Service Master Sgt Huelet Benner, 

U. S. Army. 
Women Mrs. Gertrude Backstrom, 

Hoquiam, Wash. 


Champions of 1956 

Civilian Richard C. Amundsen, Roy, 

Police Presley A. O'Gren. U. S. 

Border Patrol. 


Grand American Handicap Mr. C. 
W. Brown, Dayton, Ohio. 

Women's Grand American Handicap 
Mrs. Lewis R. Wolf, Philadelphia. 

North American Clay Targets Dan 
Orlich, Reno, Nev. 

Women's North American Clay Tar- 
gets Mrs. Iva Jarvis, Phillipsburg, 


All- Around Titus Harris Jr., Galves- 
ton, Tex. 

Women's Ail-Around Mrs. Leon 
Mandel, Chicago. 

All-Gauge Jack Horner, San Fran- 
cisco, Calif. 

Women's All-Gauge Mrs. Leon Man- 

Industry Ail-Around Fred D. Missil- 
dine, Sea Island, Ga. 

Industry All-Gauge Fred D. Missil- 

Champion of Champions K. L. Pen- 
dergras, Jacksonville, Fla. 

United States Champions 

Jumping Keith Zuehlke, Eau Claire, 

Downhill William Woods, Manches- 
ter Center, Vt. 

Slalom Thomas Corcoran, Westfield, 
N. J. 

18-Kilometer Cross- Country Mack 
Miller, U. S. Army. 

Alpine Combined William Woods. 

Giant Slalom Thomas Corcoran. 

Women's Downhill Katherine (Re- 
nie) Cox, Port Leyden, N. Y. 

Women's Slalom Sally Deaver, 

Whitemarsh, Pa. 
Women's Alpine Combined Katherine 

(Renie) Cox. 

National Collegiate Champions 
Jumping William Olson, Denver. 
Downhill Walt Taulbee, Washing- 

Slalom Chiharu Igaya, Dartmouth. 
Cross-CountryErik Berggren, Idaho. 
Alpine Combined Chiharu Igaya. 
Nordic Combined Erik Berggren. 
Team Denver. 


National Challenge Cup Harmarville 

Hurricanes, Pittsburgh. 
National Amateur Cup Kutis S. C, 

St. Louis. 
National Junior Cup St Engelbert 

S. C, St. Louis. 

Lewis Cup Philadelphia Uhriks. 
American League Philadelphia 


Amateur Association 

Men The Clearwater (Fla.) Bomb- 

Women The Orange (Calif.) Lion- 


Lapham Trophy (men) United 

Wolf-Noel Cup (women) England. 

National Champions 

Open Hashim Khan, Pakistan. 

Amateur G. Diehl Mateer Jr., Phila- 

Singles G. Diehl Mateer Jr. 

Women's Singles Mrs. W. Pepper 
Constable Jr., Princeton, N. J. 

Champions of 1956 


Doubles James M. Ethridge 3d and 
Carl Badger, New York. 

Women's Doubles Mrs. Charles Wet- 
zel and Mrs. H. L. G. Clement, 

Professional Mahmoud Abdel Karim, 

Veterans' Germain G. Glidden, Nor- 
walk, Conn. 

Intercollegiate Ben Heckscher, Har- 

Intercollegiate Team Harvard 


National Singles H. Robert Reeve, 

New York. 
National Veterans' J. Lenox Porter, 

New York 


Men's National Senior Outdoor 

100-Meter Free-StyleDick Hanley, 

Ann Arbor, Mich. 
200-Meter Free-StyleBill Woolsey, 

400-Meter Free- Style George Breen, 

Buffalo (N. Y.) A. C 
1,500-Meter Free-StyleGeorge 

100-Meter Back-Stroke Yoshi Oya- 

kawa, Cincinnati Coca Cola, 
200-Meter Back Stroke Frank Mc- 

Kinney, Indianapolis A. C. 
100-Meter Butterfly Al Wiggins, 

200-Meter Butterfly Bill Yorzyk, 

New Haven. 
100-Meter Breast-StrokeBob 

Hughes, Santa Monica, Calil 
200-Meter Breast-StrokeDick Fad- 
gen, North Carolina A- C. 
400-Meter Medley Bill Yorzyk 
400-Meter Medley Relay New Haven 

S. C 

Three-Meter Dive Bob Clotworthy 

New York A. C 
Ten-Meter Dive Gary Tobian, Los 

Angeles A. C. 
Team New Haven S. C. 
Long Distance George Breen. 
Long Distance Team Huntington 

(Ind.) Y. M. C. A. 

Men's National Senior Indoor 

100- Yard Free-StyleRex Aubrey, 

New Haven S. C. 

220- Yard Free- Style Dick Hanley. 
440- Yard Free Style George Breen. 
1,500-Meter Free-StyleGeorge 


100-Yard Back-Stroke Al Wiggins. 
220-Yard Back-Stroke Frank Mc- 


100- Yard Butterfly Al Wiggins, 
220- Yard Butterfly Jiro Nagasawa, 

100- Yard Breast Stroke Donald 

Kutyna, Army. 

220- Yard Breast-StrokeDick Fad- 
400- Yard Individual Medley Tim 

Jecko, New Haven S. C 
400- Yard Free-Style Relay New 

Haven S. C. 

One-Meter Dive Bob Clotworthy. 
Three-Meter Dive Don Harper, 

Columbus, Ohio. 
Team North Carolina A. C 

Women's National Outdoor Champions 

100-Meter Free- Style Wanda 
Werner, Walter Reed S. C, Wash- 

400-Meter Free- Sty le Marley 
Shriver, Los Angeles A. C. 

800-Meter Free- Style Sylvia Rtiuska, 
Berkeley (Calif.) Y. W. C A. 

1,500-Meter Free-StyleCarolyn 
Green, Fort Lauderdale (Fla.) S. A. 


Champions of 1956 

100-Meter Back- Stroke Carin Cone, 

Ridgewood, N. J. 

200-Meter Back-Stroke Carin Cone. 
100-Meter Butterfly Shelley Mann, 

Walter Reed S. C. 
200-Meter Butterfly Shelley Mann. 
100-Meter Breast- Stroke Mary Jane 

Sears, Walter Reed S. C 
200-Meter Breast- Stroke Mary Jane 

400-Meter Individual MedleyShelley 

400-Meter Medley Relay Walter 

Reed S. C 
800-Meter Free-Style Relay Walter 

Reed S. C 
One-Meter Dive Mrs. Pat McCor- 

mick, Los Angeles A. C. 
Three-Meter DiveMrs. Pat Mc- 


Ten-Meter DiveMrs. Pat McCor- 

National Collegiate Champions 

50- Yard Free- Style Rex Aubrey, 

Yale and Robin Moore, Stanford 

100- Yard Free-Style Al Kuhn, 

220-Yard Free- Style Bill Woolsey, 


440- Yard Free-StyleBill Woolsey. 
1,500-Meter Free-StyleGeorge 

Breen, Cortland State Teachers. 
100- Yard Back-StrokeLincoln Hur- 

ring, Iowa. 
200- Yard Back- Stroke Lincoln Hur- 


200- Yard Butterfly Dick Fadgen, 
North Carolina State. 

200- Yard Breast-StrokeDick Fad- 

200- Yard Individual Medley Al Wig- 
gins, Ohio State. 

300- Yard Medley Relay Yale. 

400-Yard Free-Style Relay Yale. 

One-Meter Dive Frank Fraunfelter 

Ohio State. 
Three-Meter Dive Don Harper, Ohio 

Team Ohio State. 

