SI Vault
August 24, 1964
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August 24, 1964


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It would also, he went on in the face of many a glower, just about eliminate losses of athletes because of scholastic ineligibility. There would be few failures in such courses as Free Throwing or Running the Split T. And it was unlikely, he said, that Kansas would have lost two of its greatest basketball players, Wilt Chamberlain and Wayne Hightower, if a School for Professional Athletes had been in existence at the time they left Kansas, each with eligibility remaining.

There was a smattering of polite applause.


The iconoclastic discoveries of Earnshaw Cook, the Baltimore engineer whose study of baseball produced such frightening contradictions of cherished theory (SI, March 23), are now available in book form—Percentage Baseball, Waverly Press, Inc., Baltimore, $10.50. In it he repeats what he told SI readers (the sacrifice bunt should never be used, relief pitchers should start and all that) but in rather more scholarly terms.

Meanwhile, things have been happening which portend that Cook, hooted at for his claims, may yet have a revolutionary impact on the game. Two National League clubs have approached him for more information. And Cook is meeting this week with Richard E. True-man, an operations research scientist from Woodland Hills, Calif., who also has been analyzing baseball strategy. Operating independently of Cook, he has come to quite similar conclusions. Baseball's long-fancied "scientific" percentage game is beginning to look more and more like superstition.


Bill Fleming, a North Carolina harness driver, took his trotter, Apex Hanover, to Moscow to compete in the 10,000-ruble Stakes for Peace Trot. He is now back in the U.S. without the horse and without any part of the winner's purse he won. He also has a feeling that it is difficult to coexist with the Russians.

"I had to start 27 yards behind the six Russian horses in each of the three heats," Fleming said. "The first heat I fooled them by slipping through on the inside and winning by a length. But in the next two heats they ganged up on me. When I came outside, they bunched up and carried me six wide. I nearly got pushed off the track."

Furthermore, the Russian drivers seemed to Fleming to be swapping signals. But he managed to get Apex Hanover, regarded as a mediocre trotter in this country, to the wire second in both final heats and win the series in overall time. The Russians decided that if they could not beat Apex Hanover, they could buy him for breeding purposes. They traded seven Russian yearling trotters for him.

The first American harness driver to compete in Russia since the revolution of 1917, Fleming had to deposit some of his winnings in a bank in case he accepted a Russian invitation to race again next year. Because of currency restrictions he and his wife spent the rest on Persian lamb hats, watches, perfumes, glasses and jewelry.

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