NEW LEASE ON BOXING?
It has been a long time since anyone let any organizational fresh air into boxing, but suddenly such a thing is conceivable. Amateur boxing (remember George Foreman waving the American flag?) might go big time.
This week, at the behest of AAU Executive Director and International Boxing Federation President Colonel Don Hull, promoter Bill King of Louisville is completing plans for a series of international, Olympic-style team boxing matches to be staged around the country in '69 and renewed annually. Tentative arrangements, discussed with various nations' representatives in Mexico City, call for a U.S. team to meet Russia in New York in March and then perhaps to fight West Germany in Louisville (there are a good many German-American families in the Louisville-Cincinnati area). A U.S.-Mexico match is likely to be held in Los Angeles, and King says he also has commitments from Poland, France, Italy and England.
The organizers see the series as good experience for U.S. amateurs, at least—and they have their eyes on television. King, who has been promoting professional boxing for 15 years, says, "Pro boxing is dead as a television attraction, because of so many scandals. Sponsors have dropped it like a hot potato. But here we have the best amateurs, no hoodlums. All three-round packages of action—no long, drawn-out 15-round waltzes. Sponsors should grab for it, and the AAU should make enough money to promote amateur boxing on a high level all over the country." King even foresees an international championship tournament every year.
It is all rather visionary, but a good many American viewers have now enjoyed Olympic boxing, Pappy Gault is a celebrity, and the present state of the sport in the U.S. leaves an unquestionable vacuum. Might amateur boxing attain the status that amateur tennis has enjoyed? Might it even provide enough competition to keep—or make—professional boxing honest? We'd like to see it happen.
TAKES YOU BACK
A freshman outfielder on the University of New Mexico baseball team frequently received a ripple of applause when his name was announced at games this fall. It may have been a tribute to his batting average, which was .425. But probably it was his name: George Ruth.
THE KUSNER CASE
"Horses will run for her, I'm certain of that," says racing authority Humphrey Finney. The question remains whether other jockeys will ride against her.
"She has a beautiful seat," Finney goes on gallantly, "and balance, and fine, sensitive hands like Willie Shoemaker's that mean so much to a horse's mouth. And we know she has nerve." She—Olympic equestrienne Kathy Kusner—had the nerve to win in court (SCORECARD, Oct. 7) the right to become the first female flat-race jockey. Expected to ride for the first time at Maryland's Laurel Race Course when she recovers from a broken leg, she faces the prospect, however, of an antigirl boycott by male jockeys, who claim to be chary of riding in traffic with a woman.
If truth be known, the average male rider probably was more scared—and more dangerous—the first time he rode as an apprentice than Miss Kusner, a horsewoman of long and varied experience, is likely to be in her debut. Still, a shy young lady of 5'4" does seem an unlikely type to be booting them 1,000-pound babies in. And maybe jockeys are just naturally conservative, as is suggested by the notice posted on the Laurel bulletin board by rider Eddie Donnally, which—in reference to Laurel General Manager Frank Brady's offering Kathy the use of his home on the grounds for dressing—concluded as follows:
"If she is to be a jockey, then she should come to the jockey's room at the appointed time...change into her riding clothes, ride the races she is in, shower and change into her street clothes and then leave.... Did not the Supreme Court, on which she places her legal justification, rule...that separate facilities...cannot be made equal...? Just what individual merit does she possess that justifies her pampered and exceptional treatment? Certainly not the fact that she is a female, for the courts have already ruled that this is not grounds for discrimination."
Or maybe jockeys are just sensitive about the word "petite," which people keep using in connection with Kathy, who is in point of fact a pretty good-sized jockey. Or maybe they are afraid that, after feeling a lady's touch, horses may boycott men.
Renee Destache, 12, of Appleton, Wis., a seventh-grader and a member of the Einstein Junior High School cadet band, has been playing the tenor saxophone for only six months, and she has already gotten results from it.
She took her sax along when she went with her parents recently to the family cottage at Lake Hilbert, Wis. for the weekend. She practiced inside the cottage as her father and a friend squatted in a duck blind 200 feet from the cottage's pier, blowing duck calls and attracting nothing.
At length Renee's mother, unwilling to hear a saxophone any longer, sent her outside. Renee went out to the end of the pier and began to practice there. Her father was about to shoo her away when five bluebills appeared over her head. The shotguns of Renee's father and his friend roared, and three of the bluebills dropped.
When informed of the incident, Renee's band director, Sam R. Ostwald, told her, "We'll have to have a talk about improving the musical quality of your tone." A few days later he told an interviewer, "She's getting better. I'm watching her closer now, and I've worked privately with her a few times."
And probably ruined her for hunting.
