Contrary to popular belief, all professional football linemen are not out to maim enemy quarterbacks. In the Baltimore-Detroit tie on Thanksgiving Day, the Lions' Alex Karras broke through at one point and had Colt Quarterback Johnny Unitas at his mercy. "I think I could have hurt him if I hit him hard," Karras said later, "but all I wanted to do was get to him and stop him from throwing the ball. I like Unitas because he never complains, and I'd hate to think anyone in this league would take a cheap shot at him. I know I wouldn't."
Jim Hartman of the NCAA Swimming Rules Committee, a coach at Denver's Lincoln High, has won the Chuck Garrity Trophy as local swimming coach of the year. The trophy is named after Denver Post Sports Editor Chuck Garrity. Chuck Garrity cannot swim.
CARBO'S GHOST WALKS AGAIN
The California Athletic Commission made a timely move in calling attention to the background of those who direct the ring affairs of Ernie Terrell, the World Boxing Association's heavyweight champion. For Terrell now looms as the only logical opponent to meet Cassius (Muhammad Ali) Clay in the true champion's next appearance. But, as the commission pointed out, Terrell should not be allowed to do so with Bernie Glick-man in his camp as "adviser" (euphemism for manager) or in any other capacity. Glickman was long an intimate of Frankie Carbo, the underworld czar of prizefighting, and of Blinky Palermo, the czar's adjutant—both now in prison. He admitted as much to the late Senator Kefauver's committee when it was investigating criminal influence in boxing.
We do not hold that prizefighters with criminal records should be barred from the ring solely for that reason, any more than we feel that membership in an esoteric and unpopular sect calls for banishment. But domination of the sport by criminals, or by those who associate with criminals or front for them, is quite another matter. As it now stands, that is exactly what might happen if Terrell, by luck or competence, beats Clay.
Here is a chance for the WBA to regain at least a modicum of its long-lost prestige. It has the power to strip Terrell of the title it conferred on him unless he divests himself of all questionable associates. Until this happens, no state should permit a Clay-Terrell match.
NOW TALKING FOR THE LAKERS...
Maybe it's the smog, maybe it's the proximity of the make-believe of Hollywood and Disneyland. Whatever it is, in Los Angeles seeing has never seemed adequate enough authority for believing. In sports particularly, Angelenos insist on being able to listen to radio descriptions of whatever they are watching with their own baby blues. Fans at Dodger Stadium would hardly believe that Sandy Koufax was throwing fast balls unless Announcer Vin Scully told them so on their transistors.
But basketball fans attending Los Angeles Laker games in the Sports Arena have been unutterably frustrated because the myriad of steel beams in the roof blocked off radio reception. Laker fans watching the action felt empty and alone and perhaps unloved because they could not hear their wintertime transistor baby, Chick (Golden Throat) Hearn, who is the radio and TV announcer for Laker games. The effusive Hearn, so popular that he ranks third on the Laker payroll, behind only Elgin Baylor and Jerry West, was desperately missed by the unfortunates with tickets and silent transistors.
Supposedly, nothing could be done. The metal-infested roof was said to be an impossible problem. But then a few months ago the dynamic Jack Kent Cooke bought the Lakers, and he set special engineers to work on the matter. After much head scratching, they constructed a 360° antenna outside on the roof to catch the radio signal, and another 360° antenna inside that—oh, the magic of it—beams Golden Throat's voice right down to his courtside neighbors. Now, transistors babbling away at their ears in the grand old Los Angeles tradition, Laker fans listen happily while they're told what they are watching.
A WOMAN'S PLACE
In Benwood, W. Va. they called it the end of an era, and that was no overstatement. Herman Gongola, 240-pound fullback, played his last game for Union High School, which meant that next season, for the first time since 1942, no son of Mr. and Mrs. Andy Gongola will be on Union High's football team. Emil, Joe, Anthony, Vic, John, Pete, Tom, Ed, Fred, Stanley and Frank preceded Herman at Union, and in athletic competition the 12 of them won a total of 81 letters—an average of almost seven apiece. Before Herman's last game each of the boys—there are no Gongola daughters—was presented with a wallet, and Mr. and Mrs. Gongola were given a color television set.
