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June 17, 1963
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June 17, 1963


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The name is Staudacher, accent on the ache. He is in a hospital in Alpena, Mich. He is strung together with wire and plaster, but mostly with guts. Johnson & Johnson are his bed pals. If racing highspeed powerboats were jumping out of airplanes, he'd be the guy whose chute didn't open, but who fell in a haystack and then got shot by the farmer for trespassing. Les Staudacher is 51, large and, presently, a mass of fractures and bruises. Three times he has tried for the world water-speed record (260.35 mph), with crashing results. He reached 260 mph on Nevada's Lake Pyramid four years ago, and walked away from the wreck. Back home in Michigan a year later, he blew the engine out of a new aluminum jet hydro he was controlling by radio half a mile away—body still uninjured and ambition still unfulfilled.

He immediately designed a new jet hydro out of aluminum, provided by Alcoa, and last month took Miss Stars and Stripes II on a test run over Hubbard Lake, Mich. He hit, simultaneously, 280 mph and something unreasonably hard just below the surface. His rudder was torn off, and Miss Stars and Stripes II zoomed straight for shore. Typically for him, Staudacher hurtled free, bounced along the beach and landed in a puddle. The jet crashed upside down in the trees.

For a while doctors thought Staudacher would not walk again. Then last week, blinking at his awesome progress, they revised their diagnosis: he will walk with a slight limp. He will race again. Messages immediately began pouring in from relieved friends, including the people of Alcoa, who sent their fond regards. "Tell them," said Staudacher, "to send aluminum."


A family fishing trip certainly sounds like good wholesome fun. Yes, well, there is now one Texas family that next week may just go around the corner to the pool hall for its good wholesome fun. A man and his wife, fishing on Benbrook Lake near Fort Worth, found that they differed as to how to bait a hook. "He hit me with a Coke bottle," the 38-year-old wife said later, recapitulating the action for the police, "and then I conked him on the nose with a flashlight, but I fell overboard."

There she raged, refusing to get back into the boat, so her 14-year-old son jumped into the lake with life preservers. The husband then drove the boat away. To get cigarettes, he said. You could see how he might want a cigarette. "But after an hour we figured he was lying," his wife said. Another boat picked them up after three hours in the water, the husband explained everything ("I was tired of fooling with them") and the wife did not press charges because she still loved him. Great. Just so long as they don't take up flying.

The only ground left untouched by the sweep of big-league baseball and football has been the Deep South, where Atlanta, for one city, has for years been clamoring about what a fine figure of a franchise it would make. Abruptly last week the clamor stopped and the action started. Mayor Ivan Allen Jr., who "promised" his million citizens the big leagues, reactivated the Atlanta-Fulton County Recreation Authority, and the authority came across immediately with plans to begin construction in August of a stadium that will seat 45,000 for baseball and 55,000 for football on a downtown site soon to be fed by 11 expressways. The planners, some of Atlanta's biggest spenders, hope to have 20,000 seats and an invitation to a major-league baseball club ready by next season. They feel it is a question not of when but which American League team will be theirs. They go further. They expect to be in the National Football League by 1965.


"I had worked on this pitch for some time. I knew I couldn't always get by with my fast ball. You get old, you know. So I picked up a tip on how to pitch a spitball. Without spit. Before the game and between innings I'd work some slippery elem, a gumlike moist resin, into my sock. The inner one. The sock would keep the gum nice and moist. Perfect."

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