Sunny Jim Fitzsimmons died last week without ever having disclosed which of his champions he considered the best. There was no doubt, however, about which race he wanted most to win. It was the Nashua-Swaps match race of 1955 and, of course, Fitzsimmons' Nashua was the winner. Writing of the race in this magazine, Sunny Jim spoke of Rex Ellsworth and Meshach Tenney, the owner and trainer of Swaps, as "two of the nicest fellows I ever met."
A year later Swaps suffered a leg injury, and were it not for a special sling-harness contraption sent to Ellsworth and Tenney by Sunny Jim—one of the nicest fellows we've ever met—Swaps might have died. "I would have done it for any horse in the world," he said.
THE BIG SHRINK
Down through history there have been costlier lines than Cassius Clay's "I don't have nothin' against those Viet Congs." It doesn't rank with Marie Antoinette's crack about cake, for example, but if Clay wanted to separate himself from good, crisp greenbacks, he was not doing half bad. As the heavyweight championship fight sagged out of Chicago and across the border to Toronto, with Canada's George Chuvalo replacing the disenchanted Ernie Terrell as Clay's opponent, the man best fixed to calculate the losses was Michael N. Malitz. Malitz, a Princeton man and former Navy lieutenant, is executive vice-president of Main Bout, Inc., the TV closed-circuit company stitched together to handle the Chicago action and the inheritor of the scraps that remain.
Malitz sat in his handsome suite of midtown Manhattan offices last week lighting up six packs of cigarettes a day and hearing nothing but bad news. So many theaters that were to show the fight had canceled by the week's end that Malitz was estimating Clay's maximum purse at no more than $150,000. That is approximately $600,000 less than Clay stood to take home from Chicago before he opened his mouth. Clay's take may dwindle to $75,000 or so—chicken feed for a heavyweight champ in a title bout—if Malitz cannot hold onto a nucleus of some 75 closed-circuit outlets.
WYNKEN, BLYNKEN-AND OUT
Umpires involved in rhubarbs with managers and players in this season's baseball games are due for some rare abuse, we suspect, in view of testimony heard last week in the antitrust suit brought by the State of Wisconsin against the Braves. Earl Jinkinson, the Braves' lawyer, accused Oliver E. Kuechle, Milwaukee Journal sports editor, of pretty rough talk in his column. He was especially pained by a reference to Warren Giles as a cherub and to Ford Frick, Joe Cronin and Giles as Wynken, Blynken and Nod. Kuechle defended his allusions ably, but puzzling problems of interpretation remain. "What did you call me?" some umpire may ask, say, Leo Durocher. "A cherub," Leo might answer. "That's a sort of angel without wings." Here is where the umpire must be on his literary toes: "Not in the Book of Ezekiel," he should fire back. "In the Book of Ezekiel a cherub is a beast with four heads. We can't have talk like that around here. Take a walk." Or if, in a fit of pique, Eddie Stanky should say, "What do you mean, he's out? You're worse than Wynken, Blynken and Nod. No offense, of course. They're three delightful nursery-rhyme characters." Umpire: " 'Wynken and Blynken are two little eyes, /And Nod is a little head.' You can't tell me I'm falling asleep. Out."
The Black Hawks' Bobby Hull has his record-breaking 51st goal (page 26), and an avalanche of mementos is sliding down upon him—everything from a hockey stick embedded with 51 jewels to the shirt off Dick Butkus' back (Butkus wears No. 51 for the Chicago Bears), to a 51-year subscription to a girlie magazine (taking Hull up to age 78).
Other gifts are: 51 car washes, 51 litter bags for Hull's cattle ranch, 51 bottles of cleaning fluid, 51 candy bars, a 51-day subscription to the Chicago Tribune, 51 tubes of suntan oil, 51 jars of pickles, 51 Bavarian steins and 51 floor mops.