A LITTLE TONE
Franklin Mieuli, owner of the San Francisco Warriors, says he wants to elevate NBA basketball, socially, above "the leaky-roof class." This Saturday night, then, before their game with the Lakers at the Cow Palace, the Warriors' fourth annual formal dinner will be held. Under ornate chandeliers, which Mieuli imported from Italy two summers ago while Rick Barry was negotiating his jump to Oakland, guests will dine on Japanese food at $25 per couple, for the benefit of a local charity. Dress will be black tie for the men and Japanese formal for the women, and among the guests will be the Warriors' wives. After dinner, basketball will be played.
THE NEW KELSO
Kelso has entered upon a new career. Last week the five-time Horse of the Year returned to New York, scene of some of his greatest races, in a special exhibition at the National Horse Show in Madison Square Garden. He did some simple dressage movements and then jumped a low, hunter-type course. On opening night he sent one of the fences flying, but no one seemed to mind.
When not in the show ring Kelly, as his owner, Mrs. Richard C. duPont, calls him, is often her mount out fox hunting. Having the world's leading money-winning horse as a hunter must rank among the world's leading prestige symbols, but one would think he would tend to outrun the fox.
SERVING THE POOR
Among the strange things in Las Vegas are some of its golf tournaments. Scheduled this week, for instance, is the second annual charity meet sponsored and played by the maitre d'hotel and captains of the Dunes Hotel. They will negotiate the Dunes' emerald-green course in full tuxedos, with scarcely attired showgirls as caddies. Each player will be fortified by a bottle of cologne and another of bourbon, donated by the manufacturers. Proceeds of the event will help improve Thanksgiving day for the needy of Las Vegas.
FORTY KELLYS FOR A SWINBURNE?
AB Bookman's Weekly, the trade journal for rare-book dealers, recently printed a list of prices charged back in 1888 for autographed letters by famous public figures. In those days you could get a Mark Twain letter to President Garfield for $5, a Swinburne letter (full of apologies for his bad handwriting) for $4 and similar bargains. And at the very bottom of the list, the cheapest item for sale, was the name of Mike Kelly, the Chicago and Boston baseball hero, then considered the greatest ballplayer who ever lived, whose exploits generated the war cry, "Slide, Kelly, slide!" The price for an original Kelly autograph: 10¢.
IMPROVING THE CATFISH
"Heck," says Ralph Barnett of Lonoke, Ark., "I saw walking catfish 25 years ago, when I was a boy." The real news in catfish, claims Barnett, is his recent epochal success in breeding tiny albino ones—guaranteed not to set foot, or whatever, outside a bowl, even in Florida (SI, Nov. 11).
People in the minnow and pet fish business have been trying for years to raise pure, nonwalking albino catfish that multiplied steadily enough to be lucrative and lived long enough to be viable home companions. (They are interesting in aquariums, being white all over except for pink eyes. "Anybody that sees them," says Barnett, "has a fit over them.") At last, after having "been through four years and a million fish," Barnett has found the way, and now he boasts a burgeoning stock in his Lonoke ponds and a healthy demand from pet and department stores. Next year he hopes to have five million white catfish on the market.
Part of his secret is hand feeding. When the eggs hatch, the little fish have to be taught how to eat. So he takes a minute amount of meal (a special mixture made at a nearby feed mill) in one hand, dips it into the water and with the other hand gently herds the delicate young toward the feed.
But it isn't as simple as that, and it is also hard to weed out cripples and to get the mature fish to produce plenty of eggs. To learn how, "I slept out at that farm 12 weeks with those fish and I looked at those fish every hour on the hour, even in the night. And if you don't think that's tough, just give it a twirl. But I was going to raise that damn fish, and I did." Now, Barnett says, biologists who "wouldn't give me the time of day" when he asked them for advice are begging him for his secrets. The biologists have two chances of getting them, he says: "Slim and poor."
Golfers who are lazy and antisocial, or who just like to keep up with technological advances, will be interested to learn that John Pirre, a Stamford, Conn. engineer, has developed an electronic caddie.
The apparatus is a three-wheeled cart, just large enough to hold a golf bag, which follows Pirre at a given distance, and which he has named "Maynard." Pirre carries a transmitter the size of a cigarette pack on his person, and Maynard homes in on the transmitter's signal. Pirre sets the distance at which he wishes the caddie to follow him—usually five feet—and it will keep that distance exactly, slowing down and speeding up as he does. When he wants it to remain where it is, he turns the transmitter off. Maynard is powered by an automobile battery and will go 7½ miles before requiring a recharge.
Pirre has a handicap of nine, which "is not as good as it was before Maynard. I guess I spent too much time [15 months] working on the caddie and not enough on my golf." And if you see a man walking through Stamford with a golf bag following discreetly behind him, you will know it is because he forgot to turn his transmitter off.
THEY SAID IT
•Red Berenson, St. Louis Blues forward, after equaling the scoring record of six goals in a National Hockey League game: "It was like planting trees. Some years you plant 12 and five or six grow, and some years they all come up."
•Y C McNease, University of Idaho football coach, on Washington's unrelenting offense that continued to go for the long pass and touchdown even with a 37-7 lead: "...I'll say this...no, I guess I won't say it after all."