NEW PITCH FOR NEWK
Don Newcombe, the old Dodger pitcher who received the Cy Young Award after winning 27 games in 1956, is working in California, primarily in the field of finding and developing jobs and businesses in ghetto areas. One of Newcombe's fringe duties is giving away money that is supplied by an unidentified rich man.
"He is a big oilman," says Newcombe, "he is white and he lives in Bel Air. He asked me never to use his name. In two years he has given me $150,000 to distribute in places like Watts. For instance, he gave $30,000 to a Catholic school in Watts for scholarships, so that more kids could get in the school. He had lights put in the Oakwood Recreation Center in Venice so that black and Mexican-American kids could play baseball and other games at night. That cost about $8,000."
Newcombe met his rich man while working for the Opportunities Industrialization Center in Watts. Don was selling tickets to a $100-a-plate benefit dinner, and the man took $5,000 worth. Later, Newcombe says, "I was in his office one day and he said to me, 'Here I am, up in my building, out of contact with what's going on out there. I want you to tell me what is needed, and I'll give you the money to get it done.'
"When I go out in the streets and hear kids talking about how you have to hate the white man, I try to explain to them what this white man has done. Some of them say, 'Yeah, but that's just one white man,' but I tell them I'm just one man, too. Maybe there are others who want to help, like my man, and I just don't know about them."
Ed Macauley, sports director of KTVI in St. Louis, was an All-America basketball player with St. Louis University when it won the National Invitation Tournament in 1948 and later a pro star with the Boston Celtics and the St. Louis Hawks. For the past 15 years he has been running basketball clinics for privileged children, charging $100 for a series of lessons in the art of basketball. One of his former students is Bill Bradley, the Princeton star who is now a key member of the New York Knicks.
Three years ago Macauley decided that what he could charge middle-class white kids $100 for he could contribute free to poor black kids. His first such clinic was at the Pruitt-Igoe Housing Project in St. Louis. Macauley announced that it would start at 9 a.m. on a certain day and rounded up Bradley, Len Wilkens, Zelmo Beaty and a few others to help run it. They all got to the housing project early, swept up broken glass and bits of junk from an outdoor court and waited for their students. By 9 only two kids had appeared.
"That millionaire," says Macauley, "sits in his tower and tells Don Newcombe, 'You know what's going on out there—I don't.' Well, very few of us know what's going on out there. That day of the first clinic, when 9 o'clock came and there were only two kids, I was really disappointed. I had gotten the players to come out and all, and I was disappointed. I asked a neighborhood priest who was there, 'Where are they?' He said, 'They'll be here.' I said, 'What do you mean? It's 9 o'clock. Where are they?' The priest said, 'You forget that 90% of the kids in this neighborhood don't have clocks in their homes. They go to sleep when they're tired, and they get out of bed when they wake up, and they eat when they're hungry—if they have something to eat. Don't worry. They'll be here.'
"Sure enough, by 9:30 there were about 10 kids, and by 10 o'clock there were 30. We got things going, and I went over to the priest. I said, 'Now I know.' He said, 'Now you know part of it. The other part is they don't trust you.'
"I said, 'What do you mean, they don't trust me? I haven't done anything to these kids to make them distrust me.' The priest said, 'No, but all the other white men they've ever met have.' "
And that is why Ed Macauley continues to present his clinics every summer.
A unique controversy developed recently in Pendine, a small seacoast town in Wales whose sandy beaches were once famed as a speed course for automobiles. In 1927 Jeffrey Parry Thomas was killed at Pendine when his 12-cylinder 500-hp chain-driven car, which he called Babs, crashed at 170 mph, only a year after he had driven it to a new world record of 171.02 mph. Parry Thomas' body was duly buried in Surrey, near London, but in an odd ritual his battered auto was dragged along the beach to the spot where the ill-fated speed trial had begun and there buried solemnly in the sands, as children with flowers and adults with heads bared watched.
A Welshman named Owen Wyn Owen proposed this year that he dig up the ancient racer, restore it and put it on public exhibition. The townspeople were sharply divided in their reaction to this proposal. As the Rev. David Jenkins, rector of Pendine, explained: "The older people feel very emotional about this. The grave holds more than a car. It contains all the memories that made Pendine a great center of speed. To many it is a shrine."
A petition that was circulated in Pendine against exhumation of the car gained 63 signatures, but it was doomed to failure. Another petition, this one in favor of the plan, got 113 signatures. The battered old car was duly exhumed. Though it was badly rotted, Wyn Owen said he was convinced it could be restored. "It is even possible we might get it to run again," he added.
CALUMET VS. KENTUCKY
A signal protest against the way the state of Kentucky has handled the Kentucky Derby scandal has been registered by Calumet Farm's Mrs. Gene Markey, whose renowned stable has won seven Derbies—eight if you count last year's. But can you count last year's? Calumet's Forward Pass finished second to Dancer's Image, who was sort of disqualified, but not really. Dancer's Image won in the pari-mutuel betting, lost in the purse distribution (though that is still in the courts) and finished in a dead heat with Forward Pass on the Churchill Downs sign that lists past Derby winners.
