What reminds us of these sports is the news from St. Louis that Cardinal Outfielder Charley James, an engineering student, has designed an electronic umpire. Luckily it is still on paper, and that's where we hope it will remain, an interesting theoretical exercise and no more. James admits that in developing his idea, "the ultimate goal is not to eliminate one of the colorful subjects of the game, but rather to improve on his judgment in calling pitches." But baseball is already a sufficiently disciplined game. Who wants less to yell and argue about, less color and less of the humanities?
It ill befits any heir to the old Gas-house Gang even to make such a suggestion.
In several recent races in Australia, horses have been allowed to wear plastic shoes. These weigh only a half ounce each compared to the two and one-half ounces of aluminum and the five ounces per hoof of steel plates used in this country. The horses ran faster than usual, thereby injecting another factor into the complex calculations of the wary horseplayer. He now has to figure that a cagey trainer could build up a long shot by working his horse all week in steel shoes. On the day of the race, presto—plastic and victory.
To most people, professional athletes seem to be a privileged race, living in a world of applause and five-figure incomes, quite removed from mortal harassment. Mickey Mantle never lies awake with heartburn. The battery on Arnold Palmer's car is never dead on cold mornings, and Bob Cousy's wife loves being home alone with the kids.
But last week one young athlete, up to his armpits in money and applause, sounded like a lot of other guys for whom the winter has been long, cold and fruitless. Playing in the 90-hole Palm Springs Golf Classic, Don January struck a 148-yard tee shot that bounded dead to the pin for a hole in one. The shot was worth $50,000. In a subsequent radio interview the announcer bubbled, "How did it feel to make that shot, Don?" "Man, it felt great," bubbled Don. "And what are you going to do with that money?" said the announcer. "Man, I owe it all," said January.
CAST OF CHARACTERS
? Cleveland Brown Fullback Jim Brown isn't saying whether Sam Huff of the Giants or Joe Schmidt of the Lions is the better linebacker—"I don't want them trying to prove a point by tackling me any harder than usual."
? England's fun-loving golfer, Max Faulkner, says: "Most American golfers are too serious when they play. I like larking, but I feel these American chaps will blame me if they make a bad shot. So when I play in the U.S. I go around in complete silence and I am bored with it all."
? Bud Adams, wealthy owner of the Houston Oilers, likes to soften up his player prospects by stuffing $100 bills in their breast pockets. When a Midwest halfback balked at signing, however, Adams was foiled. He found the breast pocket on the halfback's new suit still stitched, and the quarry escaped, still a free agent.