SI Vault
May 20, 1963
Decrease font Decrease font
Enlarge font Enlarge font
May 20, 1963


View CoverRead All Articles View This Issue


It is pretty hard to foul up the start of a sailboat race, though it has been done. But the finish of a race, especially an ocean race, ah, there is where a creative race committee can really achieve something—like havoc. Take the 1956 Bimini race, when the committee concluded nobody would possibly finish until about 6 a.m. When Dr. Luis Vida�a's Criollo came boiling along at midnight, the sea in the vicinity of the finish line was empty, save for one pinpoint of light which Skipper Vida�a took to be the committee boat. He headed for the light, and did not discover until he ran onto a sandbar that the light was someone's picture window on shore. The committee was still home in bed.

Or take, more urgently, last week's Newport Beach, Calif, to Ensenada race, in which the wind vanished as the early finishers of the 340-boat armada were about to enter the narrow channel leading to the finish inside Todos Santos Bay. Other boats drifted into the flat spot until 40 vessels were gathered in one tight clutch. Then the wind came back, and 40 boats—followed by three dozen more—tried to charge through a channel wide enough for 12. Before the entire fleet squeezed across, 80 boats had been damaged; one, John Arens' Tomahawk, was rammed three times.

We suggest to the Ensenada race committee, and to all others like it, that yachtsmen deserve a better fate. They deserve a safe, commodious finish, even if it means that the race committee has to bob around in a boat offshore.

A season ago we were regaled with sweat shirts bearing across their fronts the likenesses of Bach, Beethoven and Brahms. They gave to sweat a certain improbable cachet of culture. Now sweat is back where sweat belongs. The Wallachs stores in New York City, which are sporting enough to have a "dog bar" (drinking puddle) in front of their Fifth Avenue establishment, have been selling a sweat shirt for New Frontiersmen. Blazoned across the chest is the simple word VIGAH, and beneath it a rocking chair crest. The shirt is manufactured by a company that calls itself F.I.T.


The growling about managers that goes on continuously in the major leagues got us to thinking about our favorite manager, Patrick J. (Patsy) Donovan, who piloted five different big-league teams in the years from 1897 through 1911. Off his record, Patsy must be rated the worst manager of all time, for both performance and consistency. Most of Patsy's teams got progressively worse under his guidance, and each improved as soon as he left, four of them remarkably so. Patsy finished eighth with the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1897, dropped the managerial reins in 1898 but took over again during the season in 1899 and finished seventh. He left Pittsburgh then and in the next four years the Pirates finished second, first, first and first. Patsy managed the St. Louis Cardinals in 1901 and finished fourth with 76 wins. He managed them again in 1902 and fell to sixth with 56 wins. He tried again in 1903 and was eighth with 43 wins. Patsy left, and the Cardinals jumped to fifth place with 75 victories, an improvement of 32 games.

Patsy managed Washington in 1904, his only year with that club. He wasted no time. The Senators finished dead last. Moreover, they won only 38 games. Only one team in modern baseball history has won fewer (not the Mets; they won 40 last year). Next season, with Patsy gone, the Senators moved up to seventh and won 64 games, a 26-game improvement. Patsy rested in 1905 but in 1906 he managed the Brooklyn Dodgers, who finished fifth with 66 wins. They finished fifth again in 1907 with 65 wins, but in 1908 they jelled and fell to seventh with 53 wins. After Patsy left they improved to sixth, though they won only 55 games.

Patsy's career reached its zenith with the Boston Red Sox. He did not manage in 1909, when the Red Sox finished third with 88 victories, but he took over in 1910. They finished fourth that year with 81 wins and dropped to fifth in 1911 with 78. He stepped aside, and in 1912 the Red Sox won 105 games, took the American League pennant by a wide margin and beat the New York Giants in the World Series. Patsy's cup ran over. He never bothered to manage in the major leagues again.


Continue Story
1 2 3