Harry was not Bill Stern or Mel Allen or Harry Wismer or Bud Palmer. He was, thank goodness, just Harry. In a world where the tendency seems to be to tear everything down, we're going to miss a man who built everything up.
The Maris-Mantle steam roller just keeps rolling along, and the American people are rushing to get aboard. Advance sales for Yankee games, i.e., Maris and Mantle games, indicate that they are the hottest double act since Gallagher & Shean.
As the Yanks moved into Los Angeles this week, scalpers were having a field day. Ticket brokers compared the arrival of Mantle and Maris to the postwar football games between USC and Notre Dame and to the Dodger-White Sox World Series of 1959. When the Yankees arrive in Kansas City for three games (Aug. 25-27) with the 10th-place Athletics, they will play before an estimated 87,000 people. Against the Minnesota Twins (Aug. 29-31) Metropolitan Stadium is expected to be filled; about 20,000 tickets per game are already sold. When Maris and Mantle play in Chicago's Comiskey Park (Sept. 12-14), the estimate is that over 97,000 people will attend because Maris has hit five homers there this year and Mantle two. For the four-game series in Detroit (Sept. 15-17), Tiger Stadium has already sold 70,000 tickets of the 156,000-capacity available, with, as one official put it, "thousands still calling and writing in for tickets." Not all of the Detroit sales have been caused by Maris and Mantle. Some people there still think the Tigers have a chance to win the pennant. Baltimore sellers believe that when the Yanks come to town (Sept. 19-21) the Orioles will draw thousands above the average. In Boston, where the Yankees play on Sept. 23-24, the ticket sellers say only that sales are "exceptionally high."
At home the Yankee advance sale breaks down this way: vs. Detroit (Sept. 1-3), 30,000 for each game; vs. Washington (Sept. 4-6), 10-15,000 each game vs. Cleveland (Sept. 7-10), 10-25,000 vs. Baltimore (Sept. 26-27), 10-15,000 vs. Boston to close the season (Sept. 29-Oct. 1), 10-15,000 each game. American League clubs that were fearing bleak financial reports on the 1961 season can now breathe more easily.
RETURN OF THE LITTLE MAN
Four weeks ago Conn McCreary, the 40-year-old former jockey who won two Kentucky Derbies and countless other stakes races before retiring in 1960, appeared at Saratoga Race Track. McCreary, who was the shortest of all jockeys (4 feet 8 inches), was now short of pocket. "I need a job bad," he said. "I'm going to see if I can get a trainer's license." He did. What he then needed was horses.
During the second week of the Saratoga meeting an owner named Morris Lober invited McCreary to take over his string of seven runners. Two days later McCreary sent out his first horse, Nashua Breeze. In the paddock before the race everyone wished him well, and when Warren Mehrtens, a former jockey and now a patrol judge, asked McCreary if he was nervous, McCreary said, "I feel just like I felt when I was riding. I want to do things right, and I'd hate to louse things up." Nashua Breeze finished last in a field of eight.
On Thursday McCreary sent out his second starter, a 14-1 long shot named Clothes Pin. Clothes Pin was beaten a head by the favorite. Last Friday the third McCreary-trained horse, Barbaric, finished fourth to earn $160. It was the first money Barbaric had won in nine starts.
Conn McCreary has always been one of those people in sport who get knocked around a lot. We're happy to see him land upright once more.