POLLYANNA IN K.C.
Harmony and Charles O. Finley, owner of the Kansas City Athletics, are antipathetic. Turmoil and Finley have an affinity.
But in recent weeks things had been running rather smoothly for the A's. After Finley fired Mel McGaha as manager, Haywood Sullivan took over and, after the All-Star break, the team played all but .500 baseball. Player morale lifted sharply. The farm system flourished. The A's signed their top draft choices, among them Rick Monday, most sought after of all. Young players like Bert Campaneris and Pitcher Catfish Hunter showed signs of developing into true major-league stars.
Then, without warning, Finley hired Alvin Dark as his administrative assistant. The last administrative assistant Finley had hired was McGaha, who replaced Ed Lopat as manager during the 1964 season. Lopat, in turn, had been brought in as a pitching coach in 1962, presumably to breathe down the neck of Manager Hank Bauer. Ultimately, Lopat replaced Bauer, who resigned before Finley could fire him.
Understandably, Manager Sullivan and his smoothly functioning farm director, Hank Peters, were disturbed when Dark was hired, especially as Finley made it clear that Dark would be responsible only to Finley and report directly to him.
"It's an awkward situation," Peters understated, but added: "Everything that has happened to me has happened for the best, even though it hasn't always looked that way at the time."
If the arrival of Dark means that Peters will not be working for Finley much longer, Peters' philosophy would seem to have stood up to still one more test.
He says he's fat (at 219 pounds), and he seems happy. "You never feel good until it's over," Sonny Liston said before getting into the ring with Cassius Clay, and now that it is, apparently he does. In his Denver home he comes across as Atlas would if someone had just told him, "O.K., you can put it down now."
What is Sonny doing? "Waiting," he said. "I'm setting around and waiting for my money. It's due Friday a week. I'm thinking of kind of doing something different, but I have to see how much the money will be.
"I would go on fighting—the training doesn't bother me, it's that pace and life—if I could find a manager. I don't have no manager, and I have to worry about everything and take all that on my back. I don't have nobody to speak for me. The Nilon brothers, they was just hot dogs. I would be interested in talking to Cus D'Amato. I always thought highly of Cus."
As for doing "something different," if the right manager doesn't come along Sonny says:
"Well, you know Cookie Gilchrist? We might get ourselves a hamburger stand if we could find ourselves a good location near the stadium."
If Cookie Gilchrist and Sonny Liston find themselves a good location and do go into business, there is one thing they can count on. There isn't a customer in the country who is going to complain to the management.
THE SILVER FOX CLASS
Corny Shields Sr. has sailed almost 9,000 races in everything from dinghies to America's Cup defenders. He almost never loses. In 1952, at age 56, he won the first North American Sailing Championship for the Mallory Cup with Corny Jr. in his crew. (His daughter, Aileen, already had won the national women's title.) The Mallory was held in QAs (for Quincy Adams), a local one-design class of 26-foot boats. The eight competitors, the best from every region of the country, rotated boats each day, so that the winner was definitely the best sailor—not just a lucky fellow in a superior boat. The best sailor was, of course, Corny Shields. Last week, 13 years later, Corny Jr. won the Mallory.
One must listen, then, when the old Silver Fox criticizes sailing practice. He feels that too many different one-design classes have been breeding specialists, champions in one class who concentrate on small victories in one boat rather than risk defeat in an unfamiliar design.
"Many class champions stay out of the Mallory," he said last week, "because if they get beaten they lose some of their fame and luster. If you wanted to be a real champ you would compete against any and all."
Shields would like to see the ideal one-design—one that would make the America's Cup a fair test of sailors rather than of designers and sailmakers. Best designer for such a boat would be Olin Stephens, the man who drew up Finisterre, Columbia and Constellation. And, indeed, Stephens has recently created a one-design that incorporates many of Corny Shields's specifications and might just be the ideal solution. It is big enough for international competition and at 30 feet is small enough for young skippers. It is called "the Shields class."
LADY IN THE CHIPS
It may not appeal to those conservatives who play only draw poker, nothing wild, and none of that spit-in-the-ocean nonsense, but it would appear that the square poker chip has arrived and the traditional round one is on the way out.
An aficionado of five-card stud for many years, Mrs. Nell Moore of Dallas came home from a session one night in a state of annoyance. Several times during the evening chips had rolled off the table and, of course, into inaccessible places. Searching for them delayed the game.
"Why doesn't someone make square chips?" she asked her husband.
"Kid, maybe you've got something," her husband replied.
Mrs. Moore is now secretary-treasurer of Square Chip, Inc., which turns them out at the rate of 325,000 per day.
CORN IN PARADISE
The Los Angeles Angels, born in 1961, died last week. They are now resurrected as the California Angels, with a new home in Anaheim.
In announcing the long-expected move, President Robert Reynolds said: "Orange County is the capital of all California entertainment with such world-renowned places as Disneyland, Melodyland Theatre, Knott's Berry Farm and the Movieland Wax Museum. We hope to become a part of this growing family."
