The Los Angeles Dodgers are afraid that Leo Durocher's forthcoming memoirs will further muddy the already troubled waters that flow in the Dodger organization. Leo will repeat his criticism of Manager Walt Alston's handling of the team last season, and when that happens, the Dodgers would seem to have little choice but to ax the Lip.
Irrepressible, bouncy Stirling Moss, the race driver's race driver, is back in the motor business again, though not as a driver. All but killed in an accident in England a year ago, and a victim of brain damage that may well prevent his ever racing again, Moss has become an associate director of David Ogle Associates Ltd., British industrial design consultants. A month after Stirling's crash, Ogle himself was killed in an automobile accident.
Now Moss is putting on the drawing boards for Ogle's old company the design for his own personal dream car—a 100-mph, four-seater Grand Touring saloon with looks that Moss insists will be "elegant." Price: under $6,000.
The departure of Notre Dame Football Coach Joe Kuharich to take a post with the National Football League (he will be an aide to Pete Rozelle) clears the road for Michigan State's Duffy Daugherty to move to South Bend in 1964. In the appointment of Hugh Devore to succeed Kuharich the key word in the announcement was "interim."
Presbyterian though he be, Duffy has two Irish names and a Catholic wife, but over and beyond that he has beaten Notre Dame seven times in eight games, dropping only the 1954 opener of the series to Terry Brennan, and that by a single point. In the past seven games the Irish have scored only six touchdowns against the Spartans. These are statistics that Notre Dame folks appreciate.
Daugherty has told close friends over the past two years that the Notre Dame job is the best in the country and that he would leave Michigan State only to go there. Then there is the fact that Biggie Munn, athletics director, has grown bigger by the year at Michigan State and that he and Daugherty just do not get along. Biggie won't let Duffy off campus long enough to make the public relations-recruiting trips he once was accustomed to.
If the move comes to pass, the best bet to replace Duffy at Michigan State would be either Dan Devine of Missouri or Nebraska's Bob Devaney. Both are former Munn assistants.
FOR THE SURE THING BOYS
Awaiting Governor Grant Sawyer's signature this week is a bill passed by the Nevada Assembly that would permit "no contest" decisions in fights in which one of the boxers has been disabled by a low blow.
It is a well-intentioned bill, stemming from the indignation of the crowd when Emile Griffith retained his welterweight title on a technical knockout last December after Jorge Fernandez claimed a disabling foul. But it plays directly into the hands of crooked gamblers. If Kid Foxy is losing, and heavy money has been bet on him, including some of his own, he has only to foul his opponent and all bets are off.
The world's first and only official pedestrian overpass exclusively for squirrels is under construction in Longview, Wash., a lumber town on the north bank of the Columbia River, and it will be dedicated, with ribbon-cutting and speeches by dignitaries, on March 30. It will span the 60-foot Olympia Way from Library Park to an office building, one of whose tenants is a tenderhearted dentist, if that is conceivable. The dentist, Joseph Sweeney, has for the past three years been doling out peanuts to park squirrels, a custom that has led to their crossing the street morning and afternoon and to the traffic deaths of at least five of them. When he stopped the handouts they continued to come across the street anyway and, furthermore, they looked at him wistfully.
A general building contractor, Amos J. Peters, also tenderhearted, noticed a mashed squirrel on the street one day and made inquiries. He then volunteered to build the overpass—a suspension type. Peters confessed that in doing so he felt like "some kind of a nut." Councilwoman Bess La Riviere topped that by naming it Nutty Narrows Bridge.
A graceful arrangement, strung 18 feet above Olympia Way from one giant tree to another, the overpass will have, suspended from its center, a 10-foot aluminum span very like a miniature Golden Gate Bridge. A sign hanging from the span will bear the name Nutty Narrows Bridge and will be decorated with paintings of squirrels in lumberjack outfits. Entrances to the span will feature ceramic squirrels, to keep away cats.
How will the squirrels be taught to use the bridge? Peters has that solved. For a few days he will run a trail of nuts across it.
THE TITANIC NAPONICKS
The population of Straw Pump, Pa. is normally 575 but lately it has been swollen by an influx of courting football and basketball coaches. The object of their affections is John Naponick, who stands 6 feet 9½ inches, weighs 285 pounds and is a senior at Norwin High School, where he has been an all-state tackle in football, scored a record 126 points in four Western Pennsylvania Interscholastic basketball playoff games and is a B-plus student. Naponick has shot a round of 75 at golf, too.
The colleges that don't get Big John, and so far 100 have tried, might well take a look at Little Paul, his kid brother. Still growing, Paul is 6 feet 3, weighs 200 pounds and recently scored 30 points and had 31 rebounds in a junior high western Pennsylvania interscholastic game. He averaged 25.1 points per game.
