Frank Lane is the head man of the Cleveland Indians, make no mistake about that, but call him by that phrase these days and he may wince and change the subject. What is making the Indian general manager publicly sensitive, if privately delighted, is a bonus arrangement in his contract under which he collects a nickel a head for every Cleveland paid admission over 800,000.
The Indians ended their recent home stand in a blaze of attendance glory, topping the 1 million mark when 35,000 paid to see a double-header. This brought the nickels-for-Lane fund to a tidy $10,478.10 total. At the present rate the Indians may draw 1,400,000 this year, giving Fiscal Frank a $30,000 jackpot bonus to add to his estimated $60,000 salary.
Lane has modestly declined to comment on his bonus arrangement and plainly suffered when a daily box score of his take was published. But with Cleveland fans as enchanted by the Indians as Lane must be with the fans there seems no cause for concern. And who could blame Frank if he spends the rest of the home season with one eye on the diamond where his Indians battle for a World Series chance (no, Lane would get no bonus for Series games) while his other eye wanders over the stands, counting nickels.
Followers of boxing have had to confront so many painful evidences of scandal and excessive self-seeking in that great sport lately that it may be a relief, of a sort, to catch up with what has been going on in the gourmet sport of bear eating in McCleary, Wash. (pop. 1,175). The latest competition was admittedly rigged, but the rigger owned up right away and has been pretty much forgiven.
Our story begins last spring when the editor of the weekly newspaper in Stevenson, Wash. (pop. 584) wrote a piece stating that bears shot in Skamania County, where Stevenson is located, taste better than bears shot in Grays Harbor County, where McCleary is located.
There wasn't much news in Stevenson that week. Norman Porter, the editor of the McCleary Stimulator, roused to fury, replied with cutting remarks about Skamania bears and glowing claims for the goodness of Grays Harbor bears—claims Porter supported with testimonials from the McCleary Chamber of Commerce (president, Norman Porter) and the McCleary Historical Society (president, Norman Porter). Newspaper columns took up the controversy, the town council of McCleary built a community kitchen in the town park; and, in connection with a reforestation festival, there has been held what was advertised as "The First International Bear Eating and Bear Judging Contest This World Has Ever Known."
Now comes the interesting part. One bear was entered by Roy Craft, the boastful editor of the Skamania County Pioneer (who started the whole thing). Bears No. 2 and No. 3 were entered by Bill Hulet, a professional hunter from Grays Harbor County, and Roe Franklin, another professional, from Mason County. 'Finally, Bear No. 4, a Grays Harbor, was entered by 27-year-old Joe Wall-man, who said he had shot the beast in Weyerhaeuser Company's timber just south of Elma (pop. 1,543).
Early the other Saturday morning Wendell Peugh, a McCleary chef renowned for cooking bear, prepared all entries in the same way. Butchering out cuts of 13 pounds or less, he made slits in the meat and inserted slivers of garlic. He covered each roast with fine chopped parsley and celery (tops and all) and roasted at moderate temperature in open pans. As the drippings gathered, Wendell added savory sauce, paprika, salt, pepper and native wild beach mushrooms.
Results were delicious. The meat was served shish kebab style, in chunks on sharpened sticks, and visitors (about 1,000 at the festival) lined up for second and third helpings. The official judges unhesitatingly declared that Joe Wallman's bear was by far the best tasting. Before any official award could be made, word spread that Wallman's bear had been hand-fed before being shot. Called before the judges, young Wallman, an honest man, told all. He said he spotted the bear in the Clemons Tree Farm operated by Weyerhaeuser three weeks before the contest. Rather than shoot the bear then, and store it in a home freeze, he decided to wait. Night after night he provided tasty pots of salted mush, stewed oatmeal and fruit, which the bear ate with relish. Then Joe pulled the trigger.