Houston's National League baseball team will travel next season, but without a gun. Because of legal action taken by the Colt Patent Fire Arms Mfg. Co., the club has decided to change its name from the Colt .45s to something less litigious.
The Colt people granted permission three years ago for use of the name and product as the symbol of Houston's expansion-born team, deriving much valuable publicity therefrom. But they bridled when the ball club sublet the nickname and insigne to novelty companies without cutting the firearms company in on the profits. Major league baseball people are notoriously touchy about sharing profits with anyone, and Judge Roy Hofheinz, Houston president, reacted predictably. He announced that the club would change its name.
Changing a baseball team's nickname never has been easy. The Boston Braves tried without success to become the Bees. The Philadelphia Phillies never could persuade their followers to call them Blue Jays. The Washington Nationals are irrevocably Senators. Even the Daughters of the American Revolution had little luck in demanding that the Cincinnati Reds become the Redlegs. "Let the Russians change their name," a Cincinnati sports columnist snorted. "We were the Reds before they were."
Hofheinz seems to be leaning toward the Houston Stars because this is the space age, you see, and there is a play on words involved. On the other hand, a fan has suggested that the team be called the Houston Clowns because they will play under the domed stadium's big top. Hofheinz did not much care for that proposal.
When Bob Gibson, World Series pitching hero of the St. Louis Cardinals, was a hard-throwing pitcher for Creighton University of Omaha, Jesse Bradshaw was a hard-hitting outfielder for Midland College of nearby Fremont, Neb., a Lutheran institution. Bradshaw was studying for the ministry. He came to bat one day against a Gibson whose control was not what it was in the World Series. In the time-tested manner of so many sluggers, Bradshaw was chewing tobacco. One of Gibson's high hard ones began to sail directly at Bradshaw's head. Bradshaw ducked away, and in the excitement swallowed his chaw. He departed from the plate ill, not bothering to complete his time at bat and ever since, through his ordination and on to today, the Rev. Jesse Bradshaw has limited himself to licorice.
COMEUPPANCE FOR JOEY
In all things fistic, Middleweight Champion Joey Giardello considers himself a smart guy. But last week, after his title fight with Hurricane Carter was canceled, Giardello was less certain about it. In the 11 months since he won the title from Dick Tiger, Giardello has turned down an uncommon number of big-money offers. Most of them he dismissed airily as "phony." (He knew all about bogus $100,000 guarantees since that is how he got the fight with Tiger.)
Joey passed up one offer from Jos� Torres. It was backed by a 575,000 certified cashier's check, but Joey said the guarantee was too small. Instead he accepted a promise of 5102,500 from Las Vegas' Silver State Sports Club and from Telescript, a closed-circuit TV company, to fight Carter. The guarantee was fat and the money was insured—or so he thought. Silver State deposited a check for $55,000, and Telescript put up a $60,000 letter of credit with the Nevada boxing commission. But the check bounced and Telescript had second thoughts. A week before the fight the closed-circuit company threw in the towel and told Giardello that as far as it was concerned the fight was off. And so was the $60,000 letter of credit.
"This is the worst experience I've had In 17 years of boxing," said Giardello, who probably will defend his title early this winter but for considerably less than $100,000.
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