World Champions 

Men's Singles Ichiro Ogimura, Ja- 

Women's Singles Tomi Okawa, Ja- 

United States Champions 

Men's Singles Erwin Klein, Los 

Women's Singles Mrs. Leah Neu- 
berger, New York, 

Men's Doubles Erwin Klein and 
Richard Bergmann, England 

Women's Doubles Mrs. Leah Neu- 
berger and Mildred Shahian, Chi- 

Mixed Doubles Mrs. Leah Neuberger 
and Sol Schiff, New York 


Davis Cup Australia, 
Wightman Cup (women) United 

Wimbledon Champions 

Men's Singles Lewis Hoad, Australia. 
Women's Singles Shirley Fry, United 

Men's Doubles Lewis Hoad and 

Kenneth Rosewall, Australia, 
Women's Doubles Althea Gibson, 

United States, and Angela Buxton, 

Mixed Doubles Victor Seixas and 

Shirley Fry, United States. 

United States Outdoor Champions 
Men's Singles Kenneth Rosewall. 
Women's Singles Shirley Fry, Akron, 


Champions of 1956 

Men's Doubles Lewis Hoad and 
Kenneth Rosewall. 

Women's Doubles Louise Brough, 
Beverly Hills, Calif., and Mrs. 
Margaret Osborne duPont, Wilming- 
ton, Del. 

Mixed Doubles Mrs. Margaret 
Osborne duPont and Kenneth 



Men's Singles Herbie Flam, Beverly 

Hills, Calif. 

Women's Singles Shirley Fry. 
Men's Doubles Francisco Contreras, 

Mexico, and Alejandro Olmedo, 

Women's Doubles Shirley Fry and 

Mrs. Dorothy H. Knode, Forest 

Hills, N. Y. 


Singles Alejandro Olmedo, Univer- 
sity of Southern California. 

Doubles Francisco Contreras and 
Alejandro Olmedo, U. S. C. 

Team U. C L. A, 

United States Indoor Champions 

Men's Singles Ulf Schmid^ Sweden. 

Women's Singles Lois Felix, 
Meriden, Conn. 

Men's Doubles Sam Giammalva, 
Houston, and Victor Seixas, 

Women's Doubles Lois Felix and 
Katherine Hubbell, Conway, N. H. 

Mixed Doubles Ruth Jeffery, Mel- 
rose, Mass., and Dever Hobbs, 
Providence, R. I. 


Men's National Senior 

Outdoor Champions 
100-Meter Dash Bobby Morrow, 
Abilene Christian. 

200-Meter Dash Thane Baker, U. S. 

Air Force. 
400-Meter Dash Tom Courtney, New 

York A. C. 

800-Meter Run Arnold Sowell, Uni- 
versity of Pittsburgh, 
1,500-Meter Run Jerome Walters, 

S. C. Striders. 
5,000-Meter Run Dick Hart, 

Collegiate Track and Field Club, 

10,000-Meter Run Max Truex, Los 

Angeles A. C. 
110-Meter High Hurdles Lee 

Calhoun, North Carolina College. 
200-Meter Low Hurdles Charles 

Pratt, N. Y. Pioneer CIulx 
400-Meter Hurdles Glenn Davis, 

Ohio State. 
3,000-Meter Steeplechase Horace 

Ashenfelter, New York A. C 
3,000-Meter Walk Henry Laskau, 92d 

Street Y. M. H. A., New York 
Broad Jump Ernie Shelby, Pierce 

Junior College, Calif. 
High Jump Charles Dumas, Compton 

College, Calif. 
Hop, Step and Jump Willie Hallie, 

U. S. Army. 
Pole Vault Bob Richards, Los 

Angeles A. C. 
Hammer Throw Harold Connolly, 

Boston A. A. 
Shot-Put Ken Bantum, N. Y. Pioneer 

56-Pound Weight Throw Bob 

Backus, New York A. C. 
Discus Throw Ron Drummond, Los 

Angeles A. C. 

Javelin Throw Cy Young, San Fran- 
cisco Olympic Club. 
Team New York A. C. 
Decathlon Rafer Johnson, U. C L. A- 
AH-Aroond Charles Stevenson, New 

York A. C. 


Champions of 1956 

Marathon John J. Kelley, Boston 

A. A. 
440- Yard RelayEast York Track 

Club, Toronto. 

One-Mile Relay Pioneer Club. 
One-and-^-Mile Relay University of 

Chicago Track Cub. 
10-Kilometer Walk Henry H. 

15-Kilometer Walk Henry H. 

20-Kilometer Walk Alex Oakley, 

Gladstone A. G, Toronto. 
25-Kilometer Walk Henry H. 

30-Kilometer Walk Capt. Adolph 

Weinacker, U. S. Air Force. 
35-Kilometer Walk Capt. Adolph 

40-Kilometer Walk Capt. Adolph 

50-Kilometer Walk Capt Adolph 

15-Kilometer Run Rudy Mendez, 

N. Y. Pioneer Club. 
20-Kilometer Run John J. Kelley. 
25-Kilometer Run John J. Kelley. 
30-Kilometer Run Ted Corbitt, N. Y. 

Pioneer Club. 

Men's National Senior 
Indoor Champions 

60- Yard Dash John R. Haines, U. of 

60- Yard High Hurdles Lee Calhoun. 

600- Yard Run Louis Jones, N. Y. 
Pioneer Club. 

One-Mile Run Ron Delany, 

Three-Mile Run Horace Ashenfelter. 

One-Mile Walk Henry Laskau. 

Sprint Medley Relay Villanova. 

One-Mile Relay Pioneer Club. 

Two-Mile Relay Syracuse University. 

Broad Jump Roy Range, Los Angeles. 

High Jump Ernie Shelton, Los An- 
geles A. C. 

Pole Vault Bob Richards. 
Shot-PutParry O'Brien, U. S. Air 


35-Pound Weight Bob Backus. 
Team Pioneer Club. 

National Collegiate Champions 

100-Meter Dash Bobby Morrow. 
200-Meter Dash Bobby Morrow. 
400-Meter Dash J. W. Mashburn, 

Oklahoma A. and M. 
800-Meter Run Arnold Sowell. 
1,500-Meter Run Ron Delany. 
5,000-Meter Run Bill Dellinger, 

110-Meter High Hurdles Lee 

3,000-Meter Steeplechase Henry 

Kennedy, Michigan State. 
400-Meter Hurdles Aubrey Lewis, 

Notre Dame. 

Broad Jump Greg Bell, Indiana. 
High Jump Phil Reavis, Villanova, 

Bob Lang, Missouri, and Nick Dyer, 
U. C L, A. 
Pole Vault Bob Gutowski, Occidental, 

and Jim Graham, Oklahoma 

A. and M. 

Discus Ron Drummond, U. C. L. A. 
Shot-Put Ken Bantum, Manhattan. 
Hammer Throw Bill McWilliams, 


Javelin Phil Conley, California Insti- 
tute of Technology. 
Hop, Step and JumpBill Sharpe, 

West Chester (Pa.) State Teachers. 
Team U. C. L, A. 

Intercollegiate A. A. A. A. Outdoor 

100-Yard Dash Herb Carper, Pitts- 

220- Yard Dash John Haines, 
440- Yard Dash John Haines. 
880- Yard Dash Arnold Sowell. 
One-Mile Run Ron Delany. 

