The American League is holding a special meeting in Boston next week to review the sale of the New York Yankees to CBS, but baseball lovers who are hoping the whole thing will be rescinded should not get carried away. In the past the American League has pretty much done what the Yankees wanted it to do, and it seems doubtful that this attitude will change now.
Most likely the Boston meeting is a public relations move to erase some of the bad impression left by the stealth and haste in which negotiations were rammed through; the object is to give a veneer of respectability to an ignominious deal.
The red-and-white sweater has been replaced by a maroon blazer, but the contents of the package are easily recognizable. The shoulders sloping down from the neck like an inverted V, the hands as big as catcher's mitts, the blacksmith's forearms—even in mufti it could only be Gordie Howe, professional hockey's top-ranking goal scorer and perhaps the finest all-round player ever to slip into the skates.
Howe has become a sporting goods adviser (√† la Ted Williams) for Canada's department store colossus, T. Eaton Co., Ltd. Company officials are delighted. Howe has been getting an excellent press. Some Howeisms:
On his massive hands—"Milking. We had 12 of the best at home [Saskatoon, Saskatchewan] and if there was one thing I learned it was not to learn to milk too well."
On how a National Hockey League team would fare against the top Russian team—"Unless they played by our rules we'd have a terrible time with body contact. We'd probably get our ears pinned back, because there's no body contact in the offensive zone, and that is half our game."
On NHL goalies—"Johnny Bower [Toronto] and Terry Sawchuk [obtained by Toronto from Detroit in the NHL draft] are best at knowing the exact dimensions of the net. If a shot is two inches wide they won't move. Glenn Hall [Chicago] has the fastest hands."
On NHL expansion—"I don't think it's a good idea. There just aren't enough players to go around."
Well, certainly not enough like Gordie Howe.
Behind the surprising 34-6 defeat of the San Diego Chargers by the New York Jets last weekend was a racial incident that shattered the morale of the previously unbeaten Chargers.
Staying at Atlanta's Hilton Inn, several of the Chargers, all Negroes, were asked to keep out of its plush poolroom. When some players protested, Head Coach Sid Gillman reportedly asked his men to withdraw.
They did, but the effect on team morale was obvious. Even during the game several players said they were in no mood for football, and the team took what was only its second loss in the entire exhibition history of the Chargers.
One of the Hilton Inn's owners is Barron Hilton. He owns the Chargers, too.
THE INCOMPARABLE HANK
Since it appears that this is a year of miracle teams in baseball—what with the Phillies surprising the world, and the Orioles and White Sox leading the American League's dash—let us pause now to look back 50 years to the miracle team of 1914, the Boston Braves, and especially to their catcher, Harry (Red and Hank) Gowdy, who is still in baseball.
A springtime bout with pneumonia has Hank sitting on the porch of his house in Clintonville, the old North Side of Columbus, Ohio, but he retains his affiliation with baseball as youth director of the Columbus Jets. He is just taking a rest, the Jets insist.
Gowdy, who celebrated his 75th birthday August 24, was not much of a ringleader in the Braves' astonishing dash from last to first—his season's batting average was an anemic .243—but in the Series he slugged Philadelphia Athletic pitching at a .545 pace to lead the Braves to baseball's first four-game World Series sweep. For National Leaguers, that .545 still remains tops for the Series. And Hank was the first major leaguer to enlist for World War I and is the only major leaguer to have fought in World Wars I and II.
Bespectacled, tall and erect and waving a big cigar, he has cut a fine figure at clinics and various youth meetings to which his duties brought him. The Jets are looking forward to having him back in action soon.
THE RESTYLED WILD ONES
The image of American motorcycling has long been one of black leather jackets and those wide belts, and Marlon Brando did not help things one bit with his portrayal of a swaggering cyclist in The Wild One. Now the American Motorcycle Association, anxious to change all that, has sanctioned a two-wheeled road rally where clothes will count.
Size, make, shape and weight of motorcycle will not matter (with one exception: no jazzy handlebars) in the William E. Johnson Invitational on Sept. 27 in Pasadena. What will count is attire. The entry form specifies sports jackets for men—"if leather, we urge light colored," it says; and in italics it warns against that black leather. No club sweaters, jerseys or T shirts, please, and no dark-blue Levi pants.
Women may wear "neat appearing, functional sports attire" (slacks or Capri pants are all right), but otherwise they are faced with the same restrictions as the men.
