THIS IS FRIENDSHIP?
As Reported in SI last week, Kansas City prides itself on its friendliness and outdid itself to welcome, as friends, the friendless Athletics from Philadelphia. But even friendship has its limits, and now comes the report that a fan, leaving the Municipal Stadium after the A's 29-6 defeat by the Chicago White Sox, muttered ominously: "I just hope those A's will realize that friendship is a two-way street."
ROBINSON, THE AVENGER?
Just Like the Lone Ranger and Mickey Spillane's Mike Hammer, Jackie Robinson of the Dodgers has appointed himself avenger of injustices, but with a new gimmick that neither the Ranger nor Mickey Spillane has thought of up to now. Robinson seeks to punish the culprit just like his fictional counterparts, but if the culprit eludes him, he is not dismayed. He simply punishes someone else.
Thus, in the fourth inning of the second game of the Dodger-Giant series, Jackie decided that Sal Maglie had deliberately thrown at several players, including Robinson. It was a reasonable inference. Roy Campanella, for instance, had had to hit the dirt. He got up to strike out. Robinson, next up, made plain his avenging strategy. He would bunt down the first-base line, draw Maglie over to field the ball and then, as Jackie Gleason says, "Powie! Right on the kisser!"
Maglie's first pitch was wide, but Robinson pushed the second one toward first according to plan. But Maglie, no fool, was buying none of that. He let Whitey Lockman field the ball while Davey Williams ran over to cover first. Williams, who weighs 165, took the throw, tagged the bag, and then—as if he were Sal Maglie himself—received the bruising force of Robinson's shoulder, with 210-pound Robinson behind it, full in the midsection. It sent Davey sprawling, knocked the wind out of him and emptied both benches as Giants and Dodgers rushed out to hate each other with everything short of blows.
In the clubhouse, Robinson innocently declared the whole thing to be an "accident," but he smiled and nodded as teammates, including Manager Alston himself, kept coming up to congratulate him. Over on the Giants' side, Leo Durocher, a study in high blood pressure, choked out: "Nothing to say—nothing to say about anything!"
It seems that pitchers facing the Dodgers in future should take warning. Dust off a Dodger and Jackie Robinson will clobber you. Or somebody.
DERBY FUTURE BOOK
Until The Bettors take over at Churchill Downs' pari-mutuel windows on the afternoon of May 7, the world's most authoritative source of odds on the Kentucky Derby is a sedate-looking citizen of Tijuana, Mexico named John Alessio. A transplanted West Virginian who favors horn-rimmed glasses and gray flannel suits, Alessio looks exactly like a prosperous Rotarian, which he is. He is also the manager of the Caliente Future Book and one of the best-known bookies in North America.
Into Alessio's mailbox, beginning in late March, come bets from the 132,000 subscribers to the weekly issues of his Future Book, which offers early, attractive odds on Derby hopefuls long before owners decide which horses will enter the race. One day's mail recently included bets from such widely scattered folk as an insurance agency manager in Alabama, an Oregon attorney and a Trenton, N.J. housewife ($6 on Trentonian). Others came from as far away as Guam and Eire. Of the mailing pieces which draw these replies, Alessio says: "Show me one place where we solicit a bet. Do you see one thing which says you must bet? I only send you a communication telling you what prices are if you want to bet."