THE SOONER THE BETTER
As is often the case in such matters, there is no clear right or wrong in the labor dispute between National Football League owners and players. Vice President Ford, writing about the wrangling between the two groups (page 16), finds "neither is particularly attractive," and like most of us he has mixed emotions over the positions they have taken, recognizing the right of an individual in a free enterprise system to realize his full worth and at the same time the need of franchises to turn a profit. The Vice President only touches on the issues of player freedom that have become serious points of contention, but he has caught the mood of a public grown weary of prolonged negotiations, and the charges and countercharges that inevitably accompany them. The sooner both NFL sides iron out their differences, the better for all sport.
It was one of those days. Rain had fallen steadily on Woodbine track near Toronto before the 115th running of last Saturday's Queen's Plate, and the running surface looked like a moat around an infield. Because the royal landau, unequipped with pontoons, remained parked under the stands, the royal representative, the Queen Mother, arrived in a limo. She walked across the track to the infield on wide wooden planks, not the customary red carpet. Then things got bad.
During the salute to Queen Mum, one of the Governor-General's horse guards was unseated and deposited face-first in about six inches of slop. He departed in an ambulance. The rains came again when Queen Mum visited the paddock for the saddling. When she opened a borrowed umbrella, it turned inside out. Amber Herod, a 10-to-1 outsider and the eventual winner, became fascinated with the mud as he was led across the track to the paddock. He dropped to his knees and rolled over. Later, in the winner's circle, he acted up and bumped into the trophy table, very nearly consigning the Queen's Plate Trophy to the slop.
The Queen's Plate is the oldest horserace in North America and the richest, most famous sporting event in Canada. It has survived world wars, depressions, sterling, Expo '67, the horse and buggy and six monarchs, and it may outlive Saturday.
QUESTION OF VALUES
There will always be a car nut. The other day Alec Ulmann, maestro of the Sebring Twelve Hours during that event's 22-year life-span, cracked up a newly restored 1926 Hispano Suiza while taking it for a spin on Long Island. Informed of the calamity, the Madison Avenue Sports Car, Chowder and Marching Club, through a spokesman, expressed cursory interest in member Ulmann's condition but deep anxiety about the Hisso. For the record, Ulmann suffered a fracture of the collarbone, the car, multiple damages. Both are doing nicely, Ulmann freshly released from New York's Columbia-Presbyterian Hospital, the Hisso in Joe Weider's garage in Elmhurst, Queens, N.Y. Rest easily, you old Hisso.
One problem other than managing that has troubled the San Francisco Giants this season is their ball park, and with it an unwelcome phenomenon, the GRD, or ground rule double. The AstroTurf in Candlestick is so hard and the outfield fence so low (eight feet) that 28 GRDs have bounced out of the playing field in 37 games, negating one of the team's chief assets, speed. Opposition drives that otherwise might have been held to singles have bounced in for GRDs, and doubles by the Giants that might have been stretched into triples have ended up GRDs, too.
National League President Chub Feeney deplores the situation. "The GRD robs the game of two of its most exciting plays," he says, "the triple and cutting down a base runner from the outfield."
Cincinnati raised its fences after installing synthetic grass, but no such changes can be made in any park during the season except by league vote. Feeney, however, offers hope. "If the Giants ask to raise their fences, I'm sure there'd be an immediate and unanimous approval."
It surely would raise the spirits of new Manager Wes Westrum.
What had begun peaceably enough as an afternoon of golf ended with one man in the hospital and several in a Vancouver, B.C. assize court trying to explain to a jury just what did happen out there between the 16th tee and the 18th cup on the University Golf Club course.
Nothing much, except that at the 16th a member of one foursome hit a lovely 220-yard drive into the foursome ahead and James Paton, chief inspector for the local Workmen's Compensation Board, opted for immediate compensation by knocking the ball straight back. A certain edginess crept into the ensuing conversations between the foursomes and during play at the 18th, Club Pro Ron Willey, who was with the second group, advanced to the green to admonish Paton. Exception was taken and there was some shoving and an altercation or two before Paton brought matters to a head with a smart crack to the pate of James Clapp, a lawyer, laying him low. Paton used a four-iron.
Off went Clapp to intensive care and repairs to his hearing, speech and equilibrium, and then it was on to trial. Claiming the drive almost conked him and that Clapp had shoved him on the 18th green, Paton pled self-defense. Last week, the jury found for him, and Paton left court without so much as the loss of a stroke, which goes to show, among other things, how important club selection can be in golf. One shudders to think of the consequences had Paton overclubbed. And the offending tee shot should have been hit with a four-iron.
INSTANT PAY BACK
Henry Lawrence, son of a migrant farm worker, was able to go to college only because Florida A&M gave him a football scholarship. Last winter the 6'4", 250-pound tackle was the No. 1 draft pick of the Oakland Raiders and last month he graduated with a degree in political science. Hardly exceptional that, except Lawrence did something with part of his Oakland bonus that is rarely done by professional athletes. He donated $1,000 to the A&M athletic department to help defray someone else's scholarship.
