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With four bad knees but two good smiles Joe Namath and Mickey Mantle fought backward from second place to a tie for sixth in the Astrojet Classic at the La Costa Country Club in California. Willie Davis (the baseball one) and Jerry Kramer won the playoff, after tying for first with Gino Cappelletti and Jim Lonborg, and there also was a two-way tie for third, as well as the tie for sixth, a pileup that ran the planning committee out of trophies. Happily, a Wisconsin fur company came up with a pair of coats for the most cooperative and best-dressed players, Namath and Willie Mays, respectively. Just what Joe, recently robbed of his mink, needs to finish out the New York winter, if not exactly what Willie had in mind for spring training.

Back in the days when he was racketing about Paris and writing books his countrymen had to smuggle home, not too many people guessed that Henry Miller would be, one day, a 77-year-old Ping-Pong nut. Here we are in 1969, however, with the scandalous Miller works on sale in the most decorous of bookstores and the author living peaceably in California's Big Sur country, bicycling around the neighborhood, swimming in his pool and playing Ping-Pong every day. "People come here to discuss metaphysics with me," Miller says now, "but personally I'd rather take them to the Ping-Pong table and discover their metaphysics there."

Pittsburgh Republicans were left without a candidate for mayor when Bob Friend declined to run. The former Pirate pitcher explained his position succinctly. "I just don't think I'm equipped to run a large city, if you want to know the truth."

Friend may have been right about not being equipped to be a mayor (above). Both here and abroad the qualifications seem increasingly peculiar. In Grenoble, for example, Mayor Hubert Dubedout has just jumped out of an airplane to help popularize, for the good of his city, the combination of parachuting and skiing. "Very attractive for young people," Dubedout, 46, reported. "And actually it's quite easy, not scary at all."

New Zealand's Peter Snell went a little farther south recently—all the way south, in fact, to Antarctica, as a guest of the U.S. Navy Operation Deep Freeze. He put on skis for the first time and, after half an hour of instruction, observed, "I can see why cross-country skiers are supposed to be fitter than cross-country runners." Subsequently, on a visit to the Pole, Snell did his own thing: he donned a track suit and in less than a minute ran around the world three times.

Young ladies who are fans of the Oakland Raiders should rush out and buy the latest copy of Swimming World. William Lee, of White Stag-Speedo, called upon Raiders Ben Davidson and Dan Birdwell for his full-page swimsuit ads on the back cover and an inside page of the February issue, and he offered himself up as the trussed and weighted victim. "I was a little scared," he admits. "Those two big guys. I was afraid of practical jokes." Quite unnecessary, according to Davidson. "We didn't throw him in," he says virtuously. "We didn't even break the diving board."

O.J. Simpson did very little passing last season, but things were different when he hit Las Vegas. The Riviera Hotel put the Bob Hope penthouse suite at Simpson's disposal—and made the mistake of letting him into the casino. O. J. stepped up to the crap table and proceeded to roll 15 straight passes, setting the Riviera back about $80,000. He did not abuse the hotel's hospitality by walking off with all that money, however. Other players at the table won $79,985, while O. J. himself bet only a dollar on each roll of the dice.

Columnist Art Buchwald is a friend of one of the Redskins' owners, Edward Bennett Williams, and a knowledgeable football fan. The Buchwalds' maid Mary is not, and, baffled by all the excitement over the Redskins' hiring of Vince Lombardi, she finally turned to her employer for assistance. "Mr. Buchwald," she inquired, "could you tell me why Mr. Williams is hiring an orchestra leader to coach the team?"

Britain's Prince Philip apparently feels that a penny earned is a penny saved toward the cost of keeping up the royal estate at Sandringham. Three or four shoots a week have been held recently over the estate's 20,000 acres, and Philip has ordered that the game be sold. Nearly 1,000 birds, some shot by Philip and Prince Charles, have already been offered to housewives, hotels and shops at 30 shillings ($4.20) a brace—without, as one London paper is careful to point out, any advertising on the part of the royal family.