MY, MY MARYLAND
It is customary for Thoroughbred racing commissions to back up the disciplinary decisions of their track stewards, since commissioners are usually political appointees and don't pretend to have the stewards' intimate knowledge of the sport. Last week the Maryland Racing Commission violated this tradition in spectacular fashion. Manuel Ycaza had been fined $200 and grounded 10 racing days for what the Pimlico stewards considered a frivolous claim of foul and unfair riding tactics in the Preakness (SI, May 28). Track films showed that Ycaza, leaning out of his saddle like a polo player as he rode Ridan, had elbowed John Rotz, aboard Greek Money, as the horses came to the finish. The stewards recommended that the commission add 20 days to Ycaza's suspension, a penalty beyond their own authority.
But the commission didn't add, it subtracted. After hearing Ycaza's defense (he was losing his balance, not leaning) and listening to winner Rotz's show of charity ("Ycaza's elbow was never in my chest"), it commuted sentence to 10 calendar days—thus permitting Ycaza to ride in the $100,000-added Metropolitan Handicap on Wednesday at Aqueduct.
Left dangling all over the place were the loose ends. Ycaza got a half-hour screening of the race films, the commission said, but Rotz saw only still pictures ("It is possible," Rotz said later, "I was hit without being aware. Once I was hit in the face by a whip and didn't know it until I saw the films.") Commission Chairman R. Bruce Livie said it was questionable whether the interplay took place before the finish, but in any event Ycaza was not riding dirty. Then in the next breath he added, "If this happened at the eighth pole, we would have given him a year!" The stewards said the foul occurred at least 50 feet before the finish.
But isn't dirty riding the same, no matter where it occurs? And, if the commission thought Ycaza had done nothing, why didn't they throw out the entire sentence? Furthermore, what are track films and photographs good for if you don't believe what they show? What we'd like to know, Mr. Livie, is just what is going on in Maryland, anyhow?
The whole idea was categorically cataclysmic. The city council of Kansas City, Mo., in catty-cornered, catchpenny scheming, had put a $3 annual tax on house cats. The caterwauling commenced straight off. Why, the cat lovers cried, people would turn thousands of cats out into the streets and fields and leave them to die. Other cats, spared that, would certainly hang themselves (in protest? by accident?) on the necessary license-tag collars, or succumb to nervous collapse. And what about fanciers such as the lady who has 18 cats? That's $54 a year, and for what? To let the rats, in logical concatenation, take over the place?
What to do? How about, for a start, chasing a few hundred cats into the mayor's office, a militant man suggested. How about taking the cat-o'-nine-tails to the whole council, said another. How about us just forgetting all about it, said the councilmen, catapulting themselves into a repeal action.
It was a spangly night at Toots Shor's, and Floyd Patterson was the essence of it. His image fluttered from a portrait over the dais where he sat, and the lineup behind the prime ribs included Dr. Ralph Bunche of the U.N., Lauren Bacall of the movies, Jackie Robinson of second base and literary accomplishment. Tribute was paid Floyd's great heart, his sociological reformation, his gentle manner, his new book (see page 31), and he smiled his little-boy smile of thanks, and it was all very nice. Just prior to the aperitif, however, a handful of guests listened in an upstairs room as Jersey Joe Walcott volunteered a private testimonial: "Patterson," said ex-champ Jersey Joe, "would have beaten me. He would have beaten Ezzard Charles. And Marciano and Louis, too, unless they both were in the ring with him at the same time. I fought them all and I know. Someday you'll recognize what a great champion Patterson is." Agree or not, nobody said anything nicer all evening.
HYBRID FLY HIGH
The Experimental Aircraft Association is a devoted fraternity of fliers who build their own planes, no matter what—no matter where. Seven years ago one of their number, Captain Carl W. Streever of the Army Aviation Maintenance Service, started collecting parts at Gary Air Force Base in Texas to build himself a Baby Ace. He got some front-lift struts from a Piper Cub Cruiser, rear struts from a Stinson L-5 liaison plane, stabilizer bars from a Bell H-13 helicopter and some tubing for a landing gear from a Vertol helicopter. Then he was transferred to Frankfurt, Germany.
Captain Streever packed along the bits and pieces of his Baby Ace-to-be and set up his shop in an apple orchard. A German fellow enthusiast helped him to put together an engine: crankcase from Czechoslovakia, pistons and rings from Switzerland, gaskets from Holland. Fabric for the wings and fuselage came from Greece, France contributed wheel brakes, Germany wheels and England tires. A German World War II Stieglitz plane inspired the engine mounting, and a Navion L-17 supplied the cowling. And when it was all put together, by golly gee, it flew!
TO HUNT, PERCHANCE TO FIND
Out in Oregon there is a high school pitcher who is looking very good, and there are some Cardinal scouts who are looking very hard, but the way things are going Wendell Glaze may have to go sit on a stool in a Whelan's drugstore to finish getting discovered. Glaze pitches for Hillsboro High outside of Portland, and Cardinal Scout Berlyn Hodges trekked out to Hillsboro for the Astoria game to have a look. Glaze pitched, the last two innings and struck out six men—in Astoria, where the game was played. A week later Glaze was due to pitch at home, but it poured in Portland. Hodges figured the game would be called and that he'd missed the boy again, which he had, but not because the game was called. They played it and Glaze pitched a no-hitter.
