BEFORE THE FACT
Ford Frick, the baseball commissioner, currently has his lieutenant, Frank Slocum, scurrying about to poll the players, coaches and managers of both the National and American League teams. From the results of Slocum's poll the All Star teams will be set for the first (yep, there are two again this year) All-Star Game, which will be played in San Francisco on July 11.
The commissioner's office will not reveal the names of the participants until July 2, but here are our selections for both teams. American League: catcher, John Romano, Cleveland; first base, Norm Cash, Detroit; second base, Johnny Temple, Cleveland; third base, Brooks Robinson, Baltimore; shortstop, Tony Kubek, New York; left field, Rocky Colavito, Detroit; right field, Roger Maris, New York; center field, Jimmy Piersall, Cleveland; starting pitcher, Whitey Ford, New York. National League: catcher, Smoky Burgess, Pittsburgh; first base, Orlando Cepeda, San Francisco; second base, Frank Boiling, Milwaukee; third base, Eddie Mathews, Milwaukee; shortstop, Maury Wills, Los Angeles; left field, Wally Moon, Los Angeles; right field, Hank Aaron, Milwaukee; center field, Willie Mays, San Francisco; starting pitcher, Sandy Koufax, Los Angeles.
Bob Cousy, of the Boston Celtics, a mature man and undeniably the best basketball player in the world, discussed the current college scandals last week with John W. Fox, sports editor of The Evening Press, Binghamton, N.Y. Cousy said:
"Our American society has become rotten to the core, and I find it awfully hard to make these ballplayers any more criminal than the 'point-shaving' on millions of income tax returns and illegal insurance rebates that nearly as many try to finagle. This is the society that these players have been brought up in, and to my way of thinking the players involved are the least guilty of anyone at all involved in creating their environment."
If American society is rotten at all, it is in the prevalence of the deterministic notion that no man can be better than his environment. We prefer to think that a society is as good as its individuals, rather than vice versa, and we have always thought Cousy was one of the people who helped make it better.
THE ICEMAN RETURNETH
Oakland Hills Country Club, site of this year's U.S. Open, was the subject of much awe and respect last week from the touring professionals getting their first look at it. "The best course I have ever seen, and the toughest," said Jay Hebert. "A 290 could win." "Beautiful; but, man, what trouble," said brother Lionel Hebert.
All of which brought pardonable little smiles from Ben Hogan, who won the Open at Oakland Hills just 10 years ago when this duffer's nightmare was tougher still. Playing a practice round with the Heberts, Ben couldn't help but recall the old days.