Does George Allen like older players because the Redskin coach is four years older than he says he is? According to a transcript from Michigan Normal College (now Eastern Michigan University) in Ypsilanti, Allen was born on April 29, 1918, not 1922 as listed in the Redskin press guide.
The guide also omits the fact that Allen attended Michigan Normal for three years before moving on to Alma College. At Michigan Normal, Allen was mostly a C student, although he did get an A in physical training. A classmate recalls that Allen was nothing in football, but every Sunday he would listen to the radio and chart the pro games while others were trying to study.
A figure from boxing's criminal past surfaced in Philadelphia last week. Frank (Blinky) Palermo, onetime numbers racketeer, fight manager, fixer, convicted extortionist and henchman of the late Frankie Carbo, the Murder Inc. gunman who became the underworld boss of boxing during the 1940s and '50s, applied to the Pennsylvania Athletic Commission for a license to manage. The application is scheduled for a hearing Jan. 23 and, oddly enough, Howard McCall, the commission chairman and a former trainer, appears sympathetic. "I never had any trouble with Blinky," McCall says.
In his heyday under Carbo, Palermo had a large stable of fighters, including lightweight champion Ike Williams, whose purses he stole. In 1959 Los Angeles promoter Jackie Leonard was brutally beaten after testifying before the California State Athletic Commission that Palermo and Carbo had attempted to muscle in on half of the earnings of welterweight champion Don Jordan. As a result of this case, Palermo and Carbo were tried and convicted in federal court in 1961 of conspiracy and extortion. Carbo, who got 25 years, died in a federal pen two years ago, and Palermo, who got 15 years, was paroled in 1971.
Palermo's lawyer argues that his client, now 71, has been "completely rehabilitated" and should therefore be licensed. It is one thing to give gainful employment to an ex-con; it would be quite another thing to grant a license, which is a privilege, to Palermo, whose record of corruption is unequaled in boxing.
DOWN THE RIVER
One by one, the historic trout streams of New York's Catskill Mountains, where dry-fly fishing began in the United States, have been disfigured. New York City drowned a storied stretch of the Neversink for a water-supply reservoir, and cut the summer flow of Schoharie Creek to nothing with the construction of a dam. The state highwaymen straitjacketed portions of the Willowemoc and the Beaverkill with cement and steel to build the new Route 17. Now fishermen, led by Trout Unlimited, the Federation of Fly Fishermen, the Theodore Gordon Flyfishers and the Catskill Center for Conservation and Development, are up in arms over a threat to Esopus Creek.
One of the few blue-ribbon streams remaining within reach of thousands of anglers in the New York metropolitan area, the Esopus supports a large wild trout population, including a remarkable run of rainbows. The key 11.9-mile stretch is estimated to contain as many as 11,000 wild fish per mile. Alas, the state Power Authority plans to put a pumped storage hydroelectric plant on the Schoharie Reservoir. Opponents argue that the Esopus, which gets a life-giving infusion of cold water from the reservoir, would be irreparably damaged by turbidity and warm water caused by constant fluctuation of the reservoir water levels as a result of the plant operation.
The state Department of Environmental Conservation, which could help make the Power Authority shift the plant elsewhere, is studying the matter. Some fishermen are hopeful, but in the past the timid department has not only sold fishermen down the river, it has left them up the creek.
Composer Randy Newman's hit song. Short People, which tells of short people's "little cars that go 'Beep, beep, beep'; their little voices going 'Peep." peep, peep'; their grubby little fingers and their dirty little minds; short people are going to get you every time," has been banned in some places because of protests by the lower echelon. But at Bowie racetrack in Maryland, the song is big with jockeys.
"My sister-in-law gave me the album for Christmas," says Rudy Turcotte, 5'½". "My 4-year-old daughter has learned the words by heart. I like it." Asked if he wished he were tall, Chris McCarron, 5' 3", replies, "If I was, I wouldn't be making $200,000 a year." Vince Bracciale, 5' 2½" in his socks, says, "I like the song. It has brought a lot of attention to short people." Summing it up for the jockeys, McCarron says, "We may be considered short in the world, but we ride tall in the saddle."
Working from financial data disclosed in lawsuits and from other sources, FANS, Ralph Nader's new consumer group for sports enthusiasts, figures that the 28 NFL teams will average nearly $4 million in gross profits next season, earning $11.95 million and paying out $8.02 million. "There is no conceivable justification for any NFL team raising ticket prices over at least the next several years," says Peter Gruenstein, FANS executive director.
By FANS' estimate, the $5.8 million in team income from the sale of network and local broadcast rights will exceed ticket revenues by $650,000. Given the guaranteed broadcast income and the fact that each NFL team gets 40% of the gate at away games, Gruenstein says an NFL team could, in theory, draw "a total home attendance of zero next year without suffering a loss."
That is certainly good news for Buffalo.
