Detroit Piston Owner Fred Zollner has tried once again to nail down territorial rights to Michigan basketball All-America Cazzie Russell and once again has failed. Zollner was refused permission by his fellow owners—and for more than the usual reason that their enthusiasm for the territorial draft is inversely proportional to the talent available in someone else's territory. The other owners would like to help Zollner strengthen his weak franchise. But they find it hard to forget that a few years ago Fred was active in eliminating the territorial draft.
Another traditional color barrier in the South was shattered last week, if only for a brief moment or two, when Morgan State met Florida A&M in the Orange Blossom game in Miami, played annually between the best Negro college football teams in the land. Morgan State managed to slip a freshman tackle named John Bowers into action for a couple of minutes to spell Tom Carr, a senior who has been drafted by the Baltimore Colts. Bowers was the only white player on either team, and when he entered the game he became the first white player ever to appear in the Orange Blossom Classic.
John Galbreath's agreement with Italian Marchese Mario Incisa to lease Ribot, the remarkably successful European stallion whose get finished second and third in the Kentucky Derby last spring and one-two in the Preakness, for another three to five years of service in the U.S. is causing angry repercussions in Italy. Desmond McGowan, Rome correspondent of The Morning Telegraph, wrote last week, "The loss of Ribot has done incalculable harm to breeding in Italy.... European breeders have been led up the garden path and they can derive little satisfaction in the fact that all expenses will be paid if they still wish their mares to visit Ribot in Kentucky.... Galbreath only made the offer as a sop to Incisa's conscience."
McGowan added that "All this talk about Ribot having turned vicious is a lot of nonsense." But Galbreath's reason for keeping Ribot in the U.S. is precisely that—he says the horse is too dangerous to ship. Olin Gentry, Galbreath's farm manager, agrees completely, and all observers here admit that Ribot has always been an unruly stallion, although he was perfectly well behaved on the racecourse. Ribot has been known to have some pretty hairy hysterics in something so familiar as a stable stall.
"A man would be a fool to get in a plane with Ribot," Gentry said last August. "You'd have to kill the horse if anything went wrong."
Since pro football teams have been scouting large, sturdy basketball players and trackmen for some time now, the Baltimore Colts' 17th-round draft choice was more intriguing than incredible. Although world-record-holding Shotputter Randy Matson has not played football since his last year in high school, he is 6 feet 6½ inches, 244 pounds and stronger than the average bear. But while Baltimore's far-flung, finely tuned intelligence system was correctly informing the Colts' front office that Randy might be a fine prospect, it forgot to report something else: Matson, a junior who has never been red-shirted, is not yet eligible for the pro draft. It's like the old baseball gag: he can't hit but he's not a good fielder. Matson doesn't play football, but Baltimore went ahead and didn't draft him anyway.
IT HURTS RIGHT HERE, DOC
The chief medical officer for the Nevada State Athletic Commission, embarrassed by scattered complaints that the Clay-Patterson fight should have been postponed because of Floyd's back ailment, has recommended that the Nevada commission make revelation of any ailment or injury mandatory. Commission doctors would then determine whether the boxer was fit to fight.
Medical Officer Donald Romeo's suggestion sounds sensible enough in theory, but there would be difficulties in practice. In the specific instance of the Clay-Patterson match, Patterson suffered no worse symptoms prior to the fight than he had before many previous bouts from which he had emerged not only uninjured but victorious (SI, Dec. 6). Moreover, back ailments are notoriously hard to diagnose except by the most elaborate examinations. Would a fighter admit the existence of a handicapping, but not disabling, injury that had escaped the examiner's attention? Not likely. What if commission doctors pronounced him still able to fight? He would then have exposed his weakness to his opponent. It would be necessary, at the very least, to keep such examinations entirely secret.
GRANDMA, WHAT BIG TEETH!
There isn't anything more dangerous than a little old lady. Mrs. Steve Barney, a grandmother, isn't very old (52), but she is little (5 feet 4) and she certainly is dangerous. Mrs. Barney and her husband had parked their camper-pickup unit near Tucumcari, N. Mex. when a gunman tried to hold them up. Mrs. Barney pushed him away, and the bandit made the mistake of forcing her head down. Mr. Barney, who is not in the best of health, pushed his finger between the gun's hammer and firing pin and then Grandma moved in.
"I had had some judo lessons because I wanted my daughter to learn it," she said, "so I gouged his eyes with my right hand and used my left hand to stick fingers in under his collarbone. That made him relax his hold on the gun, and my husband got it away. Then I twisted his left arm behind his back." Twisted it and held the gunman there for an hour and a half until police finally came and took over.
As the sheriff led him away the prisoner muttered, "They ought to match her with Cassius Clay."
ON-THE-JOB OLD-AGE PENSION
Sam Snead is 53, and it is almost 30 years since he first broke through to fame and fortune in golf. Some feel that Sam is pressing things a bit to continue playing tournament golf at his age, and that it would be a shame to see him limping along in the ruck behind the strong young pros. Do not worry about Sam. It may be due to inflation, but it so happens that this year was Snead's biggest money-winning year ever on the pro circuit. He took in $36,889. His previous high came 15 years ago, in 1950, when he won $35,758.