The occasion was a great thrill for the elder Gongolas, and particularly so for Mrs. G. She was watching her first football game.
ONLY THE SPITBALL IS WET
The new stadium being built in St. Louis for the baseball and football Cardinals will include subterranean irrigation and heating systems. Underground drains will carry off excess water, and when electric soil-moisture sensors feel too dry, sprinkler heads will rise automatically and water the grass. To reassure those who fear that a sprinkler head might pop up in the home half of the ninth just in time to deflect a game-ending double-play ball, be it known that an electric timer will prevent casual watering during games.
Electric heating cables will melt snow and keep the turf unfrozen, and they will also provide a better playing surface by fostering a denser growth of grass: heat from the cables will inspire grass to keep on growing right through the winter.
It's all a little sad. Perfection always is. No more muddy, belly-whopping catches of fly balls like the one Bob Allison made in the World Series. No more desperately striving pass receivers disappearing into sideline snowdrifts. Unless—happy thought—there should be a power failure.
THROUGH IMPROPER CHANNELS
When a dedicated surfer sees water, he goes slightly off center. If he is a southern Californian and the water appears in all sorts of strange places—like coming straight down from the sky—he is likely to bust a mental grommet.
Take the case of Peter Talovich and John Tuck, two San Marino teen-agers who went surfing down the flooded Los Robles storm sewer. Twenty-five times they did it on everything from washboards to planks; on the 26th try they barely got out. Both lost their boards in sudden "wipe-outs," then couldn't climb up the washed-out walls of the storm drain. Police, who spent all day looking for the boys and fishing them out, said the surfers had gone down the drain for the last time.
Spain's happy-go-lucky Davis Cup team is throwing Australian tennis into a turmoil. The four men who comprise the Spanish team flew into Sydney one morning last week, more than a fortnight after Australian Lawn Tennis Association officials had expected them to arrive. All four were wearing beach shirts, casual slacks, straw hats with bright red-and-white bands and shoes without socks, and they had huge strings of shells hung around their necks. Why were they late? "Perhaps it was two planes we missed," said Lis Arilla. "Who knows? Tahiti is such a beautiful spot."
Then Manuel Santana, the Spanish star and team captain and current U.S. singles champion, told the reception committee that he would not play in the Victorian championships that started last Saturday, nor the South Australian championships next week, and he added that after Davis Cup play in late December he had no intention of playing in the Australian championships in January. An official said, "He means that all the Spaniards want to do is play the Challenge Round, pocket around $45,000 [Spain's share of the Davis Cup gate] and go home immediately."
"You said it," grinned Santana.
He and his compatriots went off to inspect the rooms reserved for them in a motel, decided they didn't like them and registered instead at the plush Menzies Hotel, Sydney's newest. Said Santana: "My team doesn't sleep in twin rooms. We have singles. If someone wants to go to bed at 3 in the afternoon, why should he be disturbed by a teammate who wants to go to bed at 11 that night?"
That afternoon the four conquistadores appeared at White City Courts, where the Challenge Round is to be played, and to the amazement of the groundsmen strolled over the courts, hands in pockets, to "smell the grass," as Lis Arilla put it. The next morning all four were at White City again for a light warmup.
A pattern was emerging. Santana explained, "All I want to do is practice on the courts where we will play for the Davis Cup. We are going to do our practice on the Davis Cup grass courts because we need to get used to them. But don't worry, my friend. We will take the cup back with us. We will win by three matches to two. I will win both my singles, and we will win one of the other singles. We are not here in Australia to win state championships. It is the cup at the end of the rainbow that matters."
The irrepressible Arilla asked, "How many will come to see this Challenge Round?" About 10,000, he was told. He sniffed. "We would get 15,000 in Spain."
A.M. Benne, an 85-year-old chief of the Chippewa tribe who is still active in Boy Scout and Methodist Church work, claims that his onetime protégé, Jim Thorpe, was a failure as a major league baseball player because of corrosive bawling-outs he received from his manager, the fiery John McGraw of the New York Giants.