The next week Hodges called the school to check, very carefully, the time of the Gresham game. He was told it would not be played. Warily he called the newspaper and was told it would be; he drove to Gresham and, as a reward for beginning to get the hang of things, he saw Glaze pitch his second no-hitter. This was enough to bring Chief Cardinal Scout Don Pries to Portland for Glaze's next game, with Lake Oswego, but again it was pouring. "Very doubtful that we'll play," Hillsboro High said. Oh, very doubtful, the Hillsboro Argus agreed. So Pries drove 120 miles to watch another game, and Hillsboro, of course, did play, and Glaze threw a three-hitter, striking out 11.
The state championship final will be June 2 in Portland. To Chief Scout Pries we say this: if the snow is eight feet deep, if there is a flood, tornado or locust, or any combination thereof, or just normal rain, never mind, be there.
THE DRIVE FOR MEDIOCRITY
It is easy to be second-rate. If you try doubly hard, you can also be ridiculous. When the U.S. sent a second-rate, pickup basketball team to the 1959 world championships in Chile, we insulted our hosts and caricatured our good name by presuming that a pickup American team could take on the world. The world watched with satisfaction as the Russians beat us.
Now it appears we are prepared to repeat the performance (a fool, Chaucer said, cannot be still). In November, on invitation from the AAU, the Russian national team will tour the U.S. and very likely face pickup teams of AAU and industrial league players. NCAA rules will not allow collegians—the best of our amateurs—to play before December 1, and the AAU and NCAA were well aware of this before the tour was arranged.
In December in Manila, at the height of the college season, the world championships will be held. This, too, is bad scheduling for us, because once again pickups probably will take over. If the NCAA and the AAU would get down to rewriting a few rules, we might someday be represented by a squad of our best players.
Allow this situation to go on much longer and we'll also give a good account of being no-account at the 1963 Pan American games and the 1964 Olympics. It will be easy.
A MESSAGE FROM THOR
And now, sports fans, they've given us another one, those people whose contrivances against fishing we feel duty-bound to report. It's called the Rod 'N Radio; the radio, complete with volume and tuning knobs, is inside the handle of the rod. The tip acts as an antenna, and the sweet sounds of Fats Domino or Fulton Lewis Jr. come pouring through an earphone receiver. We urge anyone who buys this splendid device to be sure to use it during thunderstorms.
TO NAME A QUEEN
Though just born, she is already a queen, the boat that rides at her mooring in Marblehead Harbor near Boston. She is our new America's Cup candidate—designed by a sailmaker with little training in naval architecture, built in utter secrecy and backed by a syndicate new to 12-meter racing (SI, Jan. 29). Until her launching even her name was unknown. Then, her long white snout peering over the ceremony stand, she was busted in the bow with a champagne bottle wielded by the daughter of a syndicate member and christened, not Vigilant or Reliance or Resolute, or some other brothy name like that, but Nefertiti (the beautiful one has come). Finally, after some ladylike reluctance, she backed into the black water. "My God, "mumbled her skipper-to-be, Don McNamara, "she floats."
The designer of Nefertiti is Ted Hood and the builder Selman Graves, but it was syndicate member Robert Purcell who named her. Nefertiti—ah, yes: independent, original, daring Nefertiti, the queen whose statuesque beauty has survived 3,300 years. She was all the name implied. And furthermore, Purcell explained, he once had an iceboat named Nefertiti.
THE INSIDE TRACK
•An unlikely partnership is about to blossom: a golf manufacturing company headed by Arnold Palmer and ex-jockey Eddie Arcaro.
•Immediately after Al Kaline fractured his collarbone and became a noncombatant the Las Vegas line flashed new odds on the Tigers: from 5 to 1 to 8 to 1.
•A Toronto group, expecting an end to the Big Four Football League, has been working quietly to get into the National Football League, and feels strongly that both Toronto and Montreal will be NFL members within two years.
•Millionaire Bill MacDonald, who has lost a bundle owning minor-league baseball teams, may make it up at the races: he figures to buy up the 55% he doesn't own in Tropical Park.
THEY SAID IT
•Alabama Coach Bear Bryant, to a nationwide radio audience: "Georgia Tech will be the No. 1 football team in the nation next year."
•Georgia Tech Coach Bobby Dodd: "That remark was typical of Bryant."
•Arnold Palmer, reporting that Sam Snead takes a different view of invitations from him now that Palmer has his pilot's license: "He'll fly anywhere with me now. Sam's not so worried about the danger as he is about saving money."
•W. M. (Boston) Smith, when asked by a Texas state legislative committee investigating fixing of Southwest Conference basketball games if he were the biggest gambler in Texas: "Only around the waist."
•Walter Rabb, baseball coach at the University of North Carolina, on his problems with a team that had its worst season in 14 years: "There was one game when I decided to change pitchers. I walked to the mound and held my hand out for the ball. The kid on the mound hesitated and said, 'Please, Coach, let me face this next guy. Last time he was up I struck him out.' That's true, son, I told him, but if you just think back the last time he was up was in this same inning."
•Bob Fontana, Canadian Davis Cup captain, lamenting his countrymen's laziness: "Years ago nobody heard of Russian tennis players. This year they took sets off such famous Italian players as Nicola Pietrangeli and Fausto Gardini. And it was only because of hard work. If I were to ask a Canadian youngster to run a mile before working out on the court, he would flip-or think I had flipped."
•Art Quirk, Baltimore Oriole rookie pitcher (SI, April 16), on being shipped to Rochester where he won his first start: "They wanted Robin Roberts and I was the guy who got shortchanged. I'll pitch my way back. I'm on my way already."