NOT BY SHUFFLEBOARD ALONE
If you are looking for a place to put a hockey franchise, St. Petersburg, Fla. doesn't exactly leap to mind. But last week, when the Jacksonville Rockets of the Eastern Hockey League played two games in St. Petersburg's new $3-million bay-front auditorium, more than 5,000 customers showed up for each game. The Rockets had been averaging only 1,600 at home.
How come? Well, it turns out that St. Petersburg, a haven for sports-minded oldsters, has an extremely high percentage of expatriate New Englanders and retired Canadians. And what sport do they play in the winter in New England and Canada?
The EHL has four more games scheduled in St. Pete and if that attendance is for real, the Long Island Ducks, one of the weaker franchises in the circuit, may again begin to feel migratory urges. Whether the Ducks fly south or not, the Sunshine City is a good bet to be in the ice league next season.
One of the big events in the world of soccer will take place next July when 16 national teams from various parts of the world meet in England to compete for the Jules Rimet Cup, symbol of professional soccer supremacy. Ah, what a treat for the soccer enthusiast! Brazil, Argentina, Hungary, Spain, Portugal, France, England—the absolute cream of soccer. Well, almost. There's one odd-looking fly floating in the cream. How in the name of Pelé did North Korea, whose national team plays soccer about as well as P.S. 172, ever become one of the final 16?
Very simple, really. It's Agatha Christie's 10-little-Indian story all over again. Originally, 19 nations were slated for action in the Africa-Asia playoff zone. But 15 African countries, evidently confusing the soccer world with the U.N., withdrew before a single ball was booted, going off in a huff because, at best, only one country from Africa could be represented in the finals.
That left four nations in the playoff: South Africa, South Korea, North Korea and Australia. The international soccer ruling body expelled South Africa because of that country's racist policies. That left three. South Korea withdrew when it learned that her 11 players—amateur all the way—would not be allowed to compete in the Olympic Games if they played now in a professional tournament. That left two. Australia doesn't recognize North Korea (and vice versa), but arrangements were made to meet in neutral Cambodia. Since Australia can't play soccer even as well as P.S. 172, North Korea whupped 'em, easy. That left one. And that is why, soccer fans, after a long, grueling elimination tournament of two games, North Korea is in the cup finals.
LET GEORGES DO IT
"The most-wanted Christmas gifts come from Georges Kaplan," said the headline in a full-page ad in The New York Times last week. Among the gifts Georges figures the outdoorsy types most want are the fur hammock—$5,500 for chinchilla, $3,500 for mink, $2,000 for blue fox—and the fur sleeping bag, at $4,000, $2,000 and $1,000 for the same furs. If a chinchilla hammock or a mink sleeping bag doesn't grab you, Georges is prepared to sell you yard goods—in chinchilla, mink or blue fox—and you can get the wife to whip up whatever it is you do want most.
Traditionalists who haven't quite accepted the orange basketball may be even more displeased to hear that it is being bounced on a plastic court this year. North Central College of Naperville, Ill. has installed in its Merner Fieldhouse a new plastic surface previously used only on running tracks. "I saw how the material worked on tracks and was convinced it was just the thing for a field house," said North Central Athletic Director Ralph McAlister just before the Cardinals tried out their synthetic surface on Augustana of Illinois. McAlister added that the plastic prevents slipping (even if the floor is wet), shin splints and dead spots. Better yet, exultant spectators once again can rush out onto the court after a victory: the floor is impervious even to spike heels.
Wilt Chamberlain, who rarely leaves on a road trip without at least 10 $1,000 bills cached in a coat pocket, can scarcely be blamed for misplacing less valuable articles. Like a smelly old size 15 sweat sock—even if it did contain a $9,000 diamond ring, among other things. Wilt left that lying around the locker room at San Francisco's Civic Auditorium. As he was leaving the auditorium, two kids overhauled him, one waving the footgear. "Hey, mister, you forgot something," he yelled. Chamberlain gave them each $5. He also gave them the sock.
TAKE THAT, WOLLEY SEGAP!
Noted Heart Specialist Paul Dudley White came out against the extension telephone last week. It is not wise to deprive housewives of much-needed exercise, he said.
Dr. White hasn't heard from any housewives yet, but the telephone company went on record as being distinctly unamused. New England Telephone had best keep the volume level down, though—-or the Boston surgeon might speak out against the Yellow Pages, too. "Let your fingers do the walking," indeed!
THEY SAID IT
•Joe Robbie, Miami Dolphin co-owner, after his first American Football League college draft: "It's like sweating out a baby in the waiting room, except in that case you're pretty sure the baby will be delivered eventually."
•Press Maravich, North Carolina State basketball coach, on 6-foot-10 Center John Naponick: "I don't know anybody who can go around him, over him or under him. He wears a size 18 shoe. If he turns his feet sideways you'll see how much territory he can cover."
•Bobby Bragan, manager of the much-traveled Atlanta Braves, on his business sideline as a mobile-homes representative: "Can you think of a more natural business for anyone in baseball? I mean managers, coaches, ballplayers—even whole ball clubs."