Champions of 1956 


Two-Mile RunAlex Breckenridge, 

120- Yard Hurdles Rod Perry, Perm 

220- Yard HurdlesVictor Gavin, La 


One-Mile Relay Villanova, 
Broad Jump Len Moore, Manhattan. 
High Jump Phil Reavis, Viilanova. 
Pole Vault Don Bragg, Villanova. 
Shot-PutKen Bantum, 
Hammer Throw Bill McWilliams 

and Al Hall, Cornell. 
Discus Throw Art Silver, Harvard. 
Javelin Throw Bill Alley, Syracuse, 
Team Manhattan. 

Open Hollywood (Calif.) Y. M, C. A. 

Y. M. C. A. Hollywood (Calif.) 


\. A. U- Houston (Tex.) Y. M. C A. 
Collegiate U. C L. A. 

A. A. XL Champions 

Outdoor New York A. C, New York 
Indoor Illinois A, C., Chicago. 

National A. A, U. Champions 

123H-Pound Charles Vinci, York 

(Pa.) B. C. 
13254-Pound Isaac Berger, New 

14834-Pound Joe Pitman, York 

(Pa.) B. C 
165^-Pound Clement Warner, 

Bethpage, L. I. 
18124-Pound Jim George, Akron, 

19854-Potind Clyde Emrich, York 

(Pa.) B. C 
Heavyweight Paul Anderson, Toccoa, 



National A. A, U. Free Style 

114.5-Pound Richard Delgado, 

Sooner A. C, Norman, Okla. 
125.5-Pound Bill Carter, Tulsa 

Y. M. C. A. 
136.5-Pound Alan Rice, New York 

147.5-Pound Tommy Evans, Tulsa 

Y. M. C A. 
160.5-Pound Bill Fischer, Sooner 


174-Pound Dan Hodge, Sooner A- C 
191-Pound Peter Hodge, U. S. Navy. 
Heavyweight Bill Kerslake, 

Team Sooner A. C. 

National Collegiate Champions 
115-Pound Terrance McCann, Iowa, 
123-Pound Ed Peery, Pittsburgh. 
130-Potmd Myron Roderick, Okla- 
homa A. & M. 
137-Po-und Jim Sinadionos, Michigan 


147-Pound Ed Eichelberger, Lehigh. 
157-Pound Larry Ten Pas, Illinois. 
167-Pound Ed DeWitt, Pittsburgh, 
177- Pound Dan Hodge, Oklahoma, 
191-Pound Ken Leuer, Iowa, 
Heavyweight Gordon Roesler, Okla- 
Team Oklahoma A. & M. 

Distance Races 
Newport to Bermuda Carletcm 

Mitchell's yawl, Finisterre, 

Southern Ocean Racing Conference 

Los Angeles to Tahiti Bill Sturgis' 

yawl, Jada, San Marino, Calif. 
Chicago to Mackinac, Mich. Nick 

Geib's yawl, Fleetwood, Chicago. 


Champions of 1956 

Port Huron to Mackinac Joe Schoen- 
dorf Jr.'s sloop, Gypsy, Milwaukee. 

Stamford to Vineyard Walter H. 
Wheeler's yawl, Cotton Blossom IV, 
Stamford, Conn. 

North American 

Adams Trophy (women) Mrs. Glen 
Lattimore, Fort Worth, Tex. 

Mallory Cup (men) Ted Hood, 
Marblehead, Mass. 

Sears Cup (juniors) Alan Holt, 


World Star Agostino Straulino; 

North American Star Howard Lip- 
pincott, Elk River, N. J. 

National Snipe Clark King, Los An- 

World Flying Dutchman Rolf Mulka, 
Hamburg, Germany. 

Six-Meter North American Bill 

Gooderham, Toronto, with Buzzy 

Six-Meter Seawanhaka Cup Bill 

Gooderham, with Titia. 
Six-Meter Team Canada. 
International One-Design Skoal 

Trophy Manhasset Bay 
International One-Design Amorita Cup 




BasketballUnited States 
Water Polo Hungary 
Soccer Russia 
Field Hockey India 
Ice Hockey Russia 

Two- Man 

Italy (Lamberto Dalla Costa, G. 




Flyweight Terry Spinks, Great 

Bantamweight Wolfgang Behrendt, 

Featherweight Vladimir Safronov, 

Lightweight Dick McTaggart, Great 

Light welterweight Vladimir 

Enguibarian, Russia 

Welterweight Nicolae Linca, 

Light middleweight Laszlo Papp, 

Middleweight Guennaddi Chatkov, 

Light heavyweight James Boyd, U. S. 

Heavyweight Pete Rademacher, 


10,000-meter Canadian pairs Pavel 
Kharine, Gratsian Botev, Russia 

10,000-meter Canadian singles Leon 
Rottman, Romania 

10,000-meter kayak singles Gert 
Fredriksson, Sweden 

10,000-meter kayak pairs Janos 
Uranyi, Laszlo Fabian, Hungary 

1,000-meter Canadian singles Rott- 
man, Romania 

1,000-meter Canadian pairs Alexe 
Dumitri, Simion Ismailtiuc, Ro- 

1,000-meter kayak singles 
Frederiksson, Sweden 

1,000-meter kayak pairs Michel 

Champions of 1956 303 

Scheuer, Mrfnrad Miltenberger, Ger- GYMNASTICS WOMEN 


Women's 500-meter kayak singles 
Elisaveta Dementieva, Russia 


4,000-meter team pursuit Italy 

1,000-meter time trial Leandro Fag- 
gin, Italy 

1,000-meter sprint Michel Rousseau, 

2,000-meter tandem Ian Browne, 
Tony Marchant, Australia 

Road race, individual Ercole Baldini, 

Road race, team France 


Team foils Italy 

Individual foils Christian D'Oriola, 


Team saber Hungary 
Individual saber Rudolf Karpati, 

Team epee Italy 

Individual epee Carlo Pavesi, Italy 
Women's foils Gillian Sheen, Great 



Free standing Valentine Mouratov, 


Still rings Albert Azarian, Russia 
Side horse vaulting (tie) Valentine 

Mouratov, Russia; Helmuth Batuz, 


Horizontal bars Takashi Ono, Japan 
Pommelled horse Boris Chakaline, 

Parallel bars Viktor Tchoukartne, 

Combined exercises Viktor 

Tchoukarine, Russia 
Men's team Russia 

Free standing (tie) Larisa Latynina, 

Russia; Agnes Keleti, Hungary 
Side horse vaulting Latynina, Russia 
Beam exercises Keleti, Hungary 
Parallel bars Keleti, Hungary 
Combined exercises Latynina, Russia 
Team drill Hungary 
Women's team Russia 

Team Russia 
Individual Lars Hall, Sweden 


Eights United States (Yale Univer- 

Pairs without coxswain U. S., Duvall 
Hecht and James Fifer 

Pairs with coxswain U. S., Art 
Ayrault, Conn Findlay and Kurt 

Single sculls Viktor Ivanhov, Russia 

Double sculls Jurij Tjukalov, 
Alexandere Berkutov, Russia 

Fours without coxswain Canada 

Fours with coxswain Italy 


Clay pigeon Galliano Rossini, Italy 
3,000-meter free rifle Vsailii Borossor, 


Free pistol Pentti Linnosvuo, Finland 
Smallbore rifle three positions 

Anatolii Bogdonov, Russia 
Smallbore rifle prone Gerald 

Ouellette, Canada 
Running deer Vitalii Romanenko, 

Silhouette Steffan Petrescu, Romania. 

