FORECAST: CLEAR FOR CLAY
Once upon a time Pete Rademacher thought he could whip Floyd Patterson. Now he thinks Cassius Clay will beat Sonny Liston. On his Patterson conviction he persuaded wealthy backers to put up a $250,000 guarantee for him. Pete has found wealthy backers willing to offer Clay $500,000 to make the first defense of his title (Clay will beat Liston, you understand) in either the Akron Rubber Bowl or Cleveland Stadium.
Pete lives now in Medina, Ohio, where he is an associate of Edward C. Mears, president of National Management, Inc., a builder-developer, and on the side he has been promoting fights in Akron with remarkable success. "Every one of the five fights I have promoted has been a near sellout," Pete boasts.
He has also been advising fighters, among them the last man to win over Cassius Clay, which is why he is challenging Cassius. The fighter is Amos Johnson, who defeated Clay in the 1959 Pan American Games trials, has fought in the Marines and holds an 8-1 record since he turned professional.
Why does Pete think Clay will beat Liston?
"Clay is just as big as Liston," Pete replies. "He is much faster. He has better leg speed. He can punch. He will not pull a Floyd Patterson by walking into range for Liston. His strategy will be to harass and move, which Patterson should have done, and in the late rounds, when Liston is tired, he just might knock him out."
BACK HOME IN INDIANA
The atmosphere of Evansville, Ind. during the basketball season is very much like that which prevailed in Brooklyn during the glorious years when the real Dodgers played at Ebbets Field. There is the same zany enthusiasm, and this year it is justified. Evansville College ranks as the No. 1 small college team in the country and is favored to win the NCAA College Division tournament at Evansville in March, when, one may expect, the city will really blow its top.
A few weeks ago two drunks were tossed out of the stadium by a policeman. Scrambling back into line, they bought new tickets, were admitted, and were booted again. Back to the ticket window and past a now astonished ticket-taker and back to the cop. This time, though, they pleaded their case before a lenient college official and were granted amnesty. Another Evansville fan, transplanted to Chicago, makes a 600-mile round-trip drive for virtually every home game. Still another, exiled in Los Angeles, has flown to Denver and Tucson to see his old school team in action.
Basketball has become the hub of most community and social functions in Evansville. One country club runs buses to and from games. An entire section is occupied by elite fans who pay $100 apiece for season tickets. And a good many of the fans come to the games attired in defiant red.
The pervading feeling was expressed shortly after the start of the season by a woman who struck up a beauty parlor conversation with the wife of Coach Arad McCutchan. "We're new in town," she informed Mrs. McCutchan, "and I really abhor basketball. But we're going to buy season tickets. There's nothing else to do on Saturday night, and we've become so lonely."
THE DOME TO DATE
The Houston Colts may starve for victories when they operate in their new $20-million domed stadium in 1965, but the customers will be well fed.
"We are going to feature restaurants serving the finest French and Chinese food," says Executive Vice-President George Kirksey. "People can come out to the dome, watch the game and send down for crepes suzette, soufflés or egg foo yong. And for plain American fans, we'll have the hot dog."
The dome will have seven seating levels, each in a different color, and seats will be "soft rocking chairs," 46,000 of them. They cost $1 million, "the biggest individual purchase in the history of seat manufacturing."
And for $18,000 a season, a Colts' fan may buy a 14-seat box on the top level. It is equipped with bar, bedroom and closed-circuit television.
SPORT IN ART AGAIN
Scion of a circus family, Leo Jensen has been a rodeo performer. His attire leaves no doubt of this. From a pocket of a turquoise vest there dangles a cowboy- boot key chain. He wears an Indian-beaded red-and-white tie. His socks are navy blue, their drabness relieved by white polka dots. Graying sideburns extend below his ears, almost meeting a bushy mustache. He even stands like a cowboy. So when he says he once worked for Wild Bill Blomberg's Wild West Show you would not bet against it.