The reason behind all those fights that occur in professional hockey has, to some of us, been a mystery. Why so many in hockey and so relatively few in the roughly similar game of basketball? Now it seems that the mystery is all but solved. A team of psychologists from the University of Uppsala in Sweden watched the world hockey championships at Stockholm with special interest because they have been studying nerve strain among hockey players. One of their number reported:
"We have selected ice hockey for our psychological studies because this is the sport which is most conducive to nervous tension. In big matches the players are subjected to tremendous nervous strain, oscillating between great acceleration and abrupt stops. The effect of this on their finely balanced reactions is exceptional. The usual reaction for a person suffering nervous strain is to go about in a state of constant ill temper."
That's as good an explanation for Howie (Wild Man) Young as we have heard.
Don Jackson, a businessman and baseball fan from Eastchester, N.Y., telephoned a Westchester hotel the other day to arrange a luncheon. He had given a similar luncheon there a year earlier, and it had been such a success that he decided to do it again. He asked to speak to the lady who took care of such arrangements. He remembered her name. It was a baseball name and it stuck in his head. "Mrs. Stengel, please," he said. To his surprise the operator replied, "Sorry. No Mrs. Stengel here." Jackson said, "Are you sure? She was there last year." "Oh, I think you're wrong, sir," said the operator. "I've been here for years, and we've never had a Mrs. Stengel in my time." A bit desperate by now, Jackson said, "I know she was there. She handled the arrangements for a luncheon of mine. I remember her name because it was a baseball name. Stengel." The operator cut in. "Hold it," she said. "Hold it. I think I have your party. Do you think it could have been our Mrs. Durocher?"
THERE IS NO JOY IN PANGUITCH
Our readers will be saddened to hear that Panguitch didn't make it. The high school from the little town in Utah (SI, March 4) was upset by Union High in the first round of the state basketball tournament. Foster Davis, in his Sinclair station on U.S. Highway 89, said, "I feel bad." Harry DeLong, the town barber, said, "Nobody feels much like talking. The boys were bragged to high heaven, and maybe they were a little overconfident. They could beat that team nine out of 10 times." Clarence Cameron, in the New Western Hotel, said, "The law of averages. The boys must have felt they had an easy game. But shucks—they're a credit to the community. All the publicity they brought us. All the excitement."
After the upset, Union lost two straight while Panguitch swept through three successive opponents to win the consolation tournament. Panguitch Coach Bob Davis said, "I don't want to take anything away from Union—they played better ball—but I don't know what happened. You'd think we'd never played the game of basketball in our lives. We were tense—23 wins in a row, and all that publicity. I guess it was coming, but I wish it had waited."
CHAMPIONS BY DEFAULT
The North American Alpine Championships at Stowe, Vt. early this month should have been one of the most significant and exciting race meetings of the winter's skiing competition. The prestige inherent in its title should have been sufficient to classify the event as a full-fledged Olympic tryout involving all the best American Alpine racers. It should have been a major event leading to the selection of next year's U.S. Olympic team, along with the Harriman Cup at Sun Valley and the Nationals in Alaska next month.
Sadly, it missed on all counts. The United States Ski Association relegated the championships to the status of a regional Olympic tryout. As such, it was distinguished not by topflight competition but by an almost total lack of topflight competitors. Chuck Ferries, Buddy Werner, Jimmy Heuga and a host of western skiers stayed away. "The trip east," said U.S. Olympic Coach Bob Beattie, "just cost too much for the importance of the race." Absence of so many stars was damaging to the prestige of the race itself and unfair to the racers who won a North American championship that, under the circumstances, wasn't a North American anything.
At the finish of the slalom Ralph Des Roches, chief fund raiser for the U.S. Ski Association, said that this year's competitions budget had already been oversubscribed by some $25,000. Assuming that some of the top skiers stayed away from Stowe because of the traveling expenses involved, we wonder if some of the surplus funds might not be designated, next time the event is held, for transportation and other necessities for all the top racers in the U.S.? And while they are about it, might not the U.S. Ski Association elevate the North American championships to a position somewhat higher than, say, the championships of northwest Vermont?
THEY SAID IT
•Red Auerbach, Boston Celtic coach, after his Bob Cousy was described as the greatest contribution to Americana since the Statue of Liberty: "No comparison, she hasn't got the moves."
•Eddie LeBaron, Dallas Cowboy quarterback, explaining he had to leave a luncheon early to make a business trip: "A man just called in from Amarillo and wants to buy four season tickets. I'm flying them to him."
•Jake Gibbs, the highest-priced bonus player in New York Yankee history, after a week of being tested as a catcher at batting practice: "Still got all my fingers. I guess I can do it."
•Murray Halberg, Olympic champion and holder of several world records, after being told Jim Beatty had broken his two-mile indoor record: "That's very good. Records are made to be broken. Someone else will break it pretty soon, but it certainly won't be me."
•Jim Piersall, Washington outfielder, recalling his feud with the Cleveland press, told Birdie Tebbetts, new Indian manager: "You ought to be glad about the newspaper strike in that town. Now you might last out the whole season as manager."