Men's 40-kilometer cross-country relay 


Men's downhill Tool Sailer, Austria 
Women's special slalom Rene 

Colliard, Switzerland 


Champions of 1956 

Women's giant slalom Ossi Reichert, 

Women's 10-kilometer cross-country 

Ljubov Kozyreva, Russia 
Men's 30-kilometer cross-country 

Veiko Vakulinen, Finland 
Men's 15-kilometer cross-country 

Hallgeir Brenden, Norway 
Men's giant slalom Toni Sailer, 

Men's special slalom Toni Sailer, 

Men's Nordic combined Sverre 

Sterersen, Norway 
Women's downhill Madeleine 

Berthod, Switzerland 
Women's 15-kilometer relay Finland 
50-kilometer Sixten Jernberg, 


Men's jumping Aniti Hyvarinen, Fin- 
land - 


500 meters Eugenly Grishin, Russia 
1,500 meters Eugenly Grishin, Russia 
5,000 meters Boris Chilkov, Russia 
10,000 meters Sigge Ericsson, Sweden 

Hayes Alan Jenkins, United States 

Tenley Albright, United States 


Elisabeth Schwarz and Kurt Oppelt, 


100 meter freestyle Jon Henricks, 

400 meter freestyle Murray Rose, 

1,500 meter freestyle Murray Rose, 

200 meter butterfly Bill Yorzyk, U. S. 

100 meter backstroke Davie Thiele, 

200 meter breaststroke Masaru 
Furukawa, Japan 

800 meter freestyle relay Australia 

Springboard diving Robert Clot- 
worthy, U. S. 

Platform diving Joaquin Capilla, 


100 meter butterfly Shelley Mann, 

100 meter backstroke Judy Grinham, 

Great Britain 
100 meter freestyle Dawn Eraser, 

200 meter breaststroke Ursala Happe, 

400 meter freestyle Lorraine Crapp, 


400 meter freestyle relay Australia 
Springboard diving Pat McCormick, 

Platform diving Pat McCormick, 



100 meters Bobby Morrow, U. S. 
200 meters Bobby Morrow, U. S. 
400 meters Charlie Jenkins, U. S. 
800 meters Tom Courtney, U. S. 
1,500 meters Ron Delany, Ireland 
5,000 meters Vladimir Kuts, Russia 
10,000 meters Vladimir Kuts, Russia 
Marathon Alain Mimoun, France 
3,000 meter steeplechase Chris 

Brasher, Great Britain 
110 meter hurdles Lee Calhoun, U. S. 
400 meter hurdles Glenn Davis, U. S. 
Decathlon Milt Campbell, U, S. 
20-kilometer walk Leo Spirine, 

50-Hlometer walk Norman Read, 

New Zealand 
High jump Charles Dumas, U. S. 

Champions of 1956 

Hammer throw Harold Connolly 


Broad jump Greg Bell, U. S. 
Pole Vault Bob Richards, U. S. 
Javelin Egil Danielson, Norway 
Discus Al Oerter, U. S, 
Hop, step, jump Adhemar Da Silva, 


Shot put Parry O'Brien, U. S. 
400 meter relay U. S. (Morrow, 

Thane Baker, Ira Murchison and 

Leamon King) 
1,600 meter relay U. S. (Courtney, 

Jenkins, Jesse Mashburn and Lou 



100 meters Betty Cuthbert, Australia 
200 meters Betty Cuthbert, Australia 
High jump Mildred McDaniel, U. S. 
Discus Olga Fikotova, 

Broad jump Elizabeth Krezesinka, 


Javelin Inessa laounzem, Russia 
80 meter hurdles Shirley Strickland, 


Shot put Tamara Tychkevitch, Russia 
400 meter relay Australia 


Bantamweight Charles Vinci, U. S, 
Featherweight Isaac Berger, U. S. 
Lightweight Igor Rybak, Russia 
Middleweight Fedor Bogdanoevsky, 

Light heavyweight Tommy Kono, 

Middle heavyweight Arkadii 

Vorobiev, Russia 


Heavyweight Paul Anderson, U. S. 



Flyweight Mirian Tsalkalamanidze, 

Bantamweight Mustafa Dagistanli, 


Featherweight Shozo Sasahara, 


Lightweight EmamaK Habibi, Japan 
Welterweight Mitsuo Ikeda, Japan 
Middleweight Nikola Nikolov, 

Light heavyweight Gholam Takhti, 

Heavyweight Hamid Kaplan, Turkey 


Flyweight Nikolai Soloviev, Russia 
Bantamweight Konstantin Vyropaev, 


Featherweight Ratmo Makhien, Fin- 
Lightweight Kyosti Lehtooen, 


Welterweight Mithat Bayrak, Turkey 
Middleweight Vuivi Kartozia, Russia 
Light heavyweight Valentine 

Nikolaev, Russia 

Heavyweight Anatolli Parfenov, 


Star United States, Kathleen, Herb 


Sharpie New Zealand 
5.5 meter Sweden 
Dinghy Finn Denmark 
Dragon Sweden 


(In Alphabetical Order) 

JESSE ABRAMSON (Olympic Shock?) has led off the author's 
section of this anthology since its inception in '44. Born and bred 
in New York City, he has worked at the Herald Tribune sports 
department for over thirty years. His outstanding track coverage 
coupled with his sound boxing and football reporting has been re- 
sponsible for a large personal reading clientele. In '49 and '53 he 
won the prizes for the news coverage awards in "Best Sports 
Stories" and last year he shared that honor. 

BOB BARNET (How to Cover the Derby) is sports editor of the 
Muncie Star in Indiana. He has been with this same paper since his 
graduation from high school. He received his higher education 
from Ball State Teachers College where he indulged in track as his 
extra curricular activity. Served as president of the Indiana Sports- 
writers and Radio Broadcasters Association; co-authored a book 
published in 1956 "Winning High School Basketball" and appeared 
in "Best Sports Stories" in 1951. He is married and the father of 
two children. 

FURMAN BISHER (Do Ye Ken Venturi?) was born in Denton, 
North Carolina. He is now thirty-eight years of age, married and 
has one son. He won the Georgia State sports writing award two 
out of the three years he entered. He came from the Charlotte 
(N. C.) News to the Atlanta Constitution in 1950. This year he 
was made sports editor of the Constitution taking the place of the 
retired Ed Danforth. 

BOB BRACHMAN (The Fabulous Bill Russell) is at present asso- 
ciated with the San Francisco Examiner sports department. 
Twenty-four years ago he started as a city reporter with this same 
paper and in '38 went to the sports desk. He was graduated from 
the University of California and served as a campus correspondent. 
He is married, has four children and "getting nowhere faster than 
Syme can run the 100." However, he's very happy with his sport 

JIMMY BRESLIN (Can Basketball Survive Chamberlin) was 
reared in New York City, Richmond Hill, and basketball seems to 


Who's Who in Best Sports Stones 1957 307 

have been the specialty of his neighborhood. Both Cousy and Mc- 
Guire were neighbors. He is 28 years of age and has been sports- 
writing for nine years. Started with the Long Island Press and 
later went to the Boston Globe. At present he is with the NEA. He 
has sold to Colliers, True, Saturday Evening Post, Sport and Real 
magazines. He writes a daily piece for his news service on any sport 
personality or activity. 

BOB BROEG (A Blow for the Common Man) joined the St. Louis 
Post-Dispatch in 1945. He has worked with the Associated Press in 
Columbia, Mo., Jefferson City, Mo., and Boston. Before joining 
the Marines he put in three months at the St. Louis Times and then 
after his Army stint, joined his present paper. He is a frustrated 
ball player who has adequately compensated by following the St. 
Louis Cardinals. 