What you are not ready for is the discovery that he is an avant-garde sculptor, just winding up a most successful show at the Amel Gallery in New York, where his contrivances have become the darlings of the sophisticates and are selling for as much as 1,600 silver dollars apiece, though he will accept paper money, too. In his artistic aspect Jensen has gone so far as to take up residence in Old Lyme, Conn., which is very un-Western indeed.
At Old Lyme he turns out sculptures, of which the item illustrated herewith is a fine specimen. Many Jensen sculptures don't just stand there. They do something. With this one, called The Lure of the Turf, it is possible to bet win or place by spinning the dial in the center. Sport is one of his recurrent themes, in fact. In his Minnesota high school days he played football (two letters), track (two letters) and baseball (no letters). His hero of the current age is not Henry Moore, who does those statues with the holes in them, but Y. A. Tittle. Among his recent works are The Zipster (auto racing), Football Machine, King of Clubs (boxing) and Champion's Choice (baseball and breakfast food).
The sculptures are massive, as tall as 8 feet, because, he says, only size can convey the importance of sport. All in all, we think, Jensen is a most agreeable fellow.
BOWL IN THE SOUP
Big Eight officials are putting a cheerful face on the termination of the conference's contract to appear annually in the Orange Bowl. Along with Orange Bowl spokesmen, they stress that the parting was amicable and that quite likely Big Eight teams will be visiting the Bowl often.
The hard fact is different. Ending the contract was a severe blow to chances of a Big Eight team appearing in one of the four major New Year's bowl games. The Rose Bowl is out because of its tie-up with the Big Ten. The Sugar Bowl, still segregation-minded, is not likely to favor a team from a conference with so many Negro stars. And the very reasons that caused the Orange Bowl to end its Big Eight contract will work against frequent selection of Big Eight teams in the future. The Big Eight area is geographically remote from Miami, and so there has seldom been a mass migration to fill hotels and bars at bowl time. Television sponsors, noting the lack of great population concentrations in Big Eight country, have found the conference unattractive. They would rather have a couple of teams from heavily populated sections so that more home folks would be tempted to tune in the game.
That leaves the Cotton Bowl and the fact that two of the most likely opponents, year in and year out, Texas and Oklahoma, meet annually in a regular-season game in Dallas. So it would seem that the Big Eight will be looking most hopefully toward the Bluebonnet or Gator bowls in the years just ahead. Meanwhile, the conference can console itself with the fact that its teams won seven of the 11 games played under the Orange Bowl contract.
NASCAR MEETS JASCAR
Soon there will be a JASCAR as well as a NASCAR. Nagahide Mori, chairman of the board of one of the world's largest trading companies, with headquarters in Tokyo, is at Daytona International Speedway completing arrangements for establishment of stock-car racing in Japan. Bill France, president of the Speedway and of the National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing, has agreed to assist in creating a similar body in Japan, licensed by NASCAR and governed by the same regulations. Mori, in turn, will build what amounts to a replica of the Speedway near Tokyo.
THE NEPOTISTIC ROOTER
Chances are that Columbus, Ind. was so named because Christopher Columbus helped establish that the world is round like a basketball. The town dearly loves the sport, and this winter it has a crack high school basketball team as its reward. It also has a crack rooter in Evert Frank Stillabower Jr., who never misses a game. Evert has a nephew playing on the team—No. 43, Dave Stillabower—and is so proud of his brother's boy that at games he wears a jacket on which is lettered: "I am No. 43's uncle."
Uncle Evert cheers as joyously as the school kids when Columbus wins. When the team loses, Uncle Evert cries like a baby. Which is understandable. Unk is 4 years old.
SPONSORS OR PLAYERS?
Hard on the heels of professional football's new multimillion-dollar television deals with NBC and CBS came the news from Phoenix, Ariz. that the Professional Golfers' Association had threatened to boycott the Phoenix Open over the rights to a mere $5,000 television contract. As might be suspected, there was much more at stake than $5,000. The real question was: Who should control television rights to a golf tournament, the sponsor or the players? As far as the PGA is concerned, there is no question.