The Cincinnati Stingers of the WHA have re-signed tough guy Willie Trognitz, who was released a couple of weeks ago. Trognitz, who now has a contract for the rest of the season, was suspended for life six weeks ago by the International Hockey League for working over an opponent with his stick (SI, Nov. 28, 1977). The Stingers are also giving a 10-day trial to Bruce Grieg, a left winger who doesn't seem to have much going for him beyond his size (6'4", 217 pounds) and a reputation for being able to police the ice.
Jacques Demers, the Stinger coach, says the club made the moves to protect its better players. He says, "We won't be intimidated anymore." But Robbie Ptorek, one of the better players, isn't sure he wants this kind of protection. "If they just go out to fight, it isn't going to be beneficial," he says.
CALL OF THE WILD
Bradford Angier, author of Living off the Country, Survival with Style, Bobcats before Breakfast, We Like It Wild, Edible Wild Plants and The Master Backwoodsman, lives in a condominium.
NOT QUITE CRICKET
Anyone who has been appalled by unruly fan behavior in this country should take a look at soccer fans in Great Britain, who are straight out of A Clockwork Orange. In a recent game between Manchester City and Leeds United, the hometown Leeds fans began throwing beer cans at City Goalie Joe Corrigan after their team fell behind, 2-0. When it became obvious that Leeds United was going to lose, fans poured onto the field, and order was not restored until mounted police drove the invaders back into the stands. The Football Association is investigating and as punishment may shut down the stadium, Elland Road, for the second time in four years.
On the same day as the incident in Leeds, fans at a game in Exeter invaded the field and then went roaring through that cathedral city, hurling bottles, bricks and beer cans through windows.
Fan violence in Britain has gotten steadily worse. Those accompanying teams to games on the Continent are notorious. Three teams—Leeds United, Manchester United and Glasgow Rangers—have been barred from European competition at one time or another because of noting by their supporters.
Despite the presence of police, the hiring of special security guards to frisk fans for bottles, studded leather belts and other potential weapons, and the construction of fences to separate supporters of opposing teams, the casualty rates are often high. In the fighting that followed Scotland's victory over Wales in Liverpool last year, one man died and 50 others were hospitalized for stabbings, bottle lacerations of the face and other injuries. Seventy-five Scots—and Scots are considered the rowdiest fans of all—were arrested for drunkenness, theft and other offenses. One was fined the equivalent of $ 1,000 for smashing up his hotel bedroom and his police cell.
By defeating Wales, Scotland qualified to play in the World Cup tournament to be held in Argentina this summer, and those partisans who make the trip may well continue their rowdyism there. A best-selling lapel button reads ARGENTINA, WE'LL MAKE YOU CRY.
PATS' BAD BOY
John Hannah, the Patriots' outstanding guard, received the Mack Bulldog Award last week as the top offensive lineman in pro football. Curiously, Hannah was not selected to play in this year's Pro Bowl, for which the coaches do the voting. Hannah, who walked out on the Pats for three games last season during a contract dispute, explains that "Bad little boys' in the NFL don't get picked for the Pro Bowl."
Incensed at polls that ranked Notre Dame the No. 1 college football team in the country and Alabama No. 2, the Alabama House and Senate created by joint resolution last week their own top 10. In the pols' poll, the Crimson Tide is No. 1, followed in order by Notre Dame, Arkansas, Texas, Oklahoma, Michigan, Kentucky, Penn State, Ohio State and Pittsburgh.
The House also adopted a resolution forming a special committee to rate teams after each season. The committee is to be composed of three members each from the House and Senate, the speaker of the House and the lieutenant governor. None can be a graduate of Notre Dame.
Frank Broyles, who was an excellent football coach at Arkansas, may be even better as athletic director. Last year he hired-Lou Holtz to coach football, and the Razorback team went 11-1, including its dramatic upset of No. 2-ranked Oklahoma in the Orange Bowl. Three years before, Broyles had hired Eddie Sutton to coach basketball, and that team went 26-2 in 1976-77. That adds up to 37-3 for the top "revenue" sports. And so far this season the basketball team is 14-1.
Peter Hanowell of Clarkston, Wash, is great at picking winners in football. He won the contest conducted by the Lewiston, Idaho Morning Tribune by beating 600 other entrants. He correctly predicted the winners of 11 of 14 college and pro games and scored a perfect 10 for 10 in the college bowl games, with such way-out choices as Notre Dame by 27 over Texas and Washington by seven over Michigan.
Hanowell's method is simplicity itself. He first selects the teams he thinks will win, and then he points to numbers on a list to pick the point margin. Primitive? Yes, but it works for this 4-year-old-boy.
THEY SAID IT
•A. Bartlett Giamatti, president-designate of Yale University and a fervent Red Sox fan: "All I ever wanted to be president of was the American League."
•Woody Hayes, Ohio State football coach, asked about the possibilities of his retirement next month when he turns 65: "I won't quit. When I do leave, I'll die on the 50-yard line at Ohio Stadium, in front of the usual 87,000 people." Even if Ohio a State isn't winning? "If we aren't, then I won't die."