"No Indian likes to be cursed," says Chief Benne. "The Indian languages contained no curse words, and even a subtle barb was as insulting as a slap in the face. When McGraw swore at him, Jim would sulk and then McGraw would bench him. That made Thorpe boiling mad and hastened the end of his baseball career."
Old baseball hands say it was because Jim couldn't hit the curve ball.
Baltimore Colt football players Bob Boyd and Bob Vogel were at one of those question-and-answer lunches last week when someone asked: "What do you think of the length of the season and some of those phony bowl games that are tacked on at the end?"
"I think," replied Boyd, apologetically, "that you are referring to the Playoff Bowl in Miami and the way Green Bay went down there last year and didn't exactly play its best game. Well, there was a lot of talk about that at the meeting of the Players' Association last winter, and I think the situation has been corrected. This year each member of the winning team will receive $1,200 and the losers will get only $500. That's a $700 difference, and $700 is $700."
There were a few groans of disapproval from the audience, and Vogel broke in to say, "I hope you don't think pro football players are oriented to money."
Then, through a wide, boyish grin, he added, "But you just can't beat the stuff."
Back in 1963 L. F. Pierce of Lee County, North Carolina was seated at ringside when a 240-pound wrestler landed in his lap. Pierce sued. Last week the North Carolina State Supreme Court upheld a lower court ruling to the effect that the promoter of the match was not liable for damages because Pierce, a longtime wrestling fan, was aware of the possible danger to anyone sitting in a ringside seat. So now it has been established that if you are hit by a flying wrestler in North Carolina you have only yourself to blame, you have to pay your own medical bills and you don't even get to keep the wrestler.
LIKE HE'S 12 FEET TALL
The Henderson County Junior College Cardinals of Athens, Texas have a quarterback, euphoniously named Inez Perez, who stands 5 feet 4 inches tall and weighs barely 150 pounds. Perez does not look safe down there with the 6-foot 3-inch ends and the 225-pound linebackers, but his fans aren't worried. "The way he plays, he's 12 feet tall in my eyes," one spectator said, and his admirers include players on opposing teams. When Perez blocked a man a foot taller and 75 pounds heavier in one game this season, the tackle gasped approvingly, "Atta way, hot dog. Keep comin' at me." Now the Cardinals have received a bid to the Junior Rose Bowl Game in Pasadena, and junior-sized Inez Perez, who has quarterbacked the team to a perfect 10-0 record, may make it 11.
THE BAD ANKLE
The best all-round player on the world champion Los Angeles Dodgers is Tommy Davis, who broke his ankle last May 1 and was unable to play another inning for the Dodgers the rest of the season. Dodger fans cannot be blamed for thinking dreamily of next year...all this (Koufax, Drysdale, Wills) and Tommy Davis, too. But Davis is still not back in shape. "I go up there and hit," he said the other day in Arizona, where he is working out in a winter instructional league, "but that's about all I can do. I guess it's just a matter of time, but I never dreamed it would take so long."
HERE WE GO AGAIN
News should not be suppressed—however depressing. Therefore, with heavy heart, we report to those interested over the years in such things as goldfish swallowing and telephone-booth stuffing that eight deep thinkers from Iota Kappa Epsilon fraternity at Creighton University celebrated the Bluejays' fast-break offense by dribbling a basketball from one end of a court in Manhattan, Kans. (home of Kansas State, Creighton's first opponent this season) to the other end, then out a door and along a highway for 225 miles until they reached Creighton's home court in Omaha, where they shot a basket. Took 46 hours and two basketballs (the first one wore out). Golly.
THEY SAID IT
•Joe Kirkpatrick, coach of the Oklahoma State Penitentiary basketball team, the Outlaws: "We lost some mighty good boys from last year because of paroles but, crime being what it is, we've picked up some good ones since then, too."
•Joe Gasparella, Carnegie Tech football coach and former Fulbright scholar, asked if his job was in jeopardy: "I would like to think that it is. It would show somebody is interested."