THAT PCL IDEA
When the Pacific Coast League proposed permanent pinch hitting for pitchers most baseball fans (ourselves included) considered it just another of those silly schemes that are always afoot for changing the game. Surprisingly, the idea is finding favor. Lefty O'Doul calls it baseball's "greatest innovation," and former slugger Ralph Kiner is ecstatic. "Tremendous," says Kiner. "Under this rule I could have stayed in the majors an extra five years."
Some uneasiness is apparent among the pitchers who might be facing Kiner, Ted Williams and Stan Musial four times every game for 30 seasons. But there are other, more compelling reasons why the PCL proposal is bad.
Much of baseball's appeal rests on provocative problems of strategy involving the pitcher—two on, one out, behind by a run and the starter coming to bat: What do you do? And what would become of that delightful phenomenon, the good-hitting pitcher? As for Kiner's (or even Williams') extra five years, we can do without them. When a man has to hang up his spikes and glove he should drop his bat as well.
KILLER IN THE IRS
By accident or design, John Kennedy has been partial to sporting types in his appointments. Aside from touch footballer Bob Kennedy, there are skier Robert McNamara, ex-quarterback Orville Freeman and former basketball star Stewart Udall. Dean Rusk, it turns out, is a staunch promoter of Little League baseball.
Comes now Mortimer Maxwell Caplin as Commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service. Basic training for this job could hardly be acquired in a more suitable activity than the one Caplin chose as a student at the University of Virginia. He was a boxer. He was Southern Conference senior middleweight champion in 1936.
He is also a lawyer and professor at the University of Virginia Law School. That school's Dean F.D.G. Ribble has this to say of Caplin: "He was a formidable opponent in the ring. He is a very formidable lawyer at the bar, but he is very cheerful before and afterward. I suppose every first-class boxer has the killer instinct in the ring, and so does every first-class lawyer."
Taxpayers who may one day step into the ring with Killer Caplin are forewarned.
ANYONE FOR BLOCKADE RUNNING?
During the Civil War the Confederate Navy experimented with a series of small, mechanically operated submarines which were almost 100% successful in drowning their volunteer crews. Since the Union lifted its blockade of southern ports, this type of underwater craft has fallen into disuse. But there at the Los Angeles Boat Show last week, by golly, was a thing called the Minisub, a mechanical two-man submarine with all the virtues of its Confederate forebears. As soon as the Minisub goes under, it fills with water. There is no internal pressure system, so it cannot take the human body down any deeper than the body could go without it. To operate the sub, one of the crew, in full scuba gear, lies back down inside the fuselage and pumps madly on bicycle-type pedals hooked up to the propeller. In order to explore, take pictures, or whatever, the crew members have to get out of the sub—which is obviously the best thing they could do anyway.