J. CAMPBELL BRUCE (Half-Pint in the Big Swim) was born in 
the mining town of Helvetia in 1906. He has been writing for news- 
papers almost 30 years. Most of the time he has been with the San 
Francisco Chronicle. Won the San Francisco Press and Union 
League's first annual award in 1950 for best news story of the year. 
Author of "The Golden Door/' an ironical analysis of our immigra- 
tion policy. He is a director of the California Writer's Club. 

Si BTJRICK (The Lonesome Polo Grounds) is sports editor of 
the Dayton News. He attended the University of Dayton as a pre- 
med,, turned to the newspaper business and since 1930 has covered 
practically every major sports event, including the Kentucky Derby, 
Big Ten and Notre Dame football games. 

BEN BYRD (The Greatest Game) is thirty-one years old and a 
graduate of the University of Tennessee. He saw Navy service in 
World War II and served the last ten years with the Knoxville 
Journal (assistant sports editor since 1950). This is his second 
appearance in "Best Sports Stories." He is married and has two 
children . . . Ricky, 4 and Kathy, 2. 

CARTWRIGHT (All Things Are Normal Again) has been 
the sports editor of the Journal-Every Evening in Wilmington, 
Delaware since 1947. His newspaper career started with the Read- 
ing (Pa.) Times in '33 and he also spent some time with the 
Dayton Herald and the Philadelphia Record. In 1949 he received 
the Headliner's Award as the most consistently outstanding sports 
columnist and in 1955 he received the annual award of the 

308 Who's Who in Best Sports Stories 1957 

Thoroughbred Racing Association. He has appeared several times 
in "Best Sports Stories." 

DAVID CONTON (Jilted for the Bums) was educated at Notre 
Dame and joined the staff of the Chicago Tribune in 1944. Since 
July of 1955 he has conducted the column "In the Wake of the 
News" and has covered many important assignments for the Chi- 
cago Tribune. He also worked on the Las Vegas, N. M. (where he 
was born) Daily-Optic and the South Bend Tribune. 

ALLISON DANZIG (A Grand Slam Triumph) has appeared in all 
of the anthologies of "Best Sports Stories." He won the newspaper 
coverage award in 1950 with his exciting tennis report on the 
Gonzales-Parker semi-final match in the national tennis champion- 
ships. Born in Texas, graduated from Cornell, has authored and 
edited some very fine sports books in addition to being a working 
newspaper man on the sports department of The New York Times 
for almost thirty years. His new book "History of American Foot- 
ball," published in '56, has received some of the finest notices ever 
given to a sports publication. 

JOAN FLYNN DREYSPOOL (Subject: Babe and George), winner 
of the magazine award, began her writing career in a peculiar way. 
She was first a court reporter after learning shorthand and in this 
way developed her "conversation piece" technique. Sports Illus- 
trated has published about eight of them, including interviews with 
Walter Alston, Branch Rickey and Ben Hogan. She was born in 
St. Paul's and migrated to California, where she became a columnist 
on the Hollywood Reporter. She came to New York to cover the 
city for Louella Parsons, then turned to magazine writing and 
stayed with it. In private life she is Mrs. Anthony Dreyspool, wife 
of a cotton textile executive. 

MELVIN DURSLAG (All Golfers Are Mad) has been with the Los 
Angeles Examiner for 18 years. Born in Chicago, graduated from 
the University of Southern California in '43 and entered the Air 
Force. Returned to the Examiner, got married, raised a brood of 
three and supports them all by his varied and excellent magazine 
writings for the Saturday Evening Post, Sports Illustrated and the 
much lamented Colliers (RJ.P.) 

LEN M. ELLIOTT (Think or Sink!), with the Newark News 
since 1925, is one of the better veteran sports writers in the East. 
He started with the Morristown (N. J.) "J ei *seyman/' a local 

Who's Who in Best Sports Stories 1957 309 

daily, advanced to assistant sports editor in '37 and became sports 
editor of the Newark News in '39. Co-authored a couple of sport 
books, "The Nine Bad Shots of Golf" and "Stop that Slice." He is 
making his first appearance in this sports anthology. 

^ BILL FISHER (Beware of Russia) is 28 years of age and this 
piece marks his first appearance in this anthology. At present he is 
a sports writer for the Lancaster New Era and the Lancaster Sun- 
day News. Started newspaper career with the Milton (Pa.) Eve- 
ning Standard where he worked for a year and a half. Spent fifteen 
months in Germany as a corporal, and received his college degree 
from Lebanon Valley College in 1950. 

NELSON FISHER (Proud Swaps) is 47 and developed strange 
affinities boxing and tennis on the disbanded San Diego Sun, 
where he was sports editor. Maureen Connolly became his protege 
and he named her "Little Mo." He is an annual Kentucky Derby 
commuter, a seasoned turf writer, has a full time column and lays 
claim to the fact that as a selector he picked twelve out of fifteen at 
Caliente one Labor Day. 

STANLEY FRANK (Brooklyn's Brainiest Bum) received his bap- 
tism in newspaper work with the New York Post. However, since 
leaving that paper shortly after the Second World War, he has been 
free lancing and has appeared in every major magazine in the coun- 
try. He is a most versatile and prolific writer, who can either ghost 
a best seller for Elsa Maxwell or do a brilliant personality study on 
any of our notable sports figures. 

JOHN B. GILLOOLY (Another Finn Flies) has been with the 
Record-American since 1925, when he began working his way 
through Boston College at 25 cents an inch as the B.C. corre- 
spondent. His dad was also sports editor of the American. He has 
covered a variety of sports and travelled eight years with the Braves 
before they took their safari to Milwaukee. He won the award for 
news coverage in 1955 and again in 1956 for best news-feature 
story in "Best Sports Stories." 

CURLEY GRIEVE (Sinister Sal Mows 'Em Down) has been the 
sports editor of the San Francisco Examiner for the past 15 years. 
He has covered every major sport, including the Olympics, and 
edits a sports column entitled "Sports Parade/' In '24 he was 
graduated from the University of Utah and went to work with Salt 
Lake Tribune, thence to the sports editorship of the Rocky Moun- 

310 Who's Who in Best Sports Stories 1957 

tain News. He moved to the Examiner in '41. Married and the 
father of one child, Vernon David Jr. 

RAY GRODY (And the New Champion . . .) started in the news- 
paper business immediately after graduating high school with the 
now defunct Wisconsin News. He later became associated with the 
Milwaukee Sentinel as a desk man and was named sports editor 
in '46. His specialty is boxing and at present he is also writing a 
column three times a week. He is married and the father of a boy 
and a girl. 

MILT GROSS (The Long Ride Home), winner of this year's 
news-feature award, has been writing sports for the New York 
Post for twenty-one years and for the last six has had his own 
column "Speaking Out" He has contributed many articles to 
national magazines including the Saturday Evening Post, Colliers, 
Sports Illustrated, Argosy, etc. In 1948 he published a book 
"Yankee Doodles" which dealt with the New York Yankees. He 
was graduated from Fordham University in '33 and received his 
M.A. from Columbia a year later. 

RODERICK HAIG-BROWN (The Gamest Fish of All) was born 
in England in 1908, went to British Columbia at 17, got work in a 
logging camp and came to know the trouts and salmons he writes 
about with such authority. He now lives on the Campbell River, 
where he fishes and writes when not acting as juvenile-court judge. 
He has written six books on fishing, one of which, "Saltwater Sum- 
mer," won him the Canadian Governor General's citation for lit- 
erature in 1948. 