With that kind of thinking, Angels, the chances are you will.
BIG BOOM IN TACOMA
The tycoons of Tacoma, Wash. live mostly in suburban Lakewood, and the status symbol in Lakewood these days is to own, not a mansion or a yacht or a Warhol, but an operable cannon.
David Fogg, an insurance executive, started it five year's ago when, casting about for something that would help him celebrate the Fourth of July, he settled on a muzzle loader. He built it himself, creating an assembly two feet long with a bore of 1 7/8 inches. He followed that with a 2[3/16]-inch bore job designed to fire beer cans filled with cement. With this, his proudest accomplishment, Dave says he can lob a beer can within three or four feet of a stump at 220 yards. His accuracy should improve even more, since a friend is sending him some made-to-order cannonballs.
Joe Long of the Atlas Foundry and Dave and Tom Carstens of the meatpacking family are building 38-inch cannons from three barrels that Joe cast. These will be similar to those used on 16th century French ships. Roscoe Smith, a retired advertising executive, and Norton Clapp, Weyerhaeuser Company president, kept their eyes on the Tacoma waterfront and picked up some very nice 2½-inch-bore line-throwing cannons for about $75 each. Smith says that his cannon, loaded with black powder and wadding, will lob a golf ball halfway across the lake in front of his house. Baby-food cans filled with concrete do nicely, too. The wadding—and all of the cannoneers agree on this—must be made of either The Christian Science Monitor or The Wall Street Journal. The local dailies or weeklies don't do a proper job.
The World Boxing Association has a new president, Jim Deskin of Las Vegas. With Deskin conducting its affairs the Nevada boxing commission has been distinguished for its common-sense supervision of prizefighting and for its probity. In a recent interview Deskin once again displayed these qualities. He conceded that the WBA had been "very premature" in stripping, or pretending to strip, Cassius Clay of his heavyweight title. Regardless of the WBA action, he said, "Cassius Clay is the champion to the people of the world."
Everybody but the WBA knew that all along, but it is heartening to hear it from the WBA's top official.
When Pete Rademacher was training for his unprecedented heavyweight-title fight with Floyd Patterson, one of his campmates was Lucky McDaniel, the teacher of "instinct shooting" (SI, Oct. 20, 1958). Lucky used a BB gun to teach his method, in which the shooter ignores the sights on his weapon and looks only at the target.
For some years after he quit the ring Pete traveled throughout the country with Lucky helping to teach the instinct method. Now he is sales manager of Hamlin Products-McNeil Corporation in Akron, and the company is about to market a couple of Pete's inventions. One is an indoor shooting range with which anyone may teach himself instinctive shooting. The other consists of a collapsible trap house, a table and chair for the person operating the trap, a spring-powered target thrower and 25 targets. The targets look like clay pigeons but are in fact made of soft plastic. When a hit is scored the center of the target pops out but is replaceable. For the indoor shooting range Pete has created a target stand equipped with a bullet trap that catches the BBs and drops them gently onto a receptacle. Ricochets are impossible, and the BBs may be used over and over again.
Though the outfit may be used on suburban patios as well as in indoor rumpus rooms, it is of special interest to the city apartment dweller who would like to maintain his shooting eye. Use of an air rifle outdoors is forbidden in most cities. But a man's apartment apparently is his fortress.
A QUESTION OF VALUES
Residents of southwestern Ohio, who have been watching with indifference the efforts of Governor James A. Rhodes to clean up streams that have been polluting Lake Erie in the northern part of the state, now have a new, more sympathetic understanding of the problem. A gorge of dead fish was found recently in the Great Miami River. One observer thought it might have constituted the largest kill of fish in the Ohio Valley in modern times.
Not so much culpable pollution as a combination of factors—drought, waste and impurities that escape into the river even in treated sewage—was blamed for the kill. But if any negligence should be found as a causative factor, the offenders will be punished, according to William Klein, chief chemist-biologist for the Ohio River Valley Sanitation Commission, who warned that "the State of Ohio now means business on the polluting of water and killing fish."
But some wondered if the punishment would be sufficient. Ohio already has pending fines of more than $40,000 as a result of a similar kill earlier this year. The fines were based on the number of fish killed, their market value and punitive factors. But as Norman Meyer, a taxidermist who discovered the Great Miami kill, put it, the fines cannot restore the pleasure lost to fishermen.
"How can you set a value on an eight-hour day of fishing?" Meyer asked.
No one ever has.
THEY SAID IT
•Carl Selmer, Nebraska offensive line coach, on the ambivalent attitude of Nebraska supporters toward Bob Devaney, head coach: "When we win, he's Sweet Old Bob. When we lose, they just use the initials."
•Australia's Roy Emerson, on the U.S. Lawn Tennis Championships: "I know McKinley is just a weekend player now and so is Ham Richardson, but maybe I'll meet them on a weekend."
•Bill Cox, coach of the Annapolis Sailors of the North American Football League: "We have a problem at quarterback, our defense is poor, we're still looking for offensive linemen, but we're ready."