Early foot, as horseplayers know, too often is a sure sign of a late finish. But although they broke fast, Ernie Vandeweghe's youngsters show no signs of slowing up. As you may recall, when we last reported on the ex-New York Knick basketball player (SI, May 26, 1969), he and onetime Miss America Colleen Hutchins Vandeweghe had combined genes to produce some extraordinarily athletic children with the extraordinary names of Kiki, Tauna, Heather and Br√ºk. A pediatrician, Vandeweghe was determined to raise his Southern California brood according to theories he had developed concerning vitamins, protein, competition and the active life. The theories, happy to say, are holding up.
Tauna, for instance, was nine in 1969. Her specialties were swimming and unicycle riding and she wanted to be a movie star. Now Tauna is 14 and 6'1" (Ernie is 6'3½", Colleen 5'10"), which she says is too tall for a movie star. But she is still swimming (she was the first 14-year-old to break one minute in the 100-yard backstroke) and her coach thinks she will take a medal at the Montreal Olympics.
Kiki, the older son, was a 5'4", 110-pound-age-group swimmer in 1969. Now he is a 6'5½", 185-pound basketball player who was a sophomore starter for the Pacific Palisades High School varsity last season—and he is still growing. His coach says he is the best 15-year-old he has ever had, but father Ernie wishes Kiki would play more golf. Kiki shoots in the low 80s on the tough L.A. Country Club and Bel Air courses.
Heather, 12, is a tennis player and gymnast who, according to her mother, is "forever standing on her hands and walking around the house." And Br√ºk, 10, is such a good soccer player that he was forced to play with the 12-year-olds this year.
Some thoroughbreds, racing people can tell you, are able to stay on top wire to wire.
No less a winner is Superfan Terence Kelly, the Toronto lawyer who follows sport everywhere it leads him. When last we heard from him (SCORECARD, Jan. 7), Kelly had just cornered two tickets at bargain rates to the Grey Cup, these on top of scores of tickets to attractive baseball games, soccer matches and cricket at Lord's. So where is Kelly now? In Germany, of course, taking in the World Cup with his 14-year-old son Tim. Not just the Cup match but the whole three-week extravaganza. In a six-day period during the preliminary round the Kellys watched Chile vs. West Germany in Berlin, Uruguay vs. Holland in Hanover, Brazil vs. Scotland in Frankfurt and Italy vs. Argentina in Stuttgart. Son of Superfan picked an all-Europe final—Italy vs. West Germany. Superfan had to go with Yugoslavia as a long shot. Well, you can't win 'em all, even if you see 'em all.
Then there is retired Navy Commander Bernard W. (Bud) Deacon of Honolulu. When we first met him (SI, Feb. 4), he was 62 years old and the holder of 29 world records in track and field, 11 in the 60-69 age group and 18 more in his exact age group. Now he is 63, and at a USTFF meet in Kenosha, Wis. he won the 60-69 decathlon with 4,039 points, another world record. Along the way he set exact age records in each of the 10 events. As a 17-year-old once said to Deacon, who was speeding into the last turn of a 1,500-meter race, "Go to it, sir!"
GOOD HIT, NO RUN
Concord (N.H.) High won the state Class L baseball championship, but it wasn't easy. The leadoff man in one game singled, and was picked off first. Next man up doubled, but he was out, too. Missed first base, losing the hit. Third man got another double. But he was out trying to stretch it into a triple. No runs, no errors, none left on base—and two hits. Somehow Concord won 7-0.
STOP THAT MAN
Roger Guy English is nothing if not doughty. On Aug. 1 he will step into the Mississippi River at Fort Dam, outside Minneapolis, and start swimming for New Orleans. He expects to complete the 1,826-mile trip in 63 days, or 111 fewer than it took the record holder, Fred P. Newton of Clinton, Okla., back in 1933.
English, 23 and from La Jolla, Calif., has a background of stick-to-itiveness. He already holds world records in twisting (102 hours, 28 minutes, 37 seconds), kissing (3,000 girls in eight hours) and sleeplessness (288 hours). Kind of makes you tired just thinking of him.
THEY SAID IT
•Ray Scott, Detroit Pistons coach, asked which NBA team was hurt most by the expansion draft to stock the New Orleans franchise: "New Orleans."
•Barry Switzer, Oklahoma football coach, admitting that his ambition is to be the permanent head coach of All-Star teams: "You have a good time, play golf in the morning and a week after the game nobody remembers who won or who coached the loser."
•Joe Robbie, managing general partner of the Miami Dolphins, noting that many of the players who jumped to the WFL listed their responsibilities to wife and children as the reason: "The World Football League has done more than anything else to make family men out of players."
•Carol Mann, president of the LPGA pro golf board, explaining why she thinks the men's tour has peaked and the women are taking over: "Legs."
•Tug McGraw, N. Y. Mets pitcher, when asked whether he favors grass or artificial surfaces: "I don't know. I never smoked AstroTurf."