SPORTING LOOK-REAR VIEW
Back in the early 1950s the Massachusetts legislature put in a constructive day passing a bill that allowed Rocky Marciano, then heavyweight champion, to adorn his automobile with the license plate KO-1. Since then the practice has been epidemic.
The latest to get a vanity plate for his car is Tony Conigliaro, Red Sox outfielder, who chose his initials. Members of the Boston Celtics basketball team have numbers that correspond with their jersey numerals. Thus, Bill Russell is C-6 and, until he retired, Bob Cousy was C-14. When he took over as coach at Boston College, Cousy had his two cars registered. They are BC-1 and BC-2. In 1961 a bill was passed that gave Eddie Shore, former defenseman for the Bruins and member of the Hockey Hall of Fame, the right to display a plate that reads MR. HOCKEY. Paul Pender, former middleweight champion, has M-CHAMP on his plate and Tony DeMarco, former welterweight champion, has TKO. When Joe Cronin became president of the American League his plate was changed to read PAL.
One of the few athletes to turn down an offer of a vanity plate was, predictably, Ted Williams.
"No, thanks," said the former Red Sox slugger. "I like things the way they are."
We suggest that the plate CLOWN be reserved for the next member of the Massachusetts legislature to introduce such a bill.
Canada's 500,000 curlers (SI, March 15) will have bought almost a curling broom apiece by the end of this year, according to Canadian broom manufacturers, who are anticipating their most successful season in the game's history. Exports are up, too. The manufacturers will sell record numbers in the northern U.S. (60,000 brooms were shipped across the border last year) and thousands more to Norway, Austria, Switzerland, Sweden and even Italy and New Zealand.
One of the larger manufacturers, the Curl Master Co., reports that its sales are running 42% ahead of last year. To some extent this reflects an increase in the number of players, but there are other factors, among them increased exports and the fact that more eastern Canadians are buying their own brooms instead of renting them. They retail at $5.95 apiece.
Brooms very like the ordinary household variety were used until 1956, when Fern Marchessault, a manufacturer, produced his specially designed Curl Master and added such models as the Little Beaver and the Black Jack, each with its peculiarities. The Black Jack, for instance, has a plastic or leather tongue fitted into the straws and some of the straws are inserted upside down. It hits the ice harder, curlers say, and thus melts it faster. According to Marchessault, it exerts "25% more pulling power" on the stone, whose speed and direction it is intended to control. Unfortunately, it makes a loud crack each time it hits the ice, and some clubs have barred it.