Fishy stories of the week from near and far:
Harold Hays, New Orleans Saints' linebacker, has been a professional bass fisherman for the last three years, winning some $4,500 in five national tournaments. Reading reports of the current owner-player pension dispute, Hays got his tackle together and noted: "I might be doing more fishing than I had anticipated."
But John Wayne may have been more frustrated than Hays. The actor's racehorse—the first Wayne has owned—won his first start at Bay Meadows (Calif.). Big Roman took the six-furlong race by two lengths, paid $11.20 and held the first half of the daily double. Wayne missed the whole show. He was off fishing.
British Open loser Doug Sanders, also seeking solace at the end of a fishing rod, confessed to Al Hirt: "I must have replayed that putt 10,000 times. Missing it cost me about a million and a half." "Cool it," said Hirt. "Come on down and do some fishing. Let's see if you can beat me with the rod and reel." So Sanders and son Brad flew down to Louisiana to try their hand at redfish. Doug hooked five reds, the prize weighing 16¾ pounds. Hirt didn't get a bite.
W. C. Fields III is a promising rower with Philadelphia's Vesper Boat Club, winning the Canadian junior championship and finishing second in the seniors. Not too much like grandpa, the original W. C. Fields, who professed a profound hatred for water. Ah, but all is not lost. Young Bill also is an FBI agent. He is assigned to the bank-robbery squad. Which makes him a bank dick. Tradition will be served.
There he is, casually holding a cigarette in one hand and a girl in the other in a Viceroy ad on the inside cover of last week's SI, among other publications. The usual handsome, anonymous male model? Not exactly. Sports people recognized Olympian John Pennel, currently touring European track-and-field meets, the world pole-vault record holder at 17'10¼" until some German beat him by a quarter of an inch several weeks ago. All right, John. We know you. Put down that cigarette and let's get that record back.
Food for thought from Yankee Bobby Murcer, who sat out last week's games against the Angels: "I sat on the bench a lot, and I ate a lot of sunflower seeds. It was a useful time."
Everybody knows that President Nixon is a football fan. Went out for the team at Whittier College and all that. Now along comes Clint Harris, Whittier car dealer and old Nixon teammate, with some new lore for historians. Harris recalls a pregame meal: "I noticed that Dick hadn't touched his food. He told me he was too wound up to eat and offered me his steak. From that game on we ended up sitting together, and I was almost always a two-steak man." Clint, incidentally, was a 6'4" 200-pounder, a three-year letterman on the line. Underfed Nixon at, oh, say 160 pounds, didn't get to play much.
Among the week's more stunning athletic accomplishments:
Tommy D'Alesandro III, the 41-year-old mayor of Baltimore, opened Physical Fitness Week by gasping to a halt after four pushups.
Former Olympic champion Jesse Owens allowed himself to be beaten in a race with a 1971 Mercury Comet for an advertisement that will prove, presumably, that a car is faster than a man.
And down in Orlando, Fla., along came placekicker Steve Palinkas to try out for the Atlantic Coast Football League's Panthers. He brought his wife, Pat, to hold the ball because, well, "she has an uncanny ability to hold it straight." So Steve kicked a few, and Pat held a few and, naturally, the Panthers signed them both.
They all laughed when Vice-President Spiro Agnew belted Doug Sanders with that golf ball, right? Well, now we have Singer John Raitt, currently appearing in the musical Zorba in San Francisco. Baritone Raitt winds up at Peacock Gap Golf Course in San Rafael and bounces a wild drive off a stranger in the foursome ahead. He runs up to apologize. "Unacceptable," says the man frostily. "Well, then," says Raitt, "may I sing for you?" "No," growls the man, and stalks away. Ahh, those effete Westerners.
Rip Van Winkle Award of the Week goes to Lee Trevino—for sleeping through his 8:12 a.m. tee-off time at the Westchester Classic. Other scheduled early risers, Ben Hogan 7:24, Frank Beard and Gary Player 7:32, Sam Snead 7:40, Gene Littler 7:48, Jack Nicklaus at 7:56 and Billy Casper at 8:04, all got up on time. Good night, Chet. Good morning, Lee.
Using his own special version of Sonny Liston's baleful stare, Defensive Back Fred Williamson used to scare a lot of people. Beware of the old "hammer" (meaning his iron forearm), he warned opponents while playing for teams at Pittsburgh, Oakland and Kansas City. But it didn't work any better for Fred than it did for Sonny. And what does a man do in that situation? He turns to acting. The 32-year-old Williamson has signed to be a male lead in Julia, bringing romance to Diahann Carroll. After all, he is tall, dark and handsome, Fred admits, and "I am a better actor than a football player."