The confusion was caused by a carelessly written rule and an equivocating racing commission. Mrs. Markey, who feels that if Dancer's Image did not win then her horse did, had warned that she would not race her horses in the state unless the rule was clarified. The commission, letting bluegrass grow under its feet, took until March 10 to change the rule, 10 months after the disputed Derby and more than three weeks after nominations for the 1969 Derby had closed. Calumet therefore nominated nothing for the Derby, nothing for the Kentucky Oaks, nothing for any Kentucky race.
Mrs. Markey said, "We are not racing in Kentucky this spring because they did not change the rule in time for us to nominate horses to the stakes and make plans to race there. We have made plans to race elsewhere."
And Kentucky racing gets another black eye.
The Eugene (Ore.) Emeralds, a new franchise in the reorganized Pacific Coast League, have been having their troubles getting everything ready for the forthcoming season, but the latest snag left them with a singular distinction: the Emeralds may have the only ball park in Organized Baseball with draperies in the outfield.
Advertising signs on the left-field fence can be seen from homes near the ball park, and because this is a violation of the community's strict sign ordinances the Eugene Planning Commission feels the signs should be covered when the team is not at home. Harassed General Manager Hugh Luby, who did not have these problems when he played for the Athletics and the Giants, guessed that curtains or draperies would be the best way to hide the offending signs. He did not say what the color scheme would be, and nobody had the courage to ask him if there would be ruffles.
For more than a year, irate residents of Westport, Conn. laid siege to Cockenoe Island, a half mile offshore in Long Island Sound. Previously, Cockenoe had seemed hardly worth thinking about. To those who were accustomed to seeing it, the island—27 wild acres of stones, sand and scrub—had been there always, unchanged, and would so remain.
Then progress sailed in. The island was quietly purchased by the United Illuminating Company, which had plans for building a nuclear plant on the site. This aroused and unified the Westport citizenry as it had not been since the British landed on the town beach during the Revolutionary War. Petitions were signed, committees were formed, bumper stickers and buttons were displayed and the town paper, The Westport News, campaigned with a long series of articles and editorials damning the project. The people of Westport offered to buy the island in order to keep it in its wild state, but United Illuminating was reluctant to give it up. Last week, however, faced with the threat of two forthcoming bills in the Connecticut state legislature which, if passed, would have given the town the right of eminent domain over the island, the power people relented and agreed to sell. The proposed price is $200,000, which is $50,000 more than UI paid for it and $125,000 more than the town might have bought it for in 1964.
Moral: hindsight may not be better than foresight, but anything is better than looking at a nuclear plant in your front yard.
After decades of inexcusable inaction, the men who run harness racing in this country got together last spring and set up a nationwide security organization. To head it they hired the best man available, John Brennan, who for many years had been doing the same job for the Thoroughbreds as chief assistant to Spencer Drayton and who, like Drayton, was a veteran FBI agent. The announcements made it appear that trotting, at last, was being properly policed.
That is hardly the case. Today, a year later, nearly half the tracks in the U.S. still refuse to join Harness Tracks Security Inc., including such major venues as Yonkers Raceway, Pompano Park, Wolverine and Rockingham. Even the president of the U.S. Trotting Association, Walter Michael, has withheld his support and that of the three racing associations he controls.
There are two basic reasons for this foot dragging. First is a reluctance on the part of some track owners to allow an independent organization (the only kind that can do the job) to handle security on their premises. Second is the mishmash of personality conflicts that has long made the management sector of the sport a jungle of acrimony. As a result, the betting public is not receiving the protection it deserves, and neither are the honest participants in trotting.
THE HARD WAY
Dr. J.L. Farace of Bangor, Pa. had a fairly memorable hole in one in three a few weeks ago at Robbers' Roost Golf Club in Myrtle Beach, S.C. The doctor put his first shot in the water, took a penalty stroke, teed up a new ball and was shooting three. This time he hit the water again, but at a slightly more advantageous angle. The ball skipped across the surface like a flat rock, climbed a high bank on the other side to the edge of the green, where, as though it had eyes, it rolled 50 feet to the cup and dropped in. It was, as the doctor would be first to admit, a tough par.
THEY SAID IT
•Paul Richards, Atlanta Braves vice-president, on baseball writers: "The new, young breed of writers are looking for social significance. They dwell too much on whether a player is getting along with a manager or how happy he is at home. They ought to be writing for the gossip columns, not the baseball fans."
•Diane Crump, girl jockey, when asked if she wore makeup: "Who needs it? You muck a few stables, gallop 10 or 12 horses, and if that doesn't put color in your cheeks, nothing will."