BURTON HAWKINS (This Was Slaughter's Day) has been writ- 
ing for the Washington Star since 1933, and has covered the 
Senators since '40, missing two seasons while serving a hitch in the 
Navy. Took leave of absence in '46 to promote Bob Feller's coast- 
to-coast barnstorming trip and wrote Saturday Evening Post story 
on Feller's business activities. Married 19 years and has a 15-year- 
old daughter. Second appearance in "Best Sports Stories/' 

W. C. HEINZ (They "Die" in the Dressing Room) started his 
newspaper career -with the now defunct New York Sun. He earned 
himself four prizes from the volumes of "Best Sports Stories." He 
won outright in 1948, 1950 and 1954 and shared the award in '52. 
He is at present a free lance writer. He is a graduate of Middlebury 
College and served as a war correspondent. Lives in Connecticut. 

Who's Who in Best Sports Stories 1957 311 

^ BOB HUNTER (It's a Brand New Series) attended the Univer- 
sity of Southern California and Southwestern Law School, which 
he left when offered a job as a sportswriter for the Los Angeles 
Examiner in 1933. He covers baseball, college football and basket- 
ball and ^conducts a column for the Examiner called "Bobbin' 
Around/' He has appeared in many of the "Best Sports Stories" 

ROGER KAHN (Oklahoma's Mickey Mantle) was born in Brook- 
lyn twenty-nine years ago and has spent most of his writing stint 
in New York City. He started at the Herald Tribune and became a 
baseball writer in '53, covering the Dodgers. He has contributed to 
all leading national magazines. In '54 he joined Sports Illustrated 
and in '56 he became sports editor of Newsweek. Random House 
is publishing a fishing book on which he collaborated, entitled 

HARRY KECK (The Ox Slays the Butcher) is one of the nation's 
veteran boxing writers. He began writing with the Philadelphia 
Evening Times in 1911 . . . went to the Pittsburgh Post in '14 ... 
sports editor of Pittsburgh Gazette Times in 1919 . . . sports editor 
of the Baltimore American in 1923 and finally became sports editor 
of the Pittsburgh Sun-Telegraph, where he has been ever since. 
This is his second appearance in this series of sports stories. 

CORKY LAMM (The Foregone Conclusion) graduated from De- 
Paul University in 1937. Since then, except for three and a half 
years of Army service, he has been a sports reporter with the An- 
derson (Ind.) Herald, The Indianapolis Star and now with the 
Indianapolis News. Married and father of three. 

JOHN LARDNER (The Happy Egotist) is one of America's great 
sportswriters and perhaps inherited more than a modicum of his 
talent from his dad, the great Ring Lardner. His column in News- 
week always contains a fresh slant on the current sports situation 
and his fine book, "It Beats Working" won him a host of new 

BILL LEISER (It's Becoming a Habit) was born in Kansas, at- 
tended schools in Wisconsin and Idaho and graduated from Stan- 
ford. In San Francisco he wrote for the Examiner and joined the 
Chronicle in '34, where he has remained since. He is the past presi- 
dent of the San Francisco Press Club and also headed the Football 
Writers Association of America. "Best Sports Stories" has in- 
cluded Mr. Leiser seven times in the series. 

312 Who's Who in Best Sports Stories 1957 

FRANKLIN ( WHITEY) LEWIS (Ike's Golf Course) is sports edi- 
tor of the Cleveland Press and certainly one of Cleveland's most 
widely read columnists. He lives in Shaker Heights just outside 
of Cleveland and Purdue University is his Alma Mater. Some of 
his occupations before he became a sportswriter were lifeguard, 
actor and (sotto voce) poet. His fine writings have merited many 
inclusions in "Best Sports Stories." 

TOM MEANY (Is It E = J4MV 2 ?) was born in Brooklyn and 
still lives there. He began his writing career with the Brooklyn 
Eagle, covering high school sports. From 1923 to 1928 he covered 
the Dodgers for the Brooklyn Times and later on for the World- 
Telegram, the Morning Telegraph and the now defunct PM. He 
was a contributing editor for Colliers from 1950 and has written 
for CBS-TV. He has written seven books under his own name and 
ghost-authored two more. He has appeared consistently in the 
"Best Sports Stories" series. 

JACK MURPHY (Of Such Stuff Are Dream (Miles) Made) is 
only 33 and has been a sports editor of the San Diego Union for 
the past five years. Formerly employed by the Tulsa World, Fort 
Worth Star-Telegram and Daily Oklahoma and Times. He was 
born in Tulsa, Oklahoma, saw combat service on Okinawa and also 
served a stint as war correspondent. He has won National Head- 
liner Award for sports columning and this is his third appearance in 
"Best Sports Stories." Married and the father of two children. 

JAMES MURRAY (The Case for the Suffering Fan) is 38 years 
old and did his news writing on the New Haven Register and the 
Los Angeles Examiner. Reported to Time Magazine for work in 
'48 and in '53 he joined Sports Illustrated. He has done a great 
deal of research work on sports personalities and includes Ava 
Gardner among them. His present editors decided that he had 
"logged enough cold hot dogs, warm beers and insolent ushers to 
argue with some feeling the case for the fan." 

PAUL O'NEIL (The Heavyweight Champion) was born in 
Seattle, Washington. He worked on the Star, The Times and the 
Post Intelligencer in that community. At the same time he con- 
tinued as a free lance writer for magazines until Time Inc. asked 
him to take over its Seattle Bureau in '44. Last June he joined the 
staff of Sports Illustrated. He received his education at the Uni- 
versity of Washington, ran the hurdles there and now lives in Rye, 
New York with his family. 

Who's Who in Best Sports Stories 1957 313 

HENRY T. PAXTON (Pro Football Comes Down to Earth) is 
sports editor of the Saturday Evening Post and has been a member 
of its editorial staff since 1942. He became the sports editor in '49 
and writes a major portion of the thirty sports articles that the 
periodical runs each year. He broke in with newspapers in the 
Philadelphia suburbs and wrote for Tide Magazine before coming 
to New York. He is a graduate of Haverford College. 

SHIRLEY POVICH (The Million-to-One-Shot Comes In), win- 
ner of the News-coverage award, was born in Bar Harbor, Maine, 
studied law at Georgetown, turned his back on jurisprudence and 
became a very young sports editor for the Washington Post. For 
the last twenty-five years he has covered every major sports event 
except for a stint as war correspondent. After returning to civilian 
duty he relinquished his sports editorship to devote full time to a 
daily column. He has received the National Headliners Sports 
Writing Award and in '55 was elected National President of the 
Baseball Writers Association of America. 

HOWARD PRESTON (The Trouble With Golf) has been regaling 
Cleveland News readers for nineteen years with his splendid sports 
writing. During the last decade his column has been one of the 
fine features of that paper. He writes two columns, one a general 
essay type, which won him a Newspaper Guild Award in '55 and 
"Man in the Grandstand/' a sports piece. Married, loves all sports, 
had great ambition to be big league ball player . . . now at 44, he 
figures the dream is shot. 

BILL ROBINSON (Down to the Sea in Yachts) is 38 years old 
and the boat editor of the Newark Star-Ledger. He is also syndi- 
cated boat columnist (Power and Sail) for Newhouse Newspapers 
and General Features Inc. He has sailed for thirty years, starting at 
Nantucket. Contributes articles and fiction to various boat and out- 
door magazines. Lives with wife and three children in Rumson, 
N. J. and makes his second appearance in this series of sports 

ART ROSENBAUM (Turf Busman's Holiday) has been with the 
San Francisco Chronicle for more than twenty years. He was ab- 
sent three years on U. S. Maritime Service duty. In addition to his 
coverage he writes a daily column "Overheard" which has appeared 
since 1936. He covered the Olympic Games in London in 1948 and 
Helsinki in 1952. He was the winner of the 1952 news coverage 

314 Who's Who in Best Sports Stories 1957 

award in "Best Sports Stories." He is married and has a teen-age 

HAROLD ROSENTHAL (The Uniquest Job) has been represented 
many times in the "Best Sports Stories" series. He has been a mem- 
ber of the Herald Tribune's sports staff for two decades, with time 
out for a three-year Army hitch. He is one of the better known 
chroniclers of New York major baseball activities, although he also 
handles fencing, handball and track for his readers. He is currently 
assigned to the Yankees, lives in Milford, New Jersey and the 
Weehawken Trust Co. holds his mortgage. 

