To Each His Own
Despite a general impression to the contrary among certain salty types, that yacht race off Newport, R.I. was not everyone's cup of tea. There is a tendency, maybe regrettable, maybe not, toward the fanatic in most sports fans, and some of them are just cussed enough to be more interested in their own pet pastime, whether it be skittles or skeet, than in even the America's Cup.
There was a good deal going on in the sporting world last week as the great 12-meters Sceptre and Columbia maneuvered for a start off Newport. The football season was just beginning and, with the fateful perversity that usually marks it, this paramount autumnal pastime was already engaging the hypnotic attention of thousands of fans from coast to coast.
In stadiums not filled by football fans, baseball's pennant race was drawing to a close, but there was still plenty of excitement left to thrill the faithful. In far-off Baltimore, even as the cup boats were rounding their marks, Hoyt Wilhelm was busily engaged in hurling the underdog Orioles to the first authentic no-hit big league ball game enjoyed by Baltimore in 60 years (see below).
We regret to say (or do we?) that even the most distinguished of the 10,000-odd spectators who braved the seas off Brenton Reef to watch the first America's Cup race in 21 years had at least a part of his mind on other things. A Kansas-bred boy who worked his way up to a grandstand seat at the race (aboard the destroyer Mitscher) via West Point and the White House, Dwight Eisenhower from the start professed himself pretty mystified by what he was watching. After about 35 minutes, he ordered the destroyer back to port. Then he leaned over a rail and called down to Norman Palmer, the golf pro at the Newport Country Club. "Let's hurry back now," suggested the President. "I'd like to play a few holes unless there's too much wind."
A Black Week
The New York Yankees, pennant in hand and visions of World Series sugarplums dancing in their heads, nonetheless had a hard week—ending in mild disaster at Baltimore. They blew a 4-0 lead in the ninth inning Friday, were smacked with a, no-hit, no-run game at the hands of harmless old Hoyt Wilhelm on Saturday and suffered a series sweep when the Orioles won a 3-2 game on Sunday.
How simply frightful, said the loyal legion of Yankee haters. How humiliating. How delightful!
The miserable showing in Baltimore was the last but not the worst thing that happened to the New Yorkers during the week. On the Sunday previous, after clinching the pennant, they celebrated on the train from Kansas City to Detroit. Champagne was opened and so, apparently, was that sly stuff, vodka. Ryne Duren, the big, blond, glasses-wearing, right-handed, fast-balling relief pitcher, apparently does not include teetotaling among his adjectives. At any rate, he spotted Coach Ralph Houk with an unlighted cigar in his mouth and, remembering his Laurel and Hardy movies, playfully squashed, it against Houk's face. For some reason Houk did not smile. Instead he sent an angry backhand swat across Duren's face, and the World Series ring he was wearing opened a gash over Duren's eye. Others decided it was time for old Ryne to hit the sack. Old Ryne didn't agree. Don Larsen (six feet four, 220 pounds, and, the papers reported with unprinted exclamation points, sober) tried to stuff Duren into bed and got a knee against his lip for his trouble. But finally Ryne drifted off to slumberland, and the party ended.
In the best traditions of what might be called the captive-parrot school of baseball writing (SI, Sept. 22) the New York writers accompanying the team made a gentleman's agreement not to write anything about all this spirited fun. Naturally, however, the news leaked out just three days later.