Former American League Umpire Art Passarella will soon be seen in a segment of the cops-and-robbers TV series Streets of San Francisco. Standing in the middle, no doubt.
Frank Worthington, general manager of the Playboy Club in San Francisco, has a disjointed solution to the gasoline shortage: pack-a-bike. He separated his two-wheeler into sections so that it folds neatly into a medium-sized suitcase. Every day he pedals the mile from his home in Marin Keyes to the Greyhound bus stop, folds and boards. In San Francisco he reassembles the contraption in 10 seconds, pops the suitcase on back and gets in another mile to work. That's four for the day, going and coming, good hopping for any bunny.
When not reading poetry, White Sox Pitcher Steve Stone, a former literature major at Kent State, is spending his off-season in two Chicago restaurants learning how to cook. Already he is skilled at such things as steak Mirabeau and soufflés but needs help from the bullpen on his lobster Savannah. When not in the kitchen, he greets customers and waits on tables and one day hopes to put his collected learning and earnings into his own place in Fairfield, Calif. Let's see: one finger for vichyssoise, two Chateaubriand, three knock down the customer with a high hard dumpling.
Cookie Gilchrist, who stopped playing football in 1967, has now put together something called United Professional Athletics Coalition of America Inc., sort of a decompression chamber for retiring athletes. Basically, Gilchrist's group will be there to help restore the confidence of athletes suddenly facing the realization that the last hurrah has been sounded. "It's the overall rejection by the same masses that once applauded, cheered, catered to, pampered, loved, hated these men," Gilchrist says. "All of a sudden one day you're walking down the street and nobody recognizes you. You go into a bank and try to borrow money and you can't. All of a sudden you discover the lack of education is a very monumental fact, that your kids are growing up in some other section of the country, some other home and that you acquired certain tastes that you can't afford anymore."
Since July 4, 1939, when the New York Yankees retired Lou Gehrig's No. 4, the numbers of many superstars have dutifully been subtracted from the backs of mere mortals—Mantle's No. 7, Robinson's 42, etc. And now goes 3535. That, says an enterprising publicity man, is the number Ernestine Jackson wore at a New York lunch-counter chain, Chock Full O'Nuts, before she became the star of the new Broadway musical Raisin.
At the moment the match is at 2-love, but apparently there is one young female who has not heard about the engagement of Jimmy Connors and Chris Evert. While Chris sits up front wearing his diamond, Jimmy sits behind wearing someone's arm. Oh, well, when they become a permanent doubles team next fall, serves like that will be out of court.
Sartorially splendid, New York Knick Walt (Clyde) Frazier adds a dash of disdain while a New York City policeman explains why the NBA star's Rolls-Royce has just been dressed with a pair of tickets. One was for double parking, the other for failing to have an inspection sticker. The cop decided that a third ticket, for failing to have a front license plate, would be unjust. "Fans keep stealing it," sighed its owner. The plate reads wet.
Alex Hawkins, the ex-Baltimore Colt who has been writing a sports column in Atlanta, has painfully resolved that there must be safer ways to make a living. "Sportswriters should get hazardous-duty pay," he said. "First a baseball player invited me outside. Next, one of the Falcon linemen wanted to fight, and he didn't care inside or outside." Hawkins declined both offers. But then one night he was abused by an old lady in a bar. "She waved her fist under my nose and said if she were a man she'd take me outside. I said I'd go. I never knew reporting was so rough. Have you ever tried to interview Norm Van Brocklin when he's got a mad on?" Announcing that he has had it, Hawkins said he will devote full time to his other business: collecting garbage.
Responding to a request for the telephone number of John Hiller, the ace Detroit relief pitcher, an information operator in Duluth, Minn. said, "That number is unlisted." Then, without pause, she gave the number.
Then there is Phil Woolpert, who in the mid-1950s coached the University of San Francisco (Bill Russell-K.C. Jones) teams to back-to-back NCAA championships before he discovered he did not have the stomach for the pressure. Ulcers. He retired briefly, then tried coaching lower-pressure ball at the University of San Diego. More ulcers. Deciding there was more to life than milk and Maalox, last year Woolpert and his wife retired to Sequim, a tiny town in Washington. Now he drives a school bus 124 miles each day. "I love it," he said.