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Original Issue


"You have no idea until you get out there behind the wheel what fun it is to hit somebody," crooned 48-year-old grandmother Ruth Fisher, former champion of the Allentown (Pa.) Demolition Fair Derby, women's division. Screech! Crash! Bang! Last year she wiped them all out in a '60 Ford station wagon that cost the grand sum of $1. This year she lost when her '65 Chevy, on which she blew last year's $50 prize money, overheated and stalled. Between fairs Grandma Fisher crochets, does needlepoint, hooks rugs and keeps an eye out for old cars with a lot of smack.

Don Wilkerson of LaGrange, Ga. has been hanging onto one specific baseball for years, and has now presented it to his 8-year-old son. The ball carries the autographs of the game's three greatest home-run hitters, Babe Ruth. Henry Aaron and Willie Mays, as well as the game's single-season record holder, Roger Maris. Wilkerson still hopes to add the signatures of Mickey-Mantle, Joe DiMaggio and Harmon Killebrew. Even without that lot, the ball is worth an estimated $500, but Wilkerson won't be tempted. "I got it for my boy." And that, Coopers-town, is that.

Since Clete Boyer, onetime Yankee third baseman, transferred his efforts to the Taiyo Whales in Japan he has been having a whale of a time, crediting his new success to acupuncture—which in two or three days can be counted on to relieve his shoulder, back and arm injuries. "Greatest thing going," said Clete, who thinks American doctors are missing the point.

American racing fans joined Canadian sportsman E. P. Taylor last month in mourning the passing of 19-year-old Nearctic, for years chief stud at Taylor's Windfields stable. Nearctic sired the fabulous Northern Dancer, who in turn sired 1970 English triple crown (Guineas, Derby and St. Leger) winner Nijinsky. Even though Nearctic was failing during the 1973 breeding season, he leaves a legacy of 28 mares, all in foal. The king is dead. Long live the king.

Phillie Pitcher Ken Brett, who has a 12-5 won-loss record, goes to college off-season at Boston U., in the town where he started his baseball career with the Red Sox. The Sox decided he was hitting the books better than he was pitching and traded him to Milwaukee, who unloaded him onto the Phillies this year. Part of his contract with the Sox was that they would pick up the tab for his education, and they still do, though Brett doesn't plan to graduate until 1980. He likes school fine. "I let my hair grow long, add a mustache and wear clothes that blend right in. Nobody knows or cares who I am. I never tell anybody I'm a major league pitcher. Well, almost never. Sometimes if you're out with a chick and nothing else seems to be working, it's a good redeemer."

Usually he is pretty pugnacious, but here Dirty Dick is lending a friendly ear to Joe Bygraves down on their farm in Middlesex, England. Bygraves, a Jamaican and former British heavyweight champ, names all his pigs after former rivals, and the title of Dirty Dick was inspired by Dick Richardson, who fought Bygraves to a 15-round draw back in 1957. It turns out that Richardson wasn't insulted by having a namesake but the pig was. He came out fighting against his owner and beat him in something short of one round. For the record, it was a low blow. Dirty Dick bit him in the leg, the dirty swine.

And in the other corner we have Sergeant Richie Dunn of Britain, another heavyweight. Dunn doubles as a paratrooper, even though the military limits its sky divers to 192 pounds and he weighs in at 213. The floating sergeant will fight contender Bunny Johnson next, seeking a shot at champion Don McAlindon. Meanwhile, he insists that he falls faster through the air than other jumpers because of his size. Which makes him the new fat white hope.

After a three-year stint as assistant coach at the Naval Academy, Pete McCulley has finally gone professional and joined the Baltimore Colts' staff. He thinks the adjustment has been a bit traumatic. "At the Naval Academy the first day I walked into the dining hall to eat with the kids, the players stood up and waited until I sat down, and they all said 'excuse me' before leaving the table." O.K., Colts, on your feet.

Women who complain that their husbands neglect them for sport should consider the case of "Maria," a Peruvian housewife who wrote a letter to the lovelorn column of a Lima newspaper claiming that her husband beats her every time Peru's soccer team loses a game. Not only that, but "I get a blow for every goal by which they lose," wrote the luckless lady. "Chile beat Peru last Sunday and my husband came home like a madman. He hit me twice to make up for the two goals Chile won by." Hang in there, Maria. Just thank God your old man isn't betting on pro basketball.