For a $5 fee cyclists will spend the day rallying stylishly (in much the manner of sports car enthusiasts), and cost of the entry will cover a modest buffet dinner and sedate entertainment at the end of the day. Dinner dress will be informal.
Three-quarters of the way through his first season in the major leagues, it is clear that Richie Allen, third baseman for the rampaging Philadelphia Phillies, is a very special rookie. He is not only club leader in home runs, but second on the team in runs batted in and, at 22, he has acquired a most unbecoming indifference to fame.
"Rookie of the Year," says Allen, the probable Rookie of the Year, "doesn't mean a thing. There's no money in it. Let them put up $1,000 for the Rookie of the Year and it would be worthwhile. Hank Aaron never was Rookie of the Year, was he? Well, he wasn't and he's made lots of money." Allen doubted that the rookie award would be a factor in contract negotiations—that is, if one were to win the worthless thing.
With Richie, a $50,000 bonus baby, money talks. After all, he was born in Wampum, Pa.
MAN WITH THE GOLDEN LEG
Though the Canadian Football League claimed the world field-goal distance record a couple of weeks ago—Bill Mitchell, Edmonton Eskimo center, booted a 58-yard three-pointer against the Calgary Stampeders—the U.S. expects it back. Pete Gogolak of the Buffalo Bills has already scored from 57 yards against the New York Jets. Not only that, he kicks like a soccer player, which is what he was before he and his family escaped from Budapest after the 1956 revolt. Astonished to discover that soccer is not played in Ogdensburg, N.Y., where the family settled, he took up American football.
The soccer kick—the ball is approached from a 45° angle and hit high on the instep—has been so successful an innovation that Gogolak may yet have imitators. At Cornell, Pete was successful in 54 out of 55 conversion attempts and set an NCAA record of 44 in a row. Cornell used him sparingly on field goals, but he did bang out one 50-yarder against Lehigh. And at Princeton his brother Charlie uses the soccer kick with almost equal facility.
Aside from his success with the long-range field goals, Pete's sidewinder kick-offs all but make a runback impossible. At 205 pounds and 6 feet 2, he might be considered rugged enough to scrimmage, but that leg is far too precious to risk and all Pete does is kick. Which is what he got into the game for in the first place.
For a couple of weeks now, some of the Cincinnati Royals have been conditioning themselves for the coming National Basketball Association season by playing a strenuous game called "hit-and-run golf."
All it takes is an iron (a No. 7 is recommended), a putter, good legs and plenty of wind. You hit the ball, run to it and keep running after each shot until you reach the green. You may take all the time you want lining up a shot or a putt. Jay Arnette, Royals' reserve guard, and Wayne Embry, pivot man, recently completed nine holes on Cincinnati's hilly, short (4,748 yards) Avon Fields municipal course in 35 minutes. Jerry Lucas, playing the full 18 holes with a No. 7 iron and a putter, shot a seven-over-par 73.
"It's a lot of fun and I took off seven pounds in one day," says Embry, who makes rather an unusual sight running pell-mell down the fairway in an astronaut like rubber sweat suit. "Of course, I imagine the rest of the golfers think we're crazy."
Hate to tell you this, Wayne, but you're right. They do.
SLOWDOWN FOR MICKEY
Burly Mickey Thompson parlayed an insatiable love for tinkering and an aggressive nature into a fortune estimated at more than a million dollars. He also became one of the great men of speed. When he arrived last week on Utah's Bonneville Salt Flats, crew-cut Mick was talking at a clip sure to set speed records whether he did or not. He declared himself ready to establish some distance and endurance records, maybe a hot rod mark or two, and then be back later to wrest the world land-speed record from Craig Breedlove or Donald Campbell, regardless of which is recognized as holding it. As if that were not enough, Thompson was ecstatic about a front-engine racer which he believed would win next year's 500 in Indianapolis.
To prove he meant business, Mickey playfully took the controls of a sports car and zipped over the salt at 161.74 mph, fast enough to qualify him for a try at the record. But before he could do that the 35-year-old Mickey suffered what was described as a "blackout." He was taken to a hospital, where doctors determined that he was the victim of a heart ailment.
His condition, the doctors said, is "satisfactory," but his driving career is "definitely over." That is a condition that Mickey himself will never come to regard as satisfactory.
THEY SAID IT
•Mike De John, ex-heavyweight, on Sonny Liston's managerial involvements: "They cut him four ways—up, down, deep and often."
•Arthur Modell, owner of the Cleveland Browns: "Sam Huff has made the Redskins' defense a respected threat rather than a passing thought."