"In the hands of tournament sponsors," says Jay Hebert, players' Tournament Committee chairman, "there is the danger of TV oversaturation—and for peanuts in income. We also feel better qualified, we know the game so well, to decide which tournaments should be televised and how. Finally, with control in our hands we could present a unified package to the television networks which would not only be to our benefit but to the tournament sponsors' as well."
To Larry Crosby, tournament chairman of the Bing Crosby Pro-Am, this means that the PGA is trying to muscle in and take over "like the Capone mob," but Hebert replies: "No one can say we've been narrow-minded in the past, why would we be on a thing like this? We intend to negotiate each contract separately, depending on each tournament sponsor."
The PGA has been looking into the question of television for almost three years. Last December it signed Martin Carmichael, formerly with CBS as Director of Sport Contracts in the Department of Business Affairs, as its radio-television attorney.
"It's a buyer's market," Carmichael says confidently. "For every sponsor that won't sign the TV rights over to us we can find a replacement who will."
That, eventually, is what may decide the issue.
The Navy's celebrated quarterback, Roger Staubach, has received more than 2,000 letters, mostly from coeds asking for photographs, since the start of his phenomenal season last year. In line with President Johnson's economy drive, the Navy has ceased to furnish the girls glossy prints, which cost $3 apiece. Instead, prints are mimeographed. They do not have that gleam in the eye the glossies had, but the Naval Academy is sure the girls will make that much of a sacrifice for their country. At $3 each the Navy cannot afford an All-America and stay within its budget.
Girls from all over the country also send Roger pictures of themselves. Two girls' colleges in Georgia even sent him pictures of beauty contestants and asked him to select the winners. Staubach was cooperative, although, as he remarked recently, "It took about a week to get the job done."
Staubach has another year to enjoy such extracurricular celebrity. One assumes he is saving some of the pictures to decorate the bulkheads of what, in 1965, will be a very junior officer's cabin.
The steelhead (a rainbow trout that went to sea, grew up and then decided to return to the fresh-water neighborhood he knew as a fingerling) seldom is caught in the ocean. But this year, during the State of Washington's big midwinter steelhead run, the situation is different. Beaches on the east coast of Whidbey Island, just north of the little community of San de Fuca, are aswarm with fishermen. They are casting lures and catching steelheads almost as fast as fishermen on the nearby Skagit River, best of the fine steelhead rivers of the northwestern Pacific Coast and maybe the best in the world. So easy is the beach fishing that oldtimers haul patio chairs out onto the sand and, casting a mere 20 feet from a relaxed sitting position, enjoy frequent success. The beachcombers are sitting athwart the homeward route of the Skagit-spawned trout.
Half of these steelheads are graduates of the Barnaby Slough rearing ponds on the upper Skagit (SI, Sept. 10, 1962), wherein 1961 a planting of 350,000 steel-head fingerlings produced, after raids by kingfishers, mergansers and minks, 150,000 sturdy, resourceful and evasive juveniles that were able to make their way to the sea the following spring. It had been estimated that perhaps 10% of that 150,000 might survive ocean predators to return to the Skagit. Now, to judge from the success of the sedentary beach-casters and their stream-fishing counterparts, that estimate may have been far too low. Everybody is catching steelheads in unprecedented and unpredicted numbers.
TIP FROM THE SLOPE
The most fascinating tip for recreational skiers to come out of the Winter Games at Innsbruck is this: don't worry about keeping your skis perfectly together. The Egon Zimmermanns and Fran√ßois Bonlieus and Billy Kidds certainly did not indulge in this functionless elegance. Ski the natural way, with your feet where they feel comfortable. If that means feet as far apart as the tracks on a Russian railroad, ski that way—and be happy.
THEY SAID IT
•Birdie Tebbetts, Cleveland Indian manager, on how to find out about your players in a hurry: "Offer them to other clubs. When 19 clubs tell you they're not interested, this guy doesn't stand much chance of getting a raise."
•John Serbin, University of Cincinnati basketball player, after his arrest on charges of slugging a coed: "The whole team has been under a lot of pressure."
•Luke Appling, asked if he would resent going into the Baseball Hall of Fame on a second round of balloting: "I'm not proud. I'm willing to go in on my hands and knees if I have to."