EARL RUBY (The Delinquent Juvenile Horse) whose splendid 
sports reportage has merited many inclusions in this anthology, 
has been sports editor of the Louisville Courier- Journal for almost 
two decades. Born within five miles of Churchill Downs, he has 
seen every Derby since the age of twelve. The Headliners Award 
in 1945 went to him for writing the "most consistently good" sports 
column in America. He attended the University of Louisville and 
naturally is a Kentucky Colonel, suh ! 

DICK SEAMON (The Whole Story of Pitching) is a native New 
Yorker, born in 1919, and a graduate of Yale University, Class of 
'40. He saw a great deal of flying service in the Pacific and holds 
the rank of Lt. Colonel in Marine Reserve. After the war he in- 
dulged in a variety of reading and editorial chores and in 195 1 came 
to Time magazine, where he wrote for almost every section of the 
periodical. He was named sports editor of Time in 1954. 

DON SELBY (Fidgeter of the Fairways) is with the San Fran- 
cisco Examiner. He has been working for that paper since 1945 
and usually covers the football scene. The golf story that merited 
the inclusion in this book was done when tie Examiner's golf re- 
porter had other newspaper commitments and Mr* Selby took over 
for that one-shot coverage. He was graduated from Stanford and 
worked a couple of years for Uncle Sam as a Naval flyer. 

TOM SH-ER (The Bowl Games) is a native of Jellico, Tenn., in 
the East Tennessee coal fields, finished at the University of Ten- 
nessee in 1931, worked for Associated Press seven years in Nash- 
ville and Chicago, four years with the Chicago Sun. After a three- 
year stint in the U. S. Air Force in World War II he joined the 
Knoxville News-Sentinel. He is a past president of the Football 
Writers Association, author of "Tennessee Volunteers," a history 
of University of Tennessee football and a frequent contributor to 
Saturday Evening Post. 

Who's Who in Best Sports Stories 1957 3 1 5 

WALTER W. (RED) SMITH (Frost on the Punkin' Heads) has 
appeared in all of the editions of the ''Best Sports Stories" and has 
been a three-time winner in the series. He came to the New York 
Herald Tribune as a sports columnist from the Philadelphia 
Record. He worked in St. Louis and Milwaukee after graduating 
from Notre Dame. He is the author of several fine sports books, is 
a prolific magazine writer and lecturer, is married and the father 
of a son and daughter. 

WALTER STEWART (The Day of the Big Game) is a familiar 
name to those who know good sports writing, particularly in the 
South, where he toils for the Commercial Appeal in Memphis as 
sports editor. He was graduated from the University of Illinois, 
saw newspaper service in New York City with the World-Tele- 
gram and came out of the Pacific war theatre a full colonel. He 
covers all areas of sports, particularly boxing. Upon his graduation 
at Illinois he received a commission in the Horse Cavalry. 

AL STUMP (Ordeal of Red Sanders) as a teen ager covered the 
'35 Stanford-Alabama Rose Bowl game for his home-town news- 
paper, the Vancouver, Washington, Columbian. Graduated from 
the University of Washington in "38, and wrote sports for the Port- 
land Oregonian. Entered the service and became a Navy corre- 
spondent in the Pacific. Has free-lanced for the last eight years, and 
travelled all over the world on sports assignments. Married and the 
father of four children. Lives in Santa Barbara. 

JOE WILLIAMS (What They Think About Ford Frick) ma- 
triculated from Memphis and Cleveland newspapers and can be 
found daily in the New York World-Telegram and Sun and other 
Scripps-Howard papers where his droll humor and provocative 
outlook are in evidence on the sports pages. He originated the 
"Coach of the Year Award/* scooped the country on Babe Ruth's 
retirement from the Yanks, was knighted by the Finnish Govern- 
ment for his relief work with the Hoover Commission and was 
knocked out by Johnny Kilbane during a sparring match. 

STANLEY WOODWARD ("The Honorable" Frank Leahy) is the 
sports editor of the Newark Star-Ledger and columnist for the 
other Newhouse papers. Formerly sports editor of the New York 
Herald Tribune and the Miami Daily news. His excellent writing 
has twice won him the E. P. Dutton prizes in this book. He edits 
the annual football book that Dell puts out and has authored his 
own book "Sports Page" (Simon and Schuster) . 

Thirty of the Year's Best Pictures 


CHARLES HOFF, New York Daily News 

HOWARD SWIFT, Des Moines Register 

HY PESKIN, Sports Illustrated 

ARTHUR RICKERBY, United Press Associations 

GEORGE MILLER, New York Journal American, 

HARRY HARRIS, The Associated Press 

BARNEY STEIN, New York Post 

DON ULRICH, Allentoivn Call-Chronicle 

RALPH S CHATTER, United Press Associations 

JAMES K. W. ATHERTON, United Press Associations 

MARION JOHNSON, Atlanta- Journal Constitution 

MONROE D. STROECKER, The Detroit News 

BOB DOTY, Dayton Journal-Herald 

CHARLES KNOBLOCK, The Associated Press 

ED MALONEY, The Associated Press 

DANTE O. TRANQUILLE, Utica Observer-Dispatch 

CLINT GRANT, The Dallas News 

MATHEW ZIMMERMAN, The Associated Press 

ANDY LOPEZ, United Press Associations 

WILLIAM L. SEITER, The Detroit News 

ARTHUR RICKERBY, United Press Associations 

CORKY LAMM, Indianapolis News 

RICHARD MEEK, Sports Illustrated 

JOHN LINDSAY, The Associated Press 

ROY MILLER, United Press Associations 

JOSEPH C. KORDICK, Chicago Sun-Times 

PAUL J. MAGUIRE, Boston Globe 

VINCENT WITEK, Detroit Free Press 

HARRY McGoNiGAL, The Philadelphia Bulletin 

DEAN CONGER, The Denver Post 


CHARLES HOFF, who has been with the New York Daily News 
for 24 years and a photographer for tabloid newspapers for 30, has 
won ten prizes with the photo, "Crossing the Bar/' which earned 
one of the two photo prizes in this year's "Best Sports Stories" 
competition. This is also his seventh consecutive appearance in the 
series. Married and the father of two, he comes from a family of 
photographers and his father was one before him. 

HOWARD SWIFT, whose photo, "Dateline : Saturday Afternoon, 
U.S.A.," shares in the "Best Sports Stories" award, is 34, married, 
father of two and has worked for the Des Moines Register for 6 
years. He has won a few other contests and appeared in this series 
before in 1953. He says photography is his hobby as well as his 
bread and butter. Born and raised in Philadelphia, he went to Des 
Moines after the war and got his first newspaper job with the 

GROSSING THE BAR by Charles Hoff, N. 

! York Dai!} >\eu 

This splendid shot depicts the tremendous effort and grace of Bob Barksdale, 
Morgan State Teachers College high jumper, in his winning effort of 6*9" at Madison 
Square Garden. The lighting contrasts and composition of the photo were Impres- 
sive enough to gain part of the first prize money that this anthology offers. 
1956, New York Daily IJeivs 


CO . *- 















































i interferen 






enough to i 





























by Hy Peskin 

Sports Illustrated 

This picture may look like tbe 
bad dream of a ball player. 
Actually if is a group of young 
mere learning the trade of an 
umpire at Bill McGowan's 
school in Daytona Beach, 
1956, Sports Illustrated 

THE WHOLE STORY by Arthur Rickerby, 

When Don Larsen completed this particular pitch, he made history by hurling the 
first perfect 9 ame in the World Series. The victims were the Dodgers. The score- 
board behind reveals the entire story. 1956, United Press 


"- '-W'l 

^^^^''^r^ wm ^^^^^^^^^^<i^^m^^/'-^^^ ' " 'u*^ 

? *^^wk t * 

' _ , '^r^r* 
HANDSTAND by George Miller, 

New York Journal American 

McMillan of the Reds came up with this vaudeville performance in trying to double 
off the base runner, Gil Hodges of the Brooklyn Dodgers. 

1956, New York Journal American 

PICTURE PLAY by Harry Harris, Assoa 


ociated Press Photos 

When Jim Gilliam bounced to Billy Martin of the New York Yankees the sequence 
caught the fluid motion of Martin's play to nip the Dodger runner at first. 

1956, Associated Press Photos 

.">, i v - * ** f> J*Stl;f* ."N T ' ( 'tt t ' -1. !'*/ * Hf w 4jtJ*^ Of 

INFLUENCING THE DECISION b y B .m^ stein, .v. 

Yorl Post 

Roy Campanella, Dodger catcher is bowled over fay a Piftsburg player at home plate. 
Dascoli has made the decision but one of the Buc's coaches also tries to get in on 

the act with the "safe" sign. 1956, Kew York Post 

LOOK MA, ONE HANOI by Don Ulrich r Allentown (Pa.) 

Scholastic bassbaJI sometimes can produce very humorous incidents as is evinced 
by this shot in which two young hopefuls became embroiled over the possession of 
first base. 1956, Allentown (Pa.) Colt-Chronicle 



by Ralph Schauer 

United Press Associations 

Although Johnnie Logan has 
done his best to upset Roy Mc- 
Millan and thwart the Redlegs 
attempt at a double play his 
efforts were In vain. Ed Mathews 
of the Braves was the player 
who was out at first base, but 
Milwaukee went on to win the 
game anyway 3-2. 
1956, United Press Associations 


by James K. W. 

United Press Associations 

Jim Pyburn of the Baltimore 
Orioles slams into catcher Lou 
Berbers of the Senators but fails 
to score. 

1956, United Press Associations 


by Marion Johnson 

Atlanta Journal- Constjtutio n 
The crucial moment of a football 
game is enacted in this shot as 
assistant coach Wyaft Posey and 
head coach Wally Butts of 
Georgia shoot in two young 
collegians against Miami Uni- 
versity to stem the tide. The 
game ended in a tie 7-7. 
1956, Atlanta Journal- 


by Rolland R. Ranson 

Detroit News 

John Henry Johnson of the San 
Francisco 49ers falls to crash the 
goal fine of the Detroit Lions in 
the dramatic scene at San Fran- 
cisco,. November 6th. 
1956, Detroit .Veu f 


nUoANNAHi by Bob Doty, Dayton Journal Herald 

Hands went high, especially those of the young collegian at the left when this 
touchdown was scored in a football game played in the Middle West. 

1956, Dayton Journal Herald 

IT HAPPENED THIS WAY by Charles Knoblock, 

Associated Press 


Sequence of pictures shows Archie Moore as he is driven to the canvas in the fifth 
round by Floyd Patterson who then became the new heavyweight champion. Referee 
Frank Sikora moves in to count out Moore. 1956, The Associated Press 


by Ed Maloney 

Associated Press 
Rising from a crouch, Edu- 
ardo Lausse of Buenos Aires 
lifts Chicago's Bobby Boyd 
into a most awkward posi- 
tion in the second round of 
their fight in the Chicago 
Stadium. Boyd won a split 
1956, The Associated Press 


by Dante <X 

Utica Observer-Dispatch 
When Carmen Basilio of 
Herkimer New York finally 
dispatched his foe Bobby 
Saxton at Syracuse New 
York, the photographer came 
away with this, gem of the 
new welterweight champion 
in his most emotional scene. 

B1956, Utica Observer 



by Clint Grant, Dallas News 

On the way to the canvas, a stricken fighter is implored by an enthusiastic fan to 
start all over again. This fight to all intents and purposes finished its course as this 
picture was snapped. 1956, Dallas New 



by )Mathew Zimmerman, The Associated 


Three players were sidelined in this donnybrook when the New York Rangers (dark 
uniforms) and the Montreal Canadiens vented their antagonisms at Madison Square 

Garden, Everybody got into the act except the referee. I95<$, The Associated Press 


by Andy Lopez 

United Press Associations 

Lou Fontinato of the New 

York Rangers struggles with 

the referee in order to do 

violence to a Chicago hockey 


1956, United Press 



by William L. Setter 

Detroit News 

When Willie Hartack took 
this bad spill at a Detroit 
race track, there weren't 
many spectators who 
thought that Willie would 
again mount a horse, least 
of all not that afternoon. 
However he did ride again, 
and in the very next race. 
1956, Detroit News 

t . 



United Press 

t " 


by Corky Lamm, Indianapolis News 


Dan Howe of South Side High School, Fort Wayne collapsed after a 
catch Central of Sooth Bend's leader. However all was not in vain 
afterwards, the South Bend team was disqualified for a foul and 
event. 1956, Indianapolis News 


effort to 
e shortly 
won the 


Sports Illustrated 

Yale's great team after it won the Olympic rowing final at Melbourne. 

1956, Sports Illustrated 

FROGMAN FUR60L by John Lindsay, Associate* Press 

Evert great players like Ed Furgol sometimes get into spots where they have fo fake 
off their shoes and play this kind of a shot. Action took place at the United States 
Open in Rochester, New York. 1956, The Associated Press 



by Roy Miller 

United Press Associations 

A Temple player taking no 
chances of fouling his lowan 
opponent keeps his hands 
off, but the resulting Buddha 
symbol made the picture. 
1.956, United Press 


by Jos. C. Kordick 

Chicago Sun-limes 

An unusual shot of a goalie 

flying through the air and 

making this save by fisting 

the ball out of the scoring 


1956, Chicago Sun-Times 


THE LAUREL FITS by Paul J. Maguire, 0^0* 

The Mayor of Boston in this unusual tribute keeps pace with the winner of the 
annual Boston Marathon to bestow this laurel upon his brow. 

1956, The Boston Globe 

ROGKIN' AND ROLLIN' by Vincent Witek, 

II !* 1 **** * J w * ....., _-..-. 

Roy Atkinson crashed in this manner during a scheduled 250 mile race in Detroi: 
To the right one sees a photographer fleeing the scene and to the left is a bumpe 
that formerly was part of Atkinson's heap. 1956, Detroit Free Press 



by Harry AAcGoniga! 

Philadelphia Evening Bulletin 

This photo was snapped just as 
our young tennis hopeful was 
about to eat an awkward meal. 

1956, Philadelphia 
Evening Bulletin 


by Dean Conger 

Denver Post 

This exciting picture has caught 
a difficult maneuver that most 
ski enthusiasts don't look for- 
ward to. 

1